___________________________________________________________________________

 

TAO OF PADDLING

"Tao" (pronounced "Dow") originates from ancient Eastern traditions and means "The Way".  The Yin/Yang symbol is often used to represent the Tao.  The circular shape of the Yin/Yang symbolizes the continuing cycle of the Tao.   Like the eternal ebb and flow of the ocean tide, the Tao has no beginning and no end.  The two adjacent colors of the Yin/Yang symbolize the opposing and competing forces that exist in nature and also those we may experience in our lives.  

There's an  inner feeling of peace that comes from maintaining the balance between these opposing forces .  It's very similar to what many refer to as a "Zen" state.    The Tao of Paddling,  is  the experience of being "at one" and in harmony  with your paddle, boat and the water.  It's an intense sense of connectedness with the entire universe that even the most descriptive words cannot fully describe.  The Tao of Paddling can only be experienced. 

Life is like a river.  Wisdom is knowing when to paddle and when to float.  There's a time to grab your paddle and forge your way ahead in life and there's a time to just chill, relax and just go with the flow.

 

Since I live just a few miles from the beach at the Jersey Shore, when the weather gets warm, I'm off to the water.  Once I'm in my kayak, all the stress of the routine hustle & bustle  just fades away.  My kayak is my escape.  When I'm in my kayak, I am most connected to, and in harmony with the earth, the sea & sun and everything natural.  I love that peaceful, easy feeling as the sun on a hot summer day beats down on me.  I also can appreciate the intense workout of navigating through rough winds and currents on open water.    My favorite  'Zen' locations are on the Barnegat Bay near Lavallette and on the tidal portion of Mullica River.  The orange purple sunsets there are spectacular and it's a great meditational spot to recharge body, mind and spirit.  Once a month, on a clear, hot summer night, there's nothing more tranquil than a quiet paddle on the Shark River under an oversized and bright orange full moon.  Occasionally, I like to howl.

              

Curious Harbor Seals can be spotted in  the Great Bay near Tuckerton,  NJ                                         Sunset at Round Valley Reservoir, Lebanon, NJ     

Since I started sea kayaking, my garage has gotten crowded with kayaks.  I use a Hobie Pursuit to play around in the ocean and to surf the waves at Bay Head, Mantoloking or Corson's Inlet.  The Pursuit is a recreational sit on top kayak (as opposed to a more hard-core surf kayak) but it's hull design makes it one of the more efficient and faster tracking boats in the sit-on-top market.   It cuts through the surf  with ease and works fine for my current level of kayak surfing.  I'm not interested in entering any kayak surf or rodeo competitions.   Although I sometimes still leave the surf pretty banged up, the black and blues are usually worthwhile, especially if I catch a few waves which surge my brain with adrenaline. YeeeHaaa!  This is the Tao of Paddling . . . natural euphoria!

For long distance touring, I paddle a Perception Eclipse and  usually enjoy  paddling in the Manasquan, Metedeconk and Shark Rivers which are in my local paddling region.  The bays of NJ also offer some great paddling.  On a recent paddle trip on the Great Bay in Tuckerton, I paddled with about 15 curious harbor seals popping up and down in the waters around my kayak.  I never even knew we could see seals in NJ waters before I started kayaking.  (... and Yes, they were alive!)

      

Sunset paddling -  Roanoke Sound in the Outer Banks of North Carolina                  Exploring the uninhabited, tropical North Pelican Cay in the Bahamas

I like meeting paddlers from near and far for day trips in my area of the Central NJ Shore and from faraway places.  I've paddled the waters of Hawaii, the Bahamas and every year I escape the hustle and bustle of Ocean County and head down to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  Last year in the Outer Banks, I kayaked in the ocean with dolphin less than 10 feet away from me.  Now that I have a small retreat on the Gulf Coast of Florida, I also have been exploring more of the local waterways in that area.  It's a Paddler's Paradise!

