Words By: Brandon Willms
Hey Water Folk,
We at Aquabatics are stoked to have expanded our team this year! We are supporting a group of hand picked Ambassadors from the community who have shown a lot of drive in paddlesports and are really excited to spread their love for water. We hope you will follow along with them in these blog posts and/or through social media as they get out on fun and interesting adventures this summer! Don't be afraid to give them a holler if you see them out on the water or at a festival, these guys are on it! Let me first introduce to you our Recreation and Touring Ambassador, Paul Kolman. Paul is an all around wizard on our local lakes and slower moving river sections. He has gone through many of our courses in the past few years and has become truly enthralled with exploring our local paddling scene. I'll let Paul take it from here, enjoy!
The water was calm and glassy on Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park, BC
Paul here. This is my first, of hopefully many, blogs and posts covering my experiences in flat water kayaking. This is actually my first ever blog, so it is my hope that you stay with me through this initial learning curve and they will hopefully just get better!
I'm going to use this one as an introduction and recap of last season. A teaser, if you will, to get you out there on the water enjoying the beautiful scenery that we are so fortunate to live so close to. I am an avid flat water paddler. Love to paddle the many lakes we are so fortunate to live near. Hopefully, I can get more people excited about paddling on lakes and asking yourself "why didn't I think of this sooner?"
Some might think it's boring compared to white-water kayaking. Never. It's different, but an awesome experience all the same. Most of the time it can be very tranquil and soul soothing. The steady stroke of the paddle propelling you forward is like a meditation session. You are at peace and in awe of the scenery. I like to call it natural therapy.
Viewing wildlife are one of the many joys of paddling!
If you are someone who likes to have a bit of an adrenaline rush, all you have to do is go out on the lake during a storm and high winds (or better yet, get caught in one). Conditions can change really fast in Alberta. One minute you are totally relaxed on mirror like water and next thing you are trying to stay upright in large waves coming at you like a runaway train. When that happens, its amazing how far away that shore (which you thought you were so close to a minute ago) now feels. Thanks to self rescue techniques and paddling skills I have honed over the years (much credit to Aquabatics and there excellent instructors here), I feel much more comfortable and confident in my abilities in these conditions now. My learned philosophy is: "As long as you are prepared, nothing will happen." More on that in later blogs.
The weather is always what one hopes for, but if you get out regardless, you will always be rewarded. Chain Lakes, AB
A bit about my paddling last season. I started paddling in a Wavesport Ethos 10 (I had bought this while I was still unsure if I wanted to focus on Lakes or Rivers). After a season of paddling I decided I just love to paddle lakes more. I rented a few different kayaks to try out and eventually fell in love with the Dagger Stratos 14L which I have been paddling ever since. I might share some biased thoughts on my Dagger in some later blogs.
Its always fun to find friends who are on the same page.
Last season, I paddled a total of 1,282 km on 24 different lakes. Four lakes in Eastern B.C. and 20 in Alberta. I also had the pleasure of meeting and paddling with 14 different paddlers. Some of whom I paddled with on numerous occasions. I had an awesome time and hope to repeat it this season.
It's been a rather long and cold winter and I haven't been on open water since paddling the Upper Kananaski Lake back in November. I am getting very restless now, as is my kayak. Last year by this time I had already paddled about 150 km on 7 different lakes.
This season my kayak hasn't seen water yet. That makes me sad. This weekend I'm going to find some open water and try to catch up!