“I dunno,” I said.
“We can go however far you want,” said Renee.
Oh Renee. You should never say that to me.
I’ve been prone paddling a handfull of times. Fewer than ten, more than two. I got my cast off, paddled four times and then went out of town for my #vineyardvacation. Yes, people really do wear a lot of madras, plaid, and gingham shirts and shorts with lobsters on them in Martha’s Vineyard. And Sperrys.
When I started prone paddling a few weeks ago I thought I could do the long course at the Chucktown Showdown in September.
When I got back from my vacation and took to the water right after Dave and John got done pounding through the Money Island loop (around 6 miles) and came back to the docks at Wynn Plaza sweating and swearing I reconfigured my plan.
My first paddles were about two miles. The Chucktown Showdown long course is nine miles. That’s a long weekend race for me on my standup, not to mention on prone.
Brad told me to start by counting to twenty five and resting for a few seconds. Counting to twenty five and resting. I made it up to thirty five when Dave paddled up behind me this morning.
“Do you feel like you are really pulling the water?” he asked.
“Ok, so what you’re going to do is this [INSERT TOP SECRET TECHNIQUE]. You will hurt so bad you won’t be able to lift a pencil.”
“But Dave, I write for a living, what am I supposed to do?”
I tried the TOP SECRET TECHNIQUE and I could count to TEN while I was doing it. Back to square one.
We were in lollipop bay and we reached the edge where it meets the Intracoastal Waterway.
“Do you want to turn left, Katie?” they asked.
Right about then we were rehashing the race we paddled the day after I got my cast off and the way Renee told me she wouldn’t tell me how to use my rudder if I was so close to her that I could beat her on my first day on the board.
I just told her that I’d steer her toward the rusty shipwrecks in the Ashley River when we’re paddling the Chucktown Showdown.
I talked to Julie Nicholls and said “Look girl, I just don’t think it’s realistic for me to do the long course prone. I mean, it was hard on a standup.”
It is a BEAUTIFUL course. The battery, the boats, Castle Pickney (pictured above). But as Chandler says “There’s always texture.” (In other words, it is always completely crazily choppy.)
When my leg was in a cast I registered for Chattajack. At this point I don’t know what I’m going to do. I expected to have more use of my leg than I do. There are only three months until the race and I can’t do it on a standup. Patty and I are maybe trying to find an OC-2 to paddle, but I’m not sure how realistic that is.
I’m not sure if I really *want* that this year.
Last year was pretty stressful–failing at the Carolina Cup and trying again at Chattajack. I spent my whole summer training–skipped the local Thursday night races, didn’t always go surfing when I could, missed my friends, and wore myself out. By the time winter came I didn’t want to look at a board.
This year I might do something different. I might do whatever the hell I want.
Prone in the summer while the water is warm and my leg is healing. Stand up in the winter when the water is cold. Start surfing again in October and never get out, letting myself acclimate to the bone chattering cold and manning up for once.
“Renee, why are you turning around? We’re not to Palm Tree Island!”
“I CAN’T SEE PALM TREE ISLAND.”
Dave looked at his watch. “Ladies. We’ve been out for an hour and we still have to go back.”
I didn’t have any food and only one water bottle. We had paddled two miles, making this my longest prone paddle by double.
We turned around and let the wind and the tide carry us back.
“I wanted to touch the palm tree,” Renee whispered.
“Oh, we will GO TO THE PALM TREE,” I said. “We’ll take snacks.”
Dave looked at us over his shoulder.
“He’s going to be sorry he introduced us,” I said.
“I think he’s already sorry,” she said.
“I HEARD THAT,” Dave yelled over his shoulder.
Dave Made Me Do it. . . Again
I feel like by starting to prone my paddle family has doubled in size. My best bud Kim is about to leave me for a big long adventure in the Yukon and in life. She’s the one who inspired me to prone and encouraged me and took me out and cracked the whip when I wanted to stop. I’m going to miss her more than I can say. Nobody will replace her spot in my heart. And she’ll come visit me and I’ll come visit her and I’ll send her pictures of Jack Daniels all of the time and if she needs to hit the “Help” button–on the Yukon or after, she know’s I’ll be there.
Above, Kim and me.
But I’m lucky to add other people to my circle of friends and Renee will match me text for text and she will keep me on my toes and she’ll stop and look at the birds and I’m sure we will get into hijinks that have Dave rolling his eyes and shaking his head.
“We’re double trouble,” I texted Renee.
“I JUST SAID THAT TO HIM.”
Some years are for seeing how you stack up against other people and for accomplishing big goals.
Other years are for seeing how you stack up against yourself and for starting over.
This year we’re gonna touch that palm tree.
And then we’re gonna keep going.
Hopefully we don’t have to get rescued. . .