10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Kayak

10 Reasons Why Everyone Should Kayak

An adventure in a plastic boat has never sounded so good
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You see them on rivers, lakes, out on the ocean, but have you ever given it a try? It looks like a good time right? Kayaking is a timeless sport, yet one of the fastest growing industries in the outdoor recreation market right now. So what's all the hype about? Here is ten reasons you should take the plunge and give kayaking a shot!

1. Exploring new places

Taking a seat in a kayak leads to much more than just a leisurely paddle. Kayaking is a great way to see cities and natural landscapes from a water level perspective that is unlike most other water recreation experiences. In a kayak you can travel waterways all over the world, venture through urban and rural settings alike, and experience it all through a very unique perspective.

2. Great accessory to any car

One of the best things about kayaks is that they are lightweight and portable. A kayak can go almost anywhere you can go if strapped correctly to your vehicle. They are even lightweight enough to carry down to the beach or pier with the help of a friend. Two kayaks fit comfortably on any size car, even compact cars. And if you're looking to go out on a large outing, kayaks can be transported easily on a trailer. There are even rigs you can buy to attach a kayak to the rear of your bike!

3. Bring your friends

What better way to spend an morning, afternoon, or evening than with a couple of friends out on the water catching some rays and waves? Kayaking is a social event. It's so simple to hold conversations between kayaks and even bunch up next to one another to take group photos. Kayaking is a great way to bond with friends and family again and again. It's a great way to get your indoor loving friends outside and easy enough for them to still have a blast at the beginner level.

4. Extended trips

Not only are kayaks a leisurely recreation activity, but you can make the sport an extended experience with the right amount of skill and gear. Pair camping with a few days of paddling and a solid group of friends and you have the makings for the trip of a lifetime. Whether you have a 26 mile day planned or a 3 day extended trip scheduled, covering large distances in a kayak is a very unique expereince.

5. Exercise

Of course you can paddle as slow or as fast as you would like, but in the end the sport takes some muscle! Not only is kayaking a fantastic upper body workout, but the sport can incorporate cardio, abs, and breathing. The more you incorporate your various body systems, the more you will get out of the workout. Focusing on technique, frame, and overall momentum are three things that can constantly be improved upon while exercising in a kayak. Sometimes an experience can be that much more rewarding when there is a physical component involved.

6. Solo excursions

Just as kayaking can be a social event, it can also be a reflective and personal experience. Going out on the water alone can be a healthful escape and a fun personal challenge. There is something to be said for experiences that only you can relate to and remember.

7. Stress release

Just like any sport, kayaking can be a creative outlet for stress and anxiety. There is something very healthful about a quiet, reflective paddle. Being out on the water with nothing but the sounds of the surrounding area and your kayak and paddle grazing the water is a special experience and a personal one at that.

8. For all ages and abilities

Kayaking ranges from beginner recreational fun to advanced white water competitions. There are different size boats and weighted paddles for all ages and there are different level waterways for all levels. Kayaking does not require the use of your legs and can be a great recreational activity for those differently-able below the waste. The nice thing about learning to kayak is that it has a quick learning curve. Knowing a few simple kayak strokes is really all you need at the beginner level and you can be off on your way in no time.

9. Easily accessible

If you don't own a kayak it isn't the end of the world. Most popular waterways have kayak rental services or guiding service nearby. But if you are looking to invest in a kayak, you can purchase gently used or retired kayaks at a much cheaper rate than buying a brand new one. Recreational kayaks can range in the couple hundred dollar spectrum, but the investment pays for itself in experiences.

10. Lots of fun

Whether you are out on flat water with a group of friends exploring urban waterways or venturing down class III rapids by yourself in the backcountry, kayaking is a guaranteed good time. It's an activity friends and family ranging in different ages and abilities can enjoy together. What makes kayaking so fun? A common answer to that question is splashing around and getting wet!

Cover Image Credit: Hannah Murphy

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The Coach That Killed My Passion

An open letter to the coach that made me hate a sport I once loved.
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I fell in love with the game in second grade. I lived for every practice and every game. I lived for the countless hours in the gym or my driveway perfecting every shot, every pass and every move I could think of. Every night after dinner, I would go shoot and would not allow myself to go inside until I hit a hundred shots. I had a desire to play, to get better and to be the best basketball player I could possibly be.

