guide no more

I hosted about 9 people who had either extrememly limited experience or no experience at all for a half day paddle. These were people from work.

We rented 3 tandems sit on tops and 3 sit insides. One of the people (a brother of a co-worker) insisted in a sit inside (CD squall) and against all sense I let him take it instead of a sit on top like a tarpon.

Well we got dropped off at the put in and it didn’t take everyone long to get accustomed and start to have a great time except for this kid who promptly fell out of his boat. A macho attitude and little listening capabilities did not help the issue. I did a T rescue (on my brand new boat!!!) and got him back in his boat but he was so stiff that it took very little time for him to go over again. Meanwhile he had drifted into a canal where the dive boats come and go so he was in some traffic. I did another t rescue and got him back in his boat and we pumped the rest of the water out and he started paddling gingerly out of everyone’s way but couldn’t either control the rudder or the boat and fell in the water again! This time right in the traffic lane. I got next to him and dumped his boat again and got him back in all while trying to maneuver two boats out of traffic and to keep from scraping against pilings and docks. I was really pissed but more at myself for letting this kid in a sit inside. I stayed right next to him for about 20 yards and got him controlling his rudder somewhat but it was obvious that this was not going to work. (Meanwhile the rest of the group had entered into the mangrove cuts and were having a great time!)

After the third capsize and the certainty that it was about to happen again I decided that enough was enough.

I got to practice a tow rescue though as I came up alongside of him going pretty quickly and slapped my tow rope on his bow and told him to keep his paddle in bracing position and brought him back into the put in and called the paddleshop and they brought out a tarpon 160 for him.

We paddled around Rattlesnake key looking for the group but they had already gone back by the time we got there so we returned to the put in. The kid was wiped out. I tried to show him paddling strokes and how to use his torso but he just did not want to listen. I thought I was going to have to tow him back in but he made it.

Never again!

I am really trying to promote the sport but next time everyone will be in a sit on top.

What a mess. I had no fun but boy did I get a work out!

Everyone else had a great time and want to do it again so that is good I guess.


Good Effort
It was just one person out of a good-sized bunch that was a total pain, right? So maybe it wouldn’t happen every time. And a Squall? I’d wonder about the paddle shop putting any first timer into that. It was my first sea kayak - loses its very good initial stability pretty quickly with a paddler that tenses up in conditions, also is stiff on turning. A Storm would have been a better idea.

I had a cousin many years ago that I was forced by relatives to take out in a two person canoe, a big old wood job that was actually a very nice canoe in conditions. Just quite heavy. I couldn’t put him behind me because he hadn’t a clue what to do, so I put him as far back as I could get him to stay in front where I could see what he was doing. Of course regardless of my instructions he kept moving to the darned seat up front to sit on it.

He put us in the water three times, each time before we’d made it 40 ft from the dock. There was something very effective about dragging both of us, soaking wet, up to the veranda and making it clear that I was never, ever going to take this fool out again.

Unfortunately I think an argument could be made that I was the fool here. I can’t blame the paddleshop as I was the one that was helping people in their boats and even though I put him in it, adjusted the foot pegs and rudder and asked him several times if he was comfortable he assured me that he was. It was definitely a macho thing on his part and I guess I didn’t think of the repercussions enough. I think he got a great education on just how less “easy” kayaking is. The paddleshop was great and even made the comment to me that they thought it was strange that the kid was in the squall instead of the sit on top we had originally decided on. Not their fault at all. completely mine for letting it happen.


good for ya
and congratulations on using your new boat properly,gotta get those scratches using it. It’s no fun dissapointing someone who wants to challenge themselves like the kid wanted but maintaining a group with a leader requires not losing that leader to one persons challenges.


– Last Updated: Apr-03-06 6:59 PM EST –

What, like it was maybe 9.075 people? Perhaps 8.75 people?

Or are you inferring, or telling us straight out, that The Macho But Unbalanced One really wasn't "a people"...???

Must agree with prior post, tho' -s'about time you understand viscerally, not intellectually, about scratches... We were the same way about the I -at first. Soon came to realize that no matter what one does, the kid will find a way to put their hands on the hot burner. It's the parent's role to tell them not to -to begin with, teach them not to -a second time, and to take care of it -when it does happen: ditto for the scratches. We are here to tell you not too worry -treat the boat well, but baby thee it not. Paul? It's OK to have a few, and to teach you to forget about it henceforth and forever more.

The boat looks just fine, Paul, just fine...

And being a fool? Don't think so -not on YOUR part. But I'll tell you something: based on your LAST experience with this group of anticipatedly self-perceiving overachievers but objectively viewed UNDERachievers, you should have brought an extra T160 or S-Pro or similar along and made folks like The Macho But Unbalanced One test his mettle -AND his balance -before setting the group loose. That way, you could've made the switch right then & there in the Cove and moved out, en masse, perhaps a little more happily for the Eager But Meager Beaver -and a LOT more happily for you!

Guess there won't be a next time in light of your summer plans...

BTW -did you actually understand the ABSOLUTE STUPENDOUS MOMENTUOSNESS of the moment last nite...??? And it was one DOUBLY so, in fact!

First, Sally said -ENTIRELY VOLUNTARILY, SANS RESIGNATION -that there was probably another boat in the NEAR TERM future (another storey goes up on the rack?)...

And possibly even more shocking: I didn't take any pictures of the OI...!!!

OI? OY! I MUST be getting old!

Next thing will be that I don't take a camera out with me after I finally do get that 'another boat in the near future' and take it out and


-Frank in Miami

Didn’t want to spoil the moment
Yes I did hear Sally mentioning something about you geting another boat i the future. I think she was referring to something lighter and possibly easier to take with her tracer when you go tour the country at retirement.

