Last weekend in some pretty ugly conditions four of us got together for a paddle – three Team Fat Paddlers, and a new paddling friend we’d made from Facebook. We’d brought helmets and wetsuits ready for a surf and rock gardening session but one of the boys has a tippy composite boat that is far more suited to flat water, and after a discussion we decided that we’d head inland away from the lumps and go searching for waterfalls.
Just the week before we’d taken kayaks and canoes and done a paddling/camping trip deep into National Park territory. The week before that I got bashed senseless rock gardening in some lumps with friends. A few weeks before that some of us paddled out the Heads and down Sydney’s cliffs. Each week we work out something fun to do as a group, taking onboard the skills, boats and wants of the different people paddling when considering what our activity might be.
The end result is that Team Fat Paddler always have a brilliant time when we’re out on the water. There is always a mix of joking and serious discussion, the sharing of fun times on the water itself, and plenty of team help if a paddler falls out or runs into trouble. Many of our team are new-comers to the sport, but as a group we’re able to push limits and try different experiences. It’s a dynamic that keeps it fun and brings everyone a real sense of happiness.
To some, our attitude raises a few eyebrows. Are we sea kayakers? Are we flat water racers? Are we whitewater canoists? The answer is no, we’re none of these things, because we don’t choose to fit the moulds dictated to us. We’re just people enjoying the dynamic flow of coastal and inland waters, the sweet taste of the chilled air in our faces, and the happiness found in shared experiences with friends.
The important thing to remember is that paddling is a personal thing. Do what you want to do and be who you want to be, and you’ll get infinite enjoyment from the sport. Don’t feel that you have to choose the pathways set before you, but explore the watery environs available to you and ride the waves of your own making.
The crew of Team Fat Paddler will always be out there keeping it real, enjoying each other’s company and tasting new experiences. We love bringing new people into the fold and sharing the fun with them, and hopefully sparking the same joyous paddling addiction that each of us now have. If you see us on the water and want to join in, don’t be shy and come and introduce yourselves, I promise you we’ll welcome you to come along for the ride. Cheers – FP