Tangential to solo etiquette post

I did not want to hijack that thread, but it got me to wondering a different question that sometimes comes up in solo paddling (or cycling).

Say you are going alone and someone you do not know asks if you would mind some company. What would you answer? Specifics of the intended outing, weather, appropriateness of equipment, and, yeah, roughly what shape the stranger appears to be in would factor into my response. But it’s hard to know based on such a quick glimpse. Someone who is physically fit might be a real doofus in a kayak due to inexperience or lack of common sense.

This happened fairly often on the bike, but it almost always happened after the stranger had been riding near me for a while already. I had a clue as to their bike-handling before committing to an answer. Usually that gave good indication. However, one time I said OK to someone who proceeded to ride doublefile on s narrow, twisty, blind-curved mountain road. After he ignored my telling him I felt very uncomfortable with him pissing off drivers, I got pretty pissed off myself. Since I was riding a mountain bike and he was on a road racer, I could not drop him on the 7-mile climb. But if I knew anything about such callous schmucks, it was that I could deliberately dawdle on the descent and he would disappear.

That was the sweetest coast down! Once he had taken off I resumed pedaling again.

My mom is calling
I never accept because the people almost always screw up my outing. I don’t have a lot of time to enjoy my excursions and the last thing I need is the guy who wants to complain about his life the whole trip, or is belching out loud after every sip of water, or you soon realize is a political polar opposite.

The few people I paddle with know I leave early and stay out all day and I don’t like to talk much. I’ve come to learn that the guy who has no issue with a 5am launch can usually be trusted.

Strangely, no one has ever asked to join
me on a trip. Must be the way I look, or the way I paddle. I have been allowed to join others in groups, and I did not disgrace myself with ineptitude.

If someone did ask to join me, my willingness to accept them would depend on the difficulty of the run, and on my estimate of their ability to handle it. Even on a relatively easy run like the Nantahala, chasing a swimmer , a boat, and a paddle after various rapids can get tiresome. Even exhausting.

No. nm

In paddling, frankly I am a snob
At least on visual clues. I have a lot of chance to practice it on vacation in Maine - all kinds of people arrive with all varieties of boats and prep and occasionally make noises about being shown the islands. They assume the way I am geared I know the area well, in Muscongus Bay they are right.

So I am a snob. Obviously no rec boats, at least decent transition ones. After that -

Aging baby boomers getting into boats on water in the high 50’s with no PFD. Immediate no.

No skirts and they want to go out well from shore. No.

Lack of spare paddles - see if at least one or two of them is carrying but check the rest.

And any “Oh wow you have a chart (map)!” - Not future paddling company.

Yes, I am a damn snob. But the one of me can’t help one of the other effectively if they get out there, capsize and lose hold of their boat. Obviously the boat gets surrendered to the sea unless the currents and wind are being extremely kind so they are close together, but even getting just the person in from a half a mile offshore or further is no fun.

Sort of…

– Last Updated: Jul-31-15 5:49 PM EST –

I most always bike with a group and sometimes a guy will want to ride with us. Sure. Come along. There's a 'famous last words' statement one of the group made to a newcomer: "Do you know your way back home?" The guy was straggling and didn't know the roads so two of us led him back to town. He proceeded to train and get strong and come back and work everyone over. Ouch.

For the most part, the guys who don't fit in figure it out pretty fast.

We once melded with another group on a ride and one of that group was a dangerous idiot. We just made an excuse to split off on another route.

a road cyclist

– Last Updated: Jul-31-15 5:19 PM EST –

Should know better.

I'd add to your criteria my mood. Sometimes "I just vant to be alone".

Since you don't know one another, one would hope that conversation would be politely tactful: no heated political or social commentary. But these days, many people don't possess such tact.

I probably could have kept up
with your pack back when, but now I wouldn’t dare try.

Jack l

mostly boat with others,
occasionally by myself with my wife running shuttles but that’s not the norm. I use a local message board to find paddlers. Usually I know most of the group but when I don’t know folks I actually make a point to go and boat with them.

Ace runs a shuttle on wed nights. Usually I can find someone I know on it but if I don’t then I hook up with others. I haven’t done it lately because it is a little sketchy given the time (evening) and meet up factor. You really want to be on your game in that situation and my paddling hasn’t been as solid as it was even a year or two ago.

Kayaked today with a commercial rafting trip. The owner, a friend, was running a duck down the New River Gorge at 1’ with his 8 year son in the bow. One commercial raft and one other kayaker also on the trip. A lot of fun, free shuttle, speedy trip- good to have friends in the business.

I rarely paddle up and back so that means a shuttle which means another paddler. I’ll easily paddle with 100 different people this year. I enjoy meeting and paddling with “new” folks. When you paddle with so many folks that you feel comfortable with, you rarely get skunked for a paddlihg/shuttle partner. Winter is more a problem- the pool of potential paddling partners goes way down as the thermometer drops.

I got a phone call yesterday from someone with 5 or 6 friends that wants to try kayaking on the upper new. They got my name and # off the internet. So I’ll hook ‘em up (mostly with duckies) next weekend and get one or more of my buds to assist. I consider that fun.

I’m not as enthusiastic about boating with the rec boat crowd- slower on the water- all day trips with a lot of stops- alcohol often involved, a hassle sometimes to get them to wear their pfds but I’ve had a few successful converts that are turned on to ww and are passionate about it.

I really enjoyed meeting castoff from messaging on pnet and boating and hanging out with him and his wife. I like folks that are passionate about paddling regardless of their boat type and environment. More opportunity for my own personal growth that way. There’s always an open invitation for any pnetters that want to come boat in my backyard, southern wv.

