Gratuitous Sex & The Paddle Float

Nothing like a little controversy, eh?  Well, I’m not sure if it’s just social media, or the way of the world or what, but I have to say it seems like controversy is what we thrive on these days.  Sometimes it’s fun and healthy to disagree, sometimes I think it’s just sport for folks who spend too much time alone on their computers. Thing is, you can’t really say or do much of anything these days without offending someone, it doesn’t matter if it’s the gratuitous use of sex in this Roxy Pro Surf Promo or a group of “better than the rest of us” people demeaning the poor old paddle float.  And remember, being offended doesn’t always make you right.

As far as the Roxy ad, I think  at the Adventure Journal nailed it. It’s gratuitous and lazy yes. At the same time he pointed out that had there been even a smidgen more actual surfing in the video it probably wouldn’t have garnered such blowback. I’m not sure if that condemns the producers or the audience more in the end. You can read his take here.  My only thought is that sex is a major part of the human experience, (Birds do it, bees do it..) and because we have many cultural and social differences between all of us, not to mention our personal experiences, we will always be arguing over the right balance.  Certainly I think we can all agree that this video is well, not focused on surfing…

Now when it comes to the recent paddle float controversy over on Facebook, I just have to snicker.  I can’t imagine writing multiple paragraphs defending the use of a paddle float.  This is simple, if you don’t carry a paddle float  you’ve left behind a variety of rescue options.  Who is so cocky that they would leave a rescue tool on the shelf?  The bigger issue with a paddle float, as mentioned by Bryan Hansel in his blog, “The Paddle Float Rescue: Why is Everyone Down on It?” is that people need to practice to be competent or it won’t work when you really need it to.  I make jokes about the paddle float all the time, all the while I’m carrying one on my kayak.

Oh and here’s another debate for you….  Jeremy Vore over at THE ART OF PADDLING made a great video showing the heel hook version of the paddle float rescue.  In it, he places the paddle blade under a deck line.  The “official” line has always been that we should never do that.  I wouldn’t simply because you could snap your paddle if you don’t position your weight properly.  At the same time, there are kayaks out there that have been designed specifically to hold your paddle in place for a paddle float rescue.  Tempest in a tea-pot?

In the end, let me just say this.  I love a good discussion but I’m offended by offensiveness. People shut down when others are judgmental, they don’t learn. Being offended is at best a silent sport.  Even when justified, verbally attacking an issue or point of view doesn’t help, it doesn’t teach, change minds or create the change you want to see, it simply intrenches everyone in their own pre-formed opinions.

3 Responses

  1. Thanks for the plug! And, note that the paddle only goes under the far side perimeter deck line. The near side is pinned to the boat by your near side hand. So all you have to do is let go and it’s free. No broken paddles, no difficult to extract paddle recovery, constant positive control of the paddle, and a nice, stable platform for your rescue.

    Looking forward to a beer with you in Grand Marais next week, sir!

    1. I like the technique. I’ve had a few students now and again that simply can’t find any other way to get back onto their kayak.. in that case… life over gear anyway. In general though, I’d always lean toward not putting the blade under a deckline, especially when were practicing.. but sometimes in the real world, you just do what you gotta do. :) See you at GLSKS…

  2. The last paragraph really speaks to me: If I am judgmental I lock myself out from learning.
    Kayaking or any other subject.
    As for the paddle float, despite my initial love for it I no longer use it as it is a crutch preventing me to practice my most efficient way of rescue: the roll. Time might come when my roll might not work but I have serious doubts that a paddle float would help me then either.
    If I persisted with the paddle float I might have even become more proficient with it and chances are I would have said: who needs rolling when there is the paddle float?…
    There are cases where a paddle float might come handy (injury?) but I just can’t bring myself to always pack one with me.

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