This is a draft document which attempts to answer some of the more frequently asked questions from people thinking of joining the club. If the questions to your answers are still not covered below, please feel free to contact us and we will try and respond.
I just want to go for a paddle, can the club help?
The club is not a commercial operator and does not organise trips for non members, nor do we have the resources to generally help people organise trips in Tasmania.
There are two established commercial sea-kayaking operators in the State: Freycinet Adventures and Roaring 40's Kayaking. Whilst the club does not endorse either operator, we would recommend that if you are looking to go on a guided sea kayak trip in Tasmania that these would be the best groups to contact.
I am an experienced paddler coming to Tasmania, can the club help?
The club is run by volunteers, and so our resources are always limited by the goodwill and time of our members.
If you are an experienced kayaker coming to Tasmania for a sea kayaking trip and are just looking for some local knowledge, then feel free to contact us with some information about you and what you are looking for, and we will undertake to place genuine requests up on our club forums for individual members to respond to. Our members often head off around the country and the world to do trips, so we know how useful it can be to have some local knowledge and so we do what we can to help - just no guarantees.
Does the club do training for non-members?
No. The club provides an excellent range of training opportunities for members ranging from a mandatory Club Introduction Day Course through to Sea Skills Proficiency Training. We also have regular training days ranging from subsidised pool sessions (eg. to practice rolling) through to on-sea training in virtually every aspect of sea-canoeing and kayaking. We also bring in interstate or overseas experts to provide training to club members.
I'm a complete novice, can I still join the club?
Yes, however we would generally recommend that you make sure you enjoy sea kayaking first. If you've never been in a kayak perhaps consider going kayaking with a friend, or going out with a commercial provider to do a trip or two and make sure you enjoy it and can do the basics of paddling.
The club does run a mandatory "Club Introduction Day" for new members, which introduces paddlers to the basic skills you need to enjoy kayaking, but it is generally assumed that a person coming along on these days is comfortable getting into and out of a kayak and paddling around on flat water. The club introduction day is really about ensuring new members have what are considered core skills like paddling forward, turning, wet exits and rescues as well as ensuring you understand the gear requirements and philosophy of the club.
I don't own a kayak - can I still join the club?
Yes, however there is an expectation that members who wish to actively partake in club trips will purchase their own kayak and gear as soon as they are able.
I'm under 18, can I still join the club?
Family members younger than 18 may participate in club activities if:-
- They are accompanied by an adult member who accepts responsibility for them; and
- Their participation is agreed with the relevant trip coordinator.
What sort of kayak do I need?
Our members have everything from expedition sea-kayaks to sit on tops and what you paddle is ultimately your choice. However, there are a range of kayaks which are specifically designed for beach use or for playing in and which are not appropriate for most club trips.
There are some excellent resources already around on the Internet to help you start thinking about which kayak is right for you, just do some searching and talk to members. The club's gear requirements is a good place to start so that you understand what the club expects paddlers on our trips to have.
Is kayaking an expensive sport?
Yes and No.
It can be a little costly to get into initially, with new kayaks costing from $2,500 upwards and you can easily spend another $1000 on paddles, PFDs and other gear. However, second hand kayaks regularly come up for sale, and budget conscious members could probably get into the sport for between $1,000 and $1,500.
Other than you annual membership fee, the club charges nothing for trips and training (unless we bring in instructors) and overnight camps are more often than not at remote locations where it costs nothing to stay, so once you've got yourself a set up, it can be a very inexpensive sport.
The club's gear requirements page gives a bit of an indication of what you need and what you can expect to pay for gear.
I'm a good paddler, can I skip the Club Introduction Day?
No. Although the day does focus on introducing basic skills, this day is really our induction day to ensure new members understand our peer paddling and risk management philosophy, that you understand what is expected of you as a member on trips, what you can expect from us as a club, the sort of gear you need, and also of course an introduction to the basic skills that all members need to kayak from paddling strokes to wet exits.
As such all members are required to attend these days, which are run about every two months, before participating in club trips.
The only exception to this is that the Executive may waive this requirement for new members who can clearly demonstrate they have the skills (eg. by holding AC Sea Skills Proficiency) and who come from a club with a similar philosophy as ours.
Can I just come for a paddle with the club?
Members can bring guests on up to three club trips in a calendar year, but they are then responsible for their guests on those trips, and this must be organised and agreed to by the Trip Coordinator in advance. Non-members can't just turn up to trips, and the trip-coordinator is perfectly within their rights to turn you away if you do.
This does not extend to club training events which are only open to club members.
What sort of trips does the club offer?
The club generally offers some form of trip or training on every weekend of the year, however that is subject to what our volunteer trip coordinators put forward for the program.
A lot of trips on the club program are aimed at "Basic Skills" paddlers, with a lot of day and overnight trips offered.
We do not publish our trip program outside of club members, though you can visit our example trip program to get a feel for the sort of trips we put on.
Does the club have a Statewide presence?
We have around 200 members, and the bulk of these members live in the South of the State, so our trip program and training tends to reflect this.
We are however keen to support members in other parts of the State, and in particular would like to build up a bit of a critical mass of paddlers in the North so the club can start offering more paddling opportunities up that way, so don't let being in the other half of the State put you off.
What does my membership fee cover?
Most of your membership fee goes towards affiliation costs with Paddle Australia which includes personal and public liability insurance and administration of the club (eg. meeting venue hire, newsletter and magazine printing) as well as maintaining a library of sea kayaking books, magazines and DVDs and training support.
I'm coming to Tasmania to do a trip, can the club help me with planning and route information?
Generally the club shares information among our members only, and we do not provide specific advice to individuals who just contact us.
However, if you are a member of a like minded club, either interstate or overseas, and you identify this in your request, then as a minimum we will undertake to post your request on our club forum board with the hope that individual members may respond to you.
I'm young/old/fast/slow ... does you club cater for people like me?
Simple answer: Yes.
We have members who like to go fast, and members who like to go slow. Our membership spans all ages, though we do tend to have more members in the 30 - 70 age group.
All you need to be a member is an alignment with our club philosophy and a willingness to enjoy sea kayaking.