Should I paddle with people who don't belong to a Club

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DaveBland
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Re: Should I paddle with people who don't belong to a Club

Post by DaveBland » Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:23 pm

Do these vastly differing views/experiences of clubs stem from where the club is located?
It seems that the further from the 'good water' the clubs are, the more of them there are.
How many clubs [even per population] does say the Midlands have compared to say, N Wales?
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Chalky723
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Re: Should I paddle with people who don't belong to a Club

Post by Chalky723 » Tue Nov 17, 2015 5:29 pm

Lancs_lad wrote: B) Go down my local club, faff while they decide who is allowed to come with me (fully qualified MWE + 5 star), then when they do said people faff like mad even more! I then spend the day fishing out beaters who "think" they are ready for grade 3/4 but arent. Oh and I paddle one river in the time I could of done 3 with my mates.
I'd say you're probably getting out of it what you've put in TBH. If you're not getting to know the paddlers & their abilities, then you'll never know who you're getting - but that's as much a fault of the system as it is of your (totally right) desire to maximise your quality paddling time.

Although if you come across to the "beaters" as you do in the paragraph above, I'm pretty sure they won't want to paddle with you either...

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Re: Should I paddle with people who don't belong to a Club

Post by davebrads » Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:09 pm

Lancs_lad wrote:A) Paddle rivers at the grade I enjoy with mates who know what they are doing etc
The problem with this is that over time you will find that less and less of your mates are about for one reason or another, some will move away, some will take up something else, some will have less understanding partners, and some just won't maintain their paddling skills. Being part of a thriving club gives you a constant supply of new paddling mates. The problem then becomes how to make sure that your club is thriving in the way that you want, and that is the bit that takes the time and commitment.
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Re: Should I paddle with people who don't belong to a Club

Post by davebrads » Tue Nov 17, 2015 6:24 pm

As an addendum to the above.

I started paddling about 35 years ago, and started running rivers quite seriously maybe 4 or 5 years after that. I only know of a couple of paddling buddies from that time who are still paddling, and I don't think either of them would want to paddle the harder end of grade 4 any more. This weekend I am joining my old club on their annual Scottish trip. We will be mostly paddling grade 3/easy 4 water, though there are a small hard core that might push the grades a bit higher, and I may join them if I'm feeling good about my paddling and it's the right kind river.

Only one of them is from that original group. I don't think that there is anyone else that I have been paddling with for over 10 years, and there are a small number that I have never met. If it wasn't for the club I would be struggling to find anyone to get out with, much less have a few days away in Scotland. Worth the effort in my opinion.
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Re: Should I paddle with people who don't belong to a Club

Post by superman » Tue Nov 17, 2015 9:21 pm

Hmmm. I`m breaking my golden rule here of getting involved in one of these potentially circular conversations. Life`s too short. But here goes
Firstly in answer to the question. Paddle with who you like. Why would you not? No one can tell you who to paddle with. Also paddling with avariety of people/groups is appositive, broadens your experience. It really is a no brainer. Any club that tells you you can`t , you should leave.
Clubs V Individual groups? It doesn't have to, nor should it be either /or.
Problems? Yes. There is a mentality amongst some individuals in clubs that things are absolute and that`s where the problems and frustrations come in.As many hav e pointed out, the qualification and remit system is a car crash is used by these people as if it were written in tablets of stone. It isn`t. If these people delved deeper into the masses and masses of on line BC documentation somewhere they would find that BC recognizes that in the real world with experience remits are and can be exceded. I is there..I was obliged to spend a whole day trawling to find this to prove the point (not an experience I enjoyed and I would argue one reason why some people don`t want to get involved with clubs!!) Simon put it well when he said there is no requirement for qualification "stay safe, set up the day and have a good time". Now that`s not to say that qualifications are not a good idea but competence is needed , certification may help as a guide, but competence is the issue and there are other ways of evidencing that other than certification. Once clubs and their members take this on board then they can be a springboard rather than a hindrance.
In defence of clubs I would say that they are a great institution where people can work and socialize together and help each other. Yes it`s frustrating at times and as I`ve already indicated sometimes you have to put your head above the parapet as I`ve indicated above but it`s a community where three's friendship as well as a pool of people to boat with,there are rewards too.If you put time in to newcomers young or old , they will become better paddlers and you`ll have new peer paddling buddies..If they`re young people they`ll get better than you and you`ll have a new generation of buddies that appreciate the time you put in with them and keep it all a rollin` on!! Some boaters appear to look down on "club" boaters, they shouldn`t. They may well have started there. The clubs bring new people in who may not have any other opportunity to get in. Also if you are willing to get involved with club members old and young (remember the young are not a separate species) at all levels, instead of standing back and waiting sol you can "cream off" those that are good enough to paddle with you after all the introductory work has been done you may even enjoy it.I do get mildly irritated when some people say that they don`t want to pay a small subscription to a club that they`ve come through, maybe used equipment, coaching etc in the early years but now they don`t need it because they are independent. Would be nice for them to put back something to maintain the stream of new paddlers (for them to paddle with).
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Re: Should I paddle with people who don't belong to a Club

Post by stonercanoe » Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:12 pm

I would say boat safely, responsibly and have fun. Boat as much as you can! Does it matter who you boat with?
In the UK where do most of us learn to roll? Probably most of us in a heated swimming pool because outside is so cold. I would guess the majority of us popped along to a club pool session at some point to share the cost of the pool hire. Clubs have a purpose, which we possibly outgrown sometimes..if you take a little, give a little back?
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Re: Should I paddle with people who don't belong to a Club

Post by Jim » Tue Nov 17, 2015 11:53 pm

Lancs_lad wrote:B) Go down my local club, faff while they decide who is allowed to come with me (fully qualified MWE + 5 star),
Well, here is the first problem, the club really shouldn't be letting you lead any of their trips unless you are a regular member and thus are already familiar with the other members and have a good idea who is going to be up to the trip or not. Most of the trips I've known go bad have been ones where the leaders weren't regularly paddling with the others and over-estimated their ability - but this doesn't just go for club trips, you wouldn't accept a new person into your group of mates and depend on that person as the leader on their first trip (assuming you define a leader role, we rarely do in peer trips)
Lancs_lad wrote:then when they do said people faff like mad even more!
They probably just need some competent people to show them how to get ready and approach stuff on the river - one of the best paddlers I know, whom I have paddled with a hell of a lot outside of club circles, has habits that can really slow a group dynamic, so faff is not restricted to clubs and you do have to respect that different individuals may have different pre-rapid rituals than you do.
Lancs_lad wrote:I then spend the day fishing out beaters who "think" they are ready for grade 3/4 but arent.
Well, see the first point. The fact that you view them as beaters probably means you have no respect for them and probably shouldn't be anywhere near them, let alone leading them.
Lancs_lad wrote:Oh and I paddle one river in the time I could of done 3 with my mates.
Obviously, no club can put 2 rivers on the calendar for the same day, club trips are planned in advance before levels are known, 3 river days with your mates just happen when there is enough rain...
Probably most of the club 'beaters' aren't fit enough, to do 2 rivers, or their kit is not warm enough to make it viable without serious risk of hypothermia.
Lancs_lad wrote:Oh and then to top it off they feedback that I choose a too hard a river for them!! Jog on!!
Absolutely out of order - the river won't have been too hard, it's just that you will have rushed them and pressured them and failed to give the kind of support they need to successfully run grade 3-4 water. A club focussed leader could probably run the same trip taking 1.5 to 2 times as long (so definitely no second river option), allowing the paddlers to scout, discussing lines with them and stuff, and will probably have to fish far fewer of them out by the end of the trip, and they will think he picked a river that was just at the level they were aiming for.

