Paddling Alone?

It seems like most of my excursions are solo trips. I’ve done a few with a friend who used to paddle a bit but he ends whining about the distance after an hour or so. I have a long road cycling background so I’m fine with being alone for hours at a time or dealing with problems that arise. I’m on the Florida panhandle so my trips are big bayous, fresh water rivers, or along the coast in the gulf. Just curious as to how prevalent solo paddlers are among us?

I paddle about 60 to 70 days per year, probably most of them solo. Paddling with a group can be more dangerous or less dangerous than solo. So nowadays when I’m with a group, I ensure that we are at an equivalent skill level and equally safety conscious.

As an example of ‘more dangerous’, some years ago I was invited to join a group of unspecified paddlers for a ‘full moon paddle’. One participant had a pfd but didn’t wear it, insisting she would ‘when it was needed’. A few others were in ‘death boats’ i.e. recreational kayaks without flotation … and we did two crossings where such kayaks were inappropriate. Nothing nasty happened, but I was nervous the whole time and did not enjoy that excursion. Of course, I have learned to avoid such trips.

As an example of ‘less dangerous’, some years ago I was paddling with 2 friends. At that time none of us had a bomb proof roll. We wandered into Surge Narrows (not at slack) somewhat further than our skill level justified and I capsized. One of my friends came near and we quickly did an assisted rescue and finished the day’s trip with no fuss.

I paddle solo a fair amount. I stay much most cautious on solo paddles than I would be when there are folks with me who could assist in an emergency.

I paddle all year round and almost always alone. From time to time someone will come along, but they usually drop out after one, or two outings. Virtually none of them are good for more than three, or four miles and the pace is slower than watching grass grow. Over the years, I’ve had paddlers who would go a few times, but most of them would freak out when it got a little rough, or they would have problems that would curtail the outing.

I tried joining in with groups a few times and they always turned into social affairs that were mostly paddling to a breach for lunch. When I go alone, I can set my own pace and go where and as far as I want. It sort of keeps you on your toes knowing that there’s no one to help if you mess up. It’s also nice to not have to worry about someone else having a problem.

You need a sea kayak club with seakayakers.

We have routinely paddled 10-15 miles, averaging 3.5 mph overall(including lunch) with about 10 boats.

But sometimes the solo solace of solo paddling is the thing.

Solo is for paddling, groups are for socializing. I enjoy both, but mostly go solo as I have different schedule than most. And, I kayak a lot and want to go at my pace and in conditions I desire.

More alone than I probably should when in Maine. I have tried a meetup group here and there but often find a real difference in how the group and I approach group dynamics and risk.

It means I take a lot of precautions about timing and conditions and routes that I would not have to be so careful about with a companion. But I still get on the water, so that’s OK too.

Solo because of the independence and opportunities it offers. Also by necessity as if I followed the standard warning to “never paddle alone,” I’d never paddle.

Me solo. My big trips have been solo. A 27 week, 7 week, and dozens of day trips in the summer. Great way to ground yourself, relax and unwind.

Going Alone is fulfilling your promise to your Soul.

Solo 95% of the time because no one paddles out of the harbor and the waves are the fun part!

For several years I had an agreement with my wife that I would never paddle alone. Last year I cancelled that agreement, telling her that I now felt more safe in a kayak on the water than on a bicycle in traffic.

At first she didn’t like it. A few months later she witnessed another car running down a bicycle from behind and had to help after the accident - at first having to search the area to find out where the cyclist had landed after being thrown up in the air. It was dark, the cyclist had good lights on the bicycle and was wearing a reflective west, visible far away. Still she was mowed down.

After that my wife has never complained about my preference.

Mostly solo. I bike way more than I paddle and I know way more bikers than I do paddlers. Recently I’ve done less real paddling but lots of rolling and bracing and playing in the back yard pool… like every warm day of the year. I’m going to do more real paddling and since the paddle community around here is so small it’s going to be solo.

Mostly solo. It works best with my schedule and my interests.

I have taken a couple of extended trips on the BC coast alone. I really like the self determination and personal accountability but find them way more work. Just handling the boat and gear on the beach is no fun anymore.


Solo here too for all the reasons already mentioned plus I think you’ll experience way more memorable encounters with wildlife when paddling solo. But I do have a dog with me 90% of the time so I’m not sure if solo is the right classification or not.

Solo more often than with other people. Partly because I live in a SK desert, but even when I lived in a region that had many paddlers, I still enjoyed solo paddles the most.

I take pains to get into shape gradually (we have a long no-kayaking season) and resent someone presenting himself as being ready to paddle longer or faster or harder than really is the case. Ditto for skills.

Right now, I am rusty on some things I used to practice frequently, all year round. I know it and would not insert myself into someone’s outing under false premises. I absolutely do not subscribe to the homily “Safety in numbers.”

I’m also a lone paddler most of the time. Since I paddle a surfski it would be difficult to find someone that could keep I but I’m always willing for a leasure trip if someone wants to come along. I make invites but most people won’t even tent a kayak.
Since I also own two tandem kayaks the four of us in the family go on trips but only a few times a year.

First of all - I’m not a ‘cat’ nor ‘dog’ person.

SeaKayakers (distinguish from WW - as they run in ‘packs’) are like cats, they don’t herd well, they’re more independent (solo) creatures.

Bicyclers are more like dogs, they do tend to travel well (keep together) in packs.

I’ll paddle alone if I have to, but I prefer to paddle in a group. I have lots of paddling friends of similar skills and interests, so it is usually not a problem finding someone to paddle with. Being a river paddler, two people (or at least two cars) allows you to shuttle and do better trips. Otherwise I’m stuck with up and back trips - not big on those.

WW paddler, so maybe I do have that “pack” mentality.

Almost always alone. I mostly prefer it that way. I don’t have to keep to a schedule. I am not a morning person and most group paddles that I have been aware of seem to leave kind of early. I enjoy taking a LONG coffee break partway through my paddle, just sitting there listening to birds and enjoying the scenery, but know that that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Similarly, I’ll often go out and spend hours in one spot practicing something(s) which again isn’t really a good group activity. I can paddle in conditions that might be beyond the person/people I am with, and for durations that are longer than many group paddles. Having said all that, I WOULD enjoy doing the occasional group paddle as well but there just aren’t any groups where I live. I’d also welcome the opportunity to practice and test out some things that one can only do with another paddler (e.g., I’ve wanted to take some of the various lighting devices I’ve accumulated over the years and evaluate their visibility from various distances).