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Old 05-31-2010   #11
Porkchop's Avatar
Eagle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 144
That's boatn'. Last season had some lame swims early on, wrecked my head, and really didn't progress. this year started slow and was able to step it up. A couple thoughts. I kept tryin harder runs in my play boat and getting worked. Now i take the river runner learn the lines then take the play boat. Taking a good swift water rescue course gave me alot of respect for the river. It also gave me more confidence in that I knew what to do if things didn't go well.

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Old 05-31-2010   #12
Grand Junction, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 434
I'm dealing with this problem as well. The key to my success seems to be exposing myself to a lot of easy play park style and mixing in a small amount of more challenging paddling during the course of a day. This way I feel like I'm building fundamentals while keeping myself challenged. If this works for you, great! It's tough to rebuild confidence, so good luck.

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Old 05-31-2010   #13
Airborne2504's Avatar
Colorado Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 420
I was in this same situation/head trip during my second season too. It got me pretty bad too, so bad, that I did the exact same thing you just did, and started a thread about it.

Here's the Link to my thread, a lot of good advice here.
Losing your edge; River Nerves

The best thing that worked for me, like someone here already said, and I believe that the same person posted the same advice on my thread, was to take a step back, get on runs that I was already comfortable on, have some fun again, and then worked my way back up. Not sure if I updated on my thread, but a week later, I got back on Pdale, ran 3 rocks again at just about the same flows, and cleaned it, as well as cleaned the rest of the run. Then did the Gorge many times after that too.

I too am getting on more and more class IV stuff now, (3rd Season).

If you'd like, a friend and I are planning on doing Stevens down to the BTO tomorrow. (upper Mish down to the Bridges Take-out) You and your crew are more than welcome to join us if ya want.

Good Luck, stick with it, you'll be alright.

- Alex
If you're going to stick it out there, don't be afraid to get it cut off.
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Old 05-31-2010   #14
possumturd's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 451

Step it back. Learn to be a really really good fundamental kayaker on easy water. Build on your confidence like laying a concrete foundation to a house. Build your house on a shaky foundation and it will eventually fall.

Take stroke clinic or creeking class. I took a stroke clinic a couple years ago at paddle fest and it improved my capability immensely.

Paddle technical water you are comfortable in. Hit every eddy you possibly can. Practice ferries all day long and going from eddy to eddy all the way down the river. Simple time on the water will build your foundation brick by brick.

Don't run anything that scares you.

Learn to read the water. This has taken me a long time.

Take swift water rescue classes.

As others have suggested. Paddle with people who you trust and want to help you improve and not people who just want you to step it up. In this sport these people are hard to find IMHO.

There are allot of people who get through this sport with a good boat and brawn and are not that good of paddlers. Be a good paddler first.

When I first started doing class IV stuff I was very selective about what I would do.
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Old 05-31-2010   #15
Fallingup's Avatar
Summit County, and Idaho
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 261
Originally Posted by blutzski View Post
If it's not fun don't do it.
1. Go back to when and where you were having fun and not scared.
2. Step it up slower this time (keep getting chundered in rowdy playholes).
3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 as necessary.

Some people have fun stepping it up quickly and getting smacked in the process.
Some people have fun staying on class III their whole lives. Find out where you fit and if it's not fun, don't do it.
I couldn't agree more.
Remember that Kayaking itself is an amazing sport; most of the population will never experience what we do and why we do it. That alone is truly amazing and sets us apart from many.

Don't let this beat you down, you are stronger than that!!
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Old 05-31-2010   #16
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 258
Maybe you should pick up tennis?

How many days do you put on the river a year? Sounds like time on the river would do you good. If you want to step it up you need to be paddling 70-100 days a season. If you put that many days in this season you'll be dropping into gore canyon competent but scared out of your mind next year and enjoying yourself in the royal gorge at 4,000 cfs. If you don’t put in that much time that’s ok just don’t expect to be comfortable in anything your uncomfortable in now. Doesnt matter what you paddle just paddle alot and you'll figure it out.

