It’s August, so I’ll refer to rowing again. But as a segue to K1 sprint kayaking.

As a rower, I lust for flat water. So when the conditions serve up wind and chop, I get my workouts on the water with kayaking. But last year, no matter how hard I tried, I found it challenging to get my heart rate into my target zone with my recreational paddling technique. This prompted me to investigate the topic “fitness kayaking,” which resulted in my discovery of K1, ICF sprint kayaking.

First off, just looking at these skinny, lightweight boats elevates my pulse. The beautiful lines of these sprint kayaks appears to have combined kayaks and rowing shells to create an extra narrow boat with a centered foot platform. But also elevating the heart rate is the extra spooky tipsiness of these boats. Which led me to seek coaching.

In July, I went to Lake Placid to watch the International Sprint Kayaking events. After a few days of mingling with athletes and coaches, I decided to make a few calls to ask for some coaching. Remarkably, three out of three calls resulted in positive and supportive responses. A former Olympic kayaker and Olympic coach from Canada; and another coach from New York who has trained several elite women kayakers—both agreed to provide me with video coaching. Also, a fellow New England kayaker accepted my invitation to paddle together and offer pointers—that is once she returned from the Nationals. She makes many other introductions for me and she even paddles race courses with me in advance of race events. Invaluable.

Is it the smallness of the world of ICF kayaking? Is it because only a very few come of their free will to experience the unusually difficult journey to develop technique? Is it because we wish so badly to share our excitement and impart whatever experiences and wisdom? Whatever it is, it’s truly a great gift to have such easy and immediate access to the Masters of this obscure sport. Also note, unlike most other sports–the intimacy of this community ties us closer together, provides greater inspiration, greater loyalty and retains members for longer periods of time.

Now sitting at my desk, I have to ask which of my clients’ brands couldn’t learn a thing or two from creating this kind of intimate world and becoming this accessible a leader?

I can’t think of one.