You may think you’ve done everything there is to do on this island, but there is always a surprise or two in store.
Early Sunday morning (and by early I mean in teenager time, so around 10am) a group of paddlers gathered at Jackson’s Beach for some quality time on the water in Outrigger canoes. They are all part of the Outrigger Club, or as others may know it, the San Juan Canoe and Kayaking Club.
Although my family owns some beautiful Tongan paddles which reside decoratively over my fireplace, I am a newbie at the activity. So I received a run through from the group’s leader David Halpern before setting off for a 15 min jaunt around Jackson’s Beach.
Paddling a canoe is similar to kayaking at a glance, but with more attention to detail it’s plain to see a distinction in motion, speed, and mentality.
They use traditional Hawaiian words to initiate paddling and signal shifts in paddle position, which are easy to catch onto and help instill a sense of unity and timelessness on the water. The actual movement of the paddle has a bit more of a learning curve, but according to David, most people figure it out by their third time out on the water.
The group is relaxed, fun-loving, and nice to beginners (I can vouch for that especially.) There’s many different types of boats available to be taken out, from singles to ones that hold up to 6, and the group is always looking for more members. Races, such as the around Shaw race that happened yesterday, bring paddlers from many different groups around the Sound. So if you’re looking for a great form of exercise, a new circle of islanders to mingle with, or just trying out a new potential hobby, email David to be put on the email list at halpern(at)rockisland.com.
The group usually meets at Jackson’s Beach on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 5pm and on Sunday at 10pm, weather dependent. For pictures and info about past happenings, check out www.happypaddlers.blogspot.com.