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Old 06-15-2012   #1
SummitSurfer's Avatar
Summit County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 435
Wont Go Without a Fight

Do to multiple injuries, family pressure and the fact I pay the bills with the labor of my hands, I need to find an alternative to what I have been doing so far if I'm going to stay in the kayaking sport.I won't go without a fight! I'm great at combat rolls in the biggest of gnar, but the problem is that even with an ok brace I always find away to get upside down and injure myself. I never swim, but maybe I should just start swimming ha ha NOT!

So here is my question......what do you guys think about a creek boat or larger volume boats. I've heard they are easier more stable, less catchy pulley etc. I need something that is going to make kayaking a little more injury free, more forgiving cause apparently I SUCK AT KAYAKING BUT LOVE IT too much to leave it without a fight.

Thanks for any help,

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Old 06-15-2012   #2
glenn's Avatar
BZN, Montana
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 1,489
How are you getting injured? What runs are you doing? How much playboating?

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Old 06-15-2012   #3
overcrowdedskitown, Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 61
buy a raft...
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Old 06-15-2012   #4
wasatchbill's Avatar
Riverdale, Utah
Paddling Since: 1977
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 228
Get a more stable boat if you want to do harder runs. Creekboats are great. Improve the brace, and work on a faster roll. Get a consistent 2 second roll.
At the NF Championships last weekend, I saw 3 pros upsidedown in one of the gnarliest rapids on the planet. They almost all hit their first roll in 1 to 2 seconds. Look at how fast this roll is, at 29 sec:

Get a good fullface helmet (like the WRSI) and elbow pads. I've been wearing pogies for knuckle protection on our low water runs. I've seen some seriously bloody knuckles this season from being upside down on low water runs (like you would get from punching rocks with your fists). Take care of those hands.
You can also look into changing the mental/emotional patterns that are leading you to make choices that are getting you hurt, multiple times. Visualize safe lines. PM me if you want more info.
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Old 06-15-2012   #5
Horserump, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1975
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 458
Learn how to brace. Then you cut down on your injuries a lot.
Just keep it low.
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Old 06-15-2012   #6
justinm's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Aug 2011
Posts: 48
Originally Posted by yak1 View Post
Learn how to brace. Then you cut down on your injuries a lot.
Just keep it low.

Keep your shoulder/elbow low and practice this move in flatwater. Work on using your hips to right the boat and keeping your head rested on the shoulder of the bracing arm to improve stability and balance.

Its saved my head from many many rock shots!
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Old 06-15-2012   #7
SummitSurfer's Avatar
Summit County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 435
Sound advice.......thanks.
@ wasatchbill: yep banged up my knuckles good at Rincon last week and this week found one good rock underwater at Man Eater in Shosone in GW Canyon.
My brace could use work but seems like no matter how hard I've worked on my brace it always seems to end up too deep in the water and I can't get it back to the surface. EJ has a video about getting the paddle back to the surface for a brace by turning your wrist.....have done this exersize time and time again and for some reason my brace works 50% of the time.
In the end, I'm ok admitting that I'm not good at kayaking and bracing but I love the sport. I've successfully combat rolled in everything thrown at me but this is wear I'm getting beat up by rocks etc. In fact my boating buddy's call me the "geologist" cause I'm always studying rocks on the bottom of the river. So, my brace would fix alot, but in the mean time, I'm thinking I need to take a step back into a "easy" boat, learn to brace or give it all up.
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Old 06-15-2012   #8
phlyingfish's Avatar
Moscow, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 269
Sounds like you're relying on a high brace, which is not ideal for a lot of reasons. For starters, it puts way more stress on your shoulders. It also tends to put more of your body in the water, which makes it more likely you'll be flipped by a rogue wave as you try to right yourself. Lastly, it can be harder to right yourself using a high brace because you're already most of the way over.

Instead try to focus on using a low brace (using the front face of your paddle). Low braces are nice because you can easily turn them into quick forward strokes or draws. They also tend to keep you centered over your boat more.

Another thing to keep in mind is that the paddle is just there for balance. If you're relying on the paddle to right yourself, you're doing it wrong. In addition to using a low brace, focus on snapping your hips to get back upright. Otherwise you'll just lay on your paddle as you get drug over rocks.

An easier boat will probably make you less likely to flip over in the first place, but you have to perfect your strokes if you want to progress in this sport. Take some time out and get dialed on flat water.
"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 06-15-2012   #9
Arkansas during the off-season Nomadic during the summers! :), Arkansas & Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 945
Focus on learning (if you don't already know) bow and stern stalls plus cartwheels in holes or flatwater. They will really help you with bracing! Also loosen your hips...I find beginners are much too rigid in the torso which leads to tipping over in cross waves and such.

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