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Old 04-27-2012   #1
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David Miller's Avatar
Gypsum, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 458
Kayaks for safety on GC Trips

We got started on another thread about the value of having kayaks on the trip for safety. I'm a rafter with a GC permit launch 5/13. Should I look for a couple of kayakers to save the day or are they useless when things go wrong?

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Old 04-27-2012   #2
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ebbing, flowing..., CO, NM
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Posts: 239
depends on the kayaker

Journeys of a River Mamma Blog "Ever onward, ever forward, ever down the River!"- Ed Abbey
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Old 04-27-2012   #3
Golden, Colorado
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this thread is not going to end well.
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Old 04-27-2012   #4
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portland, Oregon
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Limit Kayakers to 20% of your group size. They eat a bunch and cant carry shit Good for towing peeps who fall out of boats or in flips, usually have mad skills
Hey, if you want me to take a dump in a box and mark it "guaranteed", I will. I got spare time.
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Old 04-28-2012   #5
Golden, Colorado
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Also depends on how many rafts you plan to flip
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Old 04-28-2012   #6
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1984
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everything ends up at the bottom of the rapid, I would not rely on kayakers for safety, rather good boating skills.
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Old 04-28-2012   #7
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Farmington, Utah
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Posts: 707
If I was not going to the south east I would help out.
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Old 04-28-2012   #8
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Not all kayakers possess the level of rescue skills you need in Gand canyon size water. Running safety for rafts usually requires the safety boaters to run the rapid first, get positioned at the bottom and be ready to pick up swimmers. Then the safety boaters need to get in front of the rafts and do it all again. Keeping up with rafters who have poor or low level rafting skills can be tough. If you're a first time trip leader your skill in managing your team will be what makes or breaks your trip. Have a good one!
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Old 04-28-2012   #9
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Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Oh dear Gawd, are we going to go into the generalized rafters vs kayakers crap?

Seriously, like Rivermamma says, it depends on the kayakers, BUT it also depends on the rafters as to who can be good to have for safety. It also depends on the trip leader's leadership skills, on how the roles and expectations are set out, and what the attitude is among the different members of the group.

Do you have long-time kayaker friends that you can invite along and you know are solid and whose gear you're always happy to rig onto your raft? Or are you just going to go random internet pick up to staff your trip? And do you and your other rafter buddies share the opinion that kayakers don't serve any other purpose but to haul their soggy butts out after a flip? If this is the case you may have group dynamics that'll be a lot more challenging than the rapids.

Good luck getting your trip together,

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 04-28-2012   #10
flagstaff, Arizona
Paddling Since: 89
Join Date: May 2007
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Save yourself:)

Do you have or know anyone that has boogy board fins? Only on the big rapids of course, if she wears the fins and if she and a kayaker were swimming she could save the kayaker. Although the Canyon is deep and wide and one of the safest rivers to swim, if one does go in there's nothing cooler than having the ultimate of mobility. A few years ago we were surfing the wave below iceberg and after a few long swims I was pooped. After I recovered, I put some boogey board fins on,(it took a few turns to get used to popping up over the daffy feet) and after I fell off the board I could chase the board down and swim to the eddy like nothing. Where my surf buds were getting in two surfs in an hour I would get 10.
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