Earlier this week, I passed my 5 year anniversary as a paid member of Oru Kayak. I use the term “paid” loosely. The first few paychecks were pretty humble. Well, this auspicious anniversary had me thinking back to my earliest days and my first time in an Oru Kayak.
I was in the midst of writing my dissertation in San Diego, and just starting the grueling job search, when someone shared an origami kayak with me through Facebook. I reached out to Ardy and Anton to see if they needed any help. I was headed to the Bay Area and figured I could make some industry introductions or offer product advice.
I decided to show up at a demo event they were hosting in Jack London Square. When I arrived, I saw Anton standing in the middle of the brick square, quietly directing people to the docks to try the Oru Kayak. He had a box with an orange lid next to him. He seemed to be protecting it like someone might steal it. I would later learn that that kayak was only a demo sample, and not quite ready for the water, so he didn’t want people to try and use it yet.
On the dock, I saw about 15 people staring at a little white kayak. The floating docks could barely hold the weight of the onlookers. It didn’t really look like anyone was helping people in and out of the boats, but someone was handing out life jackets and paddles. I put myself through grad school as a paddling instructor, so I stepped in and helped people in and out of the boat as they each tried it. Some people were big, some were small, some were old, and some were young, but they were all very excited about the kayak.
I waited until the crowd had their turn trying the kayak, then I hopped in. I was really impressed! It handled well and was really fun!
Like everyone else, I stuck around to see how the boat folded back into the little box and was pretty amazed with what I had just seen.
My first time in an Oru Kayak was not terribly eventful, but the second time I paddled one, I surfed Fort Point, under the Golden Gate Bridge :).
I’d love to hear your first experiences in an Oru Kayak. Feel free to share them in the comments section below.