Paddlers are a resilient bunch. We boat in the dead of winter covered head-to-toe in fleece, and duct-tape our dry tops to get through one more season. We subsist for days on oatmeal and happily blow the savings at the first bay-side bar we come to. So to us, this little hiccup known as the recession don't mean nuthin'. After all, the average unemployment check runs about $240 a week. That's 960 bucks to get you through a month-long recession session. Here's how.
*Lose the quiver. Time to downsize. Every boat company has an all-around classic that will meet your play and tripping needs. Options like the Pyranha Ammo for whitewater, Delta 17 sea kayak or Esquif Raven canoe come to mind. So sell your unused kayaks online to some sucker who has a job, and use the proceeds to go paddling.
*Spend $10 on gas. Carpooling is the answer, not just for the environment and your pocketbook, but for your paddling. At current prices, a tank of gas runs about 40 bucks. Split that with three buddies and go four times as far. Just don't forget your iPod--you'll need shelter from the flying BS.
*Pay your bills. Put aside $500 for rent. Every road trip ends and your significant other will be disgusted if you're living on mom's couch when it's all over. You don't want to default either, 'cause you'll need good credit to buy a new quiver when the economy turns around.
*Eat right. Legendary canoe-bum Verlen Kruger canoed four miles on every pancake he ate. A five-pound box of Krusteaz costs $9 and makes 90 flapjacks. That's 360 miles of paddling on one bag. Stock up on energy-rich staples like peanut butter, beans and rice, and kick that $4 latte habit. For 100 bucks a month, you'll eat like the president …of Bolivia.
*Spend $50 on an inflatable mattress. It's all about car camping, and nothing's quicker or more comfy than an old-fashioned blowup mattress. Or meet new friends at couchsurfing.com where you can find sofas to sleep on all over the country. Just don't blame us if your new buddy's house doubles as the neighborhood meth lab. Don't pay to camp, either. Find some BLM land or better yet, plan plenty of multi-days and bivouac on the beaches.
*Spend $10 on a new gasket. And learn how to fix gear yourself. "A cheap alternative to Aquaseal is Amazing GOOP, plumbers edition," adds Huckinhuge.com's Cody Howard. "And get yourself some Vinyl Mastic for quick boat repair." Need more knowledge? Try bombergear.com or Google.
*Put away $100 to explore your backyard. Even the most core paddlers still haven't seen every ocean crossing or river run close to home. Don't waste money chasing that dream trip--live the dream. Stake out one drainage or inlet for a week or two.
*Just paddle baby. A day on the links can set you back a $100, and the ski hill costs just as much nowadays. The rivers, oceans and lakes are free. Get on them.
Total expenditures: $670, which leaves about 290 extra smackers. Put $90 away for a rainy day and feed your gear jones-and the paddlesports economy-by purchasing a new sumpin' sumpin' at your local paddling shop. You deserve it. Our closing thought:
To all you single boaters out there, get laid off now.
- Joe Carberry