Kayak Reviews. Why Kayaks? A brief history.
Why we Yak. Why we review them.
I can’t remember when we didn’t have a kayak lying around. Our wild uncle — we called him “Ace” — introduced us in 1959 to the joys of paddling, Ace on a visit to our small farm in central Kansas, Ace just back from what he called “an expedition.” He brought us a battered fiberglass kayak, sort of red, strapped to the trunk of his ’58 Oldsmobile convertible.
The Hughes Boys
My brothers and I spent our boyhood in the outdoors. We weren’t poor exactly, but damned close. And so we made our own fun, invented our play, changed the rules hour to hour. But we Hughes boys were so lucky in our location, our home not a hundred yards from what here in Kansas passes for a river. And we took Ace’s gift, and we put some miles on that boy, each of us drawing a straw to determine who was first into the water, the rest of us waiting our turn, yelling at whichever brother happened to be in the river, criticizing at high volume his navigational skills, the abysmal fluidity of his paddling.
The Hughes Men
We grew to be men and, inevitably, the first major purchase arising from a first job was a kayak, an expensive model in which we might invest our childish pride. And we Hugheses, we found more and more perfect places to be together on the water, at last one kayak per one brother. We hooted on our share of Colorado’s whitewater. We challenged each other on rivers raging at the silliness of our attempts. We yakked, and we did not drown.
In time, the White River down in Arkansas became our favorite vacation gathering place. On the White we could camp in seclusion, fish at any hour, and find now and then small Class I rapids, nothing too adrenalized, just right for some aging children looking to be as one in the great reach and heft of it all.
We Hughes brothers, we know whereof we speak.
-John Howard Hughes