Do you remember the first time you launched a kayak? There was that feeling of nervous excitement eventually turned euphoric when you subconsciously gained control of your boat, your body relaxed and before you knew, all of your life’s worries were left behind. It was at that point that you knew something was right, you were in your element and if you’re like me, you are now addicted to paddling. Lucky for me, I get to relive that experience almost daily whether it’s helping a customer launch at one of our demo days or simply posting a photo that one of our customers shared with us on Facebook in regards to their maiden voyage. This also holds true for those of us who introduce friends and family to the sport, which brings me to this — what do you say we designate April as the unofficial “take a friend or family paddling month”?
Seriously, not only will this help you settle the score with those that wonder why you are crazy about kayaking but it may even encourage you to get out more often. However, the most rewarding experience you’ll get from it is the reaction from those paddling for the first time — especially the brightest biggest smiles from children.
I recently had the pleasure of camping out on Lake Georgetown here in central Texas with my family along with several neighbors and their children. Nobody asked, but I decided to load a Wilderness Ride 115, Tarpon 120 and a Hobie Kona on my truck anyway. Sure, I figured I would be paddling alone but much to my surprise, everyone was on board and what a joy it was. I even got to introduce my 3 year old to her first paddling experience and two hours later I still couldn’t pry her little hands off my kayak! Fact is, it turned out to be the highlight of our trip and weeks later I heard anything from “wow, I never knew it would be that easy” to “that’s it Roland, I’m hooked and I’m buying one”!
Over the years, I have introduced hundreds of family, friends, customers and even complete strangers to paddling and it makes me feel great knowing that I am helping create memories and in some cases even changing lives.
C’mon and join me and let’s all band together and make a commitment to introduce this amazing experience to at least one person this month. I’m also interested in hearing about your experiences. Who first introduced you to kayaking and who have you taken paddling for the first time?
(Pictures courtesy of Jim and Bridget Arndt)