Narrative and photos by Timothy Jordi
Hey Y’all, my name is Timothy Jordi and I’m a kayaking addict. Being a Minnesota native, I’m the one at paddle school that has the funny Midwestern accent. And no, I’m still not used to saying, Y’all and Fixin, but I love how “Bless your heart” can totally be sarcastic. Having lived most of my life in the tundra (Minnesota) and most recently along the hot and steamy Gulf Coast, I can tell you that moving to Tennessee has been my best move yet! I get a taste of snow in the winter, a wee bit of heat in the summer, but the rest of the year is nearly perfect. And did I mention the mountains???? Tennessee – truly God’s country!!!
How long have I been paddling? As long as I can think of… I still remember my parents piling six of us kids into an eighteen foot Old Town wood strip canoe, being out in the middle of the lake, and being captivated by the beauty of it all. I would reach out as far as I could to hand paddle (I knew I was ahead of my time), and nearly capsize the canoe. I remember when my dad first taught me how to steer from the back using both the C and J strokes. I can still hear the loons, with their mournful call, while watching the sunset over the lake, hearing the water lap against the canoe. I remember the countless trips to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area (BWCA). And how could I forget my first job out of high school, teaching campers how to paddle a canoe, island hopping in Lake Superior in a Voyageur Canoe, and getting my first taste of whitewater canoeing on the Brule River. Ahhh, those were good memories.
How did I become an addict? It’s all my brother’s fault! In order to support a family, I had pretty much given up all forms of paddling to make ends meet for over 20 years. Once all that fell apart and I found myself rebuilding my life, my brother John introduced me to whitewater kayaking. Well, maybe kayaking isn’t quite the word for it, it was more of a duckie thing. He was not about to put a novice on the Hiwassee in anything but a duckie, at least at first. That didn’t matter to me, I was hooked anyway – it’s all about the freedom and escape that paddling offers. I was so hooked that he and his wife took bets on how long it would be before I bought a kayak of my own. Needless to say, I did not disappoint, and had already started my fleet of three kayaks and a canoe within a few months.
Living along the Gulf Coast, I joined the meetup group, Gulf Coast Kayakers, and paddled most of the Alabama Delta. Now living in Sparta, Tennessee and being a member of TVCC, my goals are to bomb proof my roll, move up to Class III or IV rapids, and get more involved with Swift Water Rescue. My goal with the TVCC website is to use my 20 plus years of IT experience to build the site into a tool that will help paddlers at any level improve their skills and entice a world of millennials away from their electronics and onto the water!