This past week I got to try adaptive kayaking for the first time and absolutely had a blast. Adaptive kayaking has been talked about since Cory Diedrich from the South Dakota Canoe and Kayak Association
saw us snow ski
on the news this past February. There were a couple of trainings held for volunteers and those of us with disabilities to attend. I didn’t attend any of the trainings, but we really didn’t need to.
I got my own little blue kayak and we had the option to have riggers or no riggers. Since I had never kayaked before I went with riggers. It was cold and well, I really didn’t want to go for a swim in Covell Lake. It was a tad on the gross side to be swimming in. Rain was in the forecast and during the picnic part of the event we had quite the downpour, but it didn’t dampen our spirits. The rain let up, the sun came out and the kayaking event was on.
I for some reason thought paddling a kayak would be easy, but it took me forever to figure it out. It looks so easy when I see people do it, but from what I was told the littler kayaks like mine are harder to maneuver in because all they want to do is turn. Everyone else was in a longer kayak or had someone with them. It was suggested I should go back to shore and get in a bigger one, but I was comfortable and getting the hang of my little blue kayak and I didn’t want to get transferred again. Next time I will make sure I am in a longer kayak and get one with a seat. I was just in a hole and I think that went against me when it came to paddling because I was sunk so low in the kayak. We’ll know for next time what I will need to make the experience that much more fun.
We had a great turnout of people for the Adaptive Kayaking event and numerous volunteers that not only helped, but also donated their kayaks. There was enough for everyone that wanted to kayak, helpers in the water, with a few to spare. This was all new to everyone and we were basically winging it how each of us got in and out of a kayak. All the volunteers were great in asking how we would like to be helped in and out. I’d say for the first time everyone did a most excellent job. It will be interesting to see how this event progresses through the years. Like skiing, I think this is an event we can look forward to doing every year.
That’s the one thing that I love about the accessible gym, the people I work out with, and the people associated with it. They are expanding all our horizons by giving us these opportunities to try something new. And not only that perfect strangers are going above and beyond in donating their time and toys and giving us the opportunity to try something new. I know from the smile on my face and all the smiles I saw on my friend’s faces – we all greatly appreciate everyone giving us new experiences.
These adaptive events help us learn, try something new, and step out of our comfort zones, but it also gives us a chance to interact with new people and also discuss the possibility of other adaptive sports we can try. A list was going around so I am curious to see what our next adventure will be.
I want to thank all the volunteers and anyone that donated money, food, kayaks, and their time to the adaptive kayaking event. I also want to thank the Sioux Falls Police and Fire Department for taking the time to make sure we were all safe in the water. You gave us all an adventure we will never forget and I hope it turns into something we do yearly. We all appreciate the time you took to make this event a success.
I think Cory Diedrich said it best on KDLT News
, “It’s a sport that can be enjoyed at all ages and quite frankly, at all abilities.” So many people think we never get out of our chairs or we are confined
to them, it is nice when someone like Cory can see that we like to get out of them too.
For photos of the adaptive kayaking please click here