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Old 05-20-2008   #21
stankboat's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 39
When I was learning - a million years ago - my friends would laugh so hard as I floundered for the grab loops of their Lazers. I was certain I was dying and enraged at their good humor. Today, I laugh like a monkey on LSD when my beginner pals - in wide open water - give me those googly eyes, drenched in fear and sputtering for help, certain their lives are about to end.
It's kind of a personal highlight of kayaking. Especially when said paddler is all girded up from a week of pool sessions and not versed in moving water.
If I was there, I would have saved you and you would still be quite sore at me for laughing so hard as I did it. And I would have a pretty good story to regale you with at a later date. A story that would include your in-the-water lamentations and several references to your passionate use of a whistle. While in the water.
Sorry, didn't mean to laugh there.
I like the advice to sleep on it a bit. And the bit about being a little more careful in choosing your pals. Your friends were indeed lame. But they're rafters. You'll figure that out soon enough. Different tribes that share vibes.
But learning to "never trust people anymore." Well, that might be a bit over the top.
Also: before, inherent, freaked, premise. > end Sgt Spelling.

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Old 05-20-2008   #22
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
The opposite

Stark fear tends to to make me goofy, rather than vengeful.

Long ago, on a Pack Cat trip down Deso/Gray, I stayed left on Steer Ridge Rapid, hit a hole, and flipped. Water was warm, I had a grip on my boató no sweat. The boat was overloaded and I figured it would take a while to swim it onto an eddy where I could right it.

But my sweetheart was freaked, trying to grab my boat while paddling one-handed, etc. Thinking she'd flip as a result, I asked her to cut me loose. She squawked and redoubled her efforts. We went into the little riffle after Steer Ridge, and she let go (good). I waved a hand and said "Bye-bye."

In the next eddy, as we were righting my boat, she told me she thought my farewell (which I thought would be comforting) meant that I'd given up and would thenceforth drown.

I thought it was funny, but the look on her face warned me I'd better not laugh. She thought that a) I'd drown, and b) She'd be alone on the raging river. So what was to me a mildly embarrassing fluff was to her a major brush with death.

What I learned was just how differently people (even those who know one another well) can see the same event.

What helps most is to talk about the issue beforehand and agree on a set of signals (there are standard ones) and then to abide by them, regardless of one's own perception of risk or danger. For all you know, that chickenshit bastard flailing around after a wet exit might have broken a femur on a rock.

If someone signals for rescue, you rescue them. Period, underline, bold.

If it's a misunderstanding, better to err on the side of safety.


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Old 05-20-2008   #23
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Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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Originally Posted by Chip View Post
If someone signals for rescue, you rescue them. Period, underline, bold.

If it's a misunderstanding, better to err on the side of safety.

University of Denver Kayak Club
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Old 05-20-2008   #24
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Local, Colorado
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Originally Posted by Mut View Post
Glad you are ok.

BUT, you are responsible for yourself and YOU could have avoided your ordeal.

Don't become some welfare reciepient looking for the government to watch out for you, take some responsibility.

Mut is right on: I've been hazed so many times for swimming that my friends make me sign a pair of water wings every time it happens. Get over yourself. Learn to self rescue, and as the saying goes, you are only between swims....

That said, Chip does have a good point.

Between dog fights at the Golden bunny hill to upset swimmers, this day on the buzz is lame-o!
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Old 05-20-2008   #25
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Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 50
Self rescue

Each of us is ultimately responsible for our own welfare on the river. PERIOD. Self rescue needs to be learned and practiced every day and every season.. I'm teaching an oar certification course right now and have repeated this to my class every day, five times a day. Before you get on the water again take a swift water rescue course. My buddy Mather teaches a fantastic course, and I could steer you in his direction.
Anyone who would go to the cops over something they brought on themselves on the river would sue McDonalds over spilled hot coffee.
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Old 05-20-2008   #26
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Originally Posted by tboe101 View Post
Anyone who would go to the cops over something they brought on themselves on the river would sue McDonalds over spilled hot coffee.
Oh snap!
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Old 05-20-2008   #27
Self-Aggrandizing jackass
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The Ranch, Colorado
Paddling Since: 04
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Posts: 1,134
My concern is that this incident is making you feel you don't ever want to kayak again, and that you are going to be less trusting.

Let's deal with the last one first:
Know who you boat with.
If you don't know who you're boating with, know your ability very well, and know the section you're running at the flow you're running it.

I'm not trying to blame you for anything that happened. You have to listen to that inner voice that tells you if you're really comfortable with the situation you're putting yourself in. Sounds like you were, but the real culprit of calamity was a combination of bad group, and a kayaker making a small mistake on a river.

I personally wouldn't want to be the only kayaker on a raft trip specifically because, if the shit hit the fan, I could be losing my gear.

As for giving up paddling, give it some time, and when/if you decide you want to paddle some more, start several steps below your surefire ability. If it's a lake, it's a lake. If it's a class 2 section, so be it. Run it till you get bored of it, working on getting comfortable again.

I think people who love kayaking just know they love kayaking, and people who aren't sure are probably only passing through till something else comes along (perhaps without the inherent fear associated with rivers).

But I hope you stay in and you reflect on this event, and the more constructive posts in this thread.

I'm glad you're safe, and glad you posted. Pax
"self-aggrandizing jackass" - it says it right on the label
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Old 05-20-2008   #28
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Eagle County, Colorado
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1. You are ultimately responsible for yourself on the river.
2. You gotta always have your buddies' back (and if possible, other people on the river)
3. Only boat with people you trust who aren't assholes unless it is something you would boat alone.
It takes a big man to cry...It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.

-Jack Handy
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Old 05-20-2008   #29
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Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 06
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 450
Though your other shit is at Grand Junction Pawn it sounds like you made it out with your booties on....

Pabst Blue Ribbon anyone?
I've never boated before, but I have posted a lot on Mountain Buzz!
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Old 05-20-2008   #30
Gunnison, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 73
Let's go swimming!

Aside from all the other advice that everyone has given which is all great and much better than this...I've got a suggestion for you. Get together with some people who are comfortable in the river, pick a class 2 or 3 in big water (Like the gunny), put on your wetsuit, helmet, and life jacket and leave the boat and paddle at home and go for a dip. Keep your head up river and be safe about it, but have fun and swim into eddys and goof around like you would in your boat. I know it sounds crazy and cold, but it will make you so much more confident in the river. Then when you swim out of your boat it's more of a "wow, swimming sucks when I have to carry a boat and paddle" and not a "oh crap! I'm going to die! someone save me!" reaction. I think high water's better because you're not constantly bumping yourself on rocks, but you do have to watch out for wood. Just make sure you know how to swim in the river and how it's different than swimming in a pool. It's really not as bad as you think and it helps a ton. If you come out to gunny I'll go with you. We can even just swim through the park and try to body surf a little.

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