Paddle, Paddle, Paddle划、划、划


On a river trip, this is the most commonly heard and used phrase – “Paddle, paddle, paddle!” It cannot be just “Paddle.” The verb has to be repeated three times in a row with a steady tempo and an affirmative tone to deliver the power. “Paddle, paddle, paddle!” has to be the dogma for every boater; it will not separate the Red Sea for you but it will definitely pave your river way.

A whitewater kayaker should have a snugly fitted boat; the boat is an extension of the boater’s body and the paddle is the arms. The more I kayak, the more I think kayaking is like swimming. Only the parts which engage with the water would be able to maneuver and change the directions of travel. Therefore as long as you always keep the paddle in the water, you have the bargaining chip to negotiate with a river.

I didn’t covert into a wholehearted believer of this incantation until this year. It was on a Lehigh River release weekend, and I was paddling the upper gorge again. I arrived at the popular play spot which tipped me over last time, and I wondered whether this time I could at least get in and stay there for a while. I watched other boaters carefully and tried to apply what I had learned from my observation to my first attempt – it did not work, and I was washed out right away.

I returned to the line but when it was my turn I hesitated. I looked around and I saw encouragement from another boater and I squeezed out a smile and said embarrassedly, “I don’t know what to do.” He replied, “You ferry out and drop in the wave and surf. You are doing well.” “I know the theory but I don’t know where to aim and how to stay in.” He pointed a smaller wave a little more upstream than our target and told me that was my aim, and continued “After you get there, Paddle, Paddle, Paddle!” Damn it. It’s the code. “Paddle, paddle, paddle.” I felt like I have been hearing that since I was born and it seems like it’s more important than “Being a good kid.”

I ferried out aiming at the upstream wave and since my location was higher than last time, I could feel that my boat was dropping in the surfing wave. “Paddle, paddle, paddle!” A clear and strong voice rising from behind and I realized that at some point I stopped paddling maybe because I was haunted by the new experience. I immediately followed the order and paddle-paddle-paddled. The aggressive forward paddling and water circulation combined, I was able to stay there and surf.

I wasn’t able to surf long before the strong current brought me downstream, but I tasted the sweetness of the so-called sweet spot and grasped the concept of settling the boat. My paddle was still in the water, but instead of forward paddling I only had to do stern rudders to keep my boat facing the water flow.

Since then I have been actively trying to catch surfing waves on river trips. I spot them, I turn my boat facing upstream, and I drop in and at the same time paddle paddle paddle. It’s no longer just a void concept, and it opened to the first page of playboating.



不過我也是直到今年,才真正領悟到「划、划、划」的精髓所在。又是一個水庫洩洪、供玩家泛舟於Lehigh River的週末,不用說,我又跑去泛Lehigh River的upper gorge了。當我來到上次翻船的著名玩點,心中不禁又燃起「這次一定要衝浪」的熱焰,於是,很努力地觀察著其他玩家的動作,憑著三腳貓的領悟,划進該浪中。果不其然,該浪潮笑我不自量力,一下子就把我的小船往下游方向衝得老遠。





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