4 Steps to Finding Your Paddling Tribe


Are you struggling to find a group of fun, supportive paddling partners?

Finding a paddling tribe is key to enjoying the sport for the long term. It’s fun to go out on your own (especially SUP), but that can get old after awhile. Connecting with other like-minded women who share a similar passion is uplifting and inspiring.

If you’re like me, you want paddling buddies who lift you up and support you in your goals, from paddling something new and challenging, to just having fun and getting outside.

Here are my top 4 steps for finding your paddling tribe.

Join a Paddling Club

Paddling clubs exist all over the world and they provide an immediate group of paddling friends. They also provide entry level instruction and trips to get you started. Most hold monthly meetings and pool sessions over the winter months.

The dues are usually minimal and you get the benefit of paddling camaraderie, organized trips and sometimes even deals on gear!

Remember that it may take a minute to find your tribe within the club. Get to know different people and sign up for a variety of trips that interest you so you get to know more paddlers.

Here’s a listing of paddling clubs by state from Canoe and Kayak Magazine: https://www.canoekayak.com/start-paddling/clubs/

Take Instruction

Clubs are awesome for getting you started and finding a group. Instruction from a professional paddling instructor, school or camp will boost your personal paddling power and make you more confident within any group.

The more skilled you are at paddling, the more confident you feel. The more confident you feel, the more fun you have. The more fun you have, the more you want to paddle. It’s a beautiful cycle that continues to build on itself.

An instructor who makes their living teaching and guiding professionally can offer you great depth of experience and coaching.

Plus, taking a class or trip will introduce you to new paddling friends! There are several women who have met through Mind Body Paddle SUP and WW kayak trips who continue to paddle together all over the world!

Attend Women Specific Paddling Events

Look for women specific paddling events near you and join in the fun!

Here in the Southeast we’ve got three big ones for whitewater kayaking: Womens Paddlefest in June, Green River Takeover in August and Ladies on the Lower Gauley in September.

Working on an event for SUP…

These events exist to build community and raise funds for good causes. You’ll meet new friends, enjoy a great day on the water and have the chance to win awesome gear in the raffles 🙂

Reach Out

If you don’t feel like you’ve got a lot of paddling partners then a good question to ask yourself is: ‘Am I waiting around for folks to contact me, or am I putting myself out there and reaching out?”

Sometimes we make up stories in our heads about what other people think of us, or why people aren’t calling.

Instead of waiting around, wondering and making up negative stories in your head, pick up your phone and text or call or email.

Be courageous in the face of vulnerability and reach out to other paddlers. Worst case no one will get back to you (highly unlikely), and best case, you’ll find your tribe!

BONUS: If you’re up for going big and being really courageous, take an instructor course and learn to teach and lead your own groups! You’ve got this.

If you’re interested in whitewater kayak group classes with Anna click on this link.

If you’re interested in SUP camps with Anna click on this link.

SUP Yoga Teacher Training and SUP Instructor Certification Courses