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“Oh… so you’re a flat-water guy?”

I recoiled as if slapped. Me? A lifelong river runner and lover a large rolling seas being called a flatwater guy? And all of the extra emphasis on “flatwater,” what’s up with that?

I shot back, “No way dude. If you think it’s flat out there, you’ve clearly never been!”

A few days later, seated in a real speedster of a sea kayak, I caught myself laughing with joy as I flew across the glass-like water. “This is amazing!” I shouted. Then it hit me, I was having the time of my life paddling on flat water. My ego cringed in pain, “I am becoming a flat-water guy, that dude was right.”

Desperately needing to save my ego, I turned hard to port and made a beeline for a set of sea caves I had been scouting for several weeks but had yet to fully paddle. Cave paddling, caving, or anything involving entrapment (large crowds, small cars, etc) really freaks me out. But, driven by the pain of a damaged ego, I charged ahead. The caves were everything I had expected them to be. Tight in places, open in others. A little surge-y but not overly-technical. Super fun without scaring the living daylights out of me.

A few days later during a chance encounter with fellow Exploration teammate Chris Audet, we were out for a paddle and talking about our favorite waters. “Yeah” I responded. “I grew up running rivers and I love a good day of rolling seas, but I think part of me is becoming a flat-water guy.” Chris looked at me kind of funny, then nodded his head. I think he got it, but if not, that’s all the more flat-water for me.