39EGYTtHRxIslKLPambXIVQ5uLXLWoflphZUrGfi7JY Angle Oar Adaptive Kayaking Equipment page contents E1238296C9AB2A3A16BD08114EFAF308
  • Meg McCall

Neither Age Nor Shoulder Surgery Keep This Mother-Daughter Team from Kayaking

91 year old kayaker

For nearly a decade, Jean Mugford, 91, and her daughter, Nancy Witham, 63, both of Massachusetts, have been taking an annual kayaking trip together. With Jean, the love of kayaking started 30 years ago in Gloucester, MA. She saw lots of people kayaking on the river there and says, “I thought I’d like it and that it was something that I could do.” Nancy’s interest began about a decade ago, fueled after borrowing her sister’s and brother-in-law’s kayaks. A short time later she was hooked and purchased her own single kayak.

In the early years, the two women would take week-long trips, renting kayaks and staying in hotels. Ultimately, all the logistical coordination with renting and transporting kayaks required too much effort, so they decided to buy their own kayak. “It happened very quickly. We just said, ‘we’re doing this,’” recalls Nancy.

They opted for a red tandem kayak by Prodigy. They love the “Cadillac-style” seats that came with the Prodigy, which allow them to paddle up to six hours at a time without discomfort. Nancy’s paddle of choice is by Werner. “It’s carbon fiber, and you can hold it on one finger.”

Nancy, 63-year-old kayaker with torn shoulder labrum

They’ve covered territory throughout the East Coast on their trips, from Lake Winnipesaukee and Lake Conway in New Hampshire to the Waterbury Reservoir in Vermont. Their usual MO is to rent a cottage on a lake, the one requirement being that it has a sandy beach. “We go up for a week, and we’re out (in the kayak) every day,” notes Nancy. “We find different places to put in, and we’ll leave in the morning and not get back until it’s dark.”

The two seem to have quite good sense of humor about their outings together. They recounted a trip, back when they were still renting tandem kayaks, where they went on a group tour that ended in a wine tasting. “There we