Outdoor New England

Why I Love to Paddle | Jair Cruikshank

Whitewater, InterpersonalMarty ParichandComment

I have come to realize that every paddler paddles for a different reason.  Some are adrenaline junkies, some paddle for friends or a special someone, others like the fact that rivers bring them to places they wouldn't normally see, and some get addicted to the challenge.  The list goes on and every paddler has a similar yet unique set of reasons for why they paddle.  I for one paddle for the reasons above, but also because it is meditative for me.  I love to hear the sound of the rushing water and feel its power as it glides over the riverbed.  When I am playing in a hole or a wave that isn't scary or even sitting in the calm spots, the river brings me to a serene place of mind.  In this state of mind nothing matters except the place around me, the edges of my boat, and the enjoyment of playing on the water.  Getting into boating has been an incredible journey that has allowed me to see stunning places, meet some of the most amazing people on the planet, learn about myself, learn how to teach, and surround myself with a lifestyle that I hope will be with me for the rest of my life.
 
Besides the peace of mind that paddling provides, this sport also provides a level of fear.  It may seem strange, but I enjoy scaring myself.  I believe that small doses of fear are necessary for a healthy life.  Fear keeps me humble and helps me realize how fragile life is.  Paddling comes with a certain level of risk that when accepted and understood makes us better paddlers.  Knowing when to take those risks and when to step back and reassess not only makes us better paddlers, but it makes us better people.  Balancing the line between fear and confidence on the river in my opinion helps us learn and allows us to grow.  Rivers run through my veins and I believe that if I had never been a paddler, I would not be the same person I am today.
 
The people, the places, the fear, and the peace of mind are all reasons for why I love to paddle, however I also love what paddling does to me off the water.  When I put my mind to something, there is nothing that is going to get in my way.  When I am in my boat trying to accomplish a trick, a line, or work on a subtle aspect of my boating abilities, that is all that I am focused on.  This single minded determination makes me more even more focused in my every day life to accomplish the goals and tasks around me.  The challenge of paddling has strengthened my focus and drive.  Any aspect of paddling can be related to our lives, the ups and the downs, the quicker moments, and those that seem to pass by slowly.  The holes, the waves, the struggles, the must make moves, the joy, the adrenaline, laughter, and friends all teach me lessons that I know have made me a better person.
 
Thank you to those who got me into this sport and taught me along the way...Dave Su...you and all the friends I have met along the way; you are my greatest heroes.  Lets get after it and paddle!