Originally Posted by ToddG
Creeking is a team sport. If you're not paying attention to what's going on behind you, then you're probably in over your head.
Isn't ANY sport in which your life may depend on your companions a TEAM sport?
This brings up an important issue - part of teamwork is having leadership that can balance the weaknesses and strengths of the individuals in a group, and having individuals who can remember their responsibilities.
The technical trip leader should set a run order that: 1) puts the more experienced boaters in lead and sweep positions, 2) puts experienced boaters near less experienced boaters in the middle so the novices can follow the lines of more experienced, and 3) ensures that if a novice goes for a swim, there's an experienced boater nearby to assist.
All should be working as a team and remember their assignments and responsibilities. This may require veterens to check their egos and be very mindful of their "shepherd" role. Importantly, experienced boaters have to accept that they may be required to pass up the chance to take a really sick line or to play in a hole that a novice is following them into. The experienced boaters should be paying attention to the lead & sweep boaters and particularly to any novices nearby.
A couple of examples of experienced boaters showing poor leadership:
1) I know a story of a hot kayaker leading a group into Sunshine Falls, then stopping to play while the others who couldn't see him from above followed him into a hole like lemmings. The hole would've been enough of a challenge for the less experienced boaters without first the leader, then the second, kayaks already in it. There was at least one really bad swim that could've been avoided and from what I understand, the swimmer never regained her confidence in Class IV water.
2) I watched as an experienced boater in a play cat made a really slick move at the top of Siedell's which his two novice rafter friends following had no chance of making. The lead boater stroked his ego but did so at the expense of his friends who both flipped their rafts. Ironically he'd been in too much of a hurry to stop and scout with the novices but was then delayed by righting their boats and regrouping.
No matter how good a boater someone is, if they can't look after novices and be willing to sacrifice some of their play experience for the sake of less-experienced companions, they still have a lot to learn. An experienced boater who is also an egotistical show-off can be more of a liability than an asset.