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Old 05-27-2010   #11
rockinRio's Avatar
Thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 231
Now EJ has a bunch of DVDs that have made a huge difference in my paddling.

Buy old gear, because you going to swim and lose it, or it will get beat up.

Find people who are kind and patient, and who are willing to show you the ropes.

Be patient with yourself. Take your time and run as many rivers as you can as many times as you can. Every river mile counts.

You ARE a soul, you HAVE a body.

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Old 05-27-2010   #12
bldrmorgan's Avatar
On the Highway, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 166
Got tired of thinking about kayaking, bought a boat, convinced a buddy to get in it too at the same time, and went for it. We kept it to Class II stuff for awhile and had a great time. But I swam sooooooooo much, got pretty good at self rescue at the same time. And I watched a sh*t load of youtube "how to" videos for kayaking.

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Old 05-27-2010   #13
NathanH.'s Avatar
N/A, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 325
I just started kayaking this past month and I have been watching endless youtube videos since the winter time. Seems like all the skills I picked up from heading out to still water everyday even if it's only for an hour.
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Old 05-27-2010   #14
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 79
Watch yer edge!

Here's how I got into kayaking. I was an engineering student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My instructor for a class my junior year was Guy Babbitt and every Monday morning he'd come a few minutes late into class with bloodshot eyes and full of energy. We'd ask him what's up and he'd reply that he just returned from a great weekend of boating in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan or Minnesota. So I got interested and before I knew it I was spending hours of each day on Lake Mendota committed to learning how to roll a kayak. I still remember the cheers that came from three guys who had watched me for days and days as I floundered in the slimy green water.

Anyway, my advice is to spend lots of time on flatwater working on your edge control. Get the boat as far on edge as you can and brace before flipping over. Work on keeping your boat on an edge wherever you paddle. Do circles, figure 8s, whatever, just keep the boat on edge. Paddle forward, paddle backward. Make the edge transitions nice and smooth. The better you get on flatwater the better you'll be in moving water and ultimately on the whitewater. You'll definitely swim less often if you hone your flatwater skills and develop a kickass brace.

Happy paddling!

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Old 05-27-2010   #15
Spits Hot Fire
N. Cascades, Washington
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 978
Post a lot on mountainbuzz. You'll know when you're ready.
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Old 05-27-2010   #16
kclowe's Avatar
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
Best thing you could do is join a paddle club in your area. If you don't have a club down there like Colorado Whitewater, you might be able to hook up with one of the shops. A lot of them offer a "club" membership and that will get you discounts on lessons and a "support group". Most shops also have bullitin boards with other boaters looking for people. it gets really expensive to keep paying for lessons without something like a club, but if that's your only option, take it. Also, you can look for camps and clinics in your area. The more boating buddies you have, the more you will get out. The more you get out, the better you will get.
Just a warning, though. You are going to get all kinds of advice from all kinds of boaters. You are better off taking the advice of a few people that you trust and not trying to take all of it. It will make you nuts and they don't always agree.
Be patient, because very few of us just jumped in a boat and learned right away. It can be an extremely frustrating experience for some. You will probably either love it or hate it. If you love it, be prepared for it to take over your life. It's more of a lifestyle than a hobby.
Plan on being in your boat A LOT at first. The longer you wait between boating, the more you will have to re-learn.
Good luck and welcome to boating!

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Old 05-27-2010   #17
GoodTimes's Avatar
Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: '78
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 794
I think it's what you feel comfortable with......understanding what the river can do to you is very important......but if you look at something, consider the consequences, and decide you're comfortable with it.....then do it.

My first few miles in a kayak....ever....was on the Poudre, Bridges. I swam five times in the first mile. Loved every second of it.

However, I kinda understood river dynamics a bit before jumping into a kayak, I'd been rafting since I was a kid and wasn't really scared of swimming whitewater.

It just comes down to understanding the consequences, finding the right people to guide/teach you, and finding a "comfort zone" regarding how much you want to push yourself.
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Old 05-27-2010   #18
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 1,136
Many years ago I broke both feet in a fall and could not climb or hike for awhile. My best friend took me out to Boulder Creek to show me I could have fun sitting down. Fell in love with it and my now ex wife bought me a kayak for my birthday.

Right away I was going with friends that were much better than me and just following their lines. For the first few years I always had a Class II roll on Class IV runs, so I got good at staying upright. If I did anything different it would be to have a bomb proof Class IV roll BEFORE I got on Class III runs.

Got old, got bad shoulders, got bad knees, got a drinking habit and pretty much gave up kayaking for it goes....
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Old 05-27-2010   #19
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 217
yup, that drinking habit can be a bitch! lmao
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Old 05-27-2010   #20
FatmanZ's Avatar
NOCO, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 582
1. During the season spend as much time paddling as possible in both time and days, with as many back to back days as possible.
2. During the off-season spend get at least once session a week in at the pool for practice. Kayak polo is a great way to do that.
3. Once you get your roll down play every chance you get during each run. Work on eddy squirts, pop-ups, surfing, etc. The more you play the more you'll roll, the more you roll the better you'll get. Don't be afraid to roll. Rolling 50-100 times during a run (mostly while playing) is excellent practice.
4. Play parks can offer great roll practice in a more controlled environment. You can also learn a lot being in a hole (surfing, rolling, etc).
5. Once you've got your skills down, try and join a multi-day paddling trip. Your skills and confidence can really take off being on a "new" river for back to back days.


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