I’ve been thinking of getting a tattoo for years and years. Mostly I wanted something that celebrated my Canadian heritage, so I have been thinking in terms of a Canadian flag almost all that time. But when I went to the Canadian Surfski Championships in 2015, they gave me a nice sticker with their logo for my boat.
It was nice, but it didn’t really grab me. But in 2016, they gave me another sticker with an improved version of the logo.
I started thinking that this would be the solution for my tattoo – it celebrates Canada (with the maple leaf on the bow of the boat) and it celebrates my love of paddling. Plus it comes from an event that I loved both times I went, and I hope to go again.
I’ve been putting off getting a tattoo for all these years – I knew that getting one would require sitting out paddling and maybe even other exercise types for a week, and I rarely do that. Plus with my relationship to pain, I was reluctant to subject myself to anymore But when Vicki and Laura had tattoos last week, it struck me that I had all the elements needed – I have Vicki’s assurance that it didn’t hurt as much as I thought, I’m not paddling because of my wrist surgery, and the weather sucks so I’m not bike riding much either.
So I wrote to Bob Putnam, the organizer of the Canadian Surfski Championships, to make sure he wouldn’t think I was stealing his intellectual property and he wouldn’t mind if I used his design without the sponsor logo and the words on the bottom. He turned out to be very enthusiastic about the idea, and he even sent me two designs that they were still deciding between for the 2017 Canadian Surfski Championships. These designs were even better than the 2016 logo – he’s made some changes that make it look like it was influenced by west coast Indian art.
I chose the one where the maple leaf was more obvious, printed it out and took it to the tattoo artist. I’d even found a web site where I could convert it to an outline because I thought that would make things easier for the artist. Also because a friend told me that fill needles are painful and I might want to just get it as an outline.
When Bob had sent me the designs, he had mentioned that I might want to move the maple leaf to where the sponsor logo normally goes. And the tattoo artist had agreed – he said that trying to fit it on the boat would make it too hard to get the corners sharp and stuff. He also talked me into getting at least some fill.
The process was painful. Not as bad as I’d feared, but there were a couple of points where I just wished he’d finish. But I could see how well it was going and I was extremely pleased. Here’s what it looked like when he finished and wiped the blood away. I’m thrilled. It’s everything I’d hoped it would be.