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Vindicated by Paddle

I was building a Chesapeake 17 kayak and had finally gotten it far enough along to launch. During this building period I'd taken a rash of ...teasing ... from my two friends about building a kayak instead of buying, my wood-working skills (attempting to amputate a hand with my power saw didn't help), how fast it would reach the bottom, how much time I'd actually spend right side up, yada, yada. I'm proud to say that at no time during this did I commit any bodily harm.

But now it's time to float the boat so the two friends and I decided to go to Inks Lake State Park for the weekend. They would rent one of the park canoes. On the way up, I continue to manly endure the pathetic attempts at witty comments on my "pile of kindling" and my supposed kayaking skills.

We arrived late in the afternoon, too late to get a canoe, but I decided to take the yak out for it's inaugural float. It'd only been 20+ years since the last time I was in a kayak so after about five strokes it dumps me. Of course, my self recovery skills are just as rusty so I end up pulling it back to shore. I did manage to spend about 30 minutes in it without getting dumped again. In fact, that was the only time that weekend I got dumped.

But my initial, ah, exhibition of kayaking skills resulted in more ribbing around the campfire that night, with many promises not to paddle off and leave me in their wake.

So finally we launch both the kayak and the canoe the next day, just piddling around the lake. I spend an hour or so getting used to the kayak again and am doing a pretty good job, really getting back into the feel of it. And then the guys in the canoe pass me going the other way, stroking right along, with a comment that they'll slow down and give me a break in a minute. I start to dig into the stroke and lean into the turn when inspiration hits me, and I start stroking even harder. Within a couple of minutes I had caught up to the canoe, passed them, and was leaving them in my wake.

Going backwards.

I didn't get any wise cracks for the rest of the trip.

Submitted by Jay Morris - Converse, TX

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