Ladies paddling

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gp.girl
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Ladies paddling

Post by gp.girl »

Had a load of fun at the LPS. Was different paddling with mostly ladies although I'm still trying to prove if the answer to the question what do you do going though a narrow gap is age or gender related (The answer is breath in according to the ladies and the coach just didn't get it or the giggles that followed either!)

My group seem to bond very quickly even though 2 were the same club and some of us had only just met. Other club members found they did better and were a lot more confident when they were the strongest paddler in the group something they are normally not.

As a bloke how do you take equipment choice 'advice' from fellow paddlers and coaches. Interestingly paddles critised by coaches and boats by paddlers. There was a 3 out of 4 digging in of heels. I will admit I'd only have swam twice if I'd borrowed the burn but dropping the upstream edge when breaking in is soggy in everything!

Is the normal response to swimming having another go? Exception for injury, no time etc....

Do you think there's a big difference between the lasses and the lads?

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DaveBland
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by DaveBland »

Wait… ladies paddling – whatever next?

But seriously, paddling is paddling. No-one cares if you are an axe murderer, black, white, gay, straight or even, God forbid a girl…
If they do, then don't paddle with them, they are dicks. Find your regular crew and bond and paddle with them.

Sorry, did that answer your qwezzy?
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Mad_Erik
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by Mad_Erik »

Glad everyone had a great time...

However, ultimately, this whole women and girls thing is all about money. The BCU get a pot of money for it, and a few coaches got together to make money putting on an event. If no one was paid for their services, and the profits donated to charity then I take it back.

Does it matter that more men than women take part in paddling? So what? Guess these women are doing something else they enjoy. There is a danger here of creating an issue where non exists and making people believe that women who paddle need special treatment, or have 'issues'.

Equality is about being treated as an individual, nothing to do with gender.

There is a real danger here of creating a monster, then feeding it.
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Randy Fandango
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by Randy Fandango »

Mad_Erik wrote: Equality is about being treated as an individual, nothing to do with gender.
But of course if the particular circumstances of an individual are that they paddle better when not surrounded by testosterone fuelled men but instead by rather more cautious and thoughtful women then of course it does become all about gender.
I don't know about anyone else but I've certainly seen this demonstrated many times.
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by gp.girl »

DaveBland wrote:Wait… ladies paddling – whatever next?

But seriously, paddling is paddling. No-one cares if you are an axe murderer, black, white, gay, straight or even, God forbid a girl…
If they do, then don't paddle with them, they are dicks. Find your regular crew and bond and paddle with them.

Sorry, did that answer your qwezzy?
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chrisbraincoaching
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by chrisbraincoaching »

Mad_Erik wrote: There is a real danger here of creating a monster, then feeding it.
I dont feel that a group of women getting together for a ladies paddling event constitutes a monster that we shouldnt feed, the feeling and ethos of the event really isnt like that at all. Its far more about paddling and really isnt about showing that women need to have "special treatment". The fact that the event is so well attended shows that there is a need for it and that female paddlers do want to go to something like this.

As far as the BCU getting a pot of money and coaches making money to put on an event I would suggest you get in touch with the organisers and ask them how much money they made and report back to us on here. The LPS is hardly a money making exercise, there are far easier ways to make money. If the BCU were giving out pots of cash for ladies only coaching, wouldnt everyone be cashing in on this?

Liz S
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by Liz S »

I think anything that gets women on the water enjoying themselves and learning is a good thing. I've not been to the LPS but people I know have and last year they said it was good and I've not seen them yet to ask about the recent one.
Everybody is different really and some women may prefer that type of environment where as others are not bothered about who they paddle with. Personally I think its important for the group to be supporting and encouraging of one another whatever the gender or differences between people.

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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by LouC »

As a bloke how do you take equipment choice 'advice' from fellow paddlers and coaches. Interestingly paddles critised by coaches and boats by paddlers. There was a 3 out of 4 digging in of heels.
As a girl, if someone who is more experienced gives me equipment choice advice then I'd tend to consider it, particularly if I'm paying them for coaching. What was it that was being criticised and why?
Is the normal response to swimming having another go?
Yep, always if possible.
Do you think there's a big difference between the lasses and the lads?
Nope, not a big difference. I tend to like to think about what I'm about to do rather than just blasting down, but in my regular group of paddlers there's guys who want to analyse more than me and others who analyse less. I think it's a lot more personal than just your gender. That said, one of my favourite people to paddle with is a girl but that's because I think we tend to think the same way rather than because we're girls.

I didn't attend the LPS as I was paddling elsewhere, but I think I would have if I'd been around because it looks like fun.

