Most of these stories come from the Whatcom Paddlers message board archives. Whatcom Paddlers was started by several surfskiers in Bellingham, WA. and is primarily composed of paddlers in the Pacific Northwest although there are some members who reside far and wide. These stories may be missing context in some cases due to related message threads that were missed, attachments to the original messages that are not included here, and web links in messages that no longer work. Some messages in the original threads may not be included because they were deemed to add little to the context (apologies to those authors) and we were trying to streamline the time consuming process of recording these stories to some extent.
Most of these stories are chosen for humor, exceptional paddling adventures and/or lessons learned from fortunately survived mishaps and mistakes. But some also involve very sad outcomes. Whatcom Paddlers has always emphasized its hope to learn from mistakes as much as possible from honest mishap description and examination. But they readily acknowledge the strong human learning bias that favors experience over words of advice. The dates included in story listings are generally the dates of the first posts and not necessarily the exact dates of the happenings described.
“And what that has to do with the soul is this: You are part of it. I am part of it. Every human being is part of it. As soon as you are born, your parents start telling your story. As a child, you will skin your knee or walk naked into your parents’ dinner party; later you’ll suffer a broken heart, maybe hit the zone in your chosen sport, have children of your own. And that all becomes part of the human story. It folds into the Great Story Arc and alters it, if only very slightly. And there, in that blinding curve of energy that lasts forever—that is where your soul resides.”
From My Drowning (And Other Inconveniences) by Tim Cahill