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Old 08-14-2009   #41
lmyers's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
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Originally Posted by possumturd View Post
And being in a kayak on swift,cold water is not what you do first day or maybe even first week.
Even if you spend a month in the pool with your friend, chances are the same thing is going to happen the first time they get in the river, they are going to swim. I suppose you could take them to something like Deckers on the SP for their first time, then the water won't be so deep and cold, but then it's shallow and rocky. Plus Ark valley based operations do not have the luxury of traveling 2-3 hours in order to change the character of the class II they teach on. I suppose the best thing would just be to educate beginners that it is easier to learn early and late in the season.

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Old 08-15-2009   #42
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 403
Blade Nasty

Originally Posted by Vin! View Post
Another contributing factor is the introduction of SUP.

Those damn SUPers. You guys and your blade nasty appealing to all those surfer wannabe's.

Take off the gay blades and go kayak. geesh.
I understand having a little Blade Envy. It is the civilized way to run a river, you just step on the board and you're rolling. It does totally suck on lakes though, I went 1 time on the lake for 10 minutes and it sucked bad. I am fairly convinced of the coming surge of River Blading though. I have taken at least 8 complete 1st timers(half non-kayakers) down Class II-III rapids in the last 3 weeks. Not one was intimidated, everybody swam a bunch of times and nobody had any carnage (other than cuts and bruises). I can't even figure out what to drink booties for cause when they fall off and swim it's no big deal, you just climb back up on the board. It is a very fun, non-intimidating way to see the river.

The point is that Greyson missed the point. It was'nt just the extremeness of kayaking that killed it. It just boomed and fell back like every other sport does. The extreme aspect just makes a convenient scapegoat. I am dissappointed Greyson fell into that trap and wrote the same article that has been written many times about the extremeness of kayaking killing the sport. Kayaking is just extreme, so the rise, fall, birth, death are all just extreme by nature. Skateboarding is a good example of what kayaking may do: It boomed in the late 80's thru early 90's as board design changed radically and then died out at the end of the 90's, Rollerblading was big and Tony Hawk was doing parking lot demo's at retailers for $80/day. Then after a few yrs skateboarding came back and continues steady to this day. Sports ebb and flow, placing the responsibility for that ebb in kayaking on extremeness is not supported by facts or historical evidence in other sports.

PS Vin, you better get some Bladin' in before it's not cool anymore.

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Old 08-15-2009   #43
Denver via GJ, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 333
My wife is currently reading a book called Last Child in the Woods. It discusses the concept of a "nature deficit" in our society. Essentially it holds the belief that young kids learned to interpret the world and consequence (on their own) through nature and exploring the outside world (bugs bite, thorns stick, rivers can kick your butt, common sense stuff, etc.). It also creates an understanding and sense of loss when things change in the outside world. Remember, your parents use to say "go play outside", this isn't a common concept any more due to more urban environments where outside play may be more threatening as a result of populous rather than the outdoors themselves.

Outside of the natural world, video gaming, etc., kids do not learn/understand consequence as well and this creates a fear rather than acceptance of the outside world/nature in their lives. They also get themselves into dangerous situations with out understanding them (Family who put on on Idaho class V with no concept of the risk involved).

My opinion is this has had an impact on the decline of most outdoor activities in general. Hence the decline in fishing, hunting and most outdoor sports in general. The only upside to this is those kids exposed to outside world who play outside will likely excel beyond others and have a more rational sense of their place in the world.

Likely a great future in being a guide 30 years from now as people will need professionals to feel safe in the woods.
"I plan to leisurely advance through my existence" - Terry Fuhrman 1991
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Old 08-15-2009   #44
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Boulder, Jackson Kayak, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
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Posts: 911
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One thing I would say, and a bit in response to what Dark Blue was asking about what is a better way to instruct.. Since the advent of a tandem whitewater kayak that is comfy and designed on a performance hull, allows for 1 experienced kayaker to take virtually anyone on the river with darn near complete confidence. That paddler can have absolutely NO days on the river ever... This is NOT an add for the Dynamic Duo, YES I WORK FOR JK, but follow me here... Just as many are commenting here, the big problem is a swim prior to developing the skills and association with what really makes this sport so much fun. Running rapids, eddy'ing, and the commradarie that you develop with this community of genuinely friendly people.
I have told several people over the past months that a real entrepreneur that wants to make money in the kayaking world these days could make a TON of cash sitting at the local playparks and offer 15.00 rides down "them rapids"... And take that a bit further into an instructional standpoint. Prior to anyone expected to do their first run on their own, being taken in a duo several times until they understand what to really expect, how to react, and most importantly how "unscary" it really is to just run class II/III once you have your hip control, and bracing down pat.
One skilled (partially strong) kayaker can roll two people on their own no problem in a Dynamic Duo. Not sure about Topo's or Nami Nami's (sp?) as I haven't tried.
If you think about it, it addresses about all the issues mentioned beyond once you get on your own... But even then you are going to be so far beyond where others started, ones lack of confidence head games will be several steps deeper into confidence inspiring..

