The subject of solo paddling is a fascinating one, and one that is discussed on practically every sea kayaking message board at one time or another, with all sorts of opinions being expressed, pro and con. But it is evidently too hot a topic for some, on some sites (not this one, thank goodness), and cannot be discussed beyond a certain point without there being expressions of fear that novice kayakers will be somehow tempted, because others paddle solo and say so, to go out solo when they shouldn't. This attitude seems to prevail even though those who do paddle solo stipulate that it is not suitable for all paddlers, and may carry risks that exceed the risks of paddling in a group; the fear of poisoning the minds of the newbie is just too strong in some circles to tolerate full discussion. (As an aside, I would be interested in any large, meaningful statistical study that anyone has ever made regarding solo vs group sea kayaking fatalities; it has been alleged that the Coast Guard has such statistics, but no one has yet been able to produce them from the USCG data. I think we all believe solo paddling to be riskier than group paddling, but that belief so far rests on anecdotal reporting and theory.)
In a recent series of posts on another message board (I will not name it), in answer to a request from a newer paddler for guidance on how to better prepare for longer trips, I offered the opinion that well-prepared, well-equipped newer sea kayakers could gain valuable longer-distance experience paddling along shallow, benign, sandy bay shorelines, where waters were no more than maybe chest-deep, and the shoreline and an attendant roadway were only a few hundred feet away, at most. The idea here was to explore kayaking a full day's distance of, say, 15 to 20 nautical miles, total, there and back, SOLO if need be, if there was some difficulty in joining a group or getting one together. I had made similar proposals on the very same message board at least twice previously over the past 10 years; they had been received calmly, with several expressions of support and interest. So imagine my disappointment when this latest thread was abruptly locked up and withdrawn to a Members Only part of the message board, along with a stern lecture that only trips with at least 3 kayakers could receive the full blessing of the organization. I presume from this that future trip reports discussing solo or 2-person outings will be scrubbed--kind of a sad ending for a once-thriving and open forum.
So let us be grateful that our Sea Kayaker Message Board here retains its integrity as a forum for open discussion of sea kayaking topics. I know I am.
Edited by Strange_Magic (12/29/12 04:44 PM)