In the second grade, my PE teacher told me I didn’t have to try to do a pull up or push up in class. “It’s ok,” he said, “girls can’t do that. They’re not strong enough.” Needless to say, I’ve spent a good part of my life since then proving I can “hang with the boys.” Guys are strong and athletic, and I’m in no way discrediting their achievements. Rather, I want to address all the women out there who have thought “I can’t do that,” or even “I’m not strong enough.”
Shortly after entering the sport of sea kayaking, I learned that not only can women paddle, they can be kickass paddlers. Some of the most talented, accomplished paddlers I’ve met have been women – including one who’s solo paddled Alaska’s Inside Passage from Anacortes, WA to Juneau, AK. Learning to sea kayak has been one of the most amazing and empowering experiences of my life, and teaching sea kayaking has only made it better.
There are few things better than watching a self-doubting student grow. I’ve had students who, on the first day of class, told me “I’m too heavy to paddle, really. I probably won’t fit in the boat, and besides, I’m scared of the water.” Some of those women have become so strong in their paddling skills that they learned to enjoy whooping it up while surfing waves in Deception Pass. In other classes, I’ve worked with students who were so afraid to do their first wet exit from a boat, they cried. After a couple of days, they were teaching their husbands how to do a proper wet exit and self rescue!
So, in the interest of supporting all women out there who are interested in entering the “intimidating” sport of sea kayaking, I’ve written a list for you to dispel what may be your reasons for not jumping in (pun intended) and giving it a shot: Continue reading