My family and close friends know that I rarely like to try new things and can often be extremely close minded. I know that there are loads of different sports and activities out there that have been so well adapted and that I could easily participate in. But for some reason I just can’t bring myself to get involved with them. I think it is purely out of fear… I’m scared to have fun doing something that isn’t ‘normal’ to me. It is so much easier for me to stick to what I’m used to and to stay well within my comfort zone.
It takes a lot for me to agree to anything I haven’t done before, and I quite often work myself up into a bit of a panic beforehand. All I can think about are worst case scenarios, and often they are the most ridiculous things that wouldn’t happen in a million years! I never ever think that actually everything will run smoothly and I might in fact have fun!
So I think my sister and parents were quite shocked when I casually mentioned that I wanted to go kayaking. I don’t even know why I thought of it… probably because I tend to be drawn towards any activity where I won’t have to be in the wheelchair. I like to be on a level playing field with everyone else, so I guess I thought that if everyone else is in a kayak then I’m just like them!
I had done a bit of googling and found a fairly local place (Chichester Watersports Centre) which has a large lake for various watersports. They mainly do water skiing and windsurfing but I noticed that they also rent out kayaks, so after a bit of investigating (my sis and dad drove down to check out the place and make sure it was suitable) we decided to go for it.
My parents had some family friends staying for the weekend, so in the end I think twelve of us ended up going down there on Sunday morning. The Watersports Centre is fairly basic, but I guess it doesn’t really need to be that fancy; the most important part is the lake!! We were given our lifejackets and I was dragged down the shingle bank in my wheelchair to the edge of the lake. Then I was lifted into the kayak, handed a paddle and shoved into the lake! It all happened so quickly and smoothly that I didn’t even have time to get nervous.
I was surprised that I didn’t struggle too much with balance.. I had thought that there was quite a high possibility that I would wobble too much and capsize the kayak! But my trainers have obviously been strengthened my core well and I was able to paddle quite easily and stay upright. Also, we were told that the kayaks are virtually impossible to capsize.. If it had been a bit warmer I probably would have liked to test this theory!
I had so much fun paddling around with everyone. Kayaking is a pretty decent workout and I was getting quite tired by the end. It also got a bit cold… we were all sitting in a pool of water so were absolutely soaked. But it was well worth it and I would love to go again..it’s a shame summer is over now, although one of the guys that worked there said we’re about to have an Indian summer. If he is right then I am definitely going back down there for another go… I want to get my parents in a double kayak and see how good their teamwork is!