If I had to describe kayak fishing in one word, I would say “serenity” — but not in the same way Seinfeld’s Frank Costanza used the word to calm down his anger.
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About ten years ago, there was a group of very serious amateur mountain bikers. The group wasn’t large, but it wasn’t small either. It consisted of men and women with a wide variety of skill levels and experience. One day, a couple who had been part of the group for a while but who was among the least skilled and experienced happily arrived with a new kind of mountain bike. Their new bikes came with a battery and a motor. To their disappointment, their new acquisition was frowned upon by the rest of the gang. “What’s the point of going for a challenging workout if the bike does the actual work?” But off the couple went, and for the first time, they were able to make the entire journey without forcing anybody else to stop and wait. Moreover, because they were able to keep going without a pause, they got one of the best workouts of their lives.
Just like free solo climbers do not need specialized climbing equipment, freedivers do not use advanced scuba gear such as scuba tanks and gauges. Instead, their lives rely on great technique and on a mental state in which everything unrelated to the moment disappears. They reach a meditative existence in which they can remain throughout the entire journey. A climber whose life depends on nothing but a strong yet delicate grip connects with the wall in a way inaccessible to other climbers. In the same way, a diver whose life depends on managing the oxygen supply provided by that one last breath will flow through the water like a true marine creature. Free is pure. Free is raw.