Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Why is this so hard and why do I care?

Almost every time I encounter paddlers--mostly in small req. kayaks, about half of them are paddling with their paddles upside down. Just trying to be helpful, I ask them if they know their paddle is upside down. Usually if they are female, they will say, no they didn't realize there was a difference. I explain the difference and they're good with that. The men however, will generally say, yeah, I like it that way. So I ask if they know why most paddle blades are shaped the way they are. The answer is always no. Why do I care? I guess that's just the way I am, but I keep it very low-key and genial. Sometimes it leads to a discussion of paddling technique and there again, the average female is happy to learn something; the men, not so much.

Comments

  • It is consistent with other sports and the sexes. It is just the way it is.

    Qruiser took a ACA class then she campaigned for proper paddling technique. Most of the paddlers paid attention to her then went back to what they were doing before.

  • Dunning-Kruger Effect. (No, not Verlen Kruger)

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect

    See you on the water,
    Marshall
    The  Connection, Inc.
    Hyde Park, NY
    845-228-0595 main
    845-242-4731 mobile
    Main: www.the-river-connection.com
    Store: www.the-river-connection.us
    Facebook: fb.me/theriverconnection

  • Had a paddle-buddy come by last Wednesday to borrow a paddle & PFD for an old hiking friend. She said that he was a former paddler who wanted to return to the sport so I lent him a nice paddle and good PFD.
    1) he put the PFD on BACKWARDS with the zipper and pockets in the back.
    2) the pics she took showed him holding the paddle upside down and back-to-front.
    I am so glad he was unable to do the Colorado River with us over MLK-Day.

    Now the additional question is... why the [bleep] do these people LIE about their skills and experience when a lie could lead to death??

  • Yes, it is very common to see kayakers with asymmetrically-bladed paddles using them upside-down. I have learned the hard way that unsolicited advice is often received rather gracelessly, and I would agree that the likelihood of it being received that way is higher if the recipient is male.

    So unless I know the person and know that they will not take the information as an affront, when it comes to using paddles upside down, I usually keep my mouth shut. Now if a person was doing something that constituted a real risk to themselves or others, like getting ready to put on a Class IV whitewater river in a rec kayak with no flotation and no spray skirt, I would speak up. But an asymmetrically-bladed kayak paddle still works reasonably well even when used upside down.

    Now, if a see a canoe paddler using a bent-shaft paddle backwards, using the back face as the power face, I seem to feel the need to say something. I just can't help myself.

  • "Excuse me, miss,
    I'd like to say,
    your paddles held,
    in awkward way."

    "Less fatigue,
    efficiency,
    if you reverse the blade,
    you shall receive."

    "Why thanks old man.
    That I shall try."
    As she paddled off,
    sweetly reversed in lie.

    "Excuse me, sir,
    I'd like to say,
    your paddles held,
    in awkward way."

    "Less fatigue,
    efficiency,
    if you reverse the blades,
    you shall receive."

    "Piss off old fart!
    My way gets me there sooner!"
    Perhaps some take it in later,
    another Absorbine Junior.

  • I use my GP upside down and backwards!

    What do you have to say about that Mr. Smart Guy :D

  • I only bother if I see someone in April on 70° day and 40° water. But they think I nuts in my drysuit. They usually have no PFD. Three kids in two kayaks cold water no PFDs I CALLED THE CG

  • I am also very reluctant to offer unsolicited advice to strangers.

    My wife usually doesn't want any either!

  • Dunning-Kruger! I like it.
    "I'm so dumb that I think I'm smart."

    "I'm smart, you probably are, too!"

  • Here we are with all our earned and accumulated knowledge and no one wants it. :#

  • edited February 14

    Problem is you are telling them the correct methods when you should be texting it to them and if you put it on Facebook then it must be right.

  • @Yanoer said:
    I use my GP upside down and backwards!

    What do you have to say about that Mr. Smart Guy :D

    My GP actually has an up and down. It's just a slight difference in the cut. No one else can see it though. It takes hours to feel it.

  • I admit to having to watch multiple videos to discern which face of my wing paddle was the front face.

