I am a complete beginner - can I join the VSKC?
What kayak should I buy?
Don't fret too much about your first kayak. Almost any sea kayak, plastic or fibreglass, that meets the safety requirements will do initially. A couple of things to consider:
What paddle should I buy?
If you're starting out, get a higher-end paddle with Euro blades (not a Greenland 'stick' or a wing paddle):
What other gear do I need?
Check out the VSKC Boat Set Up Guide and Section 10 of the VSKC Trip Guidelines covering equipment including sea kayaks, safety and communication, clothing, and PFDs.
I just want to paddle. Do I have to be graded?
Yes - the entry-level Sea Kayak Basics grade is mandatory. You can obtain Sea Kayak Basics on the first day you paddle with us at the VSKC monthly paddle at Canadian Bay, run on the last Sunday of the month. That will give you access to a lot of VSKC trips and training sessions.
I'm a very experienced paddler. Can I go straight for one of the top-end grades?
Yes. If you have the skills, the knowledge and experience - sure! Just check the Paddle Australia Assessment Guidelines and decide whether you are up to it. Have a chat with a VSKC instructor or assessor if you're unsure.
Why all that training and grading business?
In one word: Safety.
As a club member participating in a paddle you want have confidence in your trip leader. As a trip leader you want to be confident in the skills and capabilities of your group. Sea kayaking has risks. When we paddle as a group we can manage a wide range of situations as long as we don't venture into something that is outside our capabilities. We need to match the risks to to the capabilities of the group. Training and grading helps us to do that.