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Old 11-16-2012   #31
phlyingfish's Avatar
Moscow, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 269
Originally Posted by KSC View Post
No, I assure you the guy above is right, Malcolm Gladwell's rule is 10,000 hours, but not sure how germane this issue is to the topic.
It's germane. But make no mistake. Ten thousand hours of getting your ass handed to you on whitewater beyond your skills is no substitute for the same in a marginal playspot or attaining class II/III.

My progression was super slow. It took me four seasons before I stepped up to class V. I don't regret that for a second because, once I got there, it was enjoyable instead of terrifying/injurious. Plus, I ended up with a solid playboating skill set, which has kept easy whitewater fun for me. If you head straight from roll sessions to progressing into class V, you tend not to develop the skills that allow for fun on a variety of whitewater. That, to me, is why there are a lot of sick creekboaters who hate on playboating -- because they suck at it and never bothered to get good when they had the chance.

"A river is more than an amenity, it is a treasure."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes writing for the majority in New Jersey v. New York
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Old 11-16-2012   #32
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Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 614
A person paddling over their abilities and getting injured is hardly new. Whatís new are the locations, crowds of spectators, and lots of videos. Paddling is becoming more like acting than done for itís individual rewards. For a look back watch:

How Burt Reynolds Cheated Death While Filming 'Deliverance' - Yahoo!

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Old 11-16-2012   #33
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Kalispell, Montana
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Apr 2012
Posts: 1,436
I don't think we should either hate rabidly on gapers like surfers do, or downplay difficult Class V water like some boaters do, either.

A happy medium--honesty--is probably a better policy. Be honest with yourself and your paddling companions about your own skill, and your mentors should be brutally honest with you about the difficulty of a run and your abilities.

Originally Posted by RiverWrangler View Post
Just like on the North Fork, many, many CO rivers have road blast that makes being upside down AT ALL extremely hazardous.
I have boated for 14 years, IV for the past 10.

First V this summer. Shallow, bony, blasted rocks just didn't make it fun.

Originally Posted by RiverWrangler View Post
Is there too much emphasis on running class V in general - probably. But it's just a number, it doesn't mean jack and it's just like as newbie skier wanting ski a black diamond.
True. Once you realize that someone else's assesment of the difficulty of a run and their grade is much less important than your enjoyment of the run you're on, it gets a lot more fulfilling.

I'm having way more fun tele'ing blue/black runs than I ever had dropping into double black runs 10 years ago, and the falls hurt less. Maybe I'm just getting old.
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Old 11-16-2012   #34
Boise, Idaho
Join Date: Aug 2010
Posts: 505
Originally Posted by phlyingfish View Post
My progression was super slow. It took me four seasons before I stepped up to class V. I don't regret that for a second because, once I got there, it was enjoyable instead of terrifying/injurious. .
Super-slow??? You? I doubt it. Ha ha.

I'm entering year four and I'll be happy to be a "solid" class 4 boater... meaning maybe I can start running Staircase at high flows.

But I agree with your post(s). Well said.
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Old 11-16-2012   #35
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Near water (hopefully), Colorado
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 770
Everyone should play boat more, especially me. I suck at that stuff!
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Old 11-16-2012   #36
Join Date: Aug 2004
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Originally Posted by smauk2 View Post
Everyone should play boat more, especially me. I suck at that stuff!
I agree.
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Old 11-18-2012   #37
Preacher of the Profit Paddling Since: 1990
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 1,062
I've always told people to become a class V boater you need to be able to do class V moves on class III water. It's about doing a series of planned out moves on demand. Other than the glass boaters at the Golden WW I rarely see people trying to pull every move they can running down the park.
I love to dance, but who needs the music- It throws me off.
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Old 11-19-2012   #38
Mad Scientist/Creeker
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 803
Yeah! Everybody should playboat and then the Big South would be way less crowded. Oh wait, that's just one weekend a year and otherwise I see some combination of the same 15 dudes on every hard run in the state.

It comes down to being taught to respect the river enough to understand that you've got to earn your progression to the holy land of the controlled chaos of hard whitewater. You don't have to playboat but it helps. What you need to do is spend the Gladwell 10,000 hours in your boat challenging yourself in as many aspects of the sport as you can. It doesn't mean running whitewater over your head; It means constantly setting measurable goals to achieve when you go out for a paddle. Catching that impossible eddy, surfing that huge wave, making that upstream ferry.

"Other than the glass boaters at the Golden WW I rarely see people trying to pull every move they can running down the park."
I'm only mildly ashamed to admit I've been down at the park in March when there's 88cfs doing attainment laps on the gates working it for all it's worth. Just the same I'll be making attainment ferrys, catching micro eddies and boofing every damn rock in the narrows into September most years.

In certain line-ups, maybe otherwise known as class V put-ins in paddling, if you don't belong you are endangering everybody else out there. Even more so in kayaking. One of the most interesting things Louis brings up is where a surfer may try and drown you himself occasionally, an expert paddler rarely bats an eye at rescuing a fellow paddler... even the kooks. It's born of the unique bond the river creates in everyone who paddles, an unspoken trust which has been passed down now through multiple generations. I credit the early leaders in our sport for creating this ethos, and of course the river, which demands it.

RE: Style part II
Styling a line is of course the preferred option and the best paddlers, that I've had the fortune to paddle with, do tend to style nearly every line. But everyone has their off days and in the most challenging water, the water is so powerful that styling the line is unquestionably intertwined with just staying away from the bad places. Great paddlers also style their plan b and even plan c lines. Sometimes it's impossible to know when a great paddler has even reverted to their plan b line, they are that maleable to the rivers direction. Staying calm and resilient in the face of adversity is one of the rives greatest lessons.

To me, high volume rivers, trapped between gorge walls, creates the most challenging whitewater. This can be argued on for days, and what takes the most skill to run is a question that defies a specific "type" of whitewater but what I do know, is that the river is in charge on these types of rivers and styling the line may not mean the same thing as a precise and exacting creeking move of the same difficulty. All this babbling and my point is that, in the very hardest whitewater, a lot of styling the line is about maintaining composure and making what the river gives you work.

Evan Stafford
Cub boater: "What do the spiders mean?" Old fart boater: "Trust your intuition." CRCII
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