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Old 09-24-2015   #1
Grand County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2011
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 28
Playpark Class IIIs Disclaimer

I have noticed that whitewater playpark class III rapids are easier than natural class III rapids.

Do you agree?

Should playpark III's have a special rating like 'PPIII' ?

It's a little deceiving when someone learning to master a class III, practices at a playpark and then goes into the real world and gets clobbered.

It doesn't seem like the rating system is totally universal.

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Old 09-24-2015   #2
Swank's Avatar
Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 251
I tend to agree but don't think more ratings are necessary.

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Old 09-24-2015   #3
Sacramento, California
Paddling Since: 2012
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 232
Not all Class 3's or 4's or what ever are equal in difficulty. Even in nature. Some are easier than others. From the vids I've seen, playparks tend to look very low on technicality and more straight forward than many natural rapids.
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Old 09-24-2015   #4
InflatableSteve's Avatar
Cave Creek, Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 671
I have done the Durango park a couple of times. I agree that the rapids are more forgiving, but I guess you have to look at each feature and break it down. Even though they are easier to navigate (I assume they do this on purpose for safety reasons), I defiantly wouldn't down grade them. The size of the waves and holes are bigger than class ll in my opinion. Besides I figure it is better to overestimate the rapid than underestimate it.

The class system is not exact. Each rapid changes with flow, and every boater has there own idea of what they would rate the same rapid. I also think adding more exceptions will just make things more confusing.
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Old 09-24-2015   #5
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Buena Vista, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4,207
I look at play parks as freestyle features not whitewater parks, unless they have a slalom course or good gradient...but really class 3 varies significantly between drainage size and location. I could take you on a half dozen class 3 runs in this region, all with noticeably different character.
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Old 09-25-2015   #6
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
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You should probably steer clear of our playpark, little bunny.
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Old 09-25-2015   #7
Steamboat, Colorado
Join Date: Jul 2014
Posts: 582
Originally Posted by jmack View Post

You should probably steer clear of our playpark, little bunny.
Haha! Awesome vid. Silly rafters.
It's a good day to be a duck....
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Old 09-25-2015   #8
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Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2003
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,032
How about DIII = Durango Class III?

I don't really get the original question. If it's less than class III, why not rate it II, II+, whatever. I think you're just coming back to the classic debate about difficulty of move vs. consequence which gets conflated in the standard rating system. Playparks tend to be sanitized so there's less consequence. