Alright I need statistics

My lovely wife has informed me that she does not see the need for some training on this kayak thing. I have stressed to her the importance of safety skills and correct paddling / maneuvering skills and she remains a hard head about it. Not that she won’t do it if I persist, but it would be great if someone good give me some good fire power to hit her with on the subject. Here is a list of what will be covered in the training:

-Fit and adjustment of their kayak for effective

control and comfort

-Safely enter and exit their kayak from shore

-Safely and effectively wet-exit

-Demonstrate proper use and control of the


-Perform the following strokes: Forward,

reverse, left & right draw, forward and reverse

sweep, power forward, touring forward, pivot in

place, low and high brace with hip snap, high

and low brace turns, sculling brace, sculing

draw, rudder and more…

-Boat design, safety equipment and gear

-Maneuvers: forward, reverse, sideways, edging,

emergency stop

-Weather and how it effects us and the


-Safety and Rescue

-Demonstrate and participate in rescues: T-X

rescue, Assisted Rescue, Eskimo Rescue, Self

Rescue using a paddle float, T-Rescue and scoop

rescues, side by side rescue (the real world

rescue) and more

-Stroke componenets: catch, propulsion, recovery

(CPR), correction strokes

-How to prevent a capsize

-How to empty a kayak in the event of a capsize

-Basic navigation and much more…

Now, sorry for the long list here, but looking at this list I can see 1 or 2 things that MIGHT SAVE A LIFE. This course will cost us $200 a piece which is also an issue with her and rightly so since no one’s life is worth that. So, let’s here it, give me the ammo I need.

Could it be
that maybe she is just not as interested in kayaking as you are? Or maybe she has a unspoken fear of having to perform for others?

If you want to paddle without destroying your shoulders and without worrying about what to do when you tip over, by all means, take a class. If you don’t plan on going in water over your head, paddling any distance, or using a spray skirt, then it takes on a bit less importance.

My take is the more you know, the more you enjoy. If it was my wife, I would tell her I was going the the class and I would like it if she came along. At least then one of you will have an idea what to do given the circumstances.

I Did Not See Anything
on your list that you should not learn. If you paddle awhile you are going to learn those things and more, one way or the other. Taking a class and learning all the things from a professional instructor will get you out paddling faster and safter.

Happy Paddling,


you could take the class then teach her what you learned. Buy yourself something nice with the saved $200. A nice VHF radio?

I may agree in spirit with Rusty
The advantages of the things on your list are obvious. While you can acquire them over time yourselves the question is why? Why endure the frustration? Or Risk? Or delay? If you do take the course and the instruction is competent then I can guarantee you will both be surprised at how much easier it is to learn from an experienced tgeacher, at how many things you would not have thought of that are important, and, most importantly, how much more fun it is when you get good help to learn skills that are harder and less intuitive than you may think. I don’t know your financial situation but $200 apiece seems a bargain. Which leads to the delicate question. Is there something else going on that is unspoken? You may at least want to ponder that privately.

Nice thought
Kudzu, but I am not the one to teach such skills. I don’t have enough patience for that unless I am in a professional environment where I am qualified to give instruction. However, you bring up a good point with the VHF radio. I will look for one of those.

What is she really saying?
Maybe she does not value spending $400 bucks on the activity?

You can certainly get some of the same instruction from some of the best teachers in the country for less money …

I would listen to her more carefully and work out a less expensive alternative. You can teach your self to wet exit, self rescue and basic strokes from a $30 dollar video or $12 book. Many of us here have. I have only taken a few classes and thought they were well worth the investment, but I think a lot of folks on this board are over the top in their predilection towards spending on gear and instruction. I would spend the money on instruction judiciously if she is not as gung ho as you are. Be thankful she has any interest in kayaking at all. You might be surprized but the best kayakers I know who paddle in the gnarliest conditions and who I trust to paddle with in huge waves have never had a single lesson!

Be Careful!
I purchased a kayak back in 1994. My (now ex)wife threw a fit and said either the kayak goes or she goes. She left in 1995, I sold that kayak in 2001. The only victim was Otis, my dog. He was saved by a pet PFD but met his demise on a wok.

A it expensive but…

– Last Updated: May-04-06 9:26 PM EST –

Are ther any paddling clubs around you? Can you learn from a book and practice? Is thsi a two day course (then OK on price) or private lessons (not needed at this level, save the $$$ for a better boat or a forward stroke clinic.

People die from not being able to wet exit!

You Wokked Your Dog?

No my ex did.
I had no idea. I thought I was eating pork.

Was he…good?

Reviewing the obvious . . .
Your sales pitch thus far has been unsuccessful.

Continued efforts along the same lines will probably be equally unsuccessful. (If your wife is not motivated by her husband’s desire for her safety why do you think she would hold the opinions of some anonymous paddler in higher esteem?)

