Why or why not belong to a paddle club?

What do you see as the pros and cons of belonging to a canoe/kayak club? Why did you make the choice you have made? What makes one club more appealling than the others?

As in a local club?
We belong to the ADK (or will as soon as I remember to send in the thing ro renew), and that gets us a couple of things. One is the benefit of having various people organize trips so that we don’t always have to plan it ourselves, and the other is access to pool sessions at a reduced rate.

The gathering after a paddle at a brew pub isn’t bad either.

The only time I have been a member
was the first time I signed into one. I have yet to return to any club. I am registered with Paddle Canada, as an instructor, but as for local clubs? No, I never did haev an interest in them and continue to paddle seperate from a club or to associate myself with one. However, different outfits I have worked with have paid and require that I be a member, but do not require that I partake in Club events. I do not attend their meetings, their paddles, their Christmas parties or anything else.

I enjoy attempting to keep myself seperate from the club for personal reasons - I dont like groups. Very simple. I do however think clubs are a great place to learn skills, to meet other paddlers and so on.


Informal clubs

– Last Updated: Oct-09-07 8:46 PM EST –

Personally I prefer the informal no-dues, no officers, no membership fees or insurance/liability hassles of a formal ACA affiliated club. Show-and-go groups organized around a yahoo group forum are ideal. Ours has two standard times for paddling--a weekly evening paddle at a convenient nearby location, and a Saturday paddle someplace more ambitious. But anyone can post a note saying they plan to paddle at a certain time and place and invite people to join them. I've made a lot of friends this way, and its great for finding folks to do a river shuttle with. We were briefly ACA-affiliated and didn't really get anything for our dues. The paperwork required to get the insurance coverage was never completed, so we were paying and not really being covered.

The informal ones seem best
and that’s where I’ve decided to go with. There is another somewhat formal group in my area, but there is no way I can make the meetings, and they seem to focus on White Water - - means more travel than I can I can do at this point. Both of these groups interact well together (Formal VS Informal) so it seems to work well.

Kayak Newfoundland and Labrador…

– Last Updated: Oct-09-07 9:04 PM EST –

...is the first paddling group we've joined in over thirty years of paddling, and we've found it to be an excellent organization.

Besides taking care of a lot of the public relations/government contact sort of stuff, KNL has a very active series of paddling events and activities aimed at all levels. A lot of the group activities are aimed at the recreational paddler, with a strong emphasis on safety and skill development.

KNL is also developing a series of info databases - things like trip reports, camping info, and the like - that are a real help in trip planning. It occasionally sponsors special events, offering members (and the public) a chance to meet and learn from some extraordinary paddlers who happen to be in this neck of the woods.

And perhaps most importantly, we've ALWAYS felt welcome and accepted as part of the group by paddlers whose experience and skill levels far exceed ours. We've found the contacts we'e made have helped us build skills and confidence that have broadened our paddling options considerably.

I have no hesitation in recommending that anyone who loves to paddle join Kayak Newfoundland and Labrador.

I don’t belong to a paddling clud
but I believe that one would be useful if it fills a persons void. The pro would be getting people out paddling. The cons would be in overregulated controls. There is only one club around here and it is run by the “Gods of Safety”.

Discipline and personalities make or break a group.

Depends on what you mean by "club "
We have a sort of club. It consists of certified instructors, seasoned paddlers who are not instructors, and others ranging from beginners to paddlers of various degrees of experience. We have an email list where we discuss stuff and arrange paddling together. Those of us that are teaching use the list to talk about that. But mostly we are just a group of people who like each other and like to get together and do things together. The only formal structure we have is just enough to not get into trouble with the IRS because of money we make teaching in community education. For my money that is just about right. I would join our club in a heartbeat.

A club can be a good way to meet other local paddlers and learn how and where they paddle. A club can organize weekly paddles, paddle trips, skill sessions, pool sessions, and serve as a forum for paddling-related information. Any club is only as good as its members.

You get what you put in
I joined a local paddling club and found it helpful, particularly doing river paddling … no need to worry about how to shuttle! I’ve learned a lot and meeting other paddlers has encouraged me to get out more. The best groups, as I see it, has a nice mix of beginners and veteran paddlers. You also get out of it what you put into it: show up, ask questions, offer to help with what you can, once you learn from the group pass that along. Don’t just go on trips, help organize trips. … I also “belong” to a second paddling group: posters on p-net. And I’ve actually gone paddling with p-netters more often than the local club, mostly because it’s easier to set up pickup trips on short notice.

My response is biased
I have been a member of our local club for over 10 years now and I am currently the president of it.

I joined about 6 months after I started paddling as a way to find someone to paddle with since my wife frequently has to work on weekends.

As a beginner, I met some other beginners and we began paddling together every weekend. I learned a lot from the more experienced members in the club and I was also encouraged to attend some classes put on by local professionals.

