Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Sports News Without Fear, Favor or Compromise
Illustration for article titled Gale-Force Kayaking

From the Atlantic, here's a compelling 1995 story by Andrew Todhunter:

The northwest wind, steady at sixty miles an hour, lashes the seaward windowpanes of Elk, California, with freezing rain. It is three hours before dusk on a day in the middle of January. Steve Sinclair appears at the end of a dirt lane, looks carefully for traffic, and wheels his surf-ski — a high-performance cousin to the kayak — across the two lanes of Route One. He wears a black wet suit and an orange kayaking helmet with a yellow visor duct-taped to its brim.

White-hulled, blue-decked, as sleek as a torpedo. the nineteen-foot vessel is strapped to a plywood rickshaw. Originally designed in Australia for surf rescues, the surf-ski handles nimbly in a gale. In his model, called the Odyssea Ski, Sinclair once pursued and overtook a seventy-three-foot schooner five miles from shore. The schooner was under full sail in a forty-mile-an-hour wind.

Sinclair directs the craft from the stern like a cannon, trundling down the rutted path to the sand beach of Greenwood Cove. He leaves the rickshaw high amid the driftwood. With the fifty-eight-pound boat under his arm, he studies the surf line through the rain. Fifteen-foot waves break upon the shore.


[Photo Via: Champagne Alley]

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