The volunteer-run, nonprofit organization in Canarsie, Brooklyn, has close access to Jamaica Bay with members interested in all different types of boating activities, including kayaking, canoeing, sailing, rowing and flat water racing.
A quick safety lesson leads folks off the dock and into the water. Brightly colored life vests and boats bump together as newcomers get a feel for their boat and their body. “It’s all in your torso,” shouts trip leader Dan Olson as he gathers the group.
Olson explains that newcomers often forget about the strength of their inner core when paddling. “If your arms are sore the next day, you did something wrong,” he says.
As guests strengthen their skills, trip leaders direct the group towards the waters of Jamaica Bay, the southwestern tip of Long Island. As part of the Gateway National Recreation area, over 330 bird species can be sighted. The salt marsh in the bay area leaves a peaceful, secluded feeling with sapphire water and high grasslands.
After a 10-minutes stop on the sand, guests begin their trip back to the dock. Saturday kayaking excursions usually last around 2 hours Olson says.
Washing off her boat, freelance journalist Elizabeth Wine from Brooklyn says this is her second time kayaking. Her first time was in a pool. “It’s really something you have to experience more than once to get the hang of,” she says.
Kayaking opportunities this summer are for all levels on Saturdays and Wednesdays, with a $10 insurance fee.