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Old 09-15-2004   #1
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 3
Newby question

Hello everybody,
This is my first post and have a quick question for you all. My wife and I are really wanting to get into whitewater kayaking. However, I was in an accident a year ago that took my three middle fingers on my right hand. My question is, with your expertise, would it still be possible to get enough strength behind my paddle to succeed on a river? Are there any special gloves that could attatch my hand to the paddle? Any ideas would be appreciated. Keep in mind that I am a pre-beginner and extreme whitewater would be out of the question. At least for now anyway.
Thank you.

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Old 09-15-2004   #2
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Sorry to hear about the fingers, but assuming you still have your pinky and thumb, I would think that you could still get a roll and paddle <III water. Yeah never know... maybe if you can still make a good enough clenched fist you could handle bigger water.

The key is to take winter roll clinics and really get your roll down before getting into moving water.

Confluence does a great job depending on where you live.

"Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body. But rather...To skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming... WOW !!!! What a ride!!!!!!"
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Old 09-15-2004   #3
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 81
I agree that you should be able to grip a paddle; however I have thought of an alternative for you. There are many different designs of hand paddles available and they all attach to your hands different ways. Some of them depend on you gripping them and others completely strap you palm to the back of the paddle.

I have paddles all sorts of stuff with hand paddles and had a really enjoyed the experience. I also know several people that have switched to hand paddles for several weeks while they let their shoulders heel. I think that if you spend some time with them you will find that you will be at little or no disadvantage to your full-paddle paddling partners – especially if you stick to Class II / III.

Try a search for Power Pawz; they are one brand that comes to mind that secure your palm, rather than your fingers.
Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.
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Old 09-15-2004   #4
Preacher of the Profit Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,062

Spencer was close with the Power Paws, but they do attach to the middle and ring fingers. With out them rapping around something the top of the hand paddle would be difficult to control.

Here's another option. I've used this with a stroke victim before. They had no real gripping power with their left hand. I used a glove and we attached the paddle to the glove with duct tape (hook and loop would be better-Velcro sp?). Their right hand was their control hand for the paddle.

For you- you might want to use a left hand control paddle. Then your right hand is not as important. Also consister using a Seven2 Paddle. The shaft is much small and you'll be able to get a better grip on it.

Note: left handed paddles are very rare. Most shops only special order them and only a few paddling schools have them in the demo fleets.
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Old 09-15-2004   #5
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 3
Wow! Thank you guys for all the responses. I really appreciate it. I will deffinately look into those things and keep you updated. Hopefully I can find a class for my wife and I to take this fall. I am pumped to see you all so optimistic. That is just what I needed. Thank you very much.
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Old 09-15-2004   #6
Boulder, Colorado
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 178
Just another little idea along the glove line - I was thinking about the strap on widget that gymnasts use on the high bar and rings. Might it be possible to modify a sturdy work glove with a stitched or riveted on piece of aluminum bar stock bent in the shape of a "J"? The straight p[art of the J would be pointed towards the palm. The curvy part of the J would stick out where the missing fingers would be and when hooked over the paddle would provide something strong for the thumb to grasp against.

As others said, the other hand would be the 'control hand'.
Just brainstorming...
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Old 09-15-2004   #7
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 3
I was thinking something very similar as well.
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Old 05-26-2007   #8
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 42
another option: try canoe!

Go try a kayak paddle, see if you can control it.

But if not, I think you could work a canoe paddle without the middle 3 fingers because of the T shaped end, so if you tried paddling open whitewater canoe, or a C1, it might work for you.

Just a thought...

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