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When I got my start in kayaking over twenty-five years ago, it wasn’t as easy to find kayaking groups. I did however have the friends and instructors I met through a kayaking class along with paddling friends who were into canoeing.

The upsurge in kayaking and online community kayak groups have made it easy to find fellow paddlers but how do you go about choosing the best kayaking group for your needs and desires?

Many getting into kayaking start out alone but this isn’t always safe or fun. This is where choosing a kayaking club becomes important.

Many people who get into kayaking start out alone. But kayaking alone isn’t always safe or fun. This is where choosing a kayaking group or club comes in. Joining other paddlers on the water provides a wonderful sense of community and a great way to bond with new friends with similar interests.

Once you have found some kayaking groups or kayaking clubs to choose from, how do you know which one or ones are best for you?

Kayak Group Types and Interests

Paddling buddies kayaking through whitewater.

It’s probably obvious but start by finding a kayaking group near you. From there narrow down clubs by the type of kayaking you are interested in… touring, whitewater, fishing, etc.

What services or opportunities are you interested in? Safety lessons, education, stewardship like water cleanup, competitions, or other events? Some groups are focused others provide more generalized paddling opportunities.

How Do I Find Kayaking Groups Near Me?

If you aren’t sure where to find a kayaking group the best place to start is within your sphere. Ask those you know if they are a part of or know of a kayak group.

I have a post on how to find kayaking groups. It has nine ways to find a kayak group near you, but if you don’t want the full meat of the article. Here are a few of the best…

Online community kayak groups and kayaking clubs are the easiest ways to find fellow paddlers. Search for kayak groups online on Meetup.com, Facebook, and forums like Reddit and Quora. These platforms will connect you with groups that offer learning, events, and paddle trips in your area.

If you are new to paddling be sure to know how to stay safe while kayaking.

Kayaking Club Look Up

There is a difference between kayaking groups and clubs. Kayaking clubs are often founded through and sponsored by an association.

A great way to find a paddling club is through the American Canoe Association (ACA). They are our nation’s oldest paddlesport organization.

A quick search of your state or region will let you know if there is an ACA Paddle America Club near you.

How to Know if a Kayaking Club Is Good

Kayaking clubs affiliated with a national paddling organization have to meet established standards and have been vetted by the organization’s governing body. The knowledge that a paddling organization has approved or sponsored a club can give some confidence in its quality.

It’s often harder to tell if kayaking groups established through other means are any good, for instance, those on Meetup.com or Facebook. Here are a few telltale signs that might help decide whether a kayaking group is good.

  • The reputation of the person or entity that founded the group.
  • Do any outfitters, guides, or instructors participate with the group to provide education?
  • Are there people you know in the group? What are their opinions?
  • If possible, can you see any postings or feedback from group members?
  • How often does the group meet?
  • What events does the kayak group host? Do these events fit your needs?

Reflect on your needs and desires when looking at a kayak group. Just because the group is good doesn’t mean it’s a good fit for you.

Benefits of Kayaking Groups

A group of three kayakers takes a paddling break near a rocky shoreline.

Being part of a kayaking club or group provides a community with other paddlers who are open to building new friendships with like-minded paddlers who have an interest in safety, education, competitions, exploration, leisurely paddles, stewardship opportunities, and motivating others.

One of the greatest benefits of joining a group is that it adds to the fun on the water while speeding up learning and enhancing skill levels.

Let’s talk an in-depth look at the benefits of kayaking groups including a potential benefit not listed above, general liability coverage, and competition participant accident coverage. Most kayakers never think of their liability issues on the water.


Many of the online community kayak groups are free to join where clubs are most likely to have a fee. When they are free, it is easy to try them on for size and walk away from them if they are a poor fit.

Choosing a good kayaking group that fits your needs and desires isn’t all that hard.

Trust your gut. Be safe. Have fun!

Steve Hood

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