I am always interested in touring more of the waterways around south Jersey such as the Mullica and Bass Rivers.  If anyone is interested in guiding a tour around these areas, or paddling a tour  in my area, drop me an email. Be sure to type "Paddling" in the subject/message box so I know it's not junkmail or SPAMmail.

Whether you are a beginner, expert, fanatic or just looking to find out more about paddlesports, I've developed some original sites and compiled an extensive list of  paddling related links to enhance your paddling journey.

Hope to see you on the water .  Keep your paddle wet!

                                                                              - Darren

 

MORE OF MY ORIGINAL PAGES

Get  In The Flow

Experience a phenomena called "Synchronicity" which helps us to lead creative, spiritual, healthy and fulfilled lives

The  Kayak Chronicles

Trip reports, stories and photos from some of my paddling adventures

NJ  Paddle Zone

Links to NJ paddling clubs & associations, outfitters, places, events and environmental organizations

About WWRivrRat

A little more about me

 

A wild novel about whitewater rafting, kayaking and a journey into the heart and souls of men,

 Two Dog River by Richard Day

 

PADDLING  RESOURCES

All About Rivers.com  -  Whitewater paddling links featuring a virtual river guidebook, photos, video clips, outfitters, real time river/stream flows and some very cool screensavers. Paddling.net  Directory of paddling resources including buyers guide, outfitters, classified, links, photography, bookstore and a weekly paddling forum.  This is a great resource.
Boater Talk   -   Hosts a number of paddling forums which include Whitewater General Discussion, Lost/Found/Stolen, Gear Swap and Surf Zone for those who want info on kayaking in the surf. Playak.com    Information on whitewater playspots, waterfalls, freestyle events, boats, moves, rodeo results and more.
GoKayaking.com   Features information about paddling news, clubs, gear, manufacturers, trips & tours and paddling schools. PaddlingInstructor.com  A great "resource repository" where you can contribute and download a variety of paddling resources that other instructors have contributed to.  A great paddling resource!
Great Outdoors Recreation Pages (GORP)  - Paddling Guide   A large list of links to whitewater and sea kayaking sources. Covers gear, reading, clubs and associations, online resources, and more. SEE Kayak Search  Directory of sea kayak clubs, organizations and businesses, trip and technique forums, publications and personal paddling homepages.
KayakGuide.com   A place to share canoeing & kayaking routes.  Submit a route and get a free t-shirt. TopKayaker.Net   A paddling place in cyberspace for open cockpit kayakers which includes a directory of books, articles, kayak stats, classified ads and discussion forum.
Northeast Paddler's Message Board   A very well utilized paddling forum which also includes trip reports, events calender, gear reviews, online bookshop, paddle chatroom, news and paddler directory, glossary & FAQ and safety information. University of Sea Kayking ( USK )  An excellent resource promoting sea kayaking safety & education
Paddle Wise   A semi moderated mailing list for discussion of paddle related topics such as training & safety, equipment, gear and boat design.  Also includes paddle stories, photo album and other paddling links.  

 

PADDLING    MAGAZINES

Canoe & Kayak Kayak Paddler Sea Kayaker
Coast & Kayak      

 

CATALOG / MAIL  ORDER PADDLING GEAR

Altrec.com Garmin OutdoorPlay.com Sierra South Mountain Sports
 Aquapac KoKatat Patagonia Paddle Wear Stohlquist
Campmor Adventure Gear L.L. Bean RapidStyle Paddle Gear  
Cool Skool Paddling Northwest River Supply REI  
Eastern Mountain Sports Nantahala Outdoor Center Rutabaga Paddlesport Shop  
Aquabound Paddles            Rugged, light and well-built paddles at very reasonable prices.  I've been using one of these for years! Highly recommended!

[Email WWRivrRat]  [Synchronicity HomE]  [About WWRivrRat]

Copyright 2011   Tao of Paddling      All Rights Reserved