Is Ocean Paddling Becoming Pay to Play?
Posted by: oldgeezer1 on Jan-31-13 2:15 PM (EST) Category: unassigned
Maybe it’s just me but, it seems to me that ocean kayaking has become a "pay to play" kind of a sport on a larger and larger scale. I have noticed it in several different regions to a larger and larger extent.
More and more it seems that if you want to paddle in rough water, surf, do longer open water trips, multi-day trips, etc, that you need to either pay to paddle at a symposium attend a symposium or pay one of the increasing number of folks who charge people to paddle with them.
I find that frustrating because it makes it harder to find competent paddling groups / partners, and because I don't need or want paddling instruction. Many of my former paddling friends have moved away from paddling with friends and with groups for fun, and now approach paddling almost strictly as a business and charge people to paddle with them.
And...some of those folks who are charging people to paddle with them are not what I would consider to be superb paddlers. They are more competent than the people who are willing to pay to paddle with them, but many are what I would consider intermediate skill level. I don't want to pay someone to paddle with me, especially if they are of the same or lower skill level that I am. Many of these folks are certified instructors through the ACA, but if you are willing to pay out the cash that certification can be easily purchased in most cases…not in all cases, but in many it seems based on some of the folks I have seen who have higher level certification levels in the ACA. Reminds me of a story about one fairly well certified instructor who charged a group of people to go on an overnight trip and then got lost and another who charged a bunch of folks to teach them to surf, but according to one of the students in the class the instructor was not able to catch any more waves than they were.
The few times that I have broken down and paid to go on trips with people I have been fairly disappointed as there was little coaching to be had and the activities of the group were limited by the skill level of the weakest paddler. Why would I pay for that again?
I paddle whitewater, canoe and mountain bike with other folks, and in none of these other sports do people charge you to go with them, and there is an
abundance of groups and friends to go with. I can also say that most of the whitewater instructors I know of are pretty highly skilled so maybe the ACA holds them to a higher standard than sea kayak instructors. It seems that a lot of sea kayakers achieve a solid intermediate level of skills and then run out and get an ACA instructor certification.
Has anyone else noticed this?
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really different problem|
Posted by: jcbikeski on Jan-31-13 2:21 PM (EST)
pay to play|
Posted by: amf on Jan-31-13 3:26 PM (EST)
I haven't noticed that to be the case in my area, but in general I do find the "younger generation" is more willing to shell out $$ for "spoon feeding" of their adventure, no matter what flavor it is - caving, climbing, yakking, you name it. Myself, I find I am more willing to shell out some green to paddle an area I'd likely never get to on my own. Just my 2 centavos.
Posted by: johnysmoke on Jan-31-13 5:25 PM (EST)
Are either professionals incredibly busy nowadays working long hours, or not working/broke and unable to afford recreation. So I'd suspect it's the ones on a quick power vacation who are shelling out bucks to get out and play, and learn as much as they can, to whom you are referring...
Liability rears its ugly head|
Posted by: willi_h2o on Jan-31-13 3:31 PM (EST)
Posted by: Celia on Jan-31-13 3:51 PM (EST)
The problem I see is a simple lack of folks that are paddling at a level I would trust to handle a problem on open water. Period - with or without certs or a desire to make money out of it.
I can appreciate this|
Posted by: CapeFear on Jan-31-13 3:56 PM (EST)
I can appreciate where you're coming from. I continue to be somewhat surprised by the seeming lack of interest in more performance-oriented sea kayaking.
Have never noticed it and|
Posted by: Jackl on Jan-31-13 4:39 PM (EST)
Posted by: jcbikeski on Jan-31-13 4:48 PM (EST)
IF you had none or very few capable folks to paddle with anymore would you gravitate to joining more guided trips (either do remote or local or symposiums). Or would you do more easy trips knowing you have more newbies available. Or would you just paddle alone. Or stop paddling.
Posted by: oldgeezer1 on Jan-31-13 5:05 PM (EST)
I would paddle alone. That is the boat I am in now...which sucks because we all know that it's not very safe to paddle in cold / open water with big conditions without some other paddlers.
Jack, you're from NC|
Posted by: CapeFear on Jan-31-13 6:42 PM (EST)
We both have been willing in the past to pay for paddling events. That type of nominal fee, such as the fees we've paid to sign up for race events, is what we're going for to make this coastal NC event happen. Myself and the other Wilmington organizers are all paying the same event fee as everyone else. I know it may not be your type of event, but if you get the chance to read my long post above, does it sound reasonable, or does it actually give you the impression that you would be paying to paddle with someone more than paying some nominal fee for a few hour race does?