  • I am one of the people who hates to get unsolicited advice. For me, it usually happens when everyone is gathered around a surf wave. There is often one know-it-all (usually a man, but not always), who feels they need to give everyone advice. I'll paddle off and find another wave.

    Upside down kayak paddle, I could care less. Using a bent shaft canoe paddle backwards, I'd probably have to say something about that as well. ;)

  • What I don't understand is how people can launch at the ramp, paddle to the point and paddle back the 1/4 mile and be happy with it. But they do it every week. So I'm happy they are enjoying the water.

  • I find cyclists are the same way - ignorant of the basics. I see so many people peddling with their knees going higher than their handlebars because their seat is all the way down. How to they ride like that? I've actually adjusted people's seats for them. Two minutes on YouTube would cover the basics for most recent sports.

  • Cool "human nature" thread magooch. I like your comment that you try to remain low key when offering advice...it seems like there must be some art to this. I would think that it's hard to find an advice giver that can avoid "lecturing" combined with an advice receiver that is so open that they never get upset (or embarassed) no matter how the advice gets communicated.

    I remember being on a river one time when a woman in a rowing scull fell out of her boat right near me in an area with lots of plants in the water, and no one else around. I asked her if she was OK and she said she was fine and she was clearly embarassed so I slowly paddled away (leaving her swimming)...but kept an eye on her until I knew she was OK.

  • edited February 14

    Rather than telling anyone (men particularly) that they are holding it "wrong" or "upside down", I just tell them that they will get a better boost in their technique by holding it the "other" way. As if it's an "option" or a "performance tip".

    After decades of having to supervise guys in what are mostly male-dominated professions, I've learned that they often get stubborn and embarrassed when "corrected." If I say "why not try this and see how it works for you", they can figure out for themselves that it's the better way to do it.

  • To me they are the same thing. Political correctness is growing a generation of wimpy men. If I'm wrong I want someone to tell me and then tell me the correct way.

  • @Overstreet said:
    What I don't understand is how people can launch at the ramp, paddle to the point and paddle back the 1/4 mile and be happy with it. But they do it every week. So I'm happy they are enjoying the water.

    I'm with you on that one, but as you say, to each their own. In similar fashion, I once was rowing my guide-boat on the calm side of our biggest local lake on a very windy day, and a guy came along in a single scull and after nearly running me down (not watching where he was going), he asked me, 'sort of' a fellow rower, "where did you put in at?" I told him, while pointing to the other side of the lake, across more than three miles of whitecaps. He could hardly believe it, but he had the wrong boat for whitecaps and probably had no idea what would be possible with some other hull design. Plenty of people paddler their kayaks the same way.

  • It's not "political correctness" that has compelled me to use that method of instructing proper technique, it has been pragmatism. When you are running critical multi-million dollar construction projects (as I did for a couple of decades) you need to do whatever works to make sure your people comply with proper and efficient and safe installation methods. I found that strategic psychology just worked better than outright demands or shaming ineptitude-- many male egos are delicate things (not my fault, guys, and I know it isn't all of you, just some that are that vulnerable and pissy about a "chick" being smarter than them about something).

    At any rate, the smarter and more enlightened guys always picked up right away what I was doing and appreciated that I made the "corrections" discreetly without making anybody look dumb. And even if the dumb guys did not catch on to the strategy, at least I got them to do the work properly by making them think it was their own idea or choice to do it the way I suggested.

    It's part of treating people with respect too.

  • I hate to tell you this but it works both ways. As a manager for two decades in corporate America women hated to be shown or corrected by a stupid man. (in their pc eyes). We (men) always had to have a witness present in order to kindly direct a female employee that wasn't doing her job correctly. It was pathetic. If you didn't have a witness many would have you in HR up on charges before the day was over. Thankfully I no longer work in that environment and I don't miss it. I'd rather clean toilets for minimum wage (which I don't do).

