I took my Oru Kayak out on its maiden voyage this morning with Yonkers Paddling & Rowing Club. (Thank you Gerry for the invitation!) We started in Yonkers – the goal was to paddle down the Hudson River to West Harlem Piers Park and back again.

The boat is very light on the water, and feels more “floaty” than other kayaks I’ve paddled. Fiberglass boats are heavier and cut through the water more. As a result they are faster than this one.  I could see after a couple of miles that this boat was not going to be able to keep up with the group, so I pulled it out at Inwood Canoe Club, where I packed it up.  Here’s the route: http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6361027

At ICC I met Kevin and Bruce and . . . . Yikes, I don’t remember the other gentleman’s name.  They were just coming back from a paddle up and around the top of Manhattan, and were so kind to carry the boat to the A train station with me.  From there I took a bus that left me just one block from home – a 5-minute walk.  Thank you guys!  At 26 lbs. the boat is light enough to carry myself, but it is a bit awkward and off-center with the shoulder strap.  We all agreed that an inexpensive skateboard strapped under the carrying straps might be ideal for transporting it easily.  And I think a spray skirt will be a definite must, as it sits pretty low in the water.

So bottom line, it’s seaworthy and fun to paddle.  I won’t take it on the Manhattan circumnavigation with the YPRC next month though.



Sharon Wood Wortman of Portland, OR, is writing a book for kids about the bridges in the Portland area. Please support the indiegogo fundraising campaign to produce the book. The campaign ends Tuesday November 12 at midnight.


She contacted me asking permission to use one of the photos of the Queensboro bridge that I took during my NYC Bridges adventure last summer for the book. What is the connection to NYC? Read below . . .

What is the link to NYC? Sharon explains:

There are three bridges in Portland built by the famous New York bridge engineer Gustav Lindenthal. Lindenthal was the NYC Commissioner of Bridges in the early 1900s. He came to Portland in the mid-1920s to design two bridges across the Willamette River in Portland and finish a third. My husband and I are big fans of his and still keep in touch with his grandson who lives in New Jersey.

It turns out that the Ross Island Bridge designed by Lindenthal looks almost exactly like the Queensboro bridge turned upside down. In Sharon’s book, the photo of the Queensboro bridge sits right next to a drawing of the Ross Island bridge and you can see the similarity.

Erika M and Rosalba under the Queensboro Bridge, with the Roosevelt Island Bridge in the background.

Erika M and Rosalba under the Queensboro Bridge, with the Roosevelt Island Bridge in the background.

My new Oru kayak arrived on Tuesday.  Needless to say, I stopped everything that I was supposed to be doing to unpack and assemble her.


Last night (Wednesday) I took her on her maiden voyage at the Downtown Boathouse. Honestly, at first it was a little strange to think I was paddling around in a big sheet of plastic, but I soon forgot about that and just started having fun. She’s light and fast. I also capsized her on purpose and did an assisted rescue, to get a feel for how she does in more stressful situations.  (Thank you Lewis!) Came home salty, tired and happy.

But, I took a taxi from the boathouse to the subway, because although she is light for a boat, and has a shoulder strap, it turns out 26 pounds is still a lot to carry for a mile! I’m thinking of ways to rig up some sort of wheels for her that can be easily stowed in the hull once I get on the water. Rollerblade wheels? A cheap skateboard?  Oru mentioned they are created a backpack-style harness . . .

Somebody told me last night that someone in the Inwood club has an Oru as well.  If anyone knows that person, or anyone else in NYC that has an Oru, I’d love to connect with them.

I’ll probably take the boat to Sebago Canoe Club on Sunday if anyone wants to see it in person.