An ancient boat has new popularity

By G. Sam Piatt - PDT Columnist



Submitted Photo

As I sat on my front porch with my morning cup of java, my next door neighbor passed with two kayaks projecting from the bed of his pickup. Not long after, another neighbor, living across the street from him, drove past with two kayaks tied down in the bed of his truck.

It’s almost a frenzy, the way paddling these low-lying boats down streams and across lakes has caught on with people who enjoy the outdoors. It’s so easy for one person to unload these lightweight crafts and launch them, although they can

prove difficult in prayerfully climbing in and out of.

I have not yet succumbed to the idea of buying one, thanks chiefly to the strong objection of my wife, Bonnie, who wants to forestall as long as she can her days of widowhood.

“Besides,” she said, “you’ve got a bass boat, your dad’s old fishing boat, and a canoe. You don’t need another boat.”


I’ve only had one experience with the kayak thus far. My boyhood friend, John Vinson Euton, loaned me one belonging to his son, Aaron, and we put them in the water off a gravel bar on Kinniconick Creek.

I’ve always been convinced that time spent on the water in a boat is wasted if it’s not for the purpose of fishing, so we loaded in rods and reels and tackle boxes – gear that I visualized as winding up on the bottom of the creek before

the trip was over.

On my third cast with an artificial lure parallel with the shoreline, I hooked and successfully battled in and released a 14-inch largemouth. Without capsizing, or tipping the kayak and allowing water to overflow the craft and sink me.

Well, this wasn’t as unsafe as I had thought it would be.

After we completed our paddling, coasting and casting trip upstream through the long shaded pool and back, the next test came in landing and getting out of the contraption.

Since your seat is toward the back, you paddle hard and nose the boat up on the shore as far as possible. I still had to climb up and out with my feet submerged in shallow water, ignoring the pain in my aching knees.

All in all, though, it was an enjoyable trip, one that can be handled by a novice without too much threat of drowning.

It’s easy to see why sales for the lightweight craft are soaring at sporting goods stores.

Please strap on a life jacket before picking up the two-way paddle and setting out on your journey of exploration.


Hope I don’t bore you, but a little history lesson is in order:

Travel by kayak goes back about 4,000 years or so. The name stands for “hunter’s boat,” and that’s what they were used for by the Inuits, an artic people referred to as Eskimos, who made them with driftwood or whalebone as the skeleton and covered by watertight sealskin.

With a hole in the middle (the cockpit) to sit in, they surprised seals and speared them for food and other uses, draping the dead animal across the bow and bringing it home to his people.

They were in use in the Bearing Straight, Alaska, northern Canada and Greenland.

According to information posted on the Internet’s Wikipedia site, kayak racing was one of the events in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Modern kayaks are made of plastic or fiberglass and come in a range of sizes. You can buy one for about $150, much cheaper than a canoe or boat.


Paint Creek State Park is located off U.S. 50 near Bainbridge, Ohio. Contact numbers are:

Park Office (937) 365-1401; Camp Office (937) 981-7061; 866-644-6727 for camping and getaway rental reservations.

Located amid the pleasing scenery of the Paint Creek Valley, Paint Creek State Park features a large lake with fine fishing and boating opportunities.

A modern campground and meandering trails invite outdoor enthusiasts to explore and enjoy the rolling hills and streams of this scenic area.

The hilltop campground at Paint Creek has 195 sites equipped with electricity. The campground features hot showers, flush toilets, laundry facilities and a dump station.

Two deluxe camper cabins, equipped with beds, TV and VCR, microwave, refrigerator, gas grill, and gas fireplace, can be rented year round.

Piatt Submitted Photo

By G. Sam Piatt

PDT Columnist

Reach G. SAM PIATT at or (606) 932-3619.

Reach G. SAM PIATT at or (606) 932-3619.