Aug 23

Life Lessons from my Kayak: I Prefer a Little Chop.

Debbie Hatch | Family & F.I.T.


In another life, I coached our US Women’s Dragonboat Racing Team on Okinawa, Japan.  (That’s me with my beachy bleached blonde hair, looking back).  We traveled to several islands in Japan and were international champions in big and small boats for a couple of years.

It was an incredible time!  I loved our team and coaching was awesome!

I still love rowing but I’ve downsized to an individual kayak.  My husband and I have spent a few evenings on the water recently (yes, we race – every single time!), and I’ve been reminded of several lessons applicable not only to rowing but to life.



I.  Sometimes you’re in calm water.  Sometimes it’s                       choppy, or down-right rough.


  • While it’s relaxing when the water is calm, it can also get boring if you sit for too long.
  • It can be nice to get a little push from the current but you still have to steer your boat.
  • You’ll feel the most accomplished and capable when you’ve worked through a little chop and things weren’t too easy.




II.  You have to point your boat into the waves. 

Sometimes it’s scary to face the waves (or any adversity) head on.  We approach timidly, trying to come at it from an angle.  Trying to be brave but afraid to go “all in”.  That’s the quickest way to capsize!

Paddling head on and straight into the waves allows you to cut through with the smallest impact.  It also gets you through the rough patches most quickly.




III.  It’s good to have a destination, but remain open and flexible to alternatives.

  • Some days floating aimlessly without a destination is all you want to do and that’s okay.
  • For the most part, though, it’s best to have a general destination in mind so you know where you’re going (otherwise, you might just as well  keep rowing in circles).
  • That said, flexibility is key.  For one reason or another, you may not be able to row straight to your destination – or you may not want to.  Stop here, go around there, float for a while and/or play.

Screen Shot 2015-08-23 at 3.52.47 PM





Yes, this <<<<==== is real, and it’s okay.  Enjoy your paddle along the way.

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