Why is this so hard and why do I care?

Almost every time I encounter paddlers–mostly in small req. kayaks, about half of them are paddling with their paddles upside down. Just trying to be helpful, I ask them if they know their paddle is upside down. Usually if they are female, they will say, no they didn’t realize there was a difference. I explain the difference and they’re good with that. The men however, will generally say, yeah, I like it that way. So I ask if they know why most paddle blades are shaped the way they are. The answer is always no. Why do I care? I guess that’s just the way I am, but I keep it very low-key and genial. Sometimes it leads to a discussion of paddling technique and there again, the average female is happy to learn something; the men, not so much.

It is consistent with other sports and the sexes. It is just the way it is.

Qruiser took a ACA class then she campaigned for proper paddling technique. Most of the paddlers paid attention to her then went back to what they were doing before.

Dunning-Kruger Effect. (No, not Verlen Kruger)


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Had a paddle-buddy come by last Wednesday to borrow a paddle & PFD for an old hiking friend. She said that he was a former paddler who wanted to return to the sport so I lent him a nice paddle and good PFD.

  1. he put the PFD on BACKWARDS with the zipper and pockets in the back.
  2. the pics she took showed him holding the paddle upside down and back-to-front.
    I am so glad he was unable to do the Colorado River with us over MLK-Day.

Now the additional question is… why the [bleep] do these people LIE about their skills and experience when a lie could lead to death??

Yes, it is very common to see kayakers with asymmetrically-bladed paddles using them upside-down. I have learned the hard way that unsolicited advice is often received rather gracelessly, and I would agree that the likelihood of it being received that way is higher if the recipient is male.

So unless I know the person and know that they will not take the information as an affront, when it comes to using paddles upside down, I usually keep my mouth shut. Now if a person was doing something that constituted a real risk to themselves or others, like getting ready to put on a Class IV whitewater river in a rec kayak with no flotation and no spray skirt, I would speak up. But an asymmetrically-bladed kayak paddle still works reasonably well even when used upside down.

Now, if a see a canoe paddler using a bent-shaft paddle backwards, using the back face as the power face, I seem to feel the need to say something. I just can’t help myself.

“Excuse me, miss,
I’d like to say,
your paddles held,
in awkward way.”

“Less fatigue,
if you reverse the blade,
you shall receive.”

“Why thanks old man.
That I shall try.”
As she paddled off,
sweetly reversed in lie.

“Excuse me, sir,
I’d like to say,
your paddles held,
in awkward way.”

“Less fatigue,
if you reverse the blades,
you shall receive.”

“Piss off old fart!
My way gets me there sooner!”
Perhaps some take it in later,
another Absorbine Junior.

I use my GP upside down and backwards!

What do you have to say about that Mr. Smart Guy :smiley:

I only bother if I see someone in April on 70° day and 40° water. But they think I nuts in my drysuit. They usually have no PFD. Three kids in two kayaks cold water no PFDs I CALLED THE CG

I am also very reluctant to offer unsolicited advice to strangers.

My wife usually doesn’t want any either!

Dunning-Kruger! I like it.
“I’m so dumb that I think I’m smart.”

“I’m smart, you probably are, too!”

Here we are with all our earned and accumulated knowledge and no one wants it. :#

Problem is you are telling them the correct methods when you should be texting it to them and if you put it on Facebook then it must be right.

@Yanoer said:
I use my GP upside down and backwards!

What do you have to say about that Mr. Smart Guy :smiley:

My GP actually has an up and down. It’s just a slight difference in the cut. No one else can see it though. It takes hours to feel it.

I admit to having to watch multiple videos to discern which face of my wing paddle was the front face.

I am one of the people who hates to get unsolicited advice. For me, it usually happens when everyone is gathered around a surf wave. There is often one know-it-all (usually a man, but not always), who feels they need to give everyone advice. I’ll paddle off and find another wave.

Upside down kayak paddle, I could care less. Using a bent shaft canoe paddle backwards, I’d probably have to say something about that as well. :wink:

What I don’t understand is how people can launch at the ramp, paddle to the point and paddle back the 1/4 mile and be happy with it. But they do it every week. So I’m happy they are enjoying the water.

I find cyclists are the same way - ignorant of the basics. I see so many people peddling with their knees going higher than their handlebars because their seat is all the way down. How to they ride like that? I’ve actually adjusted people’s seats for them. Two minutes on YouTube would cover the basics for most recent sports.

Cool “human nature” thread magooch. I like your comment that you try to remain low key when offering advice…it seems like there must be some art to this. I would think that it’s hard to find an advice giver that can avoid “lecturing” combined with an advice receiver that is so open that they never get upset (or embarassed) no matter how the advice gets communicated.

I remember being on a river one time when a woman in a rowing scull fell out of her boat right near me in an area with lots of plants in the water, and no one else around. I asked her if she was OK and she said she was fine and she was clearly embarassed so I slowly paddled away (leaving her swimming)…but kept an eye on her until I knew she was OK.

Rather than telling anyone (men particularly) that they are holding it “wrong” or “upside down”, I just tell them that they will get a better boost in their technique by holding it the “other” way. As if it’s an “option” or a “performance tip”.

After decades of having to supervise guys in what are mostly male-dominated professions, I’ve learned that they often get stubborn and embarrassed when “corrected.” If I say “why not try this and see how it works for you”, they can figure out for themselves that it’s the better way to do it.

To me they are the same thing. Political correctness is growing a generation of wimpy men. If I’m wrong I want someone to tell me and then tell me the correct way.