Since we're confessing...

Posted by Robert N Pruden on Sep 8, 2004

I attempted to paddle my rebuilt kayak w/o footpegs and thigh braces back in February. The river here freezes up with thick ice except where oil refineries add thermal pollution to the river. I had just finished my rebuild and desperately wanted to launch. I took my complacent butt to the edge of the ice, roughly half way over the river to where there was open water. I got myself nestled comfortably into the cockpit realizing that I wasn't in an ideal situation. Now you need to know, I routinely do ice-launches here in the late fall, so I am used to shoving off on the ice, getting up to speed then running the kayak into the current. That sad day in February I was complacent, lazy and inattentive. That, combined with an inadequately equiped kayak caused me grief within 2 seconds of shoving off. I didn't get up enough speed because my shove was just a wee doinky little tweek. Well, the bow of the kayak got into the current okay but the stern...oh the stern...she hung up on the ice. You want to talk about primary or secondary stability? Let's introduce the concept of "NO" stability. I summarily and unceremoniously dumped into the river. I was wearing a tightened dry top and heavy running tights at the time. As soon as I got tippy (0.3 seconds), my eyes bulged (unconfirmed but they felt like they did), at 1.2 seconds I was tipping to the right while gripping my useless paddle with white knuckles (about to become whiter with the cold water and panic) then finally I tried to spew the words: "Oh, Shiii..." before swimming. I never did get to pronounce that "t" because the first thing I had to do was grab the kayak or lose it. I grabbed it rather quickly (5.3 seconds) then wondered what I was gonna do after than. I noticed some dude walking his pooch on the other side of the river only he stopped to watch my misadventures. Thinking quickly (15.6 seconds) I shouted to him that I was just practicing (and I thought to myself: "so please don't call Air One (local police chopper)". I eventually did what I always do when I tip on the river: I stoood up. Yep, the water was only 4.5 feet deep. I gasped a sigh of relief, shoved the boat up back onto the ice (which, I am sure if it had a personality would be sticking its tongue out at me) and climbed my steenkin butt back outta the water. I seriously thought about getting back in and trying again but you've heard the old adage: "Once stricken...".

Moral of the story: try again when you properly equip your boat, you'll get a whole lot more pleasure in it and you won't soak your digital camera, either!

PS: I cooked the camera at 115 C in an oven at work. Once I could smell the electronics cooking I knew it was dry. It worked!

Robert N(utsy) Pruden

In Response to: OK, I confess.. by Rob Johnston on Sep 7, 2004