Reasons to Start Paddling

Who Knows Why You Start Things…

Your parents had a banged up canoe in the garden and one day you and your neighbourhood gang portaged it to the local stream. In college you wanted to impress your date on a river one weekend, or maybe a friend called to invite you on a wilderness canoe trip. You’d had enough of fishing from shore and getting hung up in shrubbery on the back cast. Could be anything.

Bottom line, though, we all got seduced; quite happily seduced. Nothing on the planet matches self-propelled boats and water for the spectrum of gratifications; from thrills to serenity, and from awe to that delicious touch of terror. Starting with those childhood explorations, a generation ago, and continuing to this winter’s outing dodging ice floes on a river.

Come to think of it, who needs a reason? But in case you do, here are a dozen. If none fit, hop in a boat and make up lucky number 13.

Pure Adrenaline

Boats and moving current are like skis and deep powder, a dynamic immersion in synaptic thrill. Start with a Grade II and build up from there. The only limit is how far you want to ride it.

Re-Tracing History

Water has been the explorer’s medium through millennia. Camp under the stars, paddle next to tow paths or across lakes as the voyageurs did.

Being One With The Whales

And the seals, puffins, turtles, cranes, pelicans, and monsters. Water is rich with life. Why not join the scene?

It’s Easy On The Body

Listen, at some point in age, it becomes clear that backpacking is becoming more work and pain than fun. That’s where paddling/floating comes in. The boat brings along the creature comforts, you avoid the joint-bruising trails, and the adventure continues.

Fun For All Ages

Infants and toddlers are out when it comes to most back country modes. So you’re stuck with waiting till they’re old enough, giving up adventure. Not with canoeing, rafting, sea kayaking; put those tykes in boats, take ‘em along. Parents get to indulge their adventurous yearnings and kids get hooked before video arcades kidnap them.

Dancing With Your Partner

Salsa lessons have nothing on the music you can make with your sweetie on the water. You know those couples that glide effortlessly on the dance floor, who look like they move in wordless harmony? Same thing can happen between canoeists … really!

Because Water Is The Way

Look at a map, it’s mostly all water. Who would even consider going overland? Rivers and lakes are the obvious route from Point A to Point B. Often as not, paddling is the way to go. Just ask the kayakers in the apostle islands, or any national seashore. Why cut out all that territory just because you haven’t started paddling yet?

To Sneak Up On Fish

Okay, you can tramp through the buggy shrubbery, rub elbows with poison ivy, and spend more time climbing trees to retrieve your fly than enticing fish … or you can get in a boat and actually go where the fish are. Let me think about that for a minute. Done!

To Go For A Soak!

Any idea how satisfying it is on a hot sunny day to have an out of boat experience?? Here’s the image: you’re floating along a river when you notice a massive eddy near the bank. Somebody dips a toe in and pronounces it’s good. Pretty soon the clothes are off, the core temperatures are rising, and boating has just become your favourite activity.

It Beats The Singles Scene

Paddling is one of those small-world deals. Join a paddling club, go on a trip, and before long you have more trips on the list than vacation time. You have an active, adventurous social group, and suddenly those singles ads in the paper have become someone else’s compulsion.

Because You Can Bring It All

Who said anything about roughing it? In canoes, not to mention rafts, everything from lawn furniture to Dutch ovens is on the gear list, and country life is anything but Spartan. More roast duck, anyone?

Pick Your Poison

The spectrum of paddling options is so broad that a custom fit is guaranteed. Misty lakes at dawn, steep white-water, ocean surf, lakes, pick a boat and start the life list. Just be careful, it’s addicting.