Beginning Paddler FAQs

Below are some Frequently Asked Questions for our beginning paddlers which we hope will help provide some guidance and direction.  If you have more questions, please reach out to the coaching staff or send us an email via our contact page.  Thanks!

 

What should I wear to paddle?

Clothing that you can get wet in is always the best bet; a bathing suit or board shorts are good choices, as is a “base layer” shirt for warmth and sun protection.  Hats are encouraged for sun protection, too.

Water shoes or flip flops are a must! We carry the boats to the launch ramp and you will not want to wear shoes in the boat unless they are ones made for water.


Will I get wet?

Yes! – especially in your first few weeks of paddling as you learn to balance our tippy boats.  We have more stable boats for beginners to start in however even these are ones that most people tip over in to begin with.

It is also not uncommon to get wet from water splashed from paddles in team boats or paddling near other boats.  While we do not try to get into the water, it’s a part of the sport that you can expect to get wet.


When are the workouts?

Beginner workouts are typically on the weekend and will be announced on this website.  Club workouts are every Saturday morning and Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings at 6am currently.   As we grow as a club, we will work with the membership to establish times and days that work for the majority.  We hope to have Tuesday and Thursday afternoon/early evening workouts soon.

Winter paddling is for the elite and adult paddlers only and we encourage alternative training during this time for our juniors.  A weekend or two a month is all that our non-elite junior paddlers would be expected to train on the water and the coaching staff will provide other workout opportunities like weight training and running with the club.  While it is possible to paddle year round here in Southern California, we also want our paddlers to be well rounded and ideally participate in other activities for part of the year, too.


How do we communicate?

Club members are given a code to use with our TeamReach – an application for smart phones.  All minors should have their parents also use TeamReach.  All communication is visible to everyone at all times as part of our adherence to the practices of SafeSport.org.  Adult club members have a separate TeamReach group from our minors, too.


Do I need to wear a life jacket?

Yes, life jackets or PFDs are required for all paddlers in all club workouts.  During sanctioned American Canoe Association races and regattas, there may be safety boats that permit us to paddle without a personal flotation device but it really is not a big deal to wear one and should be considered just part of your normal paddling gear.


What does it cost to join the club?

Club dues are set by our Board and are currently $20 a month.   Our dues permit you to have access to our club equipment, workouts, and coaching.  To join the club, you must also get a membership with the American Canoe Association which costs $25 a year.  (The ACA membership cover’s the club’s insurance needs and more.)   Please select the Ventura Olympic Canoe Club (or old club name) as your club when joining!

If you end up going to the Nationals or racing in a National Team Trials event, you will also need to purchase a $45 “racing license” from the ACA.   This is not something we would expect a first year paddler to need however.

New members are also expected to purchase their own life jacket in the first few months of paddling and the club gets a discount from NRS for these purchases.   A good for paddling Type III life jacket will run between $50 and $100 dollars but you may also be able to find one cheaper.  The main thing is to get one you feel comfortable wearing and paddling!

By the end of your first year, you need to also purchase your own paddle.   New paddles cost between about $250 and $300.   Our club dues are intentionally low compared to the cost of many other club sports so that you can save up for the purchases of your own equipment and travel fees for races.  We also hope that members will continue to paddle and encourage all to buy (or make!) their own boat in their second year of paddling.


How long does it take to learn to stay in the boat?

As you might imagine, this depends very much on the skills of each individual and the amount of time and effort put into paddling.   Most beginners learn to stay in the boat within about a month’s time and only occasionally falling out of the boat after that.  For adult paddlers, it can take longer depending on their experience.


When and where are the races?

The National Championships are each summer — usually the first week of August or last week in July.  The Nationals are often far from California and the races themselves span four days!  It’s not a small commitment to go to them.  Team Trails are often in April or early May but may also be part of our Nationals.   There are some races in the spring and fall in California and we plan to host our own races as our club grows, too.


Do I have to race?

No.  Racing is optional for all members but we want everyone to train to be the best that they can be.


How old do I have to be?

Club membership is open to 12 year olds and older.


What if I’m not a minor?  Can adults join?

Absolutely!  Most adults are more reluctant to pick up a sport where they may fall in for the first month of trying but paddling sprint boats is something for all ages.   There are Masters age classes at our Nationals that permit you to compete against others in your age brackets as well as the open Senior events for all ages.  Paddling is a great low impact, whole body, and core workout!


Where do the club dues get spent?

Our club is run completely by volunteers – we have no paid staff.  Dues cover the maintenance of our club equipment — life jackets, paddles, boats, and trailer — and the rental of the space in the dry storage lot at the Harbor.  Dues also go towards our annual ACA club dues which are in addition to the individual payments made by members.

Our Board may choose to increase or decrease our club dues in the future depending on needs.  We actively seek donations (we are a 501.3c non-profit) and rely on fund raising to purchase additional equipment.