How do you get started? The simple answer is just show up. The best times to get started are during recreation season or at the beginning of regatta season. If it's during distance season or the middle of regatta season, contact a coach (or show up and talk to a coach) to find out if it's an okay time to start. Check out the practice schedule. You can come paddle and check it out before paying any dues, but it would be helpful to fill out and bring a waiver. If you've never paddled before, don't worry, there's a division for that!
You will need appropriate attire for getting wet, and wear something that covers your 'elemu (bum) to prevent chafing (ouch!). The club has paddles for you to use to get started, though most adults will end up buying their own. A lot of the kids use the club paddles throughout the season. Talk to a coach before spending money on a paddle to make sure you get the right one.
Recreational season, fondly known as "rec," is a great way to have fun, get a workout, and improve your paddling skills without the pressure or commitment of racing. It's also a great time to get started so you'll have a head start when regatta season comes.
Rec season generally runs from the end of October or beginning of November, a few weeks after the last distance race, until regatta practice starts, usually mid-April.
Regattas are sprint races, ranging from 1/4 mile to to 1 and a half miles depending on the division. There are novice divisions, so if you're just starting out you will get to train and compete with other new paddlers. There are also various age group divisions for junior paddlers (18 & under) and for paddlers with more life experience (40+). So, no matter your age or experience there are opportunities for you to race on a level playing field.
Regatta practice usually starts mid-April, and the races run from the first weekend in June to the beginning of August.
Distance races range from 10-mile shoreline races to races spanning multiple days and multiple channels. Some paddlers compete in only the "shorter" races, while others go all the way through to the channel races.
Distance season runs from right after regatta at the beginning of August until October.