I did not particularly want to leave the game. It was halftime and the United States and Germany were tied 0-0. I had no choice though and kayakers clearly don’t brake for the World Cup. I’ve always been comfortable with sports involving balls. Leaving a soccer game for a sport relatively unknown was not the easiest move. I was not exactly sure what I was getting myself into. I originally wanted to go on the trip so I could see my girlfriend Zoe kayak, something that makes her really happy. The original desire of seeing her kayak clouded the fact that I too had to find a way to get down the river. I had kayaked lots before on flat water in monstrous, open sea kayaks. I had always enjoyed it, but something about rivers was unnerving…probably the white water thing.
In no time, the USA advancing to the next round was out of my brain and I was focused on punching through the wave trains in my ducky. JR was talking me through everything and boy was I enjoying it. JR’s teaching is a combination of silly, serious and encompassed in a positive energy and a can-do spirit. By the end of the day I knew what an eddy was and wanted to be in a real kayak.
JR, Lori, the other guides and the six other people on the trip had an attitude that made me want to try new things over the following days. I jumped off a big rock into the river. I slid down a 20 foot natural water slide. I went calmly through a small wave train in an ACTUAL Kayak, knowing that if something went wrong, JR or someone else would be able to help me in a jiffy. One day over a lunch break, JR practiced “T-rescues” with me in a kayak. Being flipped over in a kayak was a terrifying proposition before the trip, but now only slightly terrifying and a fear I’m excited to conquer.
By the end of the trip I felt like I could do anything in my inflatable kayak. The guides and others created a FUN and safe environment that allowed me to get out of my comfort zone. On top of the all the instruction, being in such a pristine part of the world, eating yummy food with the best type of company is all I could ask for. Back in Berkeley I’m planning on taking a couple kayak classes and maybe by the end of August I will know how to roll. I’ve been missing the river ever since I got off of it!
Charlie–aka “Ducky Master”