Not all the answers, but certainly a big answer in my book.
"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 08-15-2009   #45
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 11
Im newer to kayaking. I have only been boating for really a year and a half and that's including this season. After reading all of your post I would have to agree with most of all of them on wanting to get good to fast so it makes me sorta want to turn my back to it.
Maybe i feel like I have to continue, because I went out bought the boat new and all the gear and then took a lesson. Really though it's in the blood now.
I currently live in Glenwood Springs and have been running the shoshone which I feel is a perfect river to learn on with the deeper water. I have ran all of shoshone a few times with no problems and then other times I have swam it a time or two. From what I have gotten from people is that swimming alot as a beginner is normal so hell mary here i come.

Anyone want to run it in the evenings or on the weekends call me up. Ive got a yota for shuddle. 303-870-8701 5 min away. Korey
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Old 08-15-2009   #46
Glenwood Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 11
One more thing:
Not to be a pu$$y but learning to roll in ice cold water made it very sucky and I think made it much harder to learn.
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Old 08-16-2009   #47
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 216
Originally Posted by Vin! View Post
I am starting to think that this sport is just falling victim to an overall trend in America of laziness and instant gratification. When I was learning to kayak, my roommate was who I mostly learned from. My second day on the river was a class three run because my roommate did not want to deal with finding a shuttle. We could take the in town bus for shuttle. This became a trend of me getting in over my head several time for his convenience.

I see it all the time in this sport. An experience kayaker tells a beginner that they will be fine stepping up a notch. The result is people get scared and quit. Friends can be the worst when it comes to peer pressure.

We need better ambassadors in the shops and local hang outs. To often people feel as though they are not "cool" if they swim or if they are not pushing the limits. This attitude; the "bro" attitude of experience kayakers telling beginners to step up and keep pushing it, is what is killing the sport.

Kayaking is a progression of skills that takes time. I am in a bad spot mentally with kayaking because of some of this. I don't like to be pushed and in the past when I have been pushed it turned out bad. As a result I am sometimes scared to get into my boat and paddle some of the harder stuff I have run a hundred times. It sucks.

I think you hit it right on the mark. Learning from friends that don't want to hang out on class II sections is the worst thing for the sport. I see it all the time. We get many people who take lessons with us after their friends have already put a bad mental image in their head and it is very difficult to change.

There is nothing wrong with hanging out and running class II and or III whitewater. The pressure to progress so fast is pushing people out of the sport.

I spent years at the class II and III level and I think that time getting comfortable there before I made the step up to V is what makes me the paddler i am today.

I love teaching newbies and I ask that anyone who's teaching a friend to take it slow. That is what will help this sport. Showing people how safe our sport can really be.

just felt like adding

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Old 10-05-2009   #48
on the water, jersey
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 28
I wanted to read the entire thread, but was getting tired. For the people worried about white water, here's a rant of a hooked newbie. This summer I got into kayaking because I had some time on my hands, and then I took a whitewater one day intro class. I was hooked. Have I had trouble? Of course I have, but the instructors I had were great. This was out of a local canoe club, so it's not a paddling school. Paddling schools (they def. have their place) have to make money, and unless you want to run non-profit paddling school (good luck) they have to take the opportunity given to teach people. Maybe they shouldn't be throwing students out in really high water, but class II swim is what it is. This is not a good sport to be in if you are a perfectionist (which kinda sucks since I am), and, like all of you have said, this sport takes time to learn and develop. I personally don't want to see idiots in rec boats trying to do whitewater, thinking they are cool. That's how people get hurt (it happened on the Lehigh recently). So let the yuppies do their spin classes and rock walls. I'll take the real deal and love being outside without having to prove anything (except to me, maybe). I may not be real young (late 20s), but I am hooked. Others will get hooked too. The younger the better, they learn quicker. Thanks for reading, and sorry this was so long.

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Old 10-05-2009   #49
on the water, jersey
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Aug 2009
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Originally Posted by Riparian View Post
Speaking as a complete outsider/rubber person, here's my guess (since I really don't know) as to why there's a decline: aging kayakers having children/real jobs/spouses who wanna do something else. Or it could be something much more sinister: the invasion of the RaftPeople. They use compelling and cruel tactics to recruit people into their evil cult... like comfy boats and cold beer.
that was hilarious...
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Old 10-06-2009   #50
Matt J's Avatar
Leadvillian, Colorado
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 381
I apologize in advance for not reading the entire thread as the posts I did read offered a lot of valuable insight.

First, I feel it is important to dispute a lot of the "facts" presented in the Outside article. The article is certainly well written and entertaining as a professionally written piece should be, but there are a load of fallacies' and it is fraught with misinformation.

Please, someone who has first hand experience with any professional kayaker ever pulling down $100k in sponsorships please speak up. I think Tao Berman has been quite frank about approaching the sport as a full-time job and he may be the only kayaker ever to remotely approach this number.

Why do we feel that in order for a sport to be legitimate you must be able to earn a living as a professional? Let's face it, kayaking is not baseball, basketball, or football, and that's exactly why a lot of us enjoy it.

There is not necessarily anything "broken" in whitewater sports because large corporate interests are not hauling in the loot. Sure we all want the producers of our toys to stay in business, but market saturation can be attributed to too many buy outs and spin-offs not too few recreationalists.

Also, I feel that a lean economy, joblessness, and higher fuel costs have certainly deterred boaters from getting on the water as much as we might like. But, like our entire economy perhaps our industry will have to become content with a "sustained" market instead of constantly focusing on growth. I say cheers to shorter lines in the eddys and truely remote wilderness runs - now if we can just find a way to get rid of these goofy guys on surfboards

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