As an avid kayaker and talented woodworker, it delighted Lou Metzger to no end when he discovered Pine Run Retirement Community had a fully stocked wood shop. He’d been wanting to build his own boat.
Last Friday, almost exactly a year after he’d begun the ambitious project, Metzger, 80, launched his gleaming, 14-foot, sea kayak into the pond at the Doylestown Township retirement community to a round of applause by residents gathered on the deck overlooking the water.
“Wow, it spins nicely,” said Pat Metzger, Lou’s wife, as she looked on, taking a video of the maiden voyage. Pat is also an accomplished kayaker and has traveled with her husband across the country and Canada on countless kayaking and canoeing trips.
“It felt wonderful,” said Metzger,” after a few trips around the pond. “It felt like driving a sports car.”
His Petral Play Sea Kayak is made of Western red cedar strips, covered with fiberglass and epoxy resin. It weighs just 36 pounds. “This is an all-around fun boat to paddle, with a nice roomy cockpit,” said Metzger.
As he worked on his kayak, Metzger enlisted the help of a couple fellow woodworking enthusiasts. Irv Thompson, a master woodworker who oversees operations in the center’s wood shop lent a hand, as did Walt Mayer.
“It was a dream to work on something like this,” said Mayer, who also lives at Pine Run. “Imagine being able to do this in a retirement community. Working with Lou was a joy,” he added.
Next up, said Metzger, is a trip to Lake Nockamixon in Nockamixon State Park to meet with some other sea kayakers and test out his carefully crafted boat. He hopes to get his kayak into the ocean soon.
“It’s meant for heavier waters,” he said.