Non-swimmers CAN stand up paddle.

July 23, 2017




There have been a lot of paddle related deaths this summer.  Each one brings about comments, I don't comment on these posts.  I'm sad every time our sport has a death and I hope that these ( preventable) deaths provide an opportunity for people to learn from them.   The last published incident was a week ago in California,  it was revealed that the victim was a non swimmer.  The comments on this accident not only included the typical stuff about what the  rental company should have done, as well as the victim, but it also brought out more:    


Johni Renay Melden Why would someone even try to paddle let alone go in the water if you don't know how to swim. 🤷🏼‍♀️🤦🏼‍♀️ I don't get it. Poor dude and the family but common sense people .



Peter Butterfield Why in the world would anyone go out on a SUP board who doesn't know how to swim?



Gretchen Rightmyer  If you don't know how to swim you have no business being on a SUP period. A leash and PFD are additional safety measures, but the ability to swim is critical. I refuse to take anyone on out on a SUP that doesn't know how to swim.


Angie Nicolletta Solution.... Learn to swim 


Rommert Crépin if I do not have a drivers license I am not driving a car, so how said it is all, if you cant swim, stay out of the water or wear a PFD. Otherwise you just deserve a darwin award.


Ian Cairns Every rental operator should have leashes and pfd's and make their use mandatory. Here's a piece of genius....learn to swim!


AND they continued :


Wayne Buckingham Dumb ass couldn't swim


Gregory Zasinets I call it natural selection. Smart and strong will survive. WTF are you doing on sup not even knowing how to swim. Darwin award right there. Sorry to be truthful.


Cyndie Kontoes I have NO COMMENT !!!!! EXCEPT DUMBSHIT


 Christopher Z Man Or learn to fucking swim before you try water sports. ......#sorrynotsorrystupid


*These comments were made on a public facebook page that shared the news of the death


I reached out to an industry friend ( in a private message) who had shared the death on their online platform.  We tend to chat when something has happened, they we're the first to share my story on non swimmers paddling a few years ago.   We share similar views on safety and when we don't agree on something we have an entertaining disagreement about it.  The latest conversation wasn't any different. I won't share the specific details, that's between us. I had actually reached out asking if they would consider re-sharing my non- swimmer story.   They told me I was being sensitive, that nobody thought non-swimmers shouldn't be out on the water.  I shared comments from their page on the subject and was told I was missing the subtext "without a leash or pfd."    

We could argue for hours but both of us have other things to do so I let it go, moved on, and reached out to another online magazine source to ask if they would share my story about Non swimmers paddling.  They read the message but did not respond.



The next morning I received a message from the friend, saying that they were wrong and  I was right ( I already knew that- but for argument sake it's nice to hear) but they weren't just telling me what he learned from a question they asked people in their community, they we're expressing their shock.  For what it's worth I am too, every time some one tells me a  non-swimmer should not be on the water.


  I said "Remember when a child is learning to walk we don't encourage them to stay on the ground because they may fall, we make the environment around them conducive to their learning, and we encourage them to try".  And I left it at that.    They already know my story. 


Next time you see a post about a paddler death and it pisses you off, brings out anger, frustration, and other emotions instead of commenting on the should of could would of's of the situation.  Consider doing the following, make a post on your page and share what  the proper safety equipment is, share a link to your local shop that sells the equipment or share a link to your local swimming pool offering lessons.   Share something positive and maybe that will change the minds of those getting on the water and putting people on the water because sharing all these deaths hasn't done it. 



  YOU do not have to agree with me and what I do. I DO NOT CARE please save your negative comments for somewhere else- they aren't welcome here, I'm going to continue paddling along.   If you are non-swimmer and you want to learn. Let's GO!



           My story on taking non-swimmers paddling is HERE