Reflections: Learning to Kayak

Do you remember the first time you sat in a whitewater kayak? The first strokes you took, or your first combat roll?

I do, and I blame my sister 100% for getting me involved in kayaking. No doubt about it.

My sister and I started kayaking in 2001. She was 13 and I was 11 years old. We had been flat-water paddling numerous times on the Deschutes River in Bend, Oregon, but after awhile, were ready for more of a thrill. To be more specific, MY SISTER was ready for more of a thrill. I just went along, because big sisters always know best (very true!). Before taking our first kayak lesson, we ordered a pair of matching Wave Sport Evo’s. We then went to a week long Beginner’s Kayak School, just like the one Sundance Kayak offers, and learned ourselves some paddling.

My sister learning to playboat

While it was tough in the beginning, learning was FUN, especially after I realized I COULD get out of my boat: right-side up or upside-down. I learned that gravity did most of the work when I was upside down, and was no longer as afraid to try new things. My sister and I learned to kayak together, following each other through the rapids, playing in the waves, maneuvering our crafts, and feeling the freedom of the river. Paddling is a challenge, a FUN challenge.

Over ten years later, despite living separate lives, my sister and I still paddle. Our lives revolve around the sport, and it is a huge part of our lives. Every paddler I have met is interesting and unique. They are kind folk who are intrigued by the outdoors, and lead simple lives. Paddling has taken me to so many beautiful places, inaccessible by other craft, and taught me the mental and physical strength that makes me the person I am today. It has given me the feeling of pure excitement and joy, of sharing a moment with great friends. If you have any interest in whitewater kayaking, give it a shot. Like me, you may be surprised!

Happy Paddling,


About Team Sundance

Sundance Kayak School was started on the Rogue River in Southern Oregon way back in 1973! And was created for one very specific reason: to teach whitewater kayaking. Sundance Kayak School is dedicated to sharing the love of rivers and paddle sports through Education, Involvement and Enjoyment.