28 July 2013

sleeping monster

Any long time readers may see a pattern in my obsessions.
Get into something and charge as cheap and hard as possible,
usually using vintage tools, equipment or techniques.
Bikes, stereos, hot rods, dental work, kids...
Last weekend we woke up the sleeping monster.
perich brothers paddle session

Twenty plus years ago I popped my wrist in a lame biking fall,
marking a huge change in my life's sequence of events.
After a half summer of healing,
paddling was a great way to regain strength.
I lived and breathed kayaking for 15 years.
There was always a boat setup on or in my VW or Ford vans,
and I'd paddle almost every day or night,
the worse conditions the better.
merv larson paddleboard/surf ski

During this time I had moved up to Ventura.
Living the life of a kayak bum with a space in the back of a shop.
Looking back on some paddling escapades I wonder what I was thinking.
Paddling offshore in snotty conditions takes 100% of your focus.
It can get crazy.
There's no safety net,
nobody else is out there.
It's just me and a boat and paddle that's been repaired countless times.
Maybe that is why I liked it so much.
merv larson paddleboard/surf-ski

So what happened?
Well besides meeting my wife and having a bunch of kids...
In 2000 and every summer after,
Ventura had a phenomenon called red tide.
It's an algae or plankton bloom that suffocates the harbor and coast.
The water turns a murky brownish red,
and it's similar to being in an unflushed toilet bowl.
The only benefit is night paddling,
as every disturbance of the water creates a phosphorescent glow.
Each year the red tide seemed to grow in area and duration.
early merv larson logo

Unfortunately I'm a thin skinned guy.
I'll get poison oak just by looking at it.
I'd go out in the red tide water,
and come back with little 50-cent patches of bug-bite-like rash,
usually in high chafe areas like under arms,
maybe chest and legs.
Super uncomfortable but after a shower it would mellow out.
For years I was that test monkey that would grab the banana,
only to get shocked,
and do it again and again.

Over time I became a seasonal paddler,
only going out in the winter time,
big swells and good stiff winds.
But my obsession slowly dwindled.
waveski stash

Fast forward a couple years,
and I had turned into a landlubber.
Even moving to San Diego didn't help,
maybe going in the water a couple times in the past 5 years.
la playa

This summer things are changing,
as the kids have been taking swimming lessons.
Now I feel confident that they'll be comfortable stranded in the water.
Time to dust off the old kayaks!
paddle time

I've got a quiver of kayaks,
surf, workout and longer surf-ski's.
The kids had gone out in the user-friendly plastic sit-on-tops,
but never on semi-performance boats.
jaxon with merv larson kayak

It was like those surf movies,
when the crusty surfer dude takes the newbies out on ancient boards.
We picked some way old paddleboard style kayaks built by Merv Larson.
These are probably from the late 60's or early 70's,
from when he was building lifeguard rescue boards.
jaxon with another merv larson kayak

We picked out a local flatwater spot.
The boys caught on really quick.
We started on simple hand paddling techniques,
and then moved on to the paddles.
Within the hour they were out of sight.
me and jakob

We had a great time,
and it made me wonder why it took so long.
Whatever we're doing it now and that's all that matters!
Me and macey

Macey even took a ride on a little waveski.
I need to get a couple more paddles.
macey perich - 2013

Don't be surprised if you see more kayak related posts...


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