Yes, that event fee does sound....|
Posted by: Jackl on Feb-01-13 5:28 AM (EST)
Not really ....|
Posted by: seadart on Jan-31-13 5:12 PM (EST)
People do make kayaking a business, and the money is located in older folks who can afford seakayaks.
Posted by: jcbikeski on Jan-31-13 5:16 PM (EST)
partly it was scaled back because they added http://www.bajakayakfest.com
Posted by: oldgeezer1 on Jan-31-13 7:32 PM (EST)
thanks for all the great feedback.
lost good paddlers but not to $$|
Posted by: jcbikeski on Jan-31-13 7:46 PM (EST)
In my case some of the more skilled switched to surf skis (from ocean sea kayaks). Some got old and either don't paddle or stay near the harbor ever refining various rolls. Some moved away. But only one or two in the last ten years I think left to paddle for pay.
Posted by: pikabike on Jan-31-13 11:34 PM (EST)
I get the impression that's true of symposia overall, not just the SW one.
That seems reasonably priced ...|
Posted by: seadart on Feb-01-13 12:19 AM (EST)
I was thinking that was going to be a lot more expensive.
A question of critical mass|
Posted by: Kocho on Jan-31-13 8:46 PM (EST)
agree - critical mass|
Posted by: Peter-CA on Jan-31-13 9:09 PM (EST)
I agree with the comment that it is critical mass.
Posted by: jcbikeski on Jan-31-13 9:37 PM (EST)
"The way in is often a bit of paying to play - most of these advanced paddlers are the instructors at local shops, and if they see you can control yourself in the class (taking appropriate risks, avoiding extreme risks), they may invite you on other paddles."
Posted by: Peter-CA on Jan-31-13 10:06 PM (EST)
very true NM|
Posted by: jcbikeski on Jan-31-13 10:09 PM (EST)
I travel year round for work|
Posted by: trvlrerik on Jan-31-13 10:08 PM (EST)
so I see a lot of different areas. I have found it to be pretty easy to hook up with local paddlers. I use the internet in most cases to locate the "locals" or go to a paddle shop and just ask. I often just go up to strangers and ask.
I wish paddlers in my area would get...|
Posted by: johnysmoke on Jan-31-13 11:06 PM (EST)
I wish paddlers in my area would get training enough to pass an ACA L4 open water instructor certification. Heck even an L3 would prove entertaining. I wish paddlers in my area would get any type of training, or have any type of inclination to paddle anything above flat water conditions. I've been lucky to meet a few good paddlers who helped me get better at paddling by exposing me to challenging conditions, and I've sought out training to help with my progression. And I've met people who have got good training and got pretty good at paddling quickly, who enjoy challenging themselves, and these are the people I enjoy paddling with. But they are a small handful. Otherwise its lots of big fish in a small pond in my area, where a pool roll qualifies someone as an "experienced" paddler, even though they don't surf, paddle rough water, or do anything other than paddle flat water, yet are looked upon as "experienced" paddlers for no good reason. Very strange, especially because there are a few small but interesting features near me that are great for training or playing in, but seldom few take advantage of...
I hope not|
Posted by: pikabike on Jan-31-13 11:27 PM (EST)
I just moved from an inland, sea-kayaker-scarce area to a coastal location. Maybe it's stupid of me, but if there aren't others to go with, I just go by myself. That's true regardless whether it's paddling, biking, hiking, or whatever. I make sure the expected conditions are within my abilities, with a extra-healthy margin of safety. Sure, if there was a regular group of skilled paddlers, I could push the edges more. But it's better to go out and use extra caution than to not go at all.
Paddling for fun|
Posted by: NateHanson on Feb-01-13 5:44 PM (EST)
Pro or not, if you're not paddling for fun, you're probably not that into paddling. In my experience, those who only paddle when they're working, aren't really dedicated paddlers, and tend not to develop their skills. If it's just a job, and you're not looking for days that you can spend on the water with friends/peers, then it really is just a job.
Posted by: Cascadians on Feb-02-13 10:01 AM (EST)
Posted by: Cascadians on Feb-02-13 10:03 AM (EST)
and ready to paddle, rescue, practice
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