I had many coaches between church leagues, rec leagues, personal coaches, basketball camps, middle school and high school. Most of the coaches I had the opportunity to play for had a passion for the game like I did. They inspired me to never stop working. They would tell me I had a natural ability. I took pride in knowing that I worked hard and I took pride in the compliments that I got from my coaches and other parents. I always looked forward to the drills and, believe it or not, I even looked forward to the running. These coaches had a desire to teach, and I had a desire to learn through every good and bad thing that happened during many seasons. Thank you to the coaches that coached and supported me through the years.

SEE ALSO: My Regrets From My Time As A College Softball Player

Along with the good coaches, are a few bad coaches. These are the coaches that focused on favorites instead of the good of the entire team. I had coaches that no matter how hard I worked, it would never be good enough for them. I had coaches that would take insults too far on the court and in the classroom.

I had coaches that killed my passion and love for the game of basketball.

When a passion dies, it is quite possibly the most heartbreaking thing ever. A desire you once had to play every second of the day is gone; it turns into dreading every practice and game. It turns into leaving every game with earphones in so other parents don't talk to you about it. It meant dreading school the next day due to everyone talking about the previous game. My passion was destroyed when a coach looked at me in the eyes and said, "You could go to any other school and start varsity, but you just can't play for me."

SEE ALSO: Should College Athletes Be Limited To One Sport?

Looking back now at the amount of tears shed after practices and games, I just want to say to this coach: Making me feel bad about myself doesn't make me want to play and work hard for you, whether in the classroom or on the court. Telling me that, "Hard work always pays off" and not keeping that word doesn't make me want to work hard either. I spent every minute of the day focusing on making sure you didn't see the pain that I felt, and all of my energy was put towards that fake smile when I said I was OK with how you treated me. There are not words for the feeling I got when parents of teammates asked why I didn't play more or why I got pulled after one mistake; I simply didn't have an answer. The way you made me feel about myself and my ability to play ball made me hate myself; not only did you make me doubt my ability to play, you turned my teammates against me to where they didn't trust my abilities. I would not wish the pain you caused me on my greatest enemy. I pray that one day, eventually, when all of your players quit coming back that you realize that it isn't all about winning records. It’s about the players. You can have winning records without a good coach if you have a good team, but you won’t have a team if you can't treat players with the respect they deserve.

SEE ALSO: To The Little Girl Picking Up A Basketball For The First Time


Cover Image Credit: Equality Charter School

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Towson Swimming And Diving's Relationship With The Special Olympics Is So Important

Supporting such a great foundation has been an incredible experience.

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It is evident that people with an intellectual disability face a difficult, uphill battle to achieve acceptance and other benefits of society that most people take for granted. The Special Olympics is such an important tool for these people, which I have recently had the privilege to learn first hand.

Each year, the Towson swim and dive team helps coach and work personally with a Special Olympics program. We set aside a Saturday morning after practice each month to work with local Special Olympians in the pool. This consists of providing them with practice and helping them complete it to the best of their ability.

Through doing this, I have met so many lovely, genuine people.

Our team coming together to support such an important foundation is truly the best feeling. It is incredibly moving to not only meet the athletes, but actually get to know them. We spend so much time talking and working with these Special Olympic athletes on how to get better, and it makes the meet hosted for them at the end of their season even more heartwarming for us to witness.

This past weekend, our team hosted and competed against Drexel University's swim and dive team. We had a break during the meet to bring in all of our Special Olympians to each race in one event of their choice. From the moment all of them walked onto the pool deck, the joy they brought was naturally contagious. There is just something so sincere about each of these Special Olympians' smiles that when all of them were together sharing the spotlight, the place was radiating positivity. It made me realize that everyone was there to simply celebrate the ability of these people, instead of focus on disability.

The opportunity to help Special Olympians become better at the sport I love made me realize so much. After high school, most Special Olympic athletes do not get the opportunity to compete anymore on teams or individually as I do, which is why unified sports events are so crucial. Teaching these Special Olympic athletes how to compete and seeing how excited they could be reminded me to enjoy the competition I am so lucky to be surrounded with.

The image of our home pool exploding with joy and energy for these Special Olympians who were so proud to be competing in a race is forever engrained in my mind.

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