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The 6 Types of Paddlers

Updated: Jun 17, 2021

Paddling is without a doubt a very popular summertime activity. It encourages people to relax and take a step back from their hectic lives and immerse themselves in nature. Research shows paddling is beneficial to not only physical, but also mental health. It is an opportunity to discover nature with few barriers while experiencing the river up close, and gives people a chance to meet various types of paddlers. Discovering what type of paddlers those in your circles are is a sure way to add a bit of fun to your adventures. Part of the charm of paddlers is that they come in a variety of shapes and sizes with their own unique quirks.

We have tried our best to encapsulate the majority of quirky paddlers you may meet on the water in this article. We encourage you to give it a read and share it with your friends and family!


The Vacationer

The Vacationer is definitely one of the most common types of paddlers you will meet on the water. Vacationers are typically enjoying the water on a day off, far removed from any type of day-to-day responsibilities. They live on “vacation time”, meaning no strict schedule, and taking their grand old time enjoying the water and scenery. Disconnected from the stress of the “real-world”, they are out for a good time and eager to have a chat about places where they’ve recently paddled.

The Lily Dipper

Have you ever gone paddling with someone who makes you feel like you're paddling for the both of you, but they relentlessly claim to be doing their part of the work? Then you have met a Lily Dipper! These are folks who will typically end up doing anything, but paddle, for example, playing with lily pads!

There’s two different types of Lily Dippers; most beginner paddlers lily-dip unknowingly until they learn to become more efficient paddlers. However experienced Lily Dippers are frighteningly talented individuals who are able to look like they are single handedly propelling their watercraft down the river with ease while their partner appears to be struggling immensely. While generally harmless, we suggest avoiding getting in a double kayak or canoe with a known Lily Dipper unless you are looking for a solid workout. Keep an eye out for them on land as well since these individuals tend to disappear when times come to set up camp!

The Aspiring Olympian

At its core, paddling is like any other sport and can offer many opportunities to test your physical limits. While some may like to keep their paddling adventures as relaxing as possible with a leisurely pace and frequent breaks, the Aspiring Olympian wants no part in that. This type of paddler will be flying down the river at an unimaginable speed, only slowing down to ask question such as “what is taking so long?!” and “who wants to race me?”.

Our beloved Aspiring Olympians always look forward to paddling no matter how old they get. Aspiring Olympians can oftentimes be identified before they event start to paddle. Keep an eye out for their fancy fitness trackers as they get ready to track all the data from this paddle. They want to know time, distance, heart rate and any other statistics so they can keep track of their activity and progress. Sometimes they prefer solo or partner paddles with another aspiring olympian as opposed to being a part of a more leisurely group where they are always guilty of taking the lead and pushing the pace. We can’t blame them… We only admire their passion!

The “Mom” of the group

This paddler is oftentimes self-appointed and gives themselves the responsibility of keeping track of the entire group. While no one is asking them to do this, everyone is grateful nonetheless.

The “Mom” of the paddling group has sunscreen, snacks, extra water, bug spray, first aid supplies and anything else the group could possibly need during a day on the water. The paddling “mom” keeps everyone safe, accounted for, UV ray protected, and of course,hydrated.

These people are known for saving the day on many occasions, however, you my encounter a few disappointed looks when someone in the group drops their sunglasses, phone, wallet, keys or other important items in the river after they advised everyone to leave these on land. That being said, they will always console you after sharing a quick “I told you so” under their breath. If extra snacks and lots of pictures sound like a great deal to you,we recommend bringing a paddling “mom” on every adventure.

The Mapped Out Paddler

These are the paddlers who plan every bit of their excursion weeks ahead of time so they can prepare. If you see someone lugging an enormous dry bag with them and you think “Who would pack and carry all that stuff? Why would anyone need all that? How will it even fit in their kayak?”, then you’ve spotted a Prepared Paddler!

You are destined to learn something new every time you go out with a Prepared Paddler. From the many safety briefings, to their explanations of paddling ergonomics and the detailed maps they carry, they are ready for anything and never need help with any of it! They can often be seen with all the latest gadgets and will let you try them out (with proper instruction and supervision of course). They carry all of the essentials for any type of emergency and have likely extensively studied the body of water you will be paddling. It’s always a good thing to have one with you on any excursion.

The Splashy Paddler

Last but not least we have our Splashy Paddler. While sometimes frustrating to adventure with after being splashed for the millionth time, our Splashy Paddlers mean no malice and are oftentimes just slightly clumsy in their boats. The splashing is not always intentional and sometimes welcomed on a hot summer day. Unlike the Aspiring Olympian, these paddlers know not to take themselves too seriously and are guaranteed to always have a great laugh.

No matter where they are or what maneuver they are trying to do, they can most easily be found by the constant ripples they cause on the water or by being yelled at to behave by the “mom” of the group. Their shenanigans often result in finding themselves in the water, but their sense of humour does not let these misadventures ruin their day.


Were you able to identify what type of paddler you and your friends are? Who do you encounter regularly, and who did we leave off the list? We’d love to hear your thoughts!


Disclaimers: The information in this blog is intended to be used for comedic and entertainment purposes and should not be interpreted as official information.


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