I don’t have kids, but I think we can learn plenty from them. I like the way they just go ahead and do things without asking for instructions. Parents may not see this individualism as a selling feature, nevertheless hand a kid a kayak and she can find water in the middle of the Sahara (or any other dry place for that matter). If I had to choose between an old bearded local with a wishbone shaped piece of alder witching around like some gregorian chanting Ray Charles and a twelve year old in flip-flops dragging a recreational kayak, I’d be drilling my well wherever she said there was water.
I live in a small town where the locals drive pick-up trucks to church, bingo is still played with chips and you can run a tab at the general store. It’s not a kayaking town. Bobby owns a skidder and works in the bush; Darcy’s dad owns the garage but he works for a local carpenter, and Glen is from here but drives into the city to work. As unlikely as it may seem, I’ve had many a foot-on-the-bumper conversations with Bobby, Darcy and Glen about getting their kids kayaks for the lake, camp or beach.
Kids in my town started cutting grass at ten and most have their own ATVs before high school.Yet somehow the kayaks we haul around with us not only appeal to these kids, they know more about kayaks than we do.
They tell me about how cool kayaks would be for floating down the river after meeting and escaping a bloody battle with pirates.The bungie deck rigging that I thought ideal for charts and bilge pumps is apparently really good for stowing plywood swords.The Hula sit-on-top we reviewed in this issue is the perfect deep-sea diving platform. And the bow com- partment of the Silhouette is best suited for live bait with the larger stern hatch to be kept for the fish, of course.
Kids are smarter these days. They have compressed curriculums, computers in their bedrooms and organized solar car rallies as part of grade three science class. Even with the new math and GPS chipped Lego, plop a kayak down in front of kids and they will show you to the water—no bat- teries or solar panels required.
This article first appeared in the Fall 2002 issue of Adventure Kayak Magazine. For more great content, subscribe to Adventure Kayak’s print and digital editions here.