So yes, I’m always up for boatin’ with “new or old” buds and when that doesn’t work out I’ve boated by myself. I was once told I’d sell my on mother if it meant I could go boat. Probably not far from the truth. So I’m not picky- cantankerous old ladies, young buff super studs, newbies, pros, its all good if it means I can get out on the water with some support.

I haven’t resorted to writing my name and number in public bathrooms of the eateries in Fayetteville yet but that might work too: For a good time on the river call #.

look ?
Look. Of course !

Are the onshore rabble aware of your position ? As online expert ?

Try EZZZEWATER across your nylon …

Ask, “do you take Visa ?”

A camera is an effective prop

"OH,you take photos for Padnet

Out at the launch on the Backwater…

Arrive with $35k in sports equipped and believe you me you are an expert.

Iyam a beginner.

99% going my way are with a guide. He’s packing a radio. So he can call for help


Good Morning Jack!
You know… you and I rode a thousand miles together and didn’t know it!

I’d be biking this morning but I have to work instead.

We’ve Had…
… strangers ask to follow us in because they were uncertain of the takeout. Unless someone is having a problem, I’d probably politely decline.

Has never happened.

– Last Updated: Aug-01-15 9:51 AM EST –

The paddlers I see out on the bay will call out a greeting or nod their head as we pass, but that's it. Most of them are solo fitness paddlers and are moving at a good pace. The lollygaggers tend to stay along the shoreline in the harbor area or at the state park.

I've noted a lot of new kayakers on home water, which is good, but they're all short rec boats. Because I do only LSD training or stroke practice midweek at home, one neighbor told me I'm too hardcore to paddle with. She's probably right since I keep an eye on my Forerunner and wear a headset connected to my iPod, so I'd be lousy company anyway.

"Too hardcore to paddle with"
It’s been obvious from your posts that you are serious about improving. IME that means doing a lot of solo paddling, because chatting is a distraction, not to mention having to keep an eye on where someone else is.

I don’t kayak with a GPS but I get your need to maintain focus on technique on a regular basis, i.e., mindful practice. Even when I finish a tourish outing, there’s almost always some particular skill to practice at the end. I do not understand the impulse to rush out of the water as soon as the last forward stroke is made.

Some of the most fun I had was at the end of the day at 5-day Body Boat Blade course. Every student had to be called off the water because we all messed around trying stuff, however silly or useless the exercise seemed, and that was after being out day. Years later, I can say that NONE of it was useless after all. Silly exercises were building blocks toward useful skills. And they were fun, too.

yeah, nothing wrong with that

– Last Updated: Aug-02-15 9:03 PM EST –

I sort of break down paddling into two or three categories. First category is fitness and practice. Unless I'm practicing rescues with someone else, I'm alone and want it that way.
Second category is day tripping to somewhere or to see something. I don't mind if people want to join up, as long as they don't expect everyone to travel as a pod. I might want to drift off and check something out.
Third category is the trip. Almost always done with at least one other person. Paddling in a group we've met up with other groups or couples who may join along for parts of the trip. People seem to understand the "pod" thing in that case, and it's usually a pleasant and welcome experience, depending on the trip length. Once we ended up inviting a couple to share our camp since the others were all taken. But I like pikabike's general criteria.

Thankfully this has never happened to me. I paddle solo for a reason. I’m not even sure how I’d react…

list of lonely paddlers ?

What makes you think
solo paddlers are lonely?

Read Sing’s eloquent post in the etiquette thread.

I like that term, pikabike,
“mindful practice.” It nicely encapsulates the mental aspect of the sport, which is one of its attractions to me.

Yes, I’m pretty passionate about learning as much as I can and paddling as well as I’m able. Not only for the joy of doing it, but also because I don’t want to become a statistic.

I think my neighbors also might find me entertaining. The other night, when the winds were blowing at 19 MPH, I decided to practice a deep water scramble self-rescue. The advice is to always practice in “conditions,” right? I always log-roll my boat, so the only way I can get on is by pushing down the stern and climbing forward. My PFD caught on the hatch cover tab and popped off the cover. I figured if I got off to try to replace the cover, I’d roll the boat and flood the hatch. So I decided to paddle to the shore while sitting on the stern (covering the hatch with my butt). It was an interesting paddle, but I made it without further mishap. I wish someone had done a video as I’m sure it would be hilarious.

Did learn one lesson I won’t forget: that little tab on the hatch cover should always point towards the cockpit.

That five-day course you took sounds wonderful. Wish we had such offerings in my area.

Perfect example of why practice recoveri

– Last Updated: Aug-02-15 1:06 AM EST –

You work out all those little details that do not get mentioned in how-to guides, and you do it in a familiar area.

Long ago I got an important lesson in rudder cable entanglement when doing many paddle float rescues, 10 on both sides if I remember correctly. Could have drowned right there in warm, calm water if I had lost composure and panicked enough to recapsize with an ankle wrapped tightly with rudder cable. After that session, I installed a simple, cheap fix to keep it from ever happening again.

Similarly, I worked out THE safest way for me to release feet and thighs from a capsized wave ski with lap belt. Pulling feet out first resulted, one time, in having a subsequent wave twist and jam me on the ski with both legs off the side, creating enough tension I could not release the buckle despite repeated attempts. I had removed feet first to avoid getting a broken foot or ankle in case a second wave tossed me around with belt released but feet jammed in foot straps. After that I practiced releasing feet and buckle simultaneously to avoid either of these situations.

Lately, though, I've been negligent about practicing recoveries. You've shamed me into putting them on the "to do soon" list. 😳