I remember my first experience paddling a 10' boat. My paddling skills were limited and it was a very windy day! At first I was nervous from the waves breaking over the bow but soon became comfortable with the boat and was able to catch up with the others.
At the time, I was only a weekend helper, but building the boat and paddling something I helped to create really put a smile on my face.
I don’t think at the time I knew where it was going to lead me, but it was the beginning of a life journey of canoeing and boat building.
It changed my life. It started me down a new road. I knew I wanted to keep building boats and paddle them.
This was really my first canoe adventure. The experience opened up more options for me in life, and made me respect boat building as a career rather than just a hobby or a weekend job.
I found a love for both canoeing and boat building that day.
To this day working on canoes is fun for me and not “work” because I know what joy they can bring to someone’s life.
When I was in third grade my teacher was Pete Hornbeck. We got along well and he decided to give me a boat for my ninth birthday.
I don’t know what the back story is as far as if my parents engineered this gift or if Pete went to them and offered the canoe.
But for my ninth birthday, I received a Nine Footer. A copy of the Rushton Sairy Gamp that Pete had built. I was thrilled. And so began a love of paddling and water sport.
Once the water thawed, I learned to paddle my new boat and to love the water and traveling over it. I felt like I was taking on a whole new world.
Having a canoe as a kid was fantastic. I was able to take my boat on my own and have adventures.
Water and paddling force people to learn to deal with the immediate present and discover how they as people react and deal with situations.
Much like life.