What Is Paddling Life?


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What is Paddling Life?

It’s not what you run, or the boat you use, but the feeling you get when you’re on the water. It’s raft camping with your kids, shouldering a canoe, dropping your sea kayak skeg, running your first waterfall and feeling your first surf. It’s not the stroke we all have in common; it’s the stoke.

Our lifestyle extends far beyond our time on the water. We carry this into other parts of our lives, from how we treat people and the environment to appreciating what’s truly important in life. It’s chipping in for shuttle money, pumping your raft at the put-in, taking a slalom lesson from an Olympian, re-using wet gear, singing around a campfire, and showing your kids how to make s’mores. It’s skipping rocks across a lake, and manning the oars while a half-dozen kids play “pattycake” on the gear-mound behind you. It’s accepting stinky poly-pro, breaking out your sleeping bag on a road trip, and helping those in trouble. It’s not how many ends you swap, or the form of your J-stroke, but the fact that you’re out there to begin with. When they plan their weekend from a cubicle, sea kayakers, whitewater boaters and rec paddlers all share this mindset in common; and this magazine is about the lifestyle we all share as paddlers.

You could call it the Paddling Life attitude (or PLattitude, if you must). My seven-year-old, Brooke, summed it up this way: “Hey, dad, don’t wear your shirt tucked in like that. Leave it out so you look like a paddling guy instead of someone who works for the president.” No one in this sport is a stuffed shirt, and that’s what we plan to get across every issue.

Sure, it’s risky starting a new venture. It’s like running a new river, without being able to scout the blind corners. You look at an obstacle, assess whether you can negotiate it successfully, and then shove off, squaring up to any rapids that come your way and relying on your wits, skills and experience to carry you through. We’re boaters, and that’s how we live life, whether we’re between the banks or launching a business.

I’ve been taking people paddling for more than 20 years; it’s one of the things in life I enjoy most–exposing people to the lifestyle that’s made me who I am. And I’ve been in this sport long enough to know that it’s still a small, tight-knit community, one I’ll belong to the rest of my life. We hope to expose as many people to this community as possible. Like skiing, surfing and biking, it’s truly one of the best lifestyle sports out there.

This is our first trip down this river, so we might not get everything right all the time. But you don’t always stick your line in a rapid, or escape a portage with clean boots. It’s all part of the paddling life, which is what we plan to celebrate each and every issue–and we’re psyched to have as many people as possible climb aboard to enjoy the ride.

–eugene buchanan

— If you haven’t subscribed yet, do so for just ten bucks’ worth of shuttle money at www.paddlinglife.net.

Staff Post
Staff Posthttps://paddlinglife.com
Paddlers writing about all things paddling.


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