Paddling Addict Test

River of the month #51

author: Pat Reilly
date: August 2002

You just might be a paddling addict …

All right, you know the symptoms - spouse constantly complaining, late nights pouring over guidebooks and maps, paddling clothes stinking up the basement, your dog doesn’t recognize you anymore. You suspect you may have a problem. You need to sit down and take this test, scientifically designed by P.A. (Paddlers Anonymous) in response to requests from distraught wives and irate bosses. Just answer the following questions keeping a tally on the number of ‘yes’ answers.

  • Have you ever:
  1. paddled past a no trespassing sign strung across a river?
  2. paddled in waters where a small craft weather advisory had been issued?
  3. spent an unplanned (and un-equipped) night sleeping by the water because you tackled more river than you could handle in a day?
  4. carried your boat a mile or more to run a river?
  5. fallen asleep in your boat while on the water?
  6. run a river so flooded that you couldn’t determine where the original river bed was?
  7. run a rapid anyway after your paddling buddies told you that you would get trashed?
  8. run a rapid anyway after you told yourself that you would get trashed?
  9. run a river anyway even though you knew it would trash your boat due to low water?
  10. run a river anyway even though you knew you would carry at least a dozen strainers?
  11. gotten a fine for paddling somewhere you weren’t supposed to be?
  12. breathed through your mouth because you were fearful of smelling the water you were paddling in?
  13. kept your mouth shut because you were fearful of swallowing the water you were paddling in?
  14. had your boat permanently stained by the water you were paddling in?
  15. held your breath while pulling on your pile top because you’ve been too busy paddling to wash it?
  • hightailed it downriver to avoid:
  1. rock throwing kids?
  2. an irate land owner?
  3. angry law enforcement officers?
  4. a rescue team called out to ‘save’ you?
  5. paddled a leaky boat patched with duct tape?
  6. stopped to plug a leaky boat with a stick?
  • worn a headlight to see:
  1. while paddling at nighttime?
  2. while paddling when it wasn’t nighttime? (cave or tunnel perhaps?)
  • paddled through:
  1. a cave?
  2. a cattle stockyard?
  3. a river channelized in concrete?
  4. a golf course?
  5. a military reservation?
  6. an amusement park?
  7. a restricted reservoir?
  8. a rifle range?
  9. a subterranean culvert?
  10. a state penitentiary?
  11. a mental institution?
  • performed these winter tricks:
  1. changed your put in or take out due to the presence of shoreline ice?
  2. detoured around large ice flows?
  3. used your hands to ‘ape-walk’ your kayak across frozen sections of river?
  4. jumped in your car with your PFD on to allow the heater to thaw the ice from the zipper so you could remove it?
  5. chipped the ice from you PFD zipper with your knife because your car (and it’s heater) were still at the put in?
  6. paddled through chunk ice so thick you couldn’t turn your boat around?
  7. ‘beached’ and exited your craft on a floating ice berg?
  8. had to break through sheet ice after waking up at your campsite and discovering that you had been iced in overnight?
  • been told that you ‘paddle too much’:
  1. by your mother?
  2. by your spouse?
  3. by your paddling partner?
  4. blown a romantic relationship because you ‘paddle too much’?
  • because you were out paddling, been late for:
  1. dinner?
  2. work?
  3. bed?
  4. a date?
  5. a party?
  6. church?
  7. unintentionally paddled past the take out?
  8. intentionally paddled past the take out?
  • paddled upstream from the put in:
  1. because you wanted a better workout?
  2. because you had already seen what’s downstream?
  3. because that’s the way you set the shuttle?
  • paddled in less than 100 feet visibility because:
  1. it was foggy?
  2. it was raining that hard?
  3. it was snowing that hard?
  4. actually listened to Doug Gibson when he said, ‘Just follow my line, its only class III, trust me’?
  • lied to your paddling buddies, in an effort to get them to go along with you, about:
  1. water levels (i.e.: That gauge has been stuck since the ’96 flood, it ain’t really that high.)
  2. trip distance? (i.e.: The New is only a 3-hour drive, max.)
  3. rapids? (i.e.: It’s actually easier at flood levels, everything washes out.)
  4. portages? (i.e.: I heard the local club cut out all the strainers.)
  • paddled a creek so small that:
  1. you couldn’t turn your boat around?
  2. you had to paddle it during (not after) a storm to catch it up?
  3. it’s named ‘run’ instead of ‘creek’?
  4. it has no name?
  5. it’s not even a creek when it’s not raining?

Okay, time to evaluate your score, if you answered ‘yes’ to:

15 or less – No problem, in fact if you didn’t answer ‘yes’ to questions 15, 20, 43 and 47 one might be inclined to ask why you even belong to a canoe club. On the other hand, answering ‘yes’ to questions 3, 6, 8, or 70 just may indicates that you have a problem no matter what your total score.

In addition:

If answering ‘yes’ to 52 or any of 62 through 65 you should probably see a member of the clergy.

If answering ‘yes’ to 60 or any of 35 through 42 you should give serious consideration to taking up skiing or some other winter sport.

16 to 30 – I still wouldn’t get too worked up. Personally, I believe these numbers reflect a healthy enthusiasm for the sport, but you’re likely to have family members, friends or perhaps a boss that don’t see it that way.

31 to 45 – You definitely like to boat! Hardcore and fanatical are two terms that come to mind. You need to take precautions by doing the following:

  • Seek counseling, P.A. can help.
  • Take up knitting or buy a high-resolution television to keep you at home more.
  • Take the family out to Dennys instead of attending all those canoe club meetings and events.
  • Visit the golf pro-shop instead of the paddling shop.
  • Replace those paddling magazines with a subscription to ‘Golf Digest’.

46 and up – You’re over the edge. In addition to the above steps, you need to immediately:

  • Replace your circle of paddling friends by joining a card club, bowling league or quilting bee.
  • Plan all future vacations to Williamsburg, Disney World or Busch Gardens (but stay off the water rides).
  • Move to the suburbs and join a country club.
  • If all else fails, P.A. can give you a new identity in the ‘Paddler protection program’ and relocate you to the Mohave, Gobi or Sahara.

Now if for some sick reason you happen to be proud of your addiction and you want to know if you have the record number of ‘yes’ answers, don’t bother, the best you can do is tie. You see, some hopeless boat junkie has already gotten a perfect 70 on the test.

Pat Reilly

Copyright © 2002 Pat Reilly. All rights reserved.