Perhaps Matt took umbrage with you implying that the local kayaking community had every right to be upset with the three paddlers in the wake of the incident. Just for context, the original local newspaper story indicated the paddlers had set off into far worse conditions and subsequently battled five meter breaking seas and that one of the paddlers (Ian in Matt’s story) wasn’t given a choice not to cross. The three paddlers obviously became paddling pariahs locally and I think Matt was showing some deference here, especially to the third paddler who chose not to contribute his narrative -- though the newspaper story did highlight the contributory freak tide (something that Matt did kind of gloss over). I see there’s also a letter to the editor cutting the three paddlers a bit of slack because of the writer’s own experience with the same tidal force anomaly in that location.
As to your request for comments on the more substantive question regarding Matt’s diatribe about freedoms and limitations in response to your letter or some as yet not seen letter to the editor, I personally think Matt was just spring boarding into his own deep end. For as long as I’ve known him on various forums, he has had the propensity to do this or sometimes take off on a tangent belying his considerable, ratiocinative powers. I’ve learned to not react too negatively to what Matt writes – just sit back and think about what he has to say; let it sink in; postulate what has led him to his conclusion; and to extract and learn from him -- jettisoning any unwanted deck load at some future point if I must. This has taken patience some days. And yes, remember Matt has forgotten more about paddling that I’ll ever know, or you, or most of us.
I didn’t agree with all of your perspective in your letter either but, your main point regarded the notion that sea kayakers should be the best possible mariners, and who could disagree with that? Not me anyway. Adventurous paddlers seeking big and broken water ought to consider seriously your rational and proposal. I think many do. I think some forget and need reminding. I think some paddlers need to re-commit themselves to the notion. Whether a paddler is an extreme water seeker or one who perhaps more nobly seeks an epic voyage of discovery, the sea is no less demanding, even to the kayak fisher 10 miles offshore and unfortunately the public far less forgiving than they are with the waterfall and Class V whitewater mavens of madness.
For me, it’s twofold: work toward becoming a better mariner, nay, the best mariner you can be. Realize mistakes are made so give yourself or your group enough of a margin for error – this in the context of whatever type of paddling you do. In recognizing we all make mistakes (even “fuddy-duddy”, plus quam perfectum paddlers can get into deep trouble from time to time), we should continue to examine, discuss, and attempt to understand why, where and how these mistakes occur. That in itself will never be a perfect process but at least it hopefully evolves the activity forward. There are enough paddlers working against that notion that the rest of us least not subvert the process while still allowing ourselves some fun and freedom on the water we love.
Edited by NordkappMan (08/29/11 11:31 PM)
Edit Reason: Post didn't pick up Carl's quote