Course to do that you will have to have a rig similiar to JackL and Nancy except you will have to have a river boat too.

heheh never ends.


Made a simuler mistake
THe difrence was i misread the kayak, that was best suited to person i took. in this case i was wrong and corrected it quickly. the friend did listen to me so it raly wasn’t his fault. in the end we both had a good safe day.

if you paddle and take people paddling in groups or single, it is likely to happen at some piont.

kudos Paul
That is too many noobies for me to handle, but I routinely take out 1 to 3 at a time and use all of my own equipment.

I tell noobies that sitting in a kayak is alot like sitting at a kitchen table or barstool with a back. I ask them how may times they have fallen over in one (hopefully very few times)…

Then I ask them what happens when your weight is no longer over the chair legs??? And if they did shift their weight towards the edge, what would they do to correct it or keep from falling over?

It is alot like being in a kayak. You sit up and keep your weight “over the legs”. I have not had anyone go over yet, but I am ready and my Impex boat already has a few scratches unlike your Outer Island.

Power to you for introducing this sport to others but there are going to be some that are just going to do it their way.

One rotten apple
Don’t think of the one yahoo that spoiled the outing, think of the others you introduced to the joys of paddling. You done good.

Now that I have calmed down over it there were a lot of safety skills that I got to practice. The T rescues for one , paddle control for positioning, and the use of the tow rope. Granted the current was minor and we were in relatively protected areas but thankfully so as it was my first time having to do a tow.

I also learned to never never ever assume a skill level until seeing it for myself.

There was another thread recently asking how valid certifications were. Well I can tell you that the training I got for my BCU 2 star enabled me to coach the kid to the proper side of the boat, keep him calm, allowed me to do T rescues quickly and efficiently, and to assess the situation as being untenable so that I elected to tow the individual back. Could I have gotten that with non certified training? probably. but I will say that it was all in the 2 star curiculum and is even more involved in the 3 star which I hope to get soon. Additionally even with the OI which requires an aggressive initiation to turn, I was able to position the boat with paddle control that I got during the training.


BTW, I got approached today at work and was asked if I could do it again on the 29th…

2-3 would be my limit. But (as you’ve no doubt noticed), I’m a bit of an asocial (not quite anti-social) grump. If taking a group and renting boats, I think I’d rent a guide or two as well!

I like to introduce people to paddling - answer questions and such - but feel no compulsion to actively seek people out to take paddling (particularly people from work!). I’m not selling boats or gear - so getting more paddlers on the water really isn’t a plus for me L

I have 6 boats now (you’ll have to check out the recently acquired Sparrow Hawk) - and not really a good beginner loaner in the bunch.

I still have the Tempest and we have the OK Scupper Pro so I have two loaners even though the Tempest I guess could be tippy for a real novice.

I gotta come see that Sparrow Hawk. Will I fit?


You fit in the sparrow hawk???
I saw that one and decided I couldn’t fit…

and you thought it would be fun…
…glad I went camping :wink:

Good practice!
I admit to being nervous about having to do a rescue from an unexpected capsize. Good for you for that and for managing a difficult personality (i.e. getting him back to shore breathing). That in itself should build confidence.

Sometimes not taking it all too seriously is good. I was photographing a friend teaching a teen class. One of the kids went over and she just looked over her shoulder at him and said, “Someone go rescue him.” It was all part of the practice but I would have been hovering…

Oh, and congratulations for not dope-smacking him.

“Never again”…with that many beginners
I have a feeling you’ll rethink the “never” statement but change the number of people you take on.

Man, I’d never want to deal with even half that number, regardless of SOT or SINK.

It’s not like you are teaching a specific skill to more experienced people, who can go practice something while you tend to each person in turn. With a bunch of newbies, you’d be trying to watch out for potential disasters while at the same time trying to start from ground zero with every one of them. Yikes.

Is the macho dork banned from further outings? :wink:

I fit easy - with room to spare
Rick, you’re just too used to that cavernous Caribou and equally voluminous Tern.

I do wish it had a shorter cockpit. It’s a compromise size. Shorter than keyhole, bigger than ocean. About like those on Betsie Bay Kayaks.

I get OK contact as is - Kim slops around a bit. She is smack in the middle of the recommended height/weight- but as with all “smaller paddler” boats, it still has beam and depth than she needs. I’m over the recommended - more like recommended plus a week of gear - but actually still rides nice for me.

First order of business will be some think along the lines of a masik across the front 4-5" of cockpit opening. Two thicknesses - thin for me, another layer for Kim.

Not 100% crazy about the seat either. Just a foam pad on the floor would be great - maybe a couple layers here too as the boat is plenty stable enough to pad it up - and get easier laybacks in the process. Also would allow sliding forward/back to adjust trim/weatherhelm as it has no skeg. Maybe a simple foam backrest instead of backband too.

It paddles nice. Decent speed for a relatively short boat. Much quicker than her Pintail. Turns/tracks very intuitively. Rolls easy too (but not as good for Kim until I get it outfitted for her).

Just what I need - another project. I just ripped the skin of the SOF and started the chop job…

I feel your pain, it sounds like an average day at work sometimes…g…kim

If there’s a good side to this
It’s that the incident(s)pretty much assured this kid won’t be comming on any more.

When it hits the fan…
Now you might understand why someone, who in the eyes of a plaintive attorney may be a considered a professional, might hesitate to come along on a fun day “just in case” without being covered by the shop’s insurance.

Sad to say around here you as the organizer/leader might be putting you own a$$ at risk.