Friday, April 30, 2010

Into the surf with Brian

So there I was... just home from a day at the shop when into my driveway rolls Brian Day! He was cruising in the P&H/Pyranha rig looking something like a huge multicolored hedge hog, boats sticking out everywhere. We sat down to plan out the next few days. What do you want to do? says I. He comes back with, lets go boatin. The surf was up and so was the wind, Do you surf? I asked. not yet, he replied. Lets go! I think he might still be trying to figure out what just happened. He had a great time, going down the line and cutting back in no time, the waves were perfect. We stuck him in a Watertech 666 a fast forgiving IC boat and cut him loose. Mike was on scene coaching from his SUP, I was trying out a new to us surf ski, the Infinity Stinger, which was great fun and we had an incredible day. In the afternoon we changed locations and I got back into my Lucifer, love that boat! from the sound of it Brian is about to retire from river boating and take to the surf, he left here a changed man. Sorry Jim.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


They are predicting good weather and perfect tides for this weekend. It’s time for an Osprey Biathlon. I visualize getting on the paddleboard and grinding against the tide and wind to the harbor then swinging left to the bridge. I can see the sights and feel the morning sun even in my cubical. 3 hours to cover 12 miles…I pass under Hix Bridge my shoulders ache and my abs are a little sore. Pulling into the shop I nearly fall over. My body sways in my chair as I plant the paddle in the water and push my feet past it in my mind.

Having dropped food and gear at the shop I power through lunch and get my kayak ready for the return trip. Time and tide wait for no man. I’ll be fighting the wind on the way back and I’ll have another tight schedule. Muscles are tight and my shoulder complains at being pressed into service again. I can almost feel the twinge as the morning sun floods my office through the blinds. The kayak slices through the water faster than the board glided over it and I find my pace quickly.

I see Hix for the second time. The wind has swung to the SE so I am fighting it. I drop my head and dig in. Soon the 88 Bridge is passing over my head. My body is protesting. Static office life is not conducive to this effort but the gym is paying off. My breath is labored and my breaks are lasting a little longer than I prefer.

The outgoing tide makes getting into Adamsville a little more difficult. If I take too long there will be no water at the landing. Even so, I make it to my truck. Lifting the boat onto my roof will be a task, I’m tired.

This is the plan anyway. Perhaps I will actually be able to accomplish what I am setting out to but either way it will be me, music and the water. This time I will apply sunscreen to the backs of my hands.

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Salem flows past my truck's windows, tunes blasting out of the speakers. I haven't taken this route since I went to college. I am conducting a postmortem on yesterday's class. It was the first time I have taught with Carl in a long time and I am recalling how much fun that is.

Turning onto a tree lined street, memories surface of racing through commuter traffic to my first class of the day music cranked on the tape deck. Yesterday one of the students taught skills in the fashion I experienced when I first started kayaking. Times have changed and the skills are approached differently but I smile in nostalgia. There is progress in my current teaching techniques. Carl's have advanced as well and there is more to respect about his abilities.

The Dresden Dolls are covering "Pretty in Pink". I barely passed Economics and Business Math twenty years ago at the South Campus not 200 yards to my right. There is a little more pride in how yesterday went. I can only find 2 times when what I said was more superfluous than I prefer. My poorest decision of the day was ignoring the little voice that said the back of my hands should get sunscreen. They are red with a burn.

Walking into Whole Foods, I hear Modern English singing "...I'll stop the world and melt with you."  I am happy with how my past and present are blending.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


The singer howls, guitars thunder and I am hit by more wind. I see it coming, the dark catspaws running across the water at me. My forward momentum is stopped cold but I grit my teeth and add more crunch to the paddle stroke. Music urges me onward. The “breeze” is stronger than predicted and the runoff does not help against the incoming tide. Another song starts. My brain is filling with sound which translates into energy and I grind onward. When the endorphins kick in this will be one of the most fun days I have had on the water in a while.