  • Right or wrong way aside, do we each understand why and can we each truly explain why a given method is correct or preferred without being bombastic? I have found by asking the other paddler why their technique is "right" to them opens a dialogue which sometimes allows me an opportunity to offer or perhaps accept a better solution. I use a GP and often introduce it as the paddle for dummies because each of the 4 ways to hold it are equally right unlike the 208 cm, asymmetrical, dihedral with 27 degrees of feather for high angle paddling my medium rough water Swede formed hard chined hull that Trevor used in his unsupported circumnavigation of some isle of Narnia. I also find many newer paddlers are simply unaware of the myriad of choices and implications of something as simple as a kayak paddle and do not care and will blissfully paddle away while my BP goes ballistic.

  • My wife has taught me a lot about how to approach people in regard to instructing, or correcting them. She has no patients at all and doesn't like to be shown how to do anything. When she is dealing with a new process on one of her tablets I have to be very understanding and sympathetic about how "dumb these electronic devices are" to keep her from just giving up.

  • One hard and fast rule for me...............

    "Never try to correct, instruct, give advice, or show a drunk the error of their ways; at any place or any time.
    It's a waste of time, and only aggravates the drunk.

    Also, I no longer assist drunks (neither male or female) with boat or gear retrieval.
    l might throw them a rope if I thought they were drowning. BUT generally speaking, I accept no responsibility for what happens to drunks on the water.

    The last drunk I assisted, I pulled off the top of a strainer with a throw rope. I had previously assisted him & his partner in retrieving their rental canoe from under the same strainer. When both paddlers & their canoe were safely on shore, the drunkest of the two paddlers decided he needed to get back into the river, dive "under" the strainer, and retrieve his cooler full of beer. I told his slightly more sober paddling partner, "Your buddy is about to put himself in a situation where he may drown; you'd better get some of your friends to help stop him".
    Then I left............. Nowadays, I don't even stop; you can't fix stupid !

    BOB

  • There's a canoe under that strainer...............

    A good friend, who is a pnet regular, his wife, and another paddling buddy assisted these ladies in canoe retrieval.
    Note: lack of pfds on the women.
    Note: they have waded out into the river, and are upstream of the strainer. Not a good idea; the water is quite deep & has strong current. Loose your balance and you may end up under the strainer with the canoe. Great scenario for possible entrapment.

    Luckily, this group of women were in a religious sect that frowns on drunkeness; so that was never an issue.


    They readily accepted direction in canoe retrieval from people who knew a lot more about it than they did, were equipped to assist them, and were wearing their pfds.

    BOB

  • I met a fishing kayaker paddling and knew right away he was a newbie, paddle was upside down. Asked how the fishing was going, he said not bad but he was new at kayaking and was having trouble navigating. "He" asked if I had any suggestions as he noted my paddle was held differently than his and did I think it would help to change it. I said, "Sure! Give it a try"! He did and the gentleman noted it felt much more comfortable, said "Thanks!", and went on his way. Saw him later on my way back up river to go home and he noted it really helped. Told him about this website, what it has to offer the experienced and those new to the water sports involved and he was very appreciative. IMO, it's not always about 'what you say' but 'how you say it'. Some folks are always up to learning something new without being offended. If you ever get too old to learn, one might as well dig their grave. We live in an amazing world, with all sorts of people, with different backgrounds, not always nice ones, but most are.
    I liked all your remarks on how you handled the issue.

  • Enjoy life.

  • edited February 17

    DD, I don't get what you mean by "it works both ways".

    I explained that I used communication techniques that kept the people working for me (male and female) from reacting negatively to correction and discipline. My interactions with those I was responsible for NEVER resulted in any complaints or conflicts that ended up in HR as you describe.

    I had to be EXTRA tactful in my approach to men because I am aware there are entrenched perceptions and discomfort that many men still have to being overseen by a woman, especially in the male-dominated construction and engineering business I was in. I didn't need to drag a "witness" in when I had to deal with disciplinary or performance issues. You have to take into account the culture of the people you are dealing with in your approach to them. You learn to sense which way you need to approach each individual. Both my male and female subordinates and peers knew I would be fair, discreet and patient with them. The guys knew I was competent but would not try to lord it over them to "prove" some sort of female dominance. And the gals knew they could not play sympathy games with me out of some gender "loyalty" in part because they knew I had been doing the same work that they were expected to do my whole career at the same level as the male employees.