Lets face it, you are roughly where I got to 15 years ago (although I may have been slightly more diplomatic), the club is not providing what you need for your own boating, and you are better off well out of it. In my view, as soon as a boater loses the ability to sympathise with the difficulties and challenges that normal club paddlers have to deal with, it is time for them to move on.

But never rule out going back to a club when you get older and your skills regress back to the 'club boater' level (if there is such a thing).

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Re: Should I paddle with people who don't belong to a Club

Post by MikeVeal » Wed Nov 18, 2015 9:15 am

To answer the original question, should non club paddlers be paddling with you if your primary concern about their suitability for paddling is whether or not they are members of a club?

Please don't take that as an insult, it's not intended that way. But it is deliberately provocative - I think there a few things less important than club membership when picking river buddies. YMMV.

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Re: Should I paddle with people who don't belong to a Club

Post by Lancs_lad » Wed Nov 18, 2015 10:47 am

In my view, as soon as a boater loses the ability to sympathise with the difficulties and challenges that normal club paddlers have to deal with, it is time for them to move on.

But never rule out going back to a club when you get older and your skills regress back to the 'club boater' level (if there is such a thing).
That's why I have virtually cut all ties. Now I just cherry pick the best paddlers via my contacts inside the club. Also since the club isnt providing for the ambitious they are coming to me go paddling.

In my experience (from my club) non of the good paddlers to emerge from it have got good from solely paddling with the club. The coaches in the clubs are no where near the standard of the professionals such as Simon Westgarth. I got to the level I am now by seeking out professional coaching that is not available in the clubs. I then drilled it every time I went out on the river.

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Re: Should I paddle with people who don't belong to a Club

Post by SimonMW » Wed Nov 18, 2015 11:15 am

There are a few clubs with good paddlers in them, although usually the really good paddlers tend to organise trips outside of the club and do not have much to do with the club trips as a whole. Many don't do the coaching scheme because they don't want to get roped into leading beginners down G1-G2 all the time. This leads to another problem. That a lot of people with bits of paper end up having to run beginners sessions constantly for the club and pretty much kiss their own personal paddling development goodbye. This sort of issue is one reason of many why the first club that I was a member of has now lost most of its most experienced 4* leaders and would be coaches. It is now left with new coaches that have precious little experience of a wide variety of rivers/water, or older coaches who are extremely dedicated and lovely people, but show some extremely dated methods and techniques.

Clubs should focus more on the ability that they see from members rather than the pieces of paper that they have. This would give much more scope for being able to rotate people so that the same guys don't constantly feel like they cannot go out and do their own paddling due to having to take beginners trips all the time.

The focus on BC qualifications also sometimes leads to mind lock and ego (i.e. I have a piece of paper, therefore I'm more qualified than you even though I can see you are 1000 times more competent paddler than me etc). I have had a few occasions where I have been told I am doing things wrongly by someone from a club, which is laughable when I could easily explain to them the errors of their thinking, but I just don't as I have better things to do. But that sort of mindset, while it will often be down to inexperience, is also due to the insular nature of many clubs. I know a good few club coaches who openly voice their dislike of commercial coaches, despite the latter being of much greater ability and experience most of the time.

Clubs do have a place, but I think fundamentally they are restricted in what they can do because the people with the most experience generally do not want to be teaching beginners and intermediates all the time. Such people leave, which leaves people with much less experience to teach them. The blind leading the blind as it were.
The coaches in the clubs are no where near the standard of the professionals such as Simon Westgarth. I got to the level I am now by seeking out professional coaching that is not available in the clubs. I then drilled it every time I went out on the river.
Exactly what I did. I'm still rubbish, but slightly less rubbish ;-) But yes, if many club coaches could see the skills of people like Simon, Ross Montandon, Chris Eastabrook etc their eyes would be opened! I was extremely lucky in that I hung out a lot with Dan Povey from River Strokes for my first year of paddling. He got me hooked on the sport and instilled a solid skill base. He often taught club people who were trying to get out of bad habits, or felt that they simply couldn't learn anything at their club due to basically being expected to point downstream and survive the rapid.

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