been thinking a lot about “labels” lately. Part of this is from taking aca instructor training this year and from having worked with a number of beginners . Right now here’s the gospel as I’m currently teaching/preaching it-
“all of us can benefit from basic paddle instruction” as we work to become more efficient, more proficient, and clean up and revisit techniques. So basic paddle instruction is a good thing in my book for just about everybody.
i really struggled with basic paddle strokes because I was largely self taught, I had adapted my strokes- very shallow strokes best suited for rocky creeks. During instructor training the others faired a lot better at being “smooth”, planting more of the paddle in the water, and having “quieter” (less splash) in their strokes. My ww strokes tended to be shorter and choppy end of the spectrum even for ww. Most of the others had formaI lessons at some point while i was more self taught.
I realize there is more that I don’t know than I do know. Meaning that there are still many types of craft and environments that I still haven’t explored. I think what makes me “experienced” is that I have a pretty good sense of my own abilities and manage risks accordingly.
I got my left hip replaced a week ago- so right now I’m in a rehab/no paddling mode. I did kayak class II, III waterand class IV ww (in a raft) up until a week before my surgery. I’ve been pretty banged up for a while now- haven’t rolled for a couple of years but I’ve still manage to have fun, changed my game a bit in the meanwhile- beginner, intermediate, expert- it’s all good as long as I ain’t in too deep over my head…
so to answer the op you will always be a beginner or novice at something if you decide to keep exploring new craft, environment, or paddling styles, What you get better at is bullsh##in’. You might reach a comfort level to where you might try something solo or leading a group. Situational awareness = boater IQ