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Old 07-20-2009   #1
Park City, Utah
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 700
Worth It?

I logged in this morning to be punched in the mouth again.

I started this sport after whitewater canoeing with my family. I have seen so many beautiful places and met so many exceptional people. I spent three hours yesterday with my 3 and 6 year old. Three year old trying to paddle in the canoe. 6 year old trying to make a kayak go straight on flat water.

I once took a full year out of the boat in response to a personal tragedy. I am an addict to adrenaline, and it brought me back. I am torn about my kids. If something happens to me, or my wife, we are adults who understand the consequences of our decisions. If something were to happen to one of our children as a result of their pursuit of my passion, I don't know if I could carry it. Why don't I carry this same feeling when it comes to skiing? I am a better skier than kayaker, and those I know who have passed skiing have had a common theme. They were taking a big risk. On the water, exceptional people have been taken so fast, while being well within their boundaries.

Sorry for the rant.

I know some of you are much more sage than myself. I look forward to your thoughtful response. A couple of you have saved my life in the past. I know I've said it before, but thanks. You are my brothers.

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Old 07-20-2009   #2
Renaissance Redneck
LSB's Avatar
Huson, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 986
Wife and I just discussed this very thing this morning
My class V days are probably over and kids are a little young but really dig the river lifestyle
I hear ya about the fear of harm coming to them from something that I contributed to
Who knows what the recreation adrenaline recreation possibilities will be in a few years when they are ready
Probably stuff that I have never thought of or am capable of

"You're gonna be doin a lot of doobie rolling when youre LIVIN IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER"
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Old 07-20-2009   #3
Snowhere's Avatar
Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 93
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 844
It's a personal thing. I have yet to start my 6yr old kayaking. For now, riding in the raft is good enough. I am not sure when I will proceed with the kayaking. My son is not fearless and complains when we hike too far, so I do not think he will follow my exact footsteps anyway. Now my daughter is the one I will have to watch out for, much more adventitious then my son. She loves to climb and I can see her bagging peaks to ski down with me. Our theory is my son takes after his mom, my daughter takes after me. Only time will tell how it turns out and you can't worry about everything.

As far as class V boating, I may have had aspirations when I was younger and single. Now where I am at, I can't see myself pushing to get into it more. I should say kayak wise as I just rafted Pine Creek last week as the water was coming down. But we all know that as V goes, Pinny is on the easy side of things.

Good luck with your conscious, only you can bring peace to it.....
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Old 07-20-2009   #4
Self-Aggrandizing jackass
heliodorus04's Avatar
The Ranch, Colorado
Paddling Since: 04
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 1,134
No one knows how many days we have. Remember that. Frame your philosophy within that context, always.

I myself am more atheist than agnostic these days.

When I was 36, I buried the woman I would have married, and I kayak because of that memory. She left a half's life worth of goals and hopes and dreams on the table, and as she lay dying, I promised her I would try to fulfill some of her dreams in her honor. Kayaking was one of them.

I get it if you have kids, that there are important considerations for them, and I applaud, honor, and respect your consideration of their highest good.

I do think you have to feel alive. I don't have kids, so I could paddle gnar. Fortunately for me I'm a huge pussy, and not that good a boater, so I can't cash those checks. I can get thrill enough on Numbers and harder IVs.

One thing to think about if you're wondering how you would fill the place that Class V fills for you: See how it feels to teach the newbs. I've done my share of it here and there, and it's really gratifying to help someone get their first roll, or to see someone with a beaming smile as they just got through Mad Dog upright on Filter Plant of the Poudre.

For me, if there's a god, he's completely indifferent to suffering, because everything on this earth dies in some miserable way, and the best they can hope for is that death will come quick, so you don't have to be afraid, or have regret in the moment your spark fades from this place.

For us thinking apes, add to that the hope that you're life was fulfilled, however you define that (which hopefully includes examples like Count's, giving to others and living in a way, as his parents said, where your enthusiasm is contagious to others around you). That is the immortality I seek: to have lived in a way that people will speak of me as they have of Count: That I will be missed, but alive in a garden of fertile, happy memories in the minds of those I loved.

None of us knows how many days we have.
But I believe in the wisdom in a saying someone passed down to me:
In life, it is not what we do that we regret, but what we did not do.
What will you regret not having done?

