Are you an 'elitest'?

You know you’re an ‘elitest’ when the 1st thing you notice in these pictures is the inferior kayak or the upside down paddle (and not the ‘subject’ of the picture).

Now, put those folks in a Valley boat, or NDK, P&H, EPIC, Eddyline, Rockpool, Tiderace, etc (of course, including my personal fav - Sterling), and maybe in some bouncy water, that might be worth a look.

BTW, how often have you seen someone paddling with a Werner or Lendal upsidedown (the paddle, not the kayak). Well, maybe if it’s borrowed.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone paddling a Wing upside down.
Now, is there such a thing as an upside down Greenland paddle?

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Can’t not see it, so snob it be. Granted some of these folks have it, interestingly the ones in tandems seem to mostly agree on the paddle up or down part. I suspect they actually paddle on a more frequent basis.

But when I see a bunch of these photos, of people who know they are going to be photographed by papparazzi… I really wonder why they don’t get info on which way is up with the paddle before they take off.

I have no problem with an elitist, but I would just say most of us are a little bit more experienced. On the other hand an elitest might be a whole nother animal.

I’ve never met an elitest but I know when a paddle is upside down.

I guess I am. When I wanted a rec boat and couldn’t find anything I liked, I designed and built my own.

I must be one; in all but two of those photos they were on SOTs, and that’s what I ride.

I do use my paddle right-side-up, though.

I’m pretty sure those were almost all rental boats.

Raisns, Perhaps since I get several clues to the seriousness of the kayaker by the equipage of the boat and boat design.

However on the GP there isn’t so much of a right or wrong side as on a spoon blade paddle or tip design from most Euro paddles. There is however the Aleutian Paddle that routinely has spline(s) on one side. I do have a GP with an arch in the shaft that makes paddling a little different if “upside” opposite. But you have to have some time with the paddle to discover it.

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I notice how a man holds a paddle incorrectly. A supermodel… not so much. Maybe I’m just somewhat elitist.

Nah. I’ve been known to paddle upside down, boat and paddle.

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I did notice that among the men, only 3 of the 9 shown (DiCaprio, Affleck and McGuire) were wearing PFD’s. Half the women (12 of 24) were wearing them, including all of the women who were out with their kids.

I’m more apt to first notice if people are dressed and/or buoyancy vested safely than what or how they are paddling.

Only Reese Witherspoon and her son look like they have their own gear – but then I’m apt to be biased since they are using an inflatable folder and Astral PFD’s.

The first thing I noticed is that 15 kayaks pictured were in violation of USCG regs as no PFDs were on board (didn’t count the pumpkin).

What’s hanging off the stern of the kayak paddled by the gal wearing the flying saucer hat?

Nothing indicates what country the pics were taken. Down here in St Lucia the paddlers use crap kayaks and paddles and can paddle standing in a rec kayak and tow swimmers that way too. None wear PFDs. So I guess I would call them experienced paddlers. Also free divers; which they do from kayaks also… get the conch. Hard to do with a PFD!

The stars I would surmise are not so experienced; I look at the way they hold their paddles

I don’t think you’re an elitest paddler unless you refuse to paddle with people that have low end gear and don’t look like they know what they’re doing. That would be elitest.

Just noticing things like that makes us seem more like nerds. :smile:


…Or a trip leader looking for the problem boats and the ones the sweep will be with.

To the comment about refusing to paddle with people… there is refusing and refusing.

I regularly have friends come to Maine to visit who have rec boats and zero skills. I am hard core with those folks about how far from shore I am willing to get. In some cases because they arrive with a rec boat w/o flotation bags PLUS they outweigh me by at least 80 pounds. In other cases because I cannot count on them being calm if they capsize, probably can rely on it going the other way. In most of these cases it is people who will freeze up at the slightest swell, I need to tell them to keep paddling.

I have gone out in Maine with people who have nothing going for them re paddling, but been willing to go further from shore because they are otherwise extremely comfortable on and in the water and are as adamant as me about wearing a PFD. Sailing and diving backgrounds. For that we borrow boats with adequate flotation - I know I could talk them back into the boat.

I personally, as did Jim and I together, decide not to go out with people who could not swim in one case or expressed an expectation that they would panic if they capsized in another. When it was clear that neither of them were willing to solve their problem, one by getting swim lessons at the Y and the other by practicing a capsize with me there to help, I was done paddling with them.

We had a paddling group at one point that regularly went out in the winter, on Lake George. Our rule was that no one went out with us on or after November without a full dry suit. Talking water temps down to the 30’s so this was minimal protection. Kokatat owes us a rebate . Several people purchased suits to be able to paddle with us.

Fundamental safety risks are entirely different than someone’s paddling level or speed in choosing who to paddle with, unless you are doing something like training for a race or taking on tricky conditions. Then the paddling level of the other people matters.


I think the true elitist believes they have a god given “right” to hold position of influence and authority over others. Even if they have to purchase or coerce themselves into those elitist postiions, which is “typically” how they gain such positions.

Check out the number of millionaire, and muliti millonaires in the United States Senate, and House of Representatives. They got into those position of influence and authority because they’re the best,the brightest, have the highest morals, and they are the most intelligent people in the united States. Right??? That’s BS!
Forget their bank account; look at their background history thoroughly.
Tell me the name of everyone of them that was, and remains, squeaky clean…
Don’t worry; it will be a short list.
Same sized list when you check up on the big time industrialists, movie stars, music stars, technology greats, sport stars, lawyers, judges, artists, writers, and CEOs in general.

Of course I’m a contrarian; you gotta “show me” you’re the best, when you get up on your high horse. 95% of the wannabe elites, AIN"T. They just fooled the fools, the easily misled sheeple, and the lemmings.

Check out your own elite hero;
Are they really?


My earlier reply was in regards to the example provided by the OP and was intended to be taken with these caveats: An invitation to paddle with people you are at least familiar with under reasonably safe water and weather conditions. I didn’t mean to imply that someone should always join in or accept any paddling outing, anywhere, any time, with anybody. That’s just irresponsible. And obviously if you are responsible for a group of paddlers you aren’t elitest if you insist on certain requirements before paddling with anyone.

I shall endeavor to explain my intent with much more specificity in future replies.

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Hmmm, this thread has gone philosophical.

I’m not sure if I’m an elitist. On one hand I only paddle canoes. On the other hand I never wear a big fashionable floppy hat and I could easily be caught offguard for photo ops. If someone wants to take a picture I may refuse to try to smile; I like those pics from 100+ years ago when folks didn’t smile. I have zero interest in paddling with celebrities and might even refuse that great honor. I’m confused but content.

I respectfully submit that most celebrities wouldn’t be worth your time.


( sp. “elitist”). I think you are reaching here. Experienced paddlers notice these things all the time, but that doesn’t make them elitists, in the sense that they think themselves superior.