It often takes a break for injury, some kind of punctuation, for us to stop and really consider the risks that we take as kayakers: the time that we use, the money spent, the injuries, the family time missed, the seeming selfishness of it all. You think and think as friends and family question your motivations, and whilst you know in your heart of hearts that you need to kayak, you can never really explain your actions fully in way that actually helps people to understand.
Maslow (1943) theorised that there are six fundamental human needs that everyone has in common, and that human behaviour is simply a series of attempts to meet those fundamental needs. At the base of Maslow’s hierarchy lies the basic physiological needs such as breathing, eating and sex. People will do anything to meet these basic needs, and must do so before they are able to meet needs higher up the hierarchy, such as the need for safety, love and belonging, esteem, creativity, spontaneity and acceptance of reality amongst other things.
"I kayak because I need to... so there!"
Denning, A. H. (2012) What Maslow Missed. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevedenning/2012/03/29/what-maslow-missed/#29fa42c6455a [cited 28 March 2016].
Factoryjoe (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons
Maslow, A (1943) A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50(4), pp. 370-396.