Posted by: ecckayak | December 18, 2011

Kayaking fashion is not a top priority

The Lower Cape has what is perhaps the lowest dress standard in the known kayaking world. Go to Connecticut, Maine, Rhode Island – kayakers are in spray tops/jackets, protective/expensive dry suits, with fancy footwear – this type of water attire is daily dress. Their cute lifejackets, with 101 pockets, filled with every form of safety tid-bit, are hot kayaking garb in those parts. Around here, just trying to ask someone to wear their life jacket is considered a restriction on personal freedom. “Provincial” is the word that best captures our style. Some might say we dress ‘raunchy’. If, in fact, the lifejacket with the 101 pockets is even worn, it had better have stains of dried salt from last season’s paddling, the smell of marsh peat, leftovers dripped down the front from slurped little necks, and at least one torn pocket. Paddling gear of this type establishes some thread of connection between his or her ancestry and a grave stone in the Cove Burying cemetery by Fort Hill. The assumption that the present outing on the marsh, which has been done so many times, is so important, and the clamming or fishing, or birding, so good, and judging the tide so critical, that there is no time to worry about how you look. I should know, though I cannot trace any ancestry to Eastham, nor the Lower Cape for that matter, after fourteen years of showing up, at every landing in these parts, along our shorelines, I am a perfect candidate to loose at strip poker, for most of the time, I am seen only wearing board shorts, a t-shirt, my stray hat, and no shoes. That’s the way it is. Well, that’s the way it is here in the summer. And, if we look like a bunch of vagabond paddlers, looking more like retro hippies than modern day kayakers, don’t let our appearance fool you. It’s not how we look at the launch, it’s all about how we look when we return. We take nothing for granted. We understand the risk each day, as we paddle in one of the most treacherous inlets along the East Coast, against strong incoming or ebbing tides, dodging herds of seals and power boats with twin 250 hp, and studying the tricky local weather patterns. What the hell, who cares how we look, after all it’s not about us, it’s about where we paddle, on some of the best waterways in the world.

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