I kayak a lot, four or five times a week lately. When I go out it is typically in the later evening or early morning so the only folks I run into are fellow die-hards trying to get their fix around work and whatnot. But recently when I was taking a group down the river with EPIC I had an opportunity to go out midday when the locals(yahoos, amateurs, non-kayaking folk) were on the river.
Wow, quite the eye opener.
Now, if you whitewater kayak you spend hundreds of dollars on your boat, and every accessory also costs around a hundred bucks (this varies--helmets and paddles cost more, hydroskins and skirts less) so when you actually get out on the water you are wearing or using about one thousand dollars worth of gear and boat (in the summertime). You have to secure everything well or risk losing expensive equipment when you roll, loop, surf, etc.
I don't mean to be judgmental and elitist (I'm going to sound that way but I feel better about it now that I've said I don't mean to), but when you are wearing all that gear and you have put a great deal of time and thought into being safe on the river it really ticks you off when you see a jackass floating through a sweet playhole on a pool toy with his cooler floating in an inner tube tied to his wrist with a length of rope. It's not just the fact that he isn't wearing a PFD, or that he's drunk, or that he is tempting fate by wearing his potential noose on his wrist, well yes it is. Then you have your folks out fishing, for the most part they are pleasant folks, but then there is the guy on the walmart raft with all his gear and beer unsecured in his boat on, I'll give him this, a relatively mellow class 2 stretch. Still if he tips or something all his gear ends up in our river and all those bottles end up all over the shore.
"Where", you may be asking yourself "the hell is this guy going with all this, and why do I care?
"Wow, harsh!" I respond. The answer is I'm no longer sure, but I think I was going to comment on some sort of political or social dilemma, give me a moment I will try to remember...
I think what I was going to say is this, we all have to stay cool in the summer and playing in water is a great way to do it, but folks on pool toys in the river? Jerks with beer in Walmart boats fishing? (I mean shopping at Walmart is bad enough!!)
But if you are going out on the water, please, use sensible judgment or go with someone who has good judgment and the ability to beat you senseless. That way you don't annoy/pollute/die or, most importantly, irritate your local kayakers.