On Being a NOOB


It has been more than three years now since I started sea kayaking having had tandem sit-on top kayak with my 12 year old son for about a year. Soon I became obsessed with paddling, joined NSWSKC and started to learn.

As I am gaining experience lately and expanding my paddling circumference, I am kind of feeling I am losing that special feeling, forgetting about being a beginner, a newbie, or as my son calls it: being a NOOB. There is something so magical and accelerating about beginning a sport like sea kayaking, it is hard to put it into words. The ever-challenging nature of this sport is akin to the ever-changing surface of the water. Add to this the new people, new skills, new places and new perspective of experiencing wilderness from water level, you soon end up with a paddling fever that makes you think ‘paddle’ but nothing else.

My experiences so far have been so good I am finding myself resisting to let go the beginner phase. As if, if I do become experienced, I will lose this special feeling. But the call of the ocean is here and I am gaining experience regardless. Before I forget how it feels like being a NOOB though, I decided to describe my experiences in one-liners. Not all experiences below are my own, some are observed and some are just pure fantasy. Never the less though I hope you have at least one laugh and you share your own NOOB experiences too.

  • You are a noob, cause you are still wearing your cotton T-shirt and your rugby hat as a means of sun protection.
  • You are a noob, cause you finished a 9km paddle and took 90 photos.
  • You are a noob, cause you keep looking at your paddling photos for hours after you paddled. And your family can’t understand why.
  • You are a noob, cause you feel great and celebrate by drinking a bottle of champagne simply because you are now Grade 1. You are overjoyed by your successful wet exit and 50 metre swim.
  • You are a noob, ‘cause you paddled a creek around the corner but you feel like you are Bear Grylls from “Man vs. Wilde”
  • You are a noob, cause you drift away from the paddling group, not because you are so skilful or courageous but you are a noob, you just don’t realise the danger! You are drifting on water while singing “yellow submarine”
  • You are a noob, cause you ignore the instruction “down you go” in a club self-rescue training session as if you are deaf or not there.
  • You are a noob, cause when you find the sea kayaking forum for the first time, in your first post you sound like someone who has found his lost family after forty years. And everyone reading your first post is in tears.
  • You are a noob, cause you stop at a creek near MacDonald’s and go for a burger in your PFD and spray skirt and wonder why the girl at the counter is looking so terrified.
  • You are a noob, cause you enter a coffee shop with all your paddling gear dripping wet and everyone is looking at you but you somehow find you are really enjoying the attention. You can’t help but feel you are a paddler and they are just mere humans beings.
  • You are a noob, cause you drive an hour to an isolated beach just to practice bracing, away from anyone who may see you falling in.
  • You are a noob, cause you go to your first overnight trip and you feel like a number two but you realise you have forgotten to take some toilet paper with you and you go ‘ohh sh..t!’
  • You are a noob, cause there is a huge difference between your kayak’s capability and your skill sets but you really like the way your kayak looks.
  • You are a noob, cause your kayak still looks as if it has just been build an hour ago and there are more scratches on your feet than on the hull of your kayak.
  • You are a noob, cause you don’t seem to rinse your kayak after a day trip like everyone else does. But when you go home you wash your boat with shampoo and conditioner, dry it with softest towels and put some moisturising cream on it before you put it away with a “good night sweet heart” kiss.
  • You are a noob, cause you post a paddle photo on a website but your photo shows your kayak only and you think the photo is soooo good.
  • You are a noob, cause all of a sudden you realise some of your greatest boat customisation ideas are taken down by the weight factor called G Force.
  • You are a noob, cause you experience a cultural shock and contemplate if you should continue with this sport when you ask to an experienced paddler “what do you do when you feel like a wee during a long trip on the water” and he casually replies “You just simply piss into your cockpit and rinse it when you arrive at your destination.”
  • You are a noob, cause you are puzzled and wondering if paddlers do have any manners at all when you are advised to vomit all over your spray skirt if you become sea sick, not to the side of your kayak. That apparently prevents you from falling into the water. Now you start thinking to yourself “I will have to piss into my cockpit, vomit on to my spray skirt… what… sh.t next?”
  • You are a noob, cause you are very surprised to see how many blue bottles are in the ocean and you can’t stop swearing at them. For some reason it never occurs to you blue bottles are also part of the wildlife that you say you love so much.
  • You are a noob, cause you are so consumed by learning how to roll, you roll yourself off the bed at night
  • You are a noob, cause as everything you do becomes an opportunity to learn how to roll you also start rolling your partner in bed at night and your partner is really very confused about what you are trying to do. And then you really put your partner into a full spin of confusion when you try to explain yourself you are experimenting with a traditional technique called Greenland-style.
  • You are a noob, cause all of a sudden you have developed a deep interest in sharks!

Actually this signals the end of your noobness! You are now working on your sea skills.

Are you a NOOB? You may be suffering from NOOB resistance syndrom”, embedded deep inside your subconscious. NOOBness, if not cured, can have severe health and safety risks for those who are not aware they are suffering from it.

ACT NOW! Write down your NOOB experiences and send them to mag’s NOOB CORNER. Writing and sharing your NOOB behaviour is the only known cure for this terrible paddling fever.