"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."
With our group of somewhat advanced paddlers we invite in new folks by also having more moderate days that reveal a lot. For example before I will invite folks for rock garden outings I invite them a few times to safer surf outings to see how they handle their boats in various directions in breaking waves. Or do moderte distance paddles and see who seems eager for more miles.
But I'm lacking others to do the same for me for the next level up.
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