Oakland North spotlight: California Canoe and Kayak

on December 4, 2014

California Canoe and Kayak (CCK) is a water sports outfitter located in Jack London Square, though they have several other locations around the Bay Area. This video is a glimpse into the life of one of CKK’s employees: Mike Wang.

Wang is originally from Shanghai, though he has also lived in Beijing, Mongolia and several cities around the United States before moving to the Bay Area in 1998. After graduating from college in Michigan, he traveled South America and taught English, he said. Teaching English is very similar to teaching someone how to kayak, he said, which he frequently does at CCK.

“Water has a really good healing quality to it,” he said. “So, when you start up groggy in the morning, you get on the water and it just makes you calm and makes you loving life.”

CCK’s Jack London Square location about 15 years ago, Wang said, although the original store opened in 1973 in Marin County. CCK offers various types of water sports classes, such as sea kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding and white-water kayaking, at many different levels, Wang said. Today, CCK has six locations around Northern California in Oakland, Sacramento, Lotus, San Carlos, San Mateo and Half Moon Bay.

One of Wang’s most memorable experiences, he said, was helping a woman in a wheel chair get in a kayak. She was frail, but determined to get into a kayak, Wang remembers. The process of getting her into a kayak was inspiring to Wang, he said.

Wang lives in Alameda and he works at the CCK located in Jack London Square. When the weather is nice, he said, he paddles across the Oakland Estuary to work.

“It’s about being in the moment rather than thinking about all the other things in your life,” Wang said.

Photo by Basil D Soufi
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Oakland North is an online news service produced by students at the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism and covering Oakland, California. Our goals are to improve local coverage, innovate with digital media, and listen to you–about the issues that concern you and the reporting you’d like to see in your community. Please send news tips to: oaklandnorthstaff@gmail.com.

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