Women are not men with different plumbing. They are as different from men as is possible within the same species. Since they have a completely different sense of wants / needs / desires / goals / priorities, it’s futile to use a male-centered sales pitch on them.

Alternative approach:

Determine what motivates you wife:

Does she paddle because you want her to? (a recipe for failure)

Does she paddle because she wants to spend “quality time” with you? (a better choice)

Does she paddle for the exposure to nature? To visit wild and remote locations? Because she loves the water / sea / river ? Be honest with yourself, does she paddle because you want her to or would she still paddle if you did not?

Once you sort out what it is that she wants, then it’s a small matter to determine how she will be best served. But never assume that her desires and goals are somehow less important or less legitimate just because they are different than your’ or mine. Lastly some women learn more readily and more enjoyably when they are in all-female settings. This certainly is not the case for all women but it’s a consideration.

then tell her about the cute women in the class. Around here classes were skewed a bit to women in their 30’s-40’s.

Let her learn on her own.

One of the dificult things about couples in classes are men who take on the role of instructor for their wives. It’s a tad counterproductive and irritating.

hmmm. too much too fast?
Could it just be that it is too much at once? Maybe a wet exit and paddle float re-entry with a club would be enough at first and work on the rest later? Seems to me that maybe some quality time on the water for an hour or two seeing some beautiful area you couldn’t see from shore would help motivate and then the additional safety lessons could come quietly. Maybe just a case of too much too fast?

You on the other hand, seem gung ho for this lesson and should take it. Seems like an awful lot in one day if you are going to be able to do any quality practice. rolling classes for example don’t generally last more than an hour because even though the mind may be willing, the body just doesn’t want to accept any more neuron path burning.


if this $200 class is one 8hr class I strongly suggest breaking it into two 4hr classes. Some folks really don’t look to spend an entire day with strangers doing uncomfortable things.

You appear to have an IDEA about this kayak stuff. She has an IDEA too. I’d respect her IDEA and enjoy yours. She made it this far,she probably won’t endanger herself unless she’s got a history of doing bonehead maneuvers, drives without a seatbelt, etc.

One thing I will add.
My wife is very excited about getting into Kayaking. I got the idea after a visit from my Uncle and Cousin when I noticed all these boats on their vehicles. She didn’t even hesitate when I suggested the idea and now that we have gathered this much information, she is still raring to go. She has stated she doesn’t feel it’s necessary because she doesn’t think she will ever be in a situation to need those skills. What it comes down to really is she thinks that I am trying to make her get wet for no reason other than my enjoyment. I mentioned how learning to roll or at least wet exit would be a good skill to have, however she looks at that as a “trick” people do for fun, that she has no interest in. She is simply hard headed about this one issue. She really doesn’t like isntruction from anyone on any matter. It is a pride issue for her and infringes on her independence.

we broke up the basic ACA course into two four hour courses. My experience is that it took a lot of folks an entire summer to be able to paddle a kayak in a straight line.

Just being able to handle another kayak during a rescue and maneuver around it without losing gear takes about a dozen times to get proficient. Cramming all that other stuff met the curriculum requirments but retention doesn’t happen without practice outside the class.

She may want a level of proficiency before taking a class to get the most out of it.

When folks try learning self rescues when they can’t even do a sculling brace it makes the learning a lot harder.

Jed brought up some excellent points.
My wife “paddles”, but what she wants out of kayakking is totally different than what I usually want.

She paddles about 6 or 7 times a year, while I paddle every weekend all year round.

I love punching in and out through surf, and she still fears it when she has to negoitate small surf.

When she wants to paddle, I go on the type of trip she wants to do. She likes to watch seal, sea lions, and dolphings so we go looking for that.

Next month we are taking a vacation in the Sea of Cortez. We will be kayaking from a mother ship. It’s basically designed for beginners, but we are both compromising here. I’ll still be on the water in a kayak, and she’s willing to put up with a week of non-challenging kayaking.

She’s also only taken one formal class while I’ve taken many. Since I can’t teach her, one of my friends has been able to work with her on improving skills. When he says something, it’s instruction-when I say the same thing it is criticising.

Good luck

Okay, another thing again…
The instructor prefers (not mandates) couples to take the class together as his experience shows that couple will typically be the ones paddling together and will be able to re-affirm what was learned in the class to one another from their point of view. I can gaurantee that if my wife doesn’t take it with me, she won’t take it ever which will lead to her not understanding something that will be critical to the enjoyment of the sport which is the point where the boat will be come a big ol paper weight. My thought on the matter is that w/o the proper foundation you cannot fully enjoy or dislike something.

Also, this is a two day class and the instructor does provide most of the supplies so the cost will appear high to some. It was not my intention to question the cost. I just want to start out right.