Peace and love, Buzzards.
"self-aggrandizing jackass" - it says it right on the label
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Old 07-20-2009   #5
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 74
It is smart to have fear on the river. Another word for it would be respect. I stopped Kayaking mainly do to the fact I was never that great and I did not need another sport I could not do with my wife and now kids. Both of my kids started rafting with me at 2.5 years old. They are now nearly 4 and 6 and love the river. I will take them down class II and maybe class III with nothing hazardous below. In my opinion the kid needs to be able to self rescue themselves in class II before you move onto class III. The raft is just fine now but I did just get a ducky and can't wait to try it out with the family. Both of my kids will have zero memories before they made turns on the ski hill or hit some rapids on the river. I believe this to be one of the best gifts I have given them. Not to be warm and fuzzy but seeing them hit runs with me is just as fun as the deepest of powder days.....
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Old 07-20-2009   #6
xena13's Avatar
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 244
You are who you are and that's all you have to share with the people that you love. If your passions are kayaking, whitewater and skiing, then your kids are fortunate. There are lots of kids out there with parents whose only passions are TV and fast food.
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Old 07-20-2009   #7
Brotorboat's Avatar
Right near the beach...BOYEEEEE, Brahbrobrahdo
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 442
Originally Posted by xena13 View Post
You are who you are and that's all you have to share with the people that you love. If your passions are kayaking, whitewater and skiing, then your kids are fortunate. There are lots of kids out there with parents whose only passions are TV and fast food.
AMEN to that!

Teaching them love and respect for the outdoors is something they will cherish long after you are gone...and something they will hopefully pass down to their children as well.
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Old 07-20-2009   #8
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 393
My dad taught me to kayak and we actually ran some full-on class V together while I was in college. I'm forever grateful that he introduced me to the sport and we had some incredible adventures together. Teach your kids to be safe on the river but don't try to hide them from the risks of whitewater. When I think back to high school I did way more dangerous/stupid shit behind the wheel of a car than in my kayak.

Derk's accident is heart-breaking and terrible but we need to remember it was an accident. That drop was WELL within his skillset and it was just some terrible luck.

We lost Daniel DeLaVergne, Charlie Beavers, Russell Kelly, Damon Miller and tons of other talented, bold kayakers to non-kayaking accidents. Accidents happen on the river and they also happen elsewhere.
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Old 07-20-2009   #9
GoodTimes's Avatar
Eagle, Idaho
Paddling Since: '78
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 794
Worth it???

A question I've been pondering for quite some time. I've had my share of V and a few V+....but after last season (where I was boating V most of my weekends), I started to think about whether it was really worth it. For me....I was SOOOO gripped and contemplating "what if's" to the point that nailing my lines (which I usually did) didn't really provide the satisfaction to make it worth it.......most of the time anyway.

And then I swim this year for the first time in 12 seasons on OBJ and get recirc'd (The biggin').....with my wife of ONE WEEK watching from the sidelines. Inevitably the "what ifs" came pouring into my head.

I'm very confident I can find ample pleasure and excitement running IV+ with the occassional V-.

I SOOOOOOO badly want to share all of my adventures with my wife and our future kids. My wife's a boater too (III+/IV-) and sharing the river with her is a dream come true. The "worth it" question (when it comes to V/V+) is a big one for me lately.
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Old 07-20-2009   #10
Mike Harvey's Avatar
Salida, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 805
no one can answer that question, but it is surely a worthy topic of conversation in the wake of this tragedy and anytime someone dies doing an activity like kayaking.

I'll never forget a Big South trip that I took while my wife was pregnant with my son in the summer of 2001. My good friend and paddling mentor PT told me as I was putting in above Cool World, "just wait, this game will change for you once that kid comes along" and it has. I find other ways to be on the river and I love paddling as much as I ever have, I just don't want to paddle hard creeks anymore.

As far as my kids....I have already introduced both my kids to paddling and if they love it as much as I do, they will have every opportunity to enjoy it that I can provide. Someday they will have to make a personal decision about boundaries just like I did and hopefully I will equip them well to make that decision.

Shit I worry all the time about my family...driving cars, drugs, alcohol all of those sorts of hazards scare me way more than the river. Hopefully paddling is part of the solution to some of those more standard pitfalls.

Be safe. I hope Derk's friends and family find peace in the weeks and months to come. Sounds like he will not be forgotten around these parts.

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