100 Reasons to Paddle

Why do we paddle? Why do we kayak across a lake or sea, to a remote fjord, raft the Grand Canyon, or punch through huge whitewater? Because for each of us there are certain things that matter in paddling, things that may never be mentioned, but that are at the core of the very reason we paddle, day after day or each weekend. Things that we appreciate but rarely take the time to actually recognize. Things like solitude and adventure, Adrenalin and accomplishment, or the crackle of the campfire after a hard day on the river. All these things keep us all coming back to our boats, day after day and year after year. These are the things that matter in paddle-sports.


1. early mornings on the river by yourself

2. the feeling you get the first time you manage to paddle in a straight line

3. your first “live” roll

4. enders and pirouettes and the feeling of grace they impart

5. spray skirts that work the first time you put them on – without help from your paddling buddies

6. running a river for the first time, when every drop is new and creates that feeling of butterflies in your belly

7. the first time you run a big drop and stay up the right way

8. running your first race

9. winning your first race

10. paddling with friends simply because they want to have you along

11. river trips

12. warm and dry clothes at the end of a river trip

13. a good sweep stroke

14. your first surf

15. discovering new horizons

16. side surfing for the first time

17. Canoeing with your dog

18. planning a trip

19. getting vertical

20. busting a move

21. the feeling of wilderness and exploration on a river trip

22. campfires at the end of a long session

23. touring in the early morning mist

24. great photo opportunities

25. the first push away from shore, when your nose catches the current and you realize you are about to spend another day on the river.

26. notching a first descent

27. paddling in a foreign country

28. deserted beaches that look as if you are the first person to set foot on land

29. sea kayak rudders that actually keep you pointed in the right direction

30. mystery moves

31. the perfect boof

32. the shuttle from hell – just to get to the best paddling spot

33. slipping back down the face of a wave or hole, and knowing you’re toast.

34. teaching the next generation of paddlers

35.sharing your favourite river with your friends

36. seeing a sunset or sunrise from a sea kayak

37. seeing that horizon line but not what is beyond it

38. dressing in the rain

39. riding an ocean wave

40. getting a new boat

41. dreaming of the ultimate river run or ocean trip

42. the grand canyon

43. camping in remote areas underneath the stars

44. dry bags that live up to their name

45. big, clean, glassy waves

46. the proper ferry angle

47. the queasy feeling that comes with scouting a drop

48. a good dry top, with neck gaskets that work

49. flipping a raft in a really big wave, with a team that really doesn’t have a clue

50. building your own boat

51. finally getting the outfitting comfortable in your kayak

52. drop – pool river runs

53. clean, clear, deep pools, where you can see the bottom

54. comfortable paddling shorts

55. a great, lightweight, paddle

56. self-supported paddling trips

57. waterfalls

58. buddies who watch you get worked

59. the way your hair looks, sticking out of your helmet after a swimming session

60. the feeling of getting away from it all on a multiday trip

61. the buzz that comes from ACE-ing the kayak leg on that adventure race

62. paddling with seals

63. storage hatches that keep gear dry and the water out

64. seeing a whale from the cockpit of your sea kayak

65. paddling tandem with a friend

66. drip guards on your touring paddle

67. the stroke that saves you at the last minute and turns the boat just in time

68. wave trains

69. the feeling of accomplishment when you run you first grade IV drop

70. the first cup of tea at camp

71. extreme whitewater movies

72. all the kit you can buy to outfit your paddling obsession

73. the thrill of owning your first new boat

74. the smell of your first new slalom boat

75. planning the perfect paddling trip

76. remembering to tie your kayak on the roof properly

77. gain experiences that no one else does

78. meet new people

79. get fit and live longer

80. the adrenaline rush

81. well placed throw rope throws

82. paddling with someone who has rescue know-how

83. catching your first fish from a kayak – without falling in

84. kayak designers that keep coming up with new ideas

85. kayaking the coast of alaska

86. your first rock slide

87. not getting anxious when you lose sight of shore

88. deck-mounted compasses that show you the way home

89. the point you realize you cant imagine anywhere elseyou would rather be

90. waiting for the water to rise on a river that is dam– release

91. seeing your first platypus playing in the eddy with you

92. being outdoors, whatever the weather

93. sticking the hard line

94. launching into rough sea

95. picking the ultimate beach camping spot

96. learning how to sail a sea kayak

97. your first Bass Strait crossing

98. finally paddling an opencanoe on whitewater

99. getting your dog a PFD,so he can come along on the river trips

100. realizing that this is when you feel alive.