Posted by: oldgeezer1 on Jan-31-13 7:32 PM (EST)
thanks for all the great feedback.
I will clarify, as I am not sure that I made myself completely clear.
What I am referring to is that many of the intermediate or reasonably advanced paddlers that used to perhaps be buds that you might paddle with have abandoned paddling with groups of like-skilled friends in order to paddle solely for pay. I have seen this in a few different areas of the country now. Seems that there used to be clubs and groups of skilled intermediate paddlers that got together to paddle in bigger conditions, etc. for fun, but not so much anymore. The result is that there are fewer and fewer intermediate groups to join up with. Plenty of beginners looking to paddle with others, but not a lot of more skilled paddlers, as they have turned to paddling with the beginner paddlers for money in many instances.
Now I don't want to pay $500 or $600 to go to a symposium and take classes like "introduction to surf" etc. taught often times by some guy who is not really that good of a rough water paddler himself.
However, I may be willing to pay a MODEST price to participate in a TRUE GATHERING of paddlers like is described above by CapeFear.
In other words, a gathering with groups of folks just going out to paddle and not in some super controlled instructional venue where you are on a short leash by the timid instructor who is worried that the winds are gusting to 20 knots and that he needs to move the group to a sheltered location lest someone can't handle the conditions or...that someone ACTUALLY needs to be rescued.
Many of these symposia teach all these rescue skills, etc, but then no one actually goes out and paddles in the big conditions where you may actually need to execute a rescue.
I am talking about a gathering where there would not only be students of beginner or intermediate skill, but intermediate and advanced paddlers wanting to play in rougher conditions as a group....and for a modest price.
$600 for three days or four days just to paddle....like they charge at most of the symposia is not worth it to me, unless you are guaranteed to have a like-skilled group of paddlers to paddle with along with a top notch instructor like Nigel Dennis, etc, and with a low teacher to student ratio. But that is never the case.
I would pay some money to attend a "paddle palooza" kind of event.
They have lots of events like that in the whitewater community...like the Cheat Fest. But it's paddlers coming together for a good time to paddle together, and not some intermediate paddlers who went out and got an ACA certification and are making money charging $600 a head for people to paddle with them.