Earlier this year, Sea Kayaker magazine published their 158th and final issue, the February 2014. This marked the end of a great publication that has been instrumental in developing modern sea kayaking skills and safety for recreation, touring and extreme expeditions. Over the years I have personally contributed numerous articles to Sea Kayaker, ranging from trip narratives to gear reviews and destination pieces. Many of those are available to read at the links on my ARTICLES page in the menu above.
My first ever paid writing gig was the narrative of my Caribbean kayak journey that editor Christopher Cunningham invited me to submit after reading a brief report of my trip in the newsletter of a company that provided me with a reverse-osmosis desalinator I carried for emergencies. Getting my foot in the door of the world of publishing with a full-feature article complete with my photos was a huge deal to me at the time. I was just 27, and though I had a vague idea I would write books at some point in the future, what mattered most then was getting back out there as soon as possible and doing more trips. The idea that I could be paid to write about them was just icing on the cake. That article, Glimpses of Paradise, which appeared in the Fall, 1990 issue was followed a year later by an account of my kayak trip from Canada back to Mississippi in the Fall, 1991 issue. Sea Kayaker was a quarterly publication back in those days, and after Paddling the Heartland was published I had many more opportunities over the years to contribute, even though my interests eventually led me away from long-distance paddling journeys. In 1994, I even dropped in for a short visit to see the magazine’s office and met Chris and the rest of the staff while passing through Seattle on an extended road trip.
Though I don’t own every issue ever published, I have a huge stack of Sea Kayaker back issues in my office aside from those in which my own articles appear. I’ve long enjoyed the excellent photography, compelling trip journals and instructional pieces. The magazine has been a source of inspiration and an escape back to my carefree days of adventure, frequently making me consider picking up the paddle and trying to do it all over again. The news that this was all coming to an end was of course a source of sadness and a feeling of loss, but considering how much the publishing industry is changing, not so much a surprise. I have been in contact with former editor Chris Cunningham and will likely be working with him again in the near future on an occasional piece for the new Small Boat Monthy, a digital publication of Wooden Boat Magazine. Such is progress, I suppose, but it’s hard to fathom how much has changed in the twenty-four years since I typed that first article on a borrowed electric typewriter.