This “when have you something for the first time”-trend is a thing nowadays. Besides a lot of tweeds, motivational pictures and even songs, the dudes from Go Live Outdoors have made a pretty cool challenge called “12 Months, 12 Chances“. I felt like trying canoeing since ever but never managed to do it. But here we are: I took the chance, grabbed a paddle and rowed the s* out of this thing! 🙂
I’ve chosen the Tauber and Bad Mergentheim as my starting point. The rent-a-boat guys were pretty discouraged. The introduction was a soul-destroying, never ending stream of words. You just had to notice that the “jokes” had been told over and over again in the last couple of years. You want a taste? Here we go: “Make sure that the weight is at the rear end of the boat. The titanic tried to do it the other way around and we all know what happened!” This may would have been funny if one didn’t have the constant feeling that this joke was told one thousand times before. However, we somehow managed to get through this and sat down in our canoe.
We tried to do a few maneuvers to get used to the steering. This was surprisingly easy. It’s fun to move a canoe around since it’s that agile on the water. A real pleasure, really! To overcome a long distance, you have to make sure that everyone is aware of his particular role (which were explained in the introduction if you haven’t slept already). The person in the front paddles and gives orders like: “There is a bush! Left! Left! LEFT! … Well fuck.” The one in the back seat is the steering man. He is the only one who changes the the paddling sites. The person in the middle paddles exactly the opposing site as the one in the front. Both (front and middle) receive orders from the steering man if he can’t compensate the paddling and fail to navigate. So, if the frontman paddles left and you want to turn left, the steering man yells: “Stop paddling!” and starts to speed up the right side. Of course, we didn’t manage to get a consistent concept. We just screamed and paddled as hell. Also, Philip, the person in the middle, was busy to scoop out water. Yes, they gave us a boat with a leak.
I had the most fun during the barrages. It’s kind of a “water ramp” where you need to go down. It looks pretty huge and pretty fast from inside the boat. Also, the “danger of life” signs had a special taste. 🙂 But since you don’t stand a chance against the flow, you end up digging into the river at the bottom of the barrage. It’s incredible fun!
It was definitely a worthy experience. It costs less and is a hell lot of fun. Just make sure that you have a good rental-company. Ours was a pain and it can drive you nuts (leak, introduction, unmotivated). The second tip is to take it not too serious. A few other groups tried to get this “steering man” concept that straight, that they forgot to have fun. Of course, it’s an individual thing, if trying to be technically perfect means fun to you, just do it!