Kayaking Is Not Like Canoeing

Eric Shay Howard Kayaking

My roommate told me a few days ago that we were going to go do the boat thing. I was like, oh, okay. The waivers I signed on my phone said “canoeing” so I was like, I guess we’re going canoeing. When we got there, I found out it was kayaking, not canoeing. Apparently canoeing is completely different. Apparently canoeing requires coordination, synchronization, and attention to detail. Kayaking is not canoeing. I’m glad we went kayaking instead.

I still refer to it as canoeing when I tell people what I did over the weekend. Some of them correct me if I get into the details. Canoeing and Kayaking are very different. I know. That’s not actually what I want to focus on. What I want out there is the fact that I went canoeing with my cell phone in my pocket, out of the case, the whole time. I mean kayaking.

Trying to get a good selfie while kayaking is hard.

Yes, not only was I at one with nature paddling down the dirty river under the overpass past the rich neighbors’ houses and private docks, but I did it dangerously with my phone out of the case. I’m proud. I’m also furious that I did so. It’s a very complicated emotion. I could’ve easily toppled over. I’ve never been in a boat before, let alone a kayak or a canoe.

The kayak I had was a top-loader, which means it didn’t have a good place to support my feet and it was a struggle the whole time. About an hour down the river, someone told me there were wedges built into the sides of the kayak and that they were there so that I could put pressure on them with my feet. That helped a little, but I had trouble deciding which set of foot-rest-things to use, so I alternated. There were three sets on each side. The last one was not very helpful. The second relieved the tension from my legs, but I was wearing sweatpants. My phone falls out of these sweatpants in the car and under the seat all the time. I’m one of the lucky ones this weekend.

Seriously, what do you do with your legs on a top-loader kayak when you are kayaking? Let me know in the comments. You can also follow me on Twitter and like my page on Facebook.

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Louisville, Kentucky. He's the author of the fiction collection, Crushes, and is a literary editor. He also works at a law firm and is writing his second book. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University.

%d bloggers like this: