Not really much of a paddle; Marlene was mentioning that she had signed up for three on-water clinics at the MEC Paddlefest being held here at Cadboro bay this Sunday (the 15th of June). I warned her that it meant dressing for immersion, and to check out that she had appropriate gear, she should come over and get wet.
So the three of us (Paula, Marlene, and myself) headed down to the beach to get Mar used to the bay. It was also a chance for me to try out what is looking more and more to be the next addition to our quiver; a Lazer playboat.
I found this to be an interesting ride. The Lazer is an old style creekboat or wave boat with a lot of rocker both fore and aft as well as side to side. I can just fit into the cockpit, and I have to say that I was concerned with ever having to try a wet exit. The boat spins on a dime, but felt a lot more tippy than the modern playboat I tried a couple of months back at the pool practice night. That boat felt like I was sitting in a saucer, while this one felt more like a kayak, but at 3.35 metres (about 11 feet) long, it is shorter than anything I’ve paddled except the Pamlico–and that is much wider at the beam. I wasn’t really happy with the way I felt in it, but it turns out that it fits Paula like a glove and she is much happier with the ride. Partly, I think, because her centre of gravity is quite a bit lower than mine. So it looks like she’s found a new boat for riding rapids in, while I will still be relegated to the Pamlico for now.
After boat testing, I spent the next hour up to my chest in the bay working with Marlene on low braces and slowly getting her into the water. She was wearing two wetsuits, but with her thin frame, the wrist openings were too big and let a stream of cold water in to run down under her arms and into her suit. Paula lent her her cold water paddling cap (from MEC and quite nice too), which actually helps keep the head warm–but after immersion, it keeps a puddle of water in each ear. Or at least it does if you have a bunch of hair stuffed under it like Marlene had. So when Marlene finally went fully into the water, that was it for her: water in the ears, water running down her side, and her skull attempting to contract from the cold. So no practice at wet exits, but she did make progress on her low brace. And we’ll see how it goes on Sunday….