    I also did not hesitate to apologize to them if I made an error myself and they also knew they could come to me with any problems they had on the job with the work or with others and I would listen. Respect goes both ways, and if you respect people (by asking for their cooperation rather than demanding their obedience) they will respect you without you having to force it. With mutual respect, your HR guy can stay in his/her office and continue to play Candy Crush all day.

    If HR kept having to be brought in to mediate conflicts in the business you were in there was something wrong with the culture there, not the employees. It wasn't "political correctness", but bad management. Sounds like a lack of clear expectations, failure to establish disciplinary guidelines, shortfalls in training managers and the resulting poor morale. Bad morale and internal employee conflicts all originate from action or inaction at the top of the organization.

    I've worked for companies at both extremes of the good and the bad. In the bad, if I could not change or work around the poor culture, I moved on. The companies with GOOD practices and morale were a joy to work at. And those ones worked hard at it. I learned a lot from them.

  • @thebob.com said:
    There's a canoe under that strainer...............

    A good friend, who is a pnet regular, his wife, and another paddling buddy assisted these ladies in canoe retrieval.
    Note: lack of pfds on the women.
    Note: they have waded out into the river, and are upstream of the strainer. Not a good idea; the water is quite deep & has strong current. Loose your balance and you may end up under the strainer with the canoe. Great scenario for possible entrapment.

    Luckily, this group of women were in a religious sect that frowns on drunkeness; so that was never an issue.


    They readily accepted direction in canoe retrieval from people who knew a lot more about it than they did, were equipped to assist them, and were wearing their pfds.

    BOB

    It's a Mennonite of madness
    (and John the Baptist ain't in sight),
    when the Old Town rocks neath waters
    and a flock of doves alight,

    branching out from bad baptismal,
    "Nein, nein, nein, " by some account,
    of good summarians Aquarian
    that shan't sermonize dismount.

  • @shirlann said:
    I met a fishing kayaker paddling and knew right away he was a newbie, paddle was upside down. Asked how the fishing was going, he said not bad but he was new at kayaking and was having trouble navigating. "He" asked if I had any suggestions as he noted my paddle was held differently than his and did I think it would help to change it. I said, "Sure! Give it a try"! He did and the gentleman noted it felt much more comfortable, said "Thanks!", and went on his way. Saw him later on my way back up river to go home and he noted it really helped. Told him about this website, what it has to offer the experienced and those new to the water sports involved and he was very appreciative. IMO, it's not always about 'what you say' but 'how you say it'. Some folks are always up to learning something new without being offended. If you ever get too old to learn, one might as well dig their grave. We live in an amazing world, with all sorts of people, with different backgrounds, not always nice ones, but most are.
    I liked all your remarks on how you handled the issue.

    Amen! The approach makes a big difference. Being direct or even blunt myself, I have to watch this. But even I know better than to tell a stranger, “You’re holding the paddle wrong!” as my husband has done, more than once. At those times I hate being near him. The ironic thing is he is one of those guys who, let us say, does not take direction well. I ran into another one of these situations yesterday, over a very simple nonpadding procedure, and he promptly “did it his way” after asking me to look at how he started doing it, which was OK. And then did it all different as soon as I turned around. He had to redo it.

  • Those darn hard headed husbands!

  • Working the skilled trades where I did, generally the the sharpest and most experienced journeymen are designated as lead men. Back about half a century, the lead man was just a half step below God and you didn't question anything he said. When I reached that exalted position, the new breed of journeymen (prima donnas) pretty much all thought they knew everything there was to know. I even came across a few who hadn't reached the journeyman level who were nervy enough to question my decisions and methods. They were never going to win the dispute, but I always tried to instruct rather than order. I only recall once when I even raised my voice--that guy was a particular hard head. I think in the long run, it pays to be patient and not be too bossy.

  • Works with most children too.

  • edited February 17

    Well, at least leading a group of newbie paddlers on a trip is not as tough as what these guys do:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=68&v=Pk7yqlTMvp8

  • edited February 19

    It seems like I often take the first two or three strokes into the water with an upside down paddle blade. Between getting the skirt on, the feet on the pegs, and the hips engaged i don't even think about the paddle blade for the first stroke or two. Once I get situated then I do a quick paddle twirl and I'm straightened out. Proper alignment means the paddler manufacturer's name is upright.

