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Old 07-15-2010   #11
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 325
If you were on the Grand or the Middle Fork, or some other remote river that gets commercially rafted, I think you would have some justification for getting irritated. But complaining about commercial trips (and/or other river users) bad behavior on browns is like complaining about people's bad driving during Denver rush hour. Its just what happens when there is a higher volume of people in a concentrated area, people bump into each other. Not condoning their behavior or trying to take a position on who is right/wrong, just saying that perhaps if you are going to be on the busiest section of river in the country, you should adjust your expectations.

Chris Morrison
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Old 07-15-2010   #12
rippnskier's Avatar
Park City/ Buena Vista, Utah/Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 54
Remember that not all guides are that skilled and they are basically trying to entertain there folks. Hence, the ramming speed comment. I wouldn't take it to heart. I am curious how they closed the gap so fast from Canyon Doors to Pinball so quikly. This time of year alot fo the companies are releasing there rookie guides and they have a class 5 mouth/ego with class 2 skills. Good Luck and be glad you weren't in a kayak.

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Old 07-15-2010   #13
Cisco, Utah
Paddling Since: Dawn
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 351
A few notes on raft dynamics... not defending anyone, just a few notes.

8 or 10 ppl in a raft is alot heavier than 1,2 or 3 ppl in a raft, and Will float faster.

Paddle rafts are typically paddling forward, oar rigs do a lot of back peddling to maneuver, which is slower.

Once in pinball, faster rafts will continue to be faster and breaking options are limited. Also slower rafts will continue to be slower and giddy-up options are limited.

A lot of new guides on browns still haven't figured out low water lines. A few older ones never will.

A lot of ppl just don't look at the world around them, at least not necessarily 200 yards worth.
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Old 07-15-2010   #14
Kayak/SUP Instructor
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The High Ground, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,325
This is why I refuse to run Brown's except at uber high water, super early or late evening.

I was with a couple friends last Saturday in the Gorge and had a similar bunch of commercial jackassery take place.

We had just dropped Sunshine and were sitting in the eddy on river right when whistles start blowing above us. I ferry out and see nothing but orange helmets coming down. My partner peels out chasing a swimmer and gets the custy in the eddy while my other friends police up a paddle or two for them.

Next thing we know a guide is telling his customers to take forward strokes in the eddy and is literally running us over at the top of the eddy. He's laughing about it and making smart assed comments to his customers about kayakers.

The guy I was with is an older salt and told the guide that if he didn't back off he would pull his knife and blow their tube. At that point they conclude they aren't having fun anymore and go on their way.

Funny thing is I have two of their paddles that I've policed up along the river this year that I've been meaning to drop off to this outfit next time I'm in the neighborhood. My sense of urgency to get that done just went to zero.

Way to go Echo Canyon.
"Let us cross the river to the other side and rest beneath the shade of the trees." ~ Last words of Thomas Jonathan ''Stonewall' Jackson
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Old 07-15-2010   #15
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 137
Summit Surfer,
I am sorry you had to deal with that situation and I agree that most of the guides out there would not do that sort of thing. I feel that there were likely several factors involved.

First it is likely that you had a several rookies in the pod behind you. Like noted before rookies right now think they are awesome because they can barely make it through pinball but they deffinately cannot look ahead see a slower boat and catch slack water or an eddy to create space. However each trip should have senior guides in the front and the back of the trip who should be able to adjust thier speed/ catch an eddy and communicate that to the rest of the trip.

Second the comments UserName made are 100% accurate about speed. After you looked back and started the rapid it is likely that you pulled on the oars a fair ammount to make your moves meanwhile the standard paddle line to run pinball sounds like this Forward!...Stop. Forward (etc). Like I said before senior guides can and should catch slack water or eddies to create space but if you have more than five boats on a trip the ammount of space in pinball is limited and the intertia created by the number of boats (you also have to include the company that may be right behind the ones that passed you) can make slow down or stop near impossible.

So in short I would say it is about 40% "the way things are" because of rookies, the number of boats and the differences in speed. The other 60% is poor form. Even though a collision happened the guides should have slowed down, changed angles, directed thier crews to duck etc to make the bumper boat situation less dangerous. And most importantly they could have been courteous or at least not dicks.
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Old 07-15-2010   #16
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Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
Downstream crafts ALWAYS have the right of way. I don't care if you are in a tube or floating on a beer cooler! Heavier, commercial, private it DOES NOT MATTER! Now, that being said, I usually hang out and let the commercial boats float past me. I wave and smile. I'm just happy to be on the river. I've been run over by a commercial raft in my kayak on Browns more than a few times, and that is no fun. I give them plenty of space, but sometimes they just can't control their boats. This is the real issue. If they cannot control their boats, they should not have customers on the river. Accidents happen, but on Brown's that seems to be the norm. I am actually pretty sick of it. We're very careful to stay out of their way and they usually make no effort to avoid us. Sooner or later someone is going to get hurt and their going to sue the guide. Maybe that will make them think about what they are doing. I hate lawsuits, but this might be the only thing that makes them stop and think about what they are doing. They don't own the river!
Also, if I am eating lunch with my group, who do they think they are taking over the beach and telling us we have to leave. PUBLIC PROPERTY!
Sorry if I offended any guides. This is just my observation on Browns, not a slam on guides in general. I know most of you are cool, I just don't see that on Browns much.
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Old 07-15-2010   #17
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at my house, Montana
Paddling Since: 2020
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 4,347
That's total BS, bad behavior is not justified by excuses. Just learn from it (avoid them like tubers or the plague) and contact the company's owner. Especially if it is rookie guides messing up, they need to know who is not making the cut. Maybe they won't care, but all you can do is notify. Nice job with the facts only.
I am a river, babe - I've got plenty of time, I don't know where I'm going, I'm just following the lines..... - "We are water" by Shaye
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Old 07-15-2010   #18
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 772
I think the problem is rooted in New Zealand, at least that is where I've heard this game comes from. If a kayaker gets run over by a raft they owe a 12 pack, kind of like swimmer beer.

Also, downstream craft doesn't have right of way in my mind, the craft that is least maneuverable, in this case the oar rig, has the right of way. It's been hit several times but it sounds like you found some rookies. This is not standard practice on the Ark, even in Browns. The commercials should have better control of their boats in that situation. As far as calling them out by name on here, it's not necessary, but it may not hurt to call the company and just give them a heads up of what happened.

Back to bashing commercial rafting...if it was the Poudre it would be standard practice and you would have had three bus drivers draping ropes over your boat.
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Old 07-15-2010   #19
Buckrodgers's Avatar
Teacher, Fort Collins, Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2007
Posts: 251
Originally Posted by Nathan View Post
Back to bashing commercial rafting...if it was the Poudre it would be standard practice and you would have had three bus drivers draping ropes over your boat.
That's good...
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Old 07-15-2010   #20
loot87's Avatar
Lyons, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 84
I'd go farther. If you had a paddle raft and declared ramming speed on a commercial trip, they'd tell the sheriff. I think you should do the same.

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