Helping beginners

This seems to be a great board with alot of folks willing to try to help the newbies.That’s awesome!!

But from the posts that I have read so far it seems like the answers may be a little above the knowledge level of the folks who asked the question. There are referances to high vs low angle paddling, edging and stroke mechanics regarding a question about why a kayak won’t go straight for a first timer. Seems like there might be some more extremely basic issues to address first like what a proper forward stroke is and how to hold the paddle…

Another observation is that very few folks recommend taking a class. Why? A class with a qualified instructor would make the learning curve skyrocket.

I guess the point I’m trying to get to is that we were all beginners at one time. Try to remember back when you held your paddle upside down, didn’t know how to sit in your boat and finished your forward stroke by your stern. You didn’t know that there was such a thing a stroke mechanics…

I certainly do not mean any dis-respect to the helpful folks on the board. This is just an observation I made when reading through.

PNet Is A “Discussion Forum…”

– Last Updated: Apr-25-06 2:21 PM EST –

can't replace a real instructor and folks do generally get recommended to get classes if they can. But this doesn't preclude folks from asking and folks answering. Verbal back and forth makes serves the purpose of a forum which is to have discussion. What folks do (or not) with the discussion is another matter...

Not everyone is an absolute newbie here either. Actually, written descriptions do help with some folks. Which raises another issue, not everyone has the same learning style.


Absolutely correct
all folks learn differently and I didn’t think about the other folks who might be reading responses. My bad…

from what I read
I see things about classes on here all the time. I ask questions every-so-often because classes in my area are few and far between, and the closest are usually an hour north. I love to paddle, but that is a bit far for me to go to learn when I do alright.

everyone says that time spent in the boat is the best teacher, and if you read most things on here it makes that time more productive. I know that many things I do are not as well refined as they would be if I had a class (which someday will happen), but the sugesstions on here do help me push myself alittle.

Now I may not have made very good points here, but I think that this is an EXECELENT place for all levels of paddlers. The only complaint about beginer level advice I ever have is that everyone wants to sugest really nice boats to start out with. Yes having a boat to grow into is great, then again you may chose a different venue after you start paddling. I moved down from my 12 foot rec yak to a 9.5 more manuverable one…but really dislike it now. I should have gone with a better quality longer boat.

Well these rambling aren’t probably helping amnyone…just making me feel better for typing and verging up on a rant about nothing.


Although I don’t dispute the value
of a class, I never had the desire to take one (or a series) due to scheduling and other issues.

However, I have learned much of what I know from reading many books on sea kayaking and particularly from studying the Brent Reitz and Nigel Foster videos.

Can I do all that they have taught; absolutely not. Am I aware of potential areas to enhance my progress; absolutely yes.

I agree that different people learn better in different venues and I’d rather learn on my own, at my own pace, from people like Brent and Nigel rather than from local instructors.

i discovered as a newbie paddle…
well, ok, i’m still a newbie, but here’s my point:

i like getting the “above my head stuff” as it has given me a sense of what i do not know which has lead me to explore topics in more detail.

plus, if someone answers with something i do not know, i just post a reply asking them to explain that, too. grin

the best part is, everyone is always willing to help…true “community.”

I don’t know …
…how you get the impression “very few folks recommend taking a class”?

The phrase actually come up often enough in many threads, “take a lession”. At times, it even sound like a broken record!

On the other hand, there’re many folks living in area kayaking still is somewhat in its infancy. So there’re relatively few outfitters and therefore few lession opportunities.

Or perhaps it’s a seasonal thing. Thinnk about it, the water is still ice-cold where many of us are and the outfitters in my area aren’t even starting to offer lessions until after Memorial Day. So what do folks who just gotten their brand-spanking-new kayak do? Ask questions here and go out praticing on their own.

Lessons are Important

– Last Updated: Apr-26-06 10:59 AM EST –

When it comes to things like rolling and boat control, there is no substitute for a lesson. I would check your local university or community college. Often, you can find lessons being conducted in the campus pool.

Any of the advice here is simply that...advice. Nothing can substitute professional instruction. Simplifying instructions to help people understand is a nice thing but I would hate it to provide false confidence to someone and have them drown.

If you plan to paddle anything that can roll or if you have a long trip planned, it is essential to take lessons.

Personally, I learned at Boy Scout camp nearly 30 years ago.


All good feedback.

I was primarily thinking that it would be hard for me to answer alot of the questions without asking a bunch of questions of my own. I guess I’m just old school, tactile and visual.

As for instruction, it must have been just the posts that I read. I realize that good instructors are hard to find. Clubs are a great resource, alot of them have certified instructors within their ranks who do classes.

By the way, $125 for a 1/2 day of instruction seems pretty high…

$125.00 is pretty high for a 1/2 day class.

We do ours (offered by a local club) for $55.00 for the ACA Quickstart class, taught by ACA certified instructors. The instructors are all volunteers, who love to do it and do it well. All the monies go to the club for gear for the club and training for those volunteer instructors. We also welcome newbies, who are interested, to hang around, practice w/us, continue learning w/ us and if the are sincerely interested the club will help pay for further training. Great way to learn!

We have an informal Yahoo group…
that gets together to mentor folks wanting to improve their skills. Some are coaches, some not. Lots of us tend to point out the coaching we’ve received and point more interested students there.


Nigel on VHS is $100 incl shipping.

– Last Updated: Apr-27-06 8:29 PM EST –

Cheaper than a class, not as tactile I know, but you can watch 10 times in your jammies and while eating Doritos and guzzling Mountain Dew. A winner.

title says Doctor…Doritos? Mountain dew?

anything else we should be eating for a healthy lifestyle? :slight_smile:

Best Wishes