    I think a bigger deal is if you're using a nonpower face (the back of the curvature) for forward strokes on a curved paddle blade. I hardly see anybody do that and I purposefully practice bracing with both power faces.

    What is a huge deal is to try to use someones paddle that has an opposite offset- righthanded vs lefthanded. I will hand paddle before I attempt that!

    Kids are easiest teach, females second, and middle aged males are more difficult. None of these groups are as difficult as me (a grumpy old ,man who is a know it all) when it comes to learning something new. For some comedy you can always take a canoe paddle and hold the blade and use the grip in the water. Makes for some entertaining video.

  • edited February 19

    @tdaniel said:

    Kids are easiest teach, females second, and middle aged males are more difficult. None of these groups are as difficult as me (a grumpy old ,man who is a know it all) when it comes to learning something new.

    Oh, about those grumpy old men! I once was rowing the guide-boat several miles upstream on a favorite local river and encountered a canoer from the paddling club I belong to. I stopped to say hi, and found out that he was with his parents and some other family members. All were very welcoming to me, except my friend's father (the grumpy old man), who immediately wanted to fight about what kind of boat I was rowing, and he just wouldn't let it go. He wanted to convince me in the worst way that my boat was not an Adirondack guide-boat, but instead was a Saint Lawrence skiff (it's not even remotely similar, but I think it was the only kind of rowboat he knew and he just had to make the idea fit). My friend, and especially his mom, just got this forlorn expression on their faces which showed they've been dealing with that mentality for a mighty long time and knew better than to say anything. Dan, when it comes to boat stuff, I seriously doubt you can out-grumpy that guy!

  • @willowleaf said:
    DD, I don't get what you mean by "it works both ways".

    I explained that I used communication techniques that kept the people working for me (male and female) from reacting negatively to correction and discipline. My interactions with those I was responsible for NEVER resulted in any complaints or conflicts that ended up in HR as you describe.

    I had to be EXTRA tactful in my approach to men because I am aware there are entrenched perceptions and discomfort that many men still have to being overseen by a woman, especially in the male-dominated construction and engineering business I was in. I didn't need to drag a "witness" in when I had to deal with disciplinary or performance issues. You have to take into account the culture of the people you are dealing with in your approach to them. You learn to sense which way you need to approach each individual. Both my male and female subordinates and peers knew I would be fair, discreet and patient with them. The guys knew I was competent but would not try to lord it over them to "prove" some sort of female dominance. And the gals knew they could not play sympathy games with me out of some gender "loyalty" in part because they knew I had been doing the same work that they were expected to do my whole career at the same level as the male employees.

    I also did not hesitate to apologize to them if I made an error myself and they also knew they could come to me with any problems they had on the job with the work or with others and I would listen. Respect goes both ways, and if you respect people (by asking for their cooperation rather than demanding their obedience) they will respect you without you having to force it. With mutual respect, your HR guy can stay in his/her office and continue to play Candy Crush all day.

    If HR kept having to be brought in to mediate conflicts in the business you were in there was something wrong with the culture there, not the employees. It wasn't "political correctness", but bad management. Sounds like a lack of clear expectations, failure to establish disciplinary guidelines, shortfalls in training managers and the resulting poor morale. Bad morale and internal employee conflicts all originate from action or inaction at the top of the organization.

    I've worked for companies at both extremes of the good and the bad. In the bad, if I could not change or work around the poor culture, I moved on. The companies with GOOD practices and morale were a joy to work at. And those ones worked hard at it. I learned a lot from them.

    Now, that's refreshing - and a guideline that managers everywhere would do well to follow.

  • I still see people, even instructors using a bent shaft paddle backwards. WTF!

  • @paddletothesea said:
    I still see people, even instructors using a bent shaft paddle backwards. WTF!

    When I was down at the beach I would often see SUP paddlers with the paddle backwards. They seemed to manage without my help.

  • @paddletothesea said:
    I still see people, even instructors using a bent shaft paddle backwards. WTF!

    You thought they were instructors.

Sign In or Register to comment.
Message Boards Close

Hello, Paddler!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!