Kayaking has been transformative for Missy Campau, 35, of Port Huron, Michigan. The paddling bug has transformed the upbeat, former stay-at-home mom into a key community volunteer and entrepreneur. The mother of two was looking for a way to connect to the outdoors, practice solid citizenship, and reenter the workforce when she found kayaking seven years ago. She now runs Port Huron's Blue Water Social Club and its annual event, Paddle and Pour. She was also the only non-governmental person active in the formation of Port Huron's Island Loop Route National Water Trail. Her latest newborn is Missy's Kayak Connection, which offers kayak rentals, lessons, and guided tours. It's a business tailored to her life: "I get to play in the summer and then I'm home during the school year for my kids. There aren't a lot of options out there for stay-at-home moms, so I made my own.”
CanoeKayak.com: How did you come to buy and prefer the Wilderness Systems Tsunami 125?
Missy Campau: I started kayaking about seven years ago. I borrowed a friend's kayak for three years before saving up for my own. I'm the type of person who doesn't often buy expensive things and especially not for myself, so for me to go out and spend $1,000 on a kayak was a big deal! I researched and talked to a lot of people about my needs and what would work best for me. The Tsunami was perfect, being the perfect length to accommodate all of the waterways in my area. It's great for a river, yet versatile enough for me to head out into Lake Huron. It has wonderful stability and comfort.
Why is it comfortable for you?
When shopping for a kayak, my main concern was comfort. I wanted to be able to kayak for longer periods of time without the aches and pains. I had paddled other kayaks in the past with seats that would not adjust, stay in place, or even offer padding. The seating system in the Tsunami is amazing! It offers three different points of adjustment, including and up and down adjustment for lower lumbar support. Its ergonomically shaped padding allows even more comfort. The thigh braces are an amazing bonus when paddling in rougher waters and are a comfortable way of offering additional control. Being on the water for hours at a time without the worry of soreness is fantastic.
Where's your favorite place to paddle?
My favorite is right here in my home town on the Island Loop National Water Trail. The Tsunami 125 is versatile enough to handle all four waterways it covers.
Where else has your Tsunami 125 taken you?
My Tsunami has taken me in some pretty amazing waterways including the chain of lakes area in Northern Michigan. This venture is about 27 miles and offers many water types. It starts in the Bellaire River and goes into Lake Bellaire, Grass River, Clam Lake, Torch Lake, Torch River, Lake Skegemog, and finally into Elk Lake. They're some of the most beautiful waterways I've ever seen! Last year we even headed up to Turnip Rock, an especially cool rock formation at the top of Michigan's thumb.
Good times! Ever had a bad one?
I was heading down the Black River one spring when the water was high. A tree had come down over the winter and I went for a swim. The river was narrow and shallow, so I was not injured, but a bit cold. I just dumped the water and enjoyed the sun for the rest of the day.
Do you have a favorite moment afloat?
Last year my friend and I went out and paddled with the ice floes. It was a rare mirror-like day on Lake Huron and watching the ice was unreal.
With Missy's Kayak Connection recently launched, you must own many kayaks now.
I find it funny that I am now looking at kayaks that are upwards of $3,000 like that's nothing.