Kayaking Technique Forum

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Re: Exceptions...sort of
In Response To: Re: Swimming skills ()

Then there are "non-swimmers" or "not-much-of-a-swimmers" like Randy who have developed a great deal of water-sense, and kayaking abilities.

Not only does the ability to swim mean simply that, it also implies a certain level of water-sense and comfort in the liquid medium of which we cannot breathe. Some people can develop those skills and technically still not be able to swim, but they probably go through a significantly greater amount of effort and time to get to that experience level than they would have by learning to swim. I don't think Randy is in the norm, and I won't encourage others to go that same route. I've never met him in person, but I have great respect for his knowledge and experience, so I'm not knocking him--I just can't encourage others to pursue the same approach to kayaking-without-swimming.

So, I would say there are two kinds of "non-swimmers". Those who swim like stones, and those who have some water sense, but lack the ability to efficiently propel themselves through H2O. Still, I'd prefer to know how to swim.


: Yes, the 2 brothers drowned, but from the sounds of it, they were completely
: unfamiliar with kayaking. And I believe there is a distinct advantage a
: swimmer has over thrashing in a PFD. The gist of this thread is really the
: Q, is swimming skill a PRE-requisite for sea kayaking? I maintain that it
: is, and that although pure luck gets some folks through, it is only luck.
: There is just no way I would endorse taking a beginner out on any water
: (unless it is less than 4 feet deep) without this skill. When swimming can
: be learned in less than 2 months, why in G-d's name would anyone skip out
: on this trivial time committment to "get paddling right away?"?
: To save a couple hours of lessons over 8 weeks? I just don't get it. If
: you can't swim, don't canoe, don't kayak, don't sail, just stay off of the
: water. This is elementary school stuff, what I have been taught since I
: was a 6 year old. I stand by my advice on this board, no swim-no kayak.
: Plain and simple. The rest is foolishness.

: Not that I have any strong feelings about the subject....:)

: Good points!