As a result of all of the help that I received, I felt that I needed to “pay it forward” and I stayed active in the club and tried to help beginners as I was helped when I was one.

Our club does not have meetings, but we do have dues. The dues pay for our website and we offer classes and rebates for classes from local outfitters. We also have been known to cater events, or pay for a shuttle on long paddles. Our goal is to basically help everybody have a fun safe time on the water. Our poaddling events are basically “show and go”.

A couple friends and I started an informal “show and go” club two summers ago, and it’s been a great way to meet other paddlers and get out regularly. We have a simple blog to post trips set up on google’s free blog site, and that works fine. In addition to weekly scheduled paddles, we also do practice rolling/rescues sessions each week, which has been great. I also paddle with another informal club, and lots of the people I go out with at other times I met through these groups. In general, I never join groups, so who knows why paddling is different.

People who come up to the Apostles are welcome to join us for the summer paddles–the website is http://www.southshorepaddlers.blogspot.com/

Interesting reading all the responses.
Dh and I have toyed around with joining a kayak group, and have paddled a few intro trips with a couple different groups. Met a lot of nice folks, but not sure if we’ve found a good fit yet.

We are members of a bike club that was a good fit from day one, and the group of paddlers we’re most comfortable with are the bunch of us from the bike club that also kayak. I guess we all just have similar goals, paddling/biking styles…it just works. The downside is getting a trip together. Some people are dedicated phone users/check their emails once a week types and the others are email users/hate the phone types (me!). So getting everything coordinated (esp when shuttleing) can be a challenge.

I really like the idea of informal groups as opposed to clubs, but clubs (with all their bylaws and such) serve a purpose too. A structured club works well for setting up programs/events that might not happen in an informal group. With our bike club, I always have a place to ride on Saturday. I can choose to ride some other ride, or go kayaking, but if I just don’t feel like planning anything, there’s a plan already in place…all I have to do is show up.


I generally don’t have any use for “clubs” of any sort.

In my experience, they tend to be cliques and ego strokers for the “founders” and “inside group”, and the rest of the members just pay dues to support them.

Too many different attitudes and personalities for me. I pick my friends based on how well we get along, not on whether they paid dues to belong to some group.

Sorry for the negativism, but I have never found a club that made me feel like I really needed to be a part of it, or the times I did join one, made me feel like I just couldn’t live without them.

My take:
If you don’t have a paddling partner than a paddle club would be a perfect place to meet one or at least be paddling with others (for safety sake) as well as comraderie.

In my case my wife is my paddling partner and we make our own rules, and they change depending on the conditions of the paddle so we would never join a paddle club.

We don’t need other paddling partners although we love paddling with any one else as long as they don’t try to push rules on us.

I think if I didn’t have my paddling partner I would not be in a club for the simple reason that I don’t like rules and regulations governing my hobbies.

When my wife and I head off into the wilderness we both know enough that we are much more liable to see wildlife with out a lot of jabbering and shouting that would come from a club paddle.

On the other hand, we both belong to the North Carolina Canoe racing association which is a loosly knit group of racers with no rules, but always willing to pass along valuable tid bits for racing.




– Last Updated: Oct-10-07 8:03 AM EST –

CT Sea Kayakers


$15 a year. We have pool sessions, paddles all year long, sponsored instruction and guest lecturers. We have brought instructors from England as well as other parts of the US. Over 400 members of various skills. Almost no rules. A PFD a must and a spray skirt and mostly common sense. All club paddlers have learned a lot from each other and have made loads of paddling friends and got exposure to instruction (free) that they would never have received on their own. All summer we met at a lake for practice sessions. Many people learned to roll. You don't have to be a member to join anything we do.

If you're an instructor and have some unique talents or a slide presentation, contact us. We'll pay your stay and some transportation.

The easiest way to advance your skills is by paddling with others and sharing knowledge. You also have the opportunity to see and try other boats too.

no cluds for me either
they have these rules that require people to wear pfds!

If we are thinking of the same group
I always thought they were all about the food. Safety too but when they plan their trips their board isn’t so much about the proposed trip as to what everyone is bringing to eat.

Good Club
I joined a newly-formed group this summer and it was a totally positive experience. I’ve found it very useful for both learning skills and being exposed to rougher conditions than I would be comfortable doing on my own.

the best thing about kayak clubs from my perspective is that you generally have someone—usually more than one to paddle with. I joined the MDI paddlers about about a year ago and we regularly go out on saturdays for a day paddle—genrally between 10 and 15 miles—the thing I like about that club is its informality—kept light, no body worries about the legal formalities–no formal instruction is given and nobody takes themselves too seriously. From what I see on the websites of other clubs, this is not always the case—often times members, at least on the web, become involved in personal attacks on one another stemming from personality clashes