I was delighted to see the article profiling Chuck Sutherland in the June 2009 issue. Chuck was the original Pied Piper/Johnny Appleseed of East Coast sea kayaking, and, especially, of spreading the word about the dangers of cold-water immersion. My first ever participation in a group trip was in late October 1984, when Chuck and the Lozanos (now of Atlantic Kayak Tours) came down to New Jersey from New York. Eight of us launched from the town of Barnegat and crossed Barnegat Bay in the fog on compass to Barnegat Light and Inlet. In those days you could land and launch right under the lighthouse, and, as the weather cleared, we climbed the light, then returned to Barnegat in a brisk south wind and beam sea. Fabulous day! On that trip I also met my longtime paddling companion Frank Freestone, who had been paddling with Chuck for several years, and in whom Chuck had found a sympathetic partner in crystallizing his ideas on cold-water safety for sea kayakers.
Chuck Sutherland's editorship of ANorAK launched that journal's many-year crusade to bring the sea kayaking industry to specifically and unambiguously endorse the wearing of wetsuits and drysuits by sea kayakers while on cold water. As the article in SK points out, this mission is far from completed, even 25 years after ANorAK began its effort.
I've had the good fortune to paddle a number of times with Chuck; he is a great companion on the water, with a host of stories and tales of past trips and struggles. I also had the privilege of editing ANorAK, and, like the other editors who followed Chuck, we all attempted to maintain Chuck's twin focuses--on cold-water safety (and the need for sea kayakers to think of themselves as mariners), and on the pleasures and companionship of the activity.
Chuck Sutherland has been one of the sanest thinkers and one of the clearest voices in the evolution of East Coast paddling. Sea Kayaker has done well to highlight his contributions to our activity.
Carl White (Strange Magic)
Edited by Strange_Magic (05/16/09 11:59 AM)