I’m Too Old (and fat) for a Kayak

Married white female, pushing 50, overweight, not naturally athletic, requires vision correction and currently graying at the temples, seeks something enjoyable, something calming, something to do outdoors that reconnects her with nature…

I know…I’ll get a kayak! I love being on the water, although that sounds like such a pat statement because so many people say the same thing. But I do, and many summers have passed while I longed for access to a swimming pool, a friend with a boat, or even a giant float I could take out on the lake and drift in. I watched my brother-in-law wrestle his 10' Ascend kayak onto his little 2 door car for a year before I really considered it being something I might like to try. “I’m too old,” I told myself, “I’m too big.” But then I began to wonder, am I? I’ve seen a few party-sized kayakers and anglers, and the wondering continued.

This is the year, 2016, when I finally bit the bullet and bought a kayak. Guilty pleasure, if you will, as I agonized over the expense (and there is a very real expense involved). I am cheap, you see. I have a hard time justifying an extravagance like my very own boat. Once the initial expenses are out of the way, however, you’re done. Every trip out in your kayak gets cheaper as you gradually get your money’s worth. And I am being paid back in happiness, exercise, and mood therapy.

Something I noticed as I began searching for the right kayak and learning about the ‘sport’ (is it a sport? I am undecided), is that there didn’t seem to be a lot of info about kayaking in my area of the U.S. — middle Tennessee. Maybe I’m a lousy googler, but what I’ve found deals with experienced fishing and mainly, well, men doing it. No other married fat women looking to get out there and kayak? Ok, maybe I am the only one. But maybe I shouldn’t be the only one. And besides, I had many, many questions about how to load a kayak on a car, where to take your kayak to water, what the boat ramps look like — how do I do this? And alas, there you have it. A chronicle of my experiences.

Being on the water in a boat is grounding (ironically), and fun. It gets me back in touch with the world I am a very small part of, and relaxes me. I get exercise and increased mobility. It gets me more Vitamin D and improves my mood.

Perhaps I can help those who are on the kayaking fence as I once was. Do it. You don’t have to take my word alone. There are others who’ve gone before me. One such is Double Chin Diary, who talks about her (positive) experience on a Hobie pedal-kayak. Google ‘fat’ and ‘kayaking’. You’ll see, I’m not alone.

Chances are good that you aren’t too fat for a kayak, or too old. Given some physical disabilities, you can find a kayak to suit your needs (and age). Kayaks have weight limits, so there is a need to pay attention to that. But there is a boat for almost everyone. Craigslist is a great resource for used boats (many of them slightly), and several sporting goods stores run sales in Spring and Summer. A kayak that gets you on the water is the right kayak for you. When/if you outgrow it (by this I mean mentally and skills-wise), you can resell and upgrade.