I’m sure I’m not the only one tuning into CBC more often or scrolling through social media maybe a bit more than usual. I’m getting the message, and I am staying home. Entering week three of staying home; like you, I too am itching to get out paddling. I can see the lake across the road from me, the ice is fully out now. I have a canoe resting on the shore of said lake. It’s been there since October after I went out for my last paddle; it was at sunset with my two sons. Right now, they really want to go fishing on the lake. They want to use their sit on top kayaks they saved up their own money to purchase. But my husband and I won’t let them. We’re not putting our canoe in the water either. We could, we know how to paddle, you could say we’re professionals and it’s a small, private lake. What could go wrong? We have a conversation with the kids about weighing out risk. (we’re supposed to homeshcooling afterall!)
I read an article about a kayaker in my area who had to be rescued two days ago. The OPP, a team of paramedics AND a hovercraft were all on the scene rescuing him, the kayaker from the chilly spring water.
My normal reaction when reading an article such as this is to question the paddler’s decision to go out at this time of year based on his (in)experience, his decision to wear or not wear his PFD (in this case, he had it but wasn’t wearing it) and does he know what to do if he falls out (it appears he did not) But with this story, I also wondered why wasn’t he at home, and considered how many resources he pulled away from the current crisis, resources he put at risk because he just wanted to go out for a paddle.
We’re all in this together, staying home in an effort at planking/flattening the curve. If we do this, by the time the waters have warmed up, hopefully we will all be given the go ahead to go outside again, visit the parks, the trails, the beaches, the boat launches.
In the meantime, think about what paddling related activities you can do at home, things like yoga, working out, boat repair, checking your gear. If you’re able to do so, order new gear from your local outdoor shop (they need you right now!) Make sure your first aid and repair kit are full. Organize that gear closet (I know I need to!) Organize your maps, plan you next trip(s). Instructors, review our website, build up your instructor profile (few of you actually have profile photos!) Read through your manual(s). Do you have suggestions for said manuals? Drop your PDC an email. Reach out to other instructors you know to swap teaching ideas. Up your social media game, update your website.
You can use this time to contribute to Paddle Canada as we still have committees looking for members. Have you come across a Facebook post you want all of Paddle Canada to see? A great idea for an Instagram story or post? Direct message our pages. Interested in writing up an article for Current Strokes, our montly newsletter? I could sure use some content help with that. We are gearing up to celebrate 50 years as an organization, maybe you have some great ideas, stories from back in the day, or time to join a task force for this project. Drop me an email!
I understand that many of you are worried about your business, be it paddling or otherwise. I’ve created a short list of resources that I have found useful to read through. Some are about how to prepare and cope right now while others are links to government funding, tax breaks etc. as well as a few are grants that can helpus get through this intact. This is a growing list, and by no means exhaustive, if you have come across other helpful links, please share it with me and I’ll add to this list. I’ll post the list on the Instructor Resources page on the Paddle Canada website
Be safe, wash your hands, and please stay home if you can