The kayak was an invention of the Eskimo. It was a tiny boat made from animal skin and bones used for hunting in frigid northern waters. The word kayak means hunter’s boat which was an essential tool in the icy struggle between life and death for fish. Now the kayak is still being used in the struggle between life and death but now the struggle involves the extreme use by living dangerously rowing through rough water.
You would think that the typical person who would like this kayaking thing would be someone in a remote area with lots of time on his hands. Instead, now there are a lot of very busy people kayaking looking for that one hour of their day to devote to something relaxing and fun. For example, take the typical New Yorker that has a pretty intense life. The Hudson River is ironically the perfect tonic. I mean emotional tonic. Those waters are probably still somewhat polluted so don’t drink it but the river is inviting to stroll down in a boat, yes even a boat as small as a kayak.
His father Allen Stiller imported some of the first modern kayaks to this country from Europe. The family tradition is still going strong in his family. He instructs all that rent his equipment to row properly. He teaches people to use their body in the rowing stroke because you put pressure on your mid section. On the board, watch your balance, bend your knees slightly and use your hip movement with the oar.
Why do it? Well on the river there isn’t any traffic, no siren emergency vehicles, no trash trucks, no cars and most of all no people. Well, there is a toss up between the comfort of leaving behind all the negatives of Manhattan and then having to deal with the negatives of taking a dip in the water conditions.
All around the globe women are entering the small boats. Germany’s Freer Hofmeister holds the world’s record for the fastest kayak circle navigation of Australia. You don’t have to be her. Just take the four hour paddle basics class, be sure to rotate your body at your rib cage and not at your shoulders, turn at your hips and not from your shoulders. Buy yourself a kayak or paddle board and get out anywhere there is water. Take some pressure figuratively and in reality off your arms and shoulders and move with your core and you will feel better about everything.