Here Neville approaches me heading down wind.
Recently I've been asked to consider some people for an invite to paddle with our group. The group consists primarily of people who have been regulars at our summer Wednesday evening practices. There we paddle in whatever conditions exist on the evening and also practice rescues.
One evening in June Cathy, Neville, Terry and I arrived at St. Philips to paddle in some decent conditions.
Neville completely disappears.
The thing about Wednesday evening practices is the group has developed skills to deal with bigger waves and also developed a synergy with respect to rescues. Any of us are able to rescue any of the rest. In the event of the need to do a rescue we know what to do whether rescuer or rescuee. There's no need to talk through the rescue so it can be completed efficiently.
Neville emerges from behind a massive wave climbing over the top.
One might say, well, invite persons not normally in the group depending on the conditions. That is all well and good if conditions remain flat. Should conditions go south then the group is left with a possible situation to deal with. That could range from cutting the day's paddle short spoiling the day for most or having to rescue or tow placing the rest of the group in possibly dangerous circumstances.
Neville left, Cathy right
For me though, it goes further than that. Its about paddling with people of the same mindset. It like birds of the feather flock together. Our group is not elitist. We have added people who are just willing to learn and up their skills. I personally don't want to be placed in the roll of "guiding"; inviting someone and acting as a crutch just so they can get out.
The Wednesday evening practices are wide open to people of all skills from beginner to more skilled. There, a novice can improve their skills in a supportive environment. If people don't take advantage of that opportunity and only interested in paddling flatwater then they should form a group that only paddles in calm water.
There's also group size to consider.
Is that mean spirited? I'd like to know.
Here's a link to a re-edit of a short clip from that evening.