Enthusiasts say there's no better way to put to sea than in a kayak, likening the whole experience to walking on water, singing the praises of the breeze across their cheeks and the sea water trickling off an oar to soak their shoes. Are they right? If you want to find out, no better place than the annual Kayak Try-It Day this Saturday at West Lake Park.
The free event (aside from the park's $1 entrance fee) is a great way to get tips on how to maneuver a kayak and learn if you want to get more involved in a sport that offers good upper-body exercise coupled with the opportunity to commune with Mother Nature.
Kayak Try-It Day boasts several suppliers who have hauled their boats here to introduce novices to kayaking. Nancy Eichert, the park's recreation coordinator, expects about 30 sit-on-top and cockpit kayaks to be on hand for those who want to experience handling one of the vessels in the lagoon. "There will be mostly single kayaks, but a few doubles will be on hand," Eichert explains. Throughout the day, there will also be safety lessons and demonstrations of how to and, perhaps more importantly, how not to handle a kayak.
Prospective participants should remember a few simple rules. For starters, always wear clothes that can get wet. Bring water and a hat, wear shoes, and use sun block. If you bring a camera, make sure it's waterproof, or wrap it in a dry bag. Participants must wear life jackets, supplied by the park. Finally, children must weigh more than 30 pounds, and anyone younger than age 13 must share a double kayak with an adult.
For those who want to really glide through the water, several tours throughout the day, through the White Mangrove Paddle Trail, are offered for $7.25. Snacks and hot lunches will be for sale at the marina, or bring your own.