Never Over Our Heads [7]

The Shallow Water Kayakers Association

Reprinted from ‘The North Sounder’, newsletter of The North Sound Sea-Kayakers Association, Washington, USA.

by Lerek H. Clutchingson

I have never liked long crossings, but occasionally they have to be made. Last Sunday on Lake Union I finally got up the gumption to cross the Ship Canal from Gas Works Park. It was no mean achievement for a member of the Shallow Water Kayakers Association. Perhaps you have not heard of our organization. Our membership is vast but secret. We are a group dedicated to the proposition that if you can not walk to shore or float, a few feet and then walk to shore, your life is in dire peril and you could lose your membership.

…Our club’s safety record is flawless and we never destroy our sinuses learning awkward Eskimo rolls. We discourage such macho dramatics for fear of burying our noggins in the sand. Remember all those hours in the pool trying to mount a slippery kayak full of water as it bobbed and rolled beneath you? There are no foolish re-entry procedures for our members. You simply stand up, walk to shore (don’t forget your kayak and paddle), empty your boat and boots, climb in, blow your nose, and push off. (Blowing your nose can take place immediately upon standing up).

Now I don’t want you to get the impression that we are a bunch of namby-pambies. It is just that we are strong believers in ferryboats and airplanes. For instance, I just read about a fellow who kayaked across the Pacific. Aside from wanting to ask him what we are all dying to know, ? like when, where, and how he went potty – I also wanted to ask him why did he not take an airplane. There are no nice sunny beaches or tide pools in the middle of the Pacific.

Long crossings are boring. Not much to see or do except paddle, paddle, paddle. Shallow water kayakers are always yacking about a certain rock formation or excitedly pointing to a Hermit crab scooting along the bottom, and they are always stopping for lunch snacks. You never see any tanned beach boys or bikinied blonds on long crossings.

I tell you, shallow water kayakers just have more fun. So if you’re out kayaking and see a fellow boater, just place your paddle vertically into the water until one end touches bottom, and the other end sticks two feet out of the water. This will indicate that you are within five feet of Terra Firma. Your fellow kayakers will immediately recognize your as a proud member of the Shallow Water Kayakers Association. Our motto is: “Ne aborium su cabasa,” or “Never over our heads.” — By Dick Asia