Saturday, January 05, 2008


Remember what I said yesterday, about how famous kayakers get famous?

Passing on skills to others. Isn't that a worthy route to fame?

It is, indeed, a funny kind of fame. Intensely admired within the circles of the paddling world; beyond that, little known.

Sometimes kayaking fame is so low-key that it doesn't even cross the very permeable boundaries between divisions of the sport.

I'm thinking of a name that's been being mentioned with admiration & sadness on a couple of the message boards and blogs I follow - Cindy Cole.

I have to admit that I did not even know who she was when I first saw the Kayak Quixotica post. I've never attended the famed (among my Greenland-style paddling friends)Delmarva Paddler's Retreat of which she was the co-founder, and originally...well, I wasn't going to post here about it.

But then I started reading more about what she did, and what people were saying in their reminiscing...and I realize that although I never met her or learned from her directly, chances are very good that at least some of the various Greenland skills I've enjoyed learning over the last few years, I may indeed have gotten from her - just at a remove or two.

Greg Stamer, another person who has done so much to popularize skinny-stick paddling wrote a very moving elegy on the QajaqUSA forum. He closed thusly:

"For those of you who knew Cindy, I hope that you will take a few moments and reflect on how she touched your life. She was a very kind and gentle soul and will be missed."

Well...I never met her.

But I think she's probably touched my life anyhow.

That's a good life, isn't it?

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