Howdy all, can you answer this for me?

motivation-good point
Some paddlers are not interested in learning skills, or paddling in challenging conditions. That’s fine, but should these folks be giving advice on risk?

The issue stems from the white-male-over-40-lagoon paddler expounding on risk taking and skills. These paddlers tend to overstate their cases, and make recommendations based upon little or no experience.

So when folks who are part of the sea kayaker majority extrapolate risk, cause and effect, and other aspects of rough water paddling from no actual experience I find it a little hard to swallow.

But this is the internet, and people can say whatever they want no matter the subject, or their experience with it. It’s been, and will be a problem on this message board. I was merely trying to play devils advocate. For one further analogy, would you take medical advice from a doctor you’ve never met over the internet? Someone you’ve never met, and who’s never met you?

I wouldn’t.

agree completely
on both your above posts. I feel like screaming when a kayaker with “years” of experience but with no real knowledge or skills gives bad advice to new kayakers. Of course you should never take anything posted on the internet without a healthy dose of skepticism, but the more I participate and read this forum, the more I am able to filter the good information from the bad. Same goes with people you meet in real life. I can tell after a few discussions and paddles whether someone really has valuable information/skills to share or if they are just talking from their… nether regions.

I just attended Canoecopia this past weekend and one of my friends related to me a conversation that took place while she was waiting in line to checkout. Basically it was guy talking about getting flipped in waves/swells. He tried to roll but failed and had difficulty exiting because the spray skirt strap was tucked in. He ended up getting out but was discussing whether it was even possible to roll in swells/waves. A kayak “instructor” (supposedly teaches) lady nearby said that you are never supposed to roll in surf because it’s not possible and you should wet exit immediately. She then relayed a story in which she had trouble wet exiting because she had gloves on and was accidentally pulling on her deck bungees rather than the spray skirt grabloop. They then turned to my friend and asked if she could roll and when she said that she could, they were shocked.

I can’t even begin to count the number of things which were wrong about this conversation. This sort of mentality and misinformation is what is wrong with many sea kayaker’s thinking/development and it is downright dangerous.

"experience" is…just that, experience.

In other words, if the person hasn’t gone through similar “experience”, he/she shouldn’t be giving “advice” ABOUT THE TOPIC in the first place. But if the person giving the advice/opinion didn’t realize his/her own limitation of experience, the listener should.


– Last Updated: Mar-14-05 12:18 PM EST –

I've overheard myriad variations on this subject, and more often than not, say nothing.

Maybe someday someone will read about me in the news. Maybe I am way off my rocker, but I think it's better to think about who you're taking risk assessment advice from than to blanketly assume that everyone on this board has experience in rough water and can therefore offer their "sound advice" on the subject.

Compare it to climbing
There are sport (rock) climbers and then there are alpinists. There are hikers and backpackers that hike up mountains. Are the hikers alpinists? Can the hikers rightfully call themselves mountain climbers? They do after all climb these things called mountains.

I’ve climbed things that are called mountains. I have climbed with ropes up sheer faces but I am neither a sport climber nor an alipist. Others who have climbed similar things have refered to themselves as mountian climbers. It’s similar with WW & Sea (storm) Paddlers relative to sea kayakers and tourers

In WW the potential for a capsize is obvious and common. This is not so with milder forms of paddling on the ocean.


Class Ratings?
Good comparison… I’m a recreational hiker, not a climber. My brother was a technical climber and did rescue work and thought nothing about going out in all sorts of conditions, most of which would be more than I could safely handle.

And skiing is also a good comparison, as a beginner does not belong on a black diamond trail, even though he might call himself a skiier.

WW has class ratings, and I’m a beginner on WW, so anything over a Class II is challenging for me.

But I’m more of an intermediate as far as sea kayaking goes.

Ok, so I have a question … are there class ratings for sea kayaking? If not, maybe there should be.

~ Arwen ~

Class Ratings
Compare your skills to the BCU Star system skill set. It’s the closest thing around to a class rating for sea kayaking.

Check-out the 1-3 Star, 4 Star & 5 Star syllabi.

I know many vocal people that pooh-pooh any certification scheme but how else can people measure their skill in this type of environment other that to see how theiy compare to an established standard? The problem with paddling offshore is that by the time you realize that there may be a problem with your self-image relative to your skill set, it’s too late and the sea jumps up to say it’s exam time!

Cheers and good luck!


Let’s go paddling!
While the internet may not be able to differentiate between the experienced and the opinionated, the sea has no such problem and quickly sorts paddlers by their real-world skills. The challenge of dry-land discussions is that anyone with a keyboard can presume / pretend to know something. The distubing thing about these dry-land exchanges is that dangerous and/or plain wrong advise can be presented as that of an experienced and competant paddler.

Reader beware!


The listen should but rarely does know the difference. Hence all the frustration of those that actually have some experience.

Goods points above as well!



This is always where

– Last Updated: Mar-14-05 4:20 PM EST –

the argument for pro vs con with certification begins.

Those for certification feel that those who have gone through their program of certification are at least competent in the curriculum. Meaning a bcu/aca certified paddler will know how to do a set of certain strokes/rescues/maneuvers etc while in conditions.

Those against it feel that certification is meaningless because the assesments are rigid and dogmatic. I'm not trying to start the whole issue up again, but it seemed we were dancing around it anyway.

Bottom line is you really have to paddle with someone, certified or not to know what they're like.

I can go forward AND BACKWARD!

(who does this guy think he is?)

Paddler mag subscribers probably

Rolls or good bracing?

– Last Updated: Mar-14-05 10:59 PM EST –

I am no expert and am one of those over 40 types that started late. I have had whitewater lessons and was rolling the first day, but not properly. By the fourth flip I traveled about 150 yds through Class II rapids before I did the wet exit. (Your brain finally engages and tells you it is time to breathe!)

Wet exits in whitewater are different than on open water because of the risk of entrapment. Traveling upside-down in rapids taught me the value of the helmet, gloves, and I bought a wetsuit to minimize abrasions. Keeping your feet and tailbone up is as important as getting out of the kayak, and then when you finally are you going to get out of the river if you aren't near the bank?

Lessons are expensive, but they are worth it... even if they are from a 17 year old kid that has been around the block a few times. Who says "old dogs" can't learn new tricks...especially to minimize risk while seeking new adventures.

Thanks again…
for all the insights.