Celebrating your success and overcoming adversity together on the water by paddling with your significant other can mirror the ups and downs that are natural in our most cherished relationships. The two of you are the ultimate team, always in support of one another and ever-ready to share the load, give a boost (or a push!), and to provide comfort when the day is long, and you have far to go.
Kathy and Jeff Schmidt embody this lifestyle perfectly. They have developed their paddling skills together over the years, and have paid their efforts forward by providing leadership and guidance to many paddlers as ACA L4 Open water Instructors. Their exemplary spirit, sourced from their tight bond, is something we could all admire as #relationshipgoals.
As recent guests on our regular Zoom Away Blue Fridays: 3 Steps to Kayaking program, Kathy and Jeff shared the four most important components to focus on when paddling with your partner. If there is harmony amongst these aspects of your relationship, then the world is your ocean to paddle together:
From planning your trip to paddling it together, communicating how you feel about what you’re doing is key. Concerns about hazards/conditions ahead, and when you’re getting “hangry” need to be voiced as they come up!
You complete each other, remember? Yin and Yang. A little friendly competition on the water can add playfulness to the experience, but you must know each other's limits! There is a time for a boost and a time for a push - keep in mind that you’re there to enjoy the experience together.
This is the glue: trusting your partner to be in touch with your comfort zone, to know your limits, and to support you at every step of the adventure. It is a two-way street - our partners have to trust us to be upfront about how we feel, and that we can give space to compromise when needed.
There is so much to see out there! Nurturing your shared 'stoke to get out there will pay off in spades. Even when your next trip is months away, the planning stage is something you can both get involved in, with opportunities to learn and chart out a lifetime experience.
A big part of what enables Kathy and Jeff to adventure together is their shared skillset. They have both achieved competence in paddling, and they knew that it would take some outside help to achieve that!
"There is only so much a husband can teach his wife, and vice versa!" says Jeff, meaning that he was not always the best person to help Kathy reach the same level as him. Jeff has 40+ years of experience on the water, and Kathy with only about half as much, meant that dedication to training was going to be key for them to be fully comfortable together as a team on the water.
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