Steady winds out of the North East at 10 mph, waves on the Atlantic cresting at 3 feet. Seems like a rough day to be on the water but not for some folks who will place themselves and their kayaks right in the middle of the chaos for “Over the bump”. A training symposium being taught by Tom Nickels an ACA accredited instructor. Tom will be teaching kayakers over three days how to maintain themselves in rough water just offshore.
While participating in Over the Bump I couldn’t help but observe the diversity of the participants while surrounded by the beauty that is St. Augustine. I have always said that kayaking’s best benefit was that it brought people together who love the outdoors. In this class of eight students, 6 men and 2 women and 4 instructors, the diversity of the class was immense. There was Steve from Nebraska, Gil from Spain, Omar and Luis from Puerto Rico, also there was Chevaugn from Jamaica but to round out the class yes there were a couple of us from Florida like Jackie from Leesburg and Jackie from Tampa. We had lawyers, store owners, and military represented. The ages ranged from mid 20’s to over 60. All of this placed together in one location with nothing in common except the love of the outdoors and kayaking.
Kayaking transcends race, age, and gender. Kayaking unifies. You depend on each other for your safety. While having a small lunch on a secluded beach there was no talk about politics, religion, or any subjects that we see dividing our country today. It was 12 people giving fist bumps and high fives as they motivated each other to complete the tasks set before them. There was no judgment, just acceptance.
Several participants shared the experience with others through social media or by live streaming the experience as it occurred. I guess in hopes that others would be able to see what an incredible adventure you can have with just a few friends who just days before were total strangers.
After just three short days the end was bitter sweet. New friends had been made and the goodbyes would have a stronger meaning than the greetings three days prior. Most were already talking about their next planned adventure and inviting each other like they were family. I would highly recommend taking a kayak class regardless of your skill level. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people and share an experience that you’ll remember for a lifetime. You can contact Tom at Riverwind Kayak 843-817-3138 or americancanoe.org for classes near you.
So, take the time, find yourself, and go yaking.
Rent or buy but give it a try. You’ll find many manufacturers and models of kayaks to choose from for the type of experience you’re looking for like, angling to tandem models which can be found at GS Outdoors located at 5621 U.S. Hwy 27 N. Sebring, Fl. 33870