I guess the main thing is that I paddle with people who I have fun paddling with, no matter who they are!

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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by Chalky723 »

gp.girl wrote: As a bloke how do you take equipment choice 'advice' from fellow paddlers and coaches. Interestingly paddles critised by coaches and boats by paddlers.
Take it on board & action as appropriate - all depends on your circumstances & finances, whether it fits in with your style of paddling - plus whether you think it's valid criticism. With coaches - do have a look at who's sponsored their kit as they'll generally show a bias towards that - it doesn't always mean it's the most suitable for you....
gp.girl wrote:Is the normal response to swimming having another go? Exception for injury, no time etc....
Yep - what's the worst that can happen? ;-)
gp.girl wrote:Do you think there's a big difference between the lasses and the lads?
Sadly we don't have many women in my club, certainly not enough to form an opinion based on Gender. The one that paddles with us most is very quiet, assured, confident & really good - whereas the good blokes tend to be quite loud & not shy of letting you know how well they just did a rapid she'll just style things quietly & efficiently. But that really could just be her as an individual...
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Kenny P
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by Kenny P »

Weekends like this only serve to increase the inequality in our beautiful sport.

We now have no option but to have a 'Gentleman's Paddle Symposium', a weekend where like minded males can enjoy each other's company without ladies to distract them whilst on the water.

For me this seems like the best solution to the gender inequality we see here,

Regards,

Kenneth
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by Mark Dixon »

Kenny P wrote:Weekends like this only serve to increase the inequality in our beautiful sport.

We now have no option but to have a 'Gentleman's Paddle Symposium', a weekend where like minded males can enjoy each other's company without ladies to distract them whilst on the water.

For me this seems like the best solution to the gender inequality we see here,

Regards,

Kenneth
I wondered if anyone would suggest that, I know and paddle with a few girls and its more for opportunities to make friends and find new paddle partners and have a laugh than single themselves out as being different. I dont think guys would be that interested in having their own GPS and wouldnt be that bothered.
It is a bit gender inequality but who really cares?

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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by gp.girl »

Kenny P wrote:Weekends like this only serve to increase the inequality in our beautiful sport.

We now have no option but to have a 'Gentleman's Paddle Symposium', a weekend where like minded males can enjoy each other's company without ladies to distract them whilst on the water.

For me this seems like the best solution to the gender inequality we see here,

Regards,

Kenneth
Is there any other event like this organised except the scottish LPS? I didn't pick it because it was a ladies event but because this appears to be only event of its type. Any others I can go too and take hubby too :)
LouC wrote:
As a bloke how do you take equipment choice 'advice' from fellow paddlers and coaches. Interestingly paddles critised by coaches and boats by paddlers. There was a 3 out of 4 digging in of heels.
As a girl, if someone who is more experienced gives me equipment choice advice then I'd tend to consider it, particularly if I'm paying them for coaching. What was it that was being criticised and why?
From coaches
1. Paddle is very old, heavy etc, staying, to be fair its taken her through grade 4 and survived since university!
2. Paddle blades too big, also old and heavy, lent her mine to show the weight difference and gave everyones advise to try as many different ones as she can, thinking about it
From fellow paddlers
3. Rubbish old boat, get a new one! Coach says it will be fine to grade 3! (Not sure this counts as digging your heels in really)
4. Boat too small, alright its tiny but boats come in too big for paddler and too small for the river so its staying. (Coaches have never commented on it)
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by Eliza Dolittle »

3 ladies entered the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race this year in single canoe, they all beat the 2 blokes who entered in C1 :)
http://www.dwrace.org.uk/results/2014/R ... sults.html

I went to the LPS and had a great time. It was fun paddling whitewater with other ladies and without some of the testosterone fuelled rubbish that comes of being the only lady paddling with a group of men. I have been a member of a different club where there were more lady whitewater paddlers and the trips definitely had a different vibe.

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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by twicezero »

Randy Fandango wrote:
Mad_Erik wrote: Equality is about being treated as an individual, nothing to do with gender.
But of course if the particular circumstances of an individual are that they paddle better when not surrounded by testosterone fuelled men but instead by rather more cautious and thoughtful women then of course it does become all about gender.
I don't know about anyone else but I've certainly seen this demonstrated many times.
I completely agree with you, that's when I paddle better. But I'm a boy, so perhaps its not all about binary contrasting genders?

