Originally created 05/05/02

Water works



The Canoe and Kayak Club of Augusta wants to give you a good paddling.

From casual outings along the Augusta Canal to sea kayak excursions to the Carolina coast, the group offers something for all skill levels.

The group, founded in 1999, has 60 members, according to club president Bernie Thomas. They range in age from early teens to the upper 60s with skills ranging from raw beginners to the highly experienced.

"I don't want our group to get so technical that the novice can't do the paddle, said Suzanne Hamilton, the club's first president. "We don't want to make them feel like we're so far over their head they can't participate."

Mrs. Hamilton said the group started as a social club. Many of the initial members were whitewater kayakers and canoeists. The club has since changed into a more organized group with monthly paddles and an official Web site (www.ckca.homestead.com).

Part-time surgeon Tom Cofer of Aiken joined the club to learn more about paddling. He went on a recent camping trip with the club to Hunting Island, S.C., where some club members paddled about 14 miles around the island. "I would not get to do that type of paddling unless I was with a group," he said.

There are some ocean outings, but the club usually promotes flat-water paddling excursions, which can be relaxing and healthy.

"It is a getaway, being back to nature," Mrs Hamilton said. "I love being outdoors."

"It's an alternative to jogging or biking," Dr. Cofer said. "It's an active hobby that older people can do. It's not that strenuous; at least not the way I paddle."

GET ACTIVE

The best way to get in touch with the club is through its Web site, www.ckca.homestead.com. The club officers have e-mail addresses there and all activities are posted, along with monthly meetings and group paddles.