There are three types of boaters;
1. Boaters that love to kayak because it scares/exhilarates them some way.
2. Boaters that love to kayak because they like the culture not getting scared.
(These usually buy rafts and stick to flat water river trips or teach people to kayak until their students abilities surpass their own).
3. Boaters that love to kayak because they like both.
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Old 06-01-2010   #17
Kayak/SUP Instructor
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The High Ground, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,325
It's all perspective isn't it? You ran Clark's hole, played the cards you were dealt, and won the hand. You didn't swim and you finished the rest of the run with dry hair we assume so...?? Congratulations.

Check out this description of the Gorge written by a member of Pikes Peak Whitewater Club. American Whitewater - NWRI - Arkansas 11. Parkdale Launch to Canon City You might want to have some crib notes handy next time.

Know the run, where you are on the river, and never..ever.. stare at Sunshine.

Clark's hole at 1460

"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 06-01-2010   #18
surrounded by mountains, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1981
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 475
What's needed is frequency. I believe that each year is a new year and it is imprtant to start early and boat often. For one thing, the water is less pushy. Secondly, our muscles are out of boating shape and have to be strengthened so not to be exhausted or over tense. Thirdly, we work on our aggressive control skills and get our heads into the realm of confidence and fun. Finaly, we've practiced and become comfortable during the somewhat gradually increasing water levels until suddenly the big water season arrives and you are already strong, confident, and able to enjoy the unique challenges of strong water.

That said, it is okay to portage anything on any given day. The river will be there if you decide to challenge a rapid at another date. There should be no shame or guilt. Keep it fun and know your threshold fot it that day. However, frequency is the key. Find a place to boat that is at your level for smiling, not fearing. Keep enjoying the sport, the beauty, the serenity, the fun, and before you know it your seeing yourself comfortable where ever you predetermine will be fun that day. Before you know it, high water season is over and your able to experience some of those more intimidating locations again with confidence, building your familiarity with them, an appreciation and a desire to keep returning to them each year.

Each is a new beginning, though. So, again, we need to start early and boat often. If any year doesn't allow that, well it's not all lost make what you can of it that year, but keep it fun. There is always next year. Don't beat yourself up over it. It's all good.

That said, someone mentioned rituals. I think it is beneficial to start your trip by fully emersing yourself in the river just before you get into your boat. One, this helps awaken you, clear your head, and relax you. I think it helps put you in harmony with the river that you are about to slide into. It also helps cool you down if you were a bit heat exhausted with all your dry gear and effort getting ready to launch. It also lubricates all your gear so that your not seemingly too tight and restricted when you first launch. Finally, I recommend doing a roll, or several, in the eddy immediately, firtst thing every trip. It reminds you that you can roll and it, again, helps clear your head and put the fun of the rver into your minds perspective. It is all about frequency, though. Boat early, boat often, have fun. The season is long and you don't have to do high water class IV if it makes you nervous. Go paddle a lake or class II or III instead if that is going to be fun. Someday high water IV and V may be a fun level that you eventually find yourself comfortbly entering. It doesn't have to be the end goal, though. Just keep the joy of kayaking and traveling and sharing good times with good friends.

No risk, no reward. It is not that we have to, it is that we get to. Preparation and education are essential to self-confidence and success. - KV
"If there is no risk there is no adventure."- Bill Briggs
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Old 06-01-2010   #19
thornton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1969
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 600
"I'am a girl so go easy on me." Is that an excuse or an explanation of why your confidence is shattered? Grab all your junk and get out there on the river as much as you can, that alone is a big confidence builder. Kick some butt.
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Old 06-01-2010   #20
Bozeman, Montana
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 10
Thank you for all the sweet advice. I appreciate it! I'm not giving up on kayaking, I love the sport too much, the day after the gorge incident we put on pinnacle rock and I pointed with no problem. Yes, I do need to work on my reading skills and I'm also planning on taking a swift water course (I would this season but I'm bumming it up for two months and then moving to Montana).

Hey Crazy Nate I gave up on tennis after I tore my acl and I believe I got in about 60+ days my first season and I'm hoping to get a lot more this season!

Hey raymo I was told I should write "I'm a girl so go easy on me". I was going to write "I know there are a lot of jackasses on this forum, so I'm ready for some shit talkin!"

Thanks again everyone, and yes keep paddling FUN!!

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