New York Outrigger is always looking to meet like-minded people and organizations who are also interested in bringing awareness to our local waterways. We are extremely pleased to have met our neighbors up river at Inwood Canoe Club. What started out as a random encounter on the water has led to a great friendship between two organizations that continues to grow.
In late June, Women’s Coach Keith took his women’s race session group to paddle a long piece to Spuyten Duyvil, a 20-mile round trip paddle to the northern tip of Manhattan in Inwood. While on a break in the Harlem River, a kayaker pulled up alongside us and introduced himself as Kevin from Inwood Canoe Club (ICC) located just around the corner. We talked a little about each of our clubs and casually mentioned we should do a joint OC/Kayak novice session at some point.
A few weeks later, Mark from ICC contacted us to see if we could make the idea a reality. The plan was to paddle our OC6 to Inwood Canoe Club where NYO would conduct novice sessions for ICC members and friends. In return, ICC members gave NYO members a novice session on their kayaks.
Keith and Mark spent several weeks planning out the logistics to make sure the currents were timed correctly, how our canoe will fit on ICC’s dock, who had food allergies, etc. Very little was left to chance.
On Sunday, August 5, NYO members Avis, Suesa, Paige, Mark, Will, Di, Emily and Keith paddled Malolo up the Hudson river to the Inwood Canoe Club Boathouse located just under the Cloisters north of the George Washington Bridge. Established in 1902, they are the oldest canoe club in Manhattan and the only one remaining of what used to be a continuous string of boathouses north of GWB at the turn of the last century. We purposely wanted to be early to paddle by and give a bit of a show for those on the dock to drum up some excitement.
It worked and the excitement levels just built from there. We pulled up to their dock and both NYO and ICC members quickly gathered to figure out how to get Malolo positioned safely. Even with as much planning and visualization we had done in advance, getting Malolo on the dock still took a lot of maneuvering and positioning done on the fly. Once secured, introductions were made. ICC had quite a spread of food for us (which continued to be replenished throughout the day) and they gave us a tour of their boathouse which included racing kayaks and canoes spanning the entire history of their club.
Refueled and oriented, we gave our outrigger land training session to the ICC members gathered. Following that, our NYO group took turns taking out all of the ICC members on the water on short runs. Being experienced kayakers, most everyone picked up the stroke quickly and we were soon surfing wind swells upriver.
Janet from ICC gave us a novice session in the kayaks and we took short trips to the George Washington Bridge and the Harlem River. For NYO members, it was very interesting and exciting to be in an unfamiliar craft as most of us wobbled our way around trying to get familiar with a whole different kind of core rotation.
Once the sessions were complete, everyone gathered on deck and socialized in the cool breeze with homemade smoothies and slices of watermelon. Everyone had a great time and both organizations unanimously agreed that our little joint novice session experiment was a huge success.
On August 25, we invited ICC members to our boathouse on an extended trip to Pier 40 to show them a more urban environment than they were used to just up river. Again, it was great fun to invite each other to our respective boathouses and share in our love of the water.
Now that we are familiar with the logistics and with each other, both our organizations are looking forward to making these regular events open to all of our respective members. Our new partnership will allow NYO members opportunities to kayak around Upper Manhattan and for ICC to join us in our outrigger canoes.
For those who are interested in kayaking on the Hudson River in Upper Manhattan, Inwood Canoe Club hosts Open Houses every Sunday at 10AM between Memorial Day and Labor Day. For more information about that program and the club, please visit their website.
We’re very glad to have made new friends on the Hudson and both of us are looking forward to working together to introduce people to our local waterways.