You can’t learn how to drive by sitting in the passenger seat

I started kayaking when I was a little girl but I just started whitewater kayaking a year or so ago. Although, even though I started awhile ago, I was not able to get out much due to a relationship I was in… So I really started white water kayaking again last year.
My boyfriend is an amazing kayaker, he has travelled all over the world to kayak. He runs waterfalls, surfs big waves, kayaks class V creeks and I am jealous of it all. I want to be able to join him when he does all these things so I really need to get good, fast.
This Spring, I really wanted to kayak a class IIII creek by our house. I always drove by it and wished for the day where I would be good enough to kayak it. This year I decided to go for it because like the title of my blog says “you can’t learn how to drive by sitting in the passenger seat.” I put on that mind set and away I went. I know how to roll but don’t always do so when I flip in the fast moving water (something I plan on working on this summer). So needless to say, I packed for the worst and figured I would end up swimming. I had butterflies in my stomach but after making it through each rapid without flipping or swimming my confidence was high and my smile was huge! I made it through the crux of the creek but celebrated too early. The waves pushed me towards a tree and without thinking I took my hand off my paddle to push the branches away so they wouldn’t hit me in the face. BIG MISTAKE. Lesson learned: Never take your hand off your paddle. The second I did, my kayak turned sideways, flipped, I hit some rocks and swam. When I got onto shore safely I realized that my friend who came with us (and is a much better paddler than I am) swam as well. So that made me feel better but I was still disappointed in myself. I was told not to, because for a beginner to want to run a creek like that they said I was brave. Regardless, I had a smile on my face at the end and wanted to do it again.

A week later we decided to run it again. This time I went into it with the mind set of “if at first you don’t succeed, try again.” I was determined to run the creek clean this time and I did. When I got pushed into that same tree I kept paddling and let the branches scrape against me. It was an amazing feeling, the feeling of success. I didn’t stop smiling that whole weekend and I am still smiling because of it.