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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by Randy Fandango »

twicezero wrote:
Randy Fandango wrote:
Mad_Erik wrote: Equality is about being treated as an individual, nothing to do with gender.
But of course if the particular circumstances of an individual are that they paddle better when not surrounded by testosterone fuelled men but instead by rather more cautious and thoughtful women then of course it does become all about gender.
I don't know about anyone else but I've certainly seen this demonstrated many times.
I completely agree with you, that's when I paddle better. But I'm a boy, so perhaps its not all about binary contrasting genders?
No indeed. And of course I'm stereotyping men as having a higher proportion of gung-ho testosterone headbangers than women do -- but mostly because they do :-)
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by DaveBland »

Randy Fandango wrote:...they paddle better when not surrounded by testosterone fuelled men
Giles
Like I said, paddle with the right mix of friends for you. If that means all ladies then great, but there are a few less gruntish guys out there… ooh, gotta go… late for my manicure.
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by erinbastian »

I can see why there is a bit of a debate on this subject as labelling a paddling get-together a ladies only event does prevent a vast majority of paddlers from joining in the fun...... however.

As a female paddler myself, I find that when I am paddling with the Guys I have to push hard..... wimping out is not an option. This is great in the way that it forces me to try harder and ultimately improve my paddling.

Sometime an all girls environment can provide a little more relaxed learning environment (for me), I can work through skills and consolidate without feeling like I'm at my limit or focusing too much on keeping up. I can ask questions and get answers based on other peoples experiences that can work for my size and strength as it does for them. Some times us girls have to learn different techniques to get those enormous boats to do what we want them to do, and why not get those top tips from a fellow female who has mastered her craft.

and finally, sometimes it is awesome to have a role modal that is a girl like me, who can rock the hard moves and inspire me to keep on pushing my limits...... oh yeah and have a good gossip.

By all means have a Lads Symposium, there fun! ;)

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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by DaveBland »

erinbastian wrote:...I find that when I am paddling with the Guys I have to push hard..... wimping out is not an option.
None of my business, but I have a HUGE problem with this for so many reasons.
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by DaveBland »

…sorry, didn't get the chance to explain…
So if you are feeling pressure to paddle differently to how you feel comfortable - you are definitely paddling with the wrong crowd. I don't care if this is because you are a weaker or stronger or female paddler - whatever the reason, that's not good.
However if the reason you are feeling pressured is because you feel as a female you have to 'man up/ when you are with the boys, this is just as bad.

From personal experience, if as a group, we have a slightly tess confident/weaker paddler, it's acknowledged and they are made to feel welcome and supported and encouraged, but with no pressure. Equally, as the oldest/weakest paddler in a group understand the pressure to keep up, but really, it's not there.

Either way, whatever the reason for you [or anyone] feeling like that - it needs sorting. Paddling is all about feeling good on the river. Why else do it?

Rant over.
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by Randy Fandango »

erinbastian wrote: As a female paddler myself, I find that when I am paddling with the Guys I have to push hard..... wimping out is not an option.
Well I guess that's as good a reason for why events like the LPS are needed as anyone could ever need.
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by Mark Dixon »

I dont think its a problem for her Dave, I have a similar situation where I'm 50 this year and paddle with people less than half my age most of time, wimping out is not an option and I like the pressure as it pushes me to be a better paddler.
I dont often paddle with people my own age as they are at a different level so I see how Erin would paddle with guys for similar reasons. Neither of us are paddling with the wrong groups but more what we have chosen to do.

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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by SimonMW »

erinbastian wrote:
...I find that when I am paddling with the Guys I have to push hard..... wimping out is not an option.

None of my business, but I have a HUGE problem with this for so many reasons.
I agree, Dave. For some people this is fine, but I don't like this way of thinking either. If we transposed it to an all male group I have seen guys take this attitude, and usually they are an accident waiting to happen. Pushing way beyond their capability and not knowing when to walk. They run rapids based upon whether they see someone else run it successfully, or simply being ignorant of the features, rather than being able to look at a line and know that they are capable of doing it.

The "wimping out is not an option" attitude, to my mind, is a road to giving yourself, and possibly your mates, a major scare at some point down the line.

Please don't misunderstand me, I realise that you *do* need to push yourself a bit out of your comfort zone in order to make progress. But there is a big difference between pushing yourself a bit to progress your skill, yet still being fairly confident you can make a line etc, and simply just throwing yourself into a rapid just because you don't want to appear like a wimp.

Not to mention that being in a group that fosters that sort of pressure is no real fun to be a part of. For me anyway.

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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by erinbastian »

Mark Dixon wrote:I dont think its a problem for her Dave, I have a similar situation where I'm 50 this year and paddle with people less than half my age most of time, wimping out is not an option and I like the pressure as it pushes me to be a better paddler.
I dont often paddle with people my own age as they are at a different level so I see how Erin would paddle with guys for similar reasons. Neither of us are paddling with the wrong groups but more what we have chosen to do.

Mark
This was exactly my point. I paddle with my friends (who are usually guys) and they are also better than me......the same as if i paddled with a group of girls who are better than me. Either option I CHOOSE to paddle with these group because I know that they give me the opportunity to push my limit and I now they will always be there for me, encourage me and celebrate my success. The 'no wimping out' is an expression so don't take it literally please. Just because I put a little extra pressure on my self when paddling with certain groups doesn't mean I'm going to go out and do something stupid or potentially dangerous.

A ladies Symposium is just another opportunity for a change of learning environment, new faces, new friends and new skills. I am not sure why and event would be a problem? Yes its a single sex event but you know if that encourages more females to learn to paddle and further there skills, I am all for it.

If my Boyfriend went away to a mens only event and came back inspires and stoked to get on the water, I would find no problem with this. if anything I would be pretty happy.

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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by Wadhamite »

Sometimes it's nice to be reminded that there ARE other women who kayak (case in point, this forum, where people assume by default that I am a man - I'm on the internet with an ambiguous username on a paddling forum, I couldn't POSSIBLY be a woman!). About a third of the time I spend at Lee Valley, I'm the only woman on the Legacy Loop. And I have only seen Army women and the excellent GB slalom women take on the Olympic course. I'm sure the women are there, they're just a lot less common than male paddlers. You wouldn't NEED to run a gents paddle symposium, because you're pretty likely to get an all-male group by chance ;)

Not that I especially mind being one of very few women, on most occasions - means I carry in the lightest boat (even if it's not mine!), and get more help from Throw-line Alan than all the blokes in brand new dry suits floating past :p
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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by DaveBland »

So, hey great replies to my rant - sorry, it may have been a bit strong, but to be fair "wimping out is not an option" was what was written.
Mark, I too paddle with guys around half my age and understand the pressures there – and also enjoy pushing hard - but for me the motivation comes from 100% within. I will happily walk anything or paddle anything regardless of what anyone else is doing (always have).
I totally get upping your game through choice when paddling with a strong group, but it's such a fine line between that and being influenced by peer pressure.
Great if you've found that balance Erin, sorry if I misunderstood.
dave

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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by EmilyH »

Seriously shocked that there are people who think lack of women in the sport simply reflects that women are just happy doing other things. Seriously?! Yeah right, women would rather be at home doing the laundry.

An action designed to address inequality is perceived as inequality? Better not do anything as a society to overcome homophobia, racism and disability discrimination then. We might be accused of discriminating against straight people, white british people and non-disabled people. Best to do nothing and maintain the status quo?

When I passed my assessment for the Olympic course, I couldn't believe how few women I see on there. Worst still, I haven't met many women who even aspire to pass their assessment. It seems unsurmountable to them. Fair enough that's partly their choice but without many female role models how can we encourage female kayakers to broaden their horizons?

A lot of female kayakers I know weren't interested in the lady's paddle symposium because they are happy learning with and from men. That's fine. But if there are women out there who might just stay in the sport longer, push themselves harder, meet new friends and kayak more after a female only event, then surely that it's worth doing? What has been lost?

More girls seems to be held back by fear in kayaking than men. Some girls value feedback from females, coaching from females which helps them paddle better with men / as part of a group where gender subsequently doesn't have to be an issue.

I for one wish there were more girls in the sport and most guys I know (particularly single guys) feel the same, so let's not be so quick to rubbish something that might actually help.

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Re: Ladies paddling

Post by DaveBland »

Not sure how much difference a Ladies only event will make. Nothing against it, sounds like fun, but the issues behind why more women in the UK don't paddle aren't solvable - even addressable through an event like that.

Here in the Canadian Rockies, there are a lot of female paddlers. Not level numbers with the guys, but a lot. And they are good.
The issue of gender doesn't really come up. Paddling is paddling and mates are mates.
I'm sure some do go off and paddle in all girl groups, but probably most don't. Mixed groups are fun. It's all about ability when groups are together.
The reason for more female paddlers here? I'm not sure, but it's a super 'outdoor' location with a culture of getting out and using the mountains. In essence it's easier to get out.

I think I've said it before, but the initial 'unpleasantness' of UK paddling puts a lot of folks off before they get truly hooked. I suspect if there is a difference between male and female paddlers, the biggest is the propensity of guys to put up with cold, damp, rainy, windy crap unitl they are good enough to be hooked on the sport.
dave

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