Lets face it, at one point in our kayaking journey we have all picked up the phone and made numerous phone calls to find other paddlers without success.
And there is always the, “I don’t know buddy, you might not be ready for this run” or “Hey I think there is another group going to the (local II/III run)”.
Most people have busy schedules, and can’t drop everything at a whim to go paddling with a complete stranger who they met over a website or social media.
What is it about some paddlers that you immediately become lifelong friends and others you would prefer not to join again?
Here are a few tips for new paddlers about trying to find a good core paddling group.
– Be Honest with yourself.
Before trying to contact paddlers and set a trip, are you really ready to go to this particular river?
The fastest way to not get a invite back to a paddling group is to be the carnage for the day.
I’m not saying that if you have “a” swim it’s the end of the world, but from experience certain paddlers that have multiple swims get branded and word gets around quickly. Did you do your homework? In this digital age there is probably GoBro video on the interwebs of the entire river you are considering.
Let your group know which rapids you would like to run, but be honest that it will be a new level of difficulty and you would not mind walking if its best for the group.
– Be a Asset.
Do you paddle with safety gear? Are you considerate of others? Are you offering to help with shuttle?
Simple questions to ask yourself when you show up and throughout the day.
If you are a kind and considerate person, most of the time you will get along just fine.
Nobody enjoys paddling with people who are self centered, lets be honest kayaking is just as much of a team effort as individual skills.
– Be on Time.
Aside from the fact that this is a pet peeve of mine, it does nothing to bring group moral up when everyone is waiting for the new guy to show up at the takeout.
Set your alarm for 15 minutes early, do your gear preparation the night before, and be a few minutes early to help load boats.
Having new friends meet you at the river and when you are geared up and ready to go speaks volumes about your preparation and readiness for this new run.
– Show your gratitude.
From personal experience taking people down new runs can be just as intimidating for the trip leader as the new paddler.
I feel a sense of personal responsibility for their well being and it can be mentally stressful keeping a close eye on a particular person the whole day.
As well as scouting rapids and describing moves, when you could be hanging out with your friends and chatting in a eddy.
Gratitude in adult beverage form never hurts as well
Hope this helps new paddlers out there, shoot me a email and let me know if there is something that you feel is important as well.