What we're about
I hope you can join our paddle community. We are a family and singles friendly group, and often include our dog kayaker friends as well. In Arizona, there are places to paddle all year round, and our paddle club will be exploring many of the waterways throughout Arizona, and beyond. For the joy of floating, and the appreciation of venturing out to some relatively pristine and magnificent natural habitats. Any motor-less boat is welcome, though most of us use a kayak.
Float Types and Locations
We will be doing mainly flat water floats, all of which will be suitable for the inexperienced unless otherwise stated. For those with more experience and interest, there will be opportunities to do some swift water, class 1 and class 2 paddles. The book Paddling Arizona refers about 17 low elevation lakes, and about 20 high country lakes. During the warm season, we will mainly visit the more remote high country lakes, and in the cooler season the lower elevation rivers and lakes. A popular summer float in the valley would be moonlight paddles at several waterways.
Our visits to the high country lakes will often involve some car camping due to the distance from the city. Naturally, the car camping trips will be open to those who just want to spend the day with us, or find a hotel near our location. Included in our camping trips will be opportunities to hike, fish, do photography. We also plan some paddle camping trips, i.e., paddling with equipment to sites along the waterways.
While most of our trips are appropriate for beginners who may have never been in a boat, keep in mind that we are a social networking group, and our organizers and hosts are not designated with the responsibility to teach paddling or boating skills (See list of Responsibilities below). On most trips, those that are experienced may be able to share their knowledge with the inexperienced.
Funding and organization type
We are a private not for profit social club. At this time, we have no mandatory dues, and none of our organizers is paid for their services. This policy may at some point change, and if so members will be notified. We do accept voluntary donations that are not tax deductible.
Some events that we attend have fees, and members are required to make this payment that does not go to our club (e.g., fees associated to a river trip with a professional tour guide).
Our donation fund is (or may be) used for the following:
1. pay in advance for group campsites, to be refunded eventually by attendees
2. website fees.
3. signs for members to find us at events
4. donations to paddle friendly non profit organizations
5. miscellaneous fees required to maintain the fund
6. legal consultation
7. equipment that may be used by all members
When we have a sufficient amount of funds in our donation account, we may temporarily suspend accepting new donations. You will know whether the account is taking funds if the link on the home page is live or not.
If you do not have a boat, and want to join our activities, you can post your desire to borrow a boat in the comment section of any of our activities. We may ask if you borrow a boat from a member, that you give a $10 to $20 donation to Paddle Arizona. There are also several Kayak rental places in the valley, including the Hiking Shack, Arizona Outdoor Fun, and Sports Chalet. Rental fees may be about $30 per day. Occasionally we may have a special arrangement with a kayak rental place for discounts, and the rental place will be listed as a sponsor on our home page.
Paddle Club Bylaws
(Disclaimer, Responsibilities, Safety Guidelines, Other Guidelines)
The establishment of these bylaws are made by the group Organizer, often in consultation with co organizers, members, or legal consultants. Changes are made on occasion. Major changes may be mailed out to members, but it is your responsibility to review the bylaws periodically, to be aware of what they are, and to be aware of any changes. While you sign an agreement to keeping to the bylaws when you join the club, keeping to the changes to the bylaws later after you join are also your responsibility.
By joining Paddle Arizona, you are making an agreement to the following disclaimer, safety guidelines, responsibilities, and other guidelines and policies.
Disclaimer & Assumption of Risk/Liability:
Paddling, like all sports have inherent risks and dangers. All paddlers (on behalf of him/her self and his/her minor children) are responsible for their own safety during Paddle Arizona floats. All paddlers voluntarily accept any and all risks of injury, harm, medical conditions, or property damage, assumes all liabilities, and waives any and all damages against Paddle Arizona (including its organizers, hosts, and members).
The primary purpose of this disclaimer, along with the purpose of the following safety rules and responsibilities and other guidelines, can be said to be to increase awareness, responsibility, and best practices in safe boating. It is in part a reminder to do your own due diligence in making any decisions about participation in club activities, as a responsible adult. Since we are not trainers, guides, instructors, and we are not a commercial enterprise, the club does not carry liability insurance, so disclaimers are also an effort to minimize liability (a secondary purpose). If you do not agree with the disclaimer, safety rules, guidelines, and policies, then don’t join our group.
1. Paddle Arizona, as many groups organized through meetup.com, is a social networking group, and our organizers and hosts are not paddle instructors designated with the responsibility to teach paddling or boating skills, and are not paid employees. Organizers and hosts are NOT RESPONSIBLE for providing instruction about boating skills and safety.
2. The host of each of our Paddle Arizona paddling trip events has some responsibility to post a description of our proposed trips, with suggestions about when and where we will go, and how we will get there.
3. Paddlers who join us will be responsible for themselves, and parents are responsible for their minors. Member paddlers will communicate to their guests the paddle club safety rules and responsibilities contained on this page, including the "Disclaimer & Assumption of Risk/Liability".
4. All members are encouraged to be "Good Samaritans", to watch out for each other, a judgement call without expectations.
5. You have a responsibility to ask questions and to share any concerns you might have about your abilities with the group before you launch. If you are unsure of your capacity to safely participate in the paddle, it is your responsibility to determine whether you should participate in the float, or to find at least one other person who has sufficient experience and is willing to take you under their wing or assist you when needed.
As in all groups, conflicts will arise between the varying interests of members. We agree with meetup.com staff protocol regarding appropriate social communication and those forms of communication that are not acceptable as follows:
"We want the Meetup site to be an online community where people are respectful and respected.Threatening or harassing behavior on the Meetup site is incompatible with this and it is a violation of our Terms of Service (http://www.meetup.com/terms/)."-MEETUP
Members are responsible to communicate disagreements in a constructive way, if possible in person or on the phone. Aggressive forms of communication, what folks refer to as "creating drama" (which may at times be hard to define) are discouraged. When possible, our core management team will give constructive feedback to members doing this.
1. Most of our floats will be flat water floats on lakes and some rivers, and are normally suitable for persons who have little or no experience as paddlers.
2. We may label some floats as intermediate or advanced, and a description of required experience will be posted with the event. For example, night floats or moving water floats may be more suitable for those persons with prior experience and instruction. Members who lack experience will be responsible to gain experience or formal instruction prior to the trips.
3. Due to inherent hazards in water sports (weather conditions, sudden strong wind, capsized boat, low visibility, trafficking around larger and faster boats, being stranded away from the launch, etc.), there are REQUIREMENTS for equipment and behavior on all floats, and some floats have additional requirements. Members are expected to follow these requirements without reminders by hosts. Some of these requirements may be greater than those required by law. The following is required by our paddle club:
a. On all floats, members must bring a U.S. Coast Guard approved life vest (must be fitted correctly and be worn while paddling in the boat), AND must bring water or other "hydration fluid", food/snack.
b. On all floats, members will participate in the pre-float safety talk, usually on land prior to launch, occasionally on the water.
c. Members agree to remain sober while paddling, AND refrain from drinking just prior to (at least an hour) or during a float.
d. On night floats, additional requirements include appropriate lighting (minimum of a light stick AND waterproof flashlight), a whistle that works when wet, a 50 foot tow rope, flotation in the bow of the boat (foam block, flotation bag, etc.)
4. Additional RECOMMENDED equipment to take on all floats may include a two way radio set to our common channel (usually channel 4), set of dry clothes in a dry bag, first aid kit.
5. During long floats, especially river floats, the group members may get dispersed as some floaters float faster then others. It is important that each person is visible by some member of the group. On long floats, a relatively experienced paddler may be designated as the “sweep”, and will remain behind the paddling group. On lake floats with a small shoreline, this may be unnecessary.
Other Guidelines and Policies
Policy About Being Removed From Group or Banned
Meetup.com has stated about removing and banning members,
"If a member of your group is not getting along with others, or making you feel uncomfortable, than its probably worth considering. The important thing to remember is that as the Organizer, it's entirely up to you to decide when or under what circumstances to remove someone...Organizers may also remove members at their own discretion"...If you remove a member from your Meetup group, they can still request to rejoin. If you ban a member, they're removed from your group, and can never rejoin." [unless the ban is removed].
Paddle Arizona removal policy is inclusive of the policy of meetup.com.
Members may not bring as a guest anyone that has been removed or banned from the group.
The rationale for this is that, given our activities involve water sports, which contain some inherent risks, safety is paramount, and being banned or removed is usually related to concerns about safety.
The decision for the removal is entirely at the discretion of the Organizer.
Exclusion of ATVs
Paddle sports are "non-motorized", and we often may go to remote area lakes to get away from the noise and mechanical aspects of life to paddle, camp, and enjoy nature. Most people like paddling because of this, and the serenity and quietude of the experience. While we often make noise through our chatter, the best moments may be floating into the silence of the moment. To keep our events in line with our appreciation of serenity and nature values, in September of 2014, our core management team and members decided to exclude ATVs from any of our camping events.
Some members have brought firearms to events when we have a camping event. Members may continue to do this, but we require that you leave your weapon in your motor vehicle, or discretely in your tent (if you must), and not carry at the campsite or on hikes.
Some Compelling and informative extracts from Authored Narratives about Paddling
[From the Preface of Sea Kayaker, Deep Trouble by Christopher Cunningham]
A kayak puts you in touch with the elements. You feel the water on your hands, the wind on your face, and the sights, scents, and sounds of the coast surrounding you. The kayak feels like an extension of your body: it responds to your every move, and through it you can feel the water moving beneath you. For many of us a kayak is the means by which we can take in the full measure of the rich ...environment. But the environment where air, water, and land meet is notoriously variable, and the intimate connection a kayak provides with that environment leaves us exposed and vulnerable to forces that can easily overpower us.
From Ralph Waldo Emerson
Next morn, we swept with oars the Saranac, With skies of benediction, to Round Lake, Where all the sacred mountains drew around us, Tahawus, Seaward, MacIntyre, Baldhead, And other Titans without muse or name. Pleased with these grand companions, we glide on, instead of flowers, crowned with a wreath of hills. We made our distance wider, boat from boat, As each would hear the oracle alone.