Monday, July 21, 2008

Iamboatman Jr. - Kayaking. Who'd A Thunk It!

A personal post!

A couple of weeks ago I posted about my thrill of sailing America's Cup yachts. I was writing back and forth with an industry executive the other day about our fond memories of sailing my friends Hunter 42 docked across from my then office in Coconut Grove, Florida and his Hunter 36. My 12 year old son hates sailing.

I have such wonderful memories of quietly canoeing in Vermont and Upstate New York as a child. Canoeing on Lake George back in the late '60s/early 70's for miles, dipping my cup into the water to have a drink (Don't try that now! If you don't get run over by a powerboat you will get sick from the water.) I went canoeing briefly with my son this weekend, while visiting him at camp, and his abilities to maneuver a canoe from his seat at the bow was very impressive. But he tells me, even after a pretty cool 6 day canoe trip on Saranac Lake, where they saw two bald eagles on July 4th!, he doesn't like canoeing. (Maybe it was because he needed to portage - carry - his canoe and supplies a mile overland to get to Middle Saranac Lake).

Yachts. They are OK and can be cool if I worked on them, but the fancy stuff doesn't really float his boat, so to speak. No kids and no kid's club.

Seabourn: Boring!

What really impressed me, however, was my son's new affinity for kayaking. I didn't get much information from him during his four week stay at sleepaway camp in Vermont...except that he liked kayaking. When we got to camp all he wanted to do was show me what he could do. First activity: Kayaking!

So as a nervous father, I watched him grab the biggest whitewater kayak and waited for the show...afraid that with the pressure of my watching things might not go so well. What was I worried about? My son blew me away!!!! Not only did he maneuver that kayak with aplomb, he was doing rolls like a pro. (A roll is when the kayak flips over and you are strapped in upside down in the water and you right yourself and the kayak and just paddle away.)

The best was, however, as Parent's Day was winding down. The camp (in its 99th year and well known for its canoeing and kayaking focus) puts on a show of skills for the parents. They choose a few of the more talented kids to display their skills. My son never thought he would be asked, but as he went up to get his second ice cream after dinner, he got the nod!

The pressure was on. The entire camp and all the parents were watching. He did a fantastic job. Very impressive!!

So now the focus is on learning offside rolls, rolls without a paddle, stalls, etc. We just need to find the right kayak. (A much better investment than faux kayaking on a video game!)

I guess it is in the genes. Funny thing, though: Kayaking was never my thing! I am glad he's not a clone, but thrilled that he takes after me.

That's my boy!