Contributed by JR Pate
I have found kayak purchases hold the same sentimental value as many things in our life. We all remember our first kayak purchase. Mine was green Old Town Otter 9.5 that gave the ability to float back country streams and chase my first smallmouths.
The day I sold that kayak I regretted it because of the memories it held. Being single I never imagined how cool if that kayak that carried me on so many journeys could be the one to carry my kids on their adventures. (I guess the guy who owns it knows the sentimental value as it was his first kayak and wouldn’t sell it back to me a few years back.)
The second kayak holds one of the best memories of all – I was married, two kids and decided I wanted to start back kayak fishing. I wanted a way to rekindle the time I had spent on the water a few years earlier. I wanted how life just seemed different after spending a few hours or a few days inside the kayak on the water.
Like most I began to consume and read everything I could about the newest kayaks available. I wanted a sit on top and coming off back surgery I wanted something that sat comfortable with my knees bent. I wanted a longer kayak and did the usual rounds at the big box stores like so many starting back in this sport. I had a budget of around $600-$700 and had narrowed down my selection from two of the local big box stores. The day I’m going to purchase; I decide to just stop in a local kayak shop.
I had been to this store before and if I’m honest was not a fan because kayaks are not their primary focus. I figured if I’m going to spend the money I better at least check them out again. Maybe they had a used, demo or blem in stock as I had read about online. There I was looking at a floor model kayak and they were going to give me a deal. The only problem it was $400 over my budget and this would require a call to my loving wife.
I could have bought it without pre-approval but I’m smart and know it’s better to ask. So I make the call with my speech planned out about why this is the one and why it was such a good deal.
Before I could even get my speech warmed up and to the central points of my logic – she said “go for it”. I didn’t even get a chance to use my speech; she just said “yes.” I remember thinking after I got off the phone that was pretty easy, a little too easy but hey I got a new kayak and was leaving the next morning for camping / fishing trip with it. As I get ready to explain what happened next, I can’t help but smile because I couldn’t imagine how this would end.
I go on my trip and thatMonday I’m refreshed, sitting in my cube at the office when my wife pops in. She asks how my day is going, do I feel refreshed from my trip and being back at work … all the small talk you make when in a cube around other co-workers. Then she tells me… We’re having our third child!! My heart jumps with excitement and after asking “are you kidding” my next statement was “That’s why I got the kayak so easy”. She smiles and says “I figured you would need a way to get out of the house and I needed to the cushion the news.”
I eventually sold that kayak because I didn’t follow the rule of paddle first and it just wasn’t the right kayak for me. That kayak got me back in this sport and started me down this amazing journey.
Selling it would lead me to my first road trip to HOOK1 and eventually meeting a good friend Chad Hoover. That kayak led me to the Wilderness Commander 140 which would be the right kayak for me and carry me to experience my first KBF Open.
Looking back maybe that was the right kayak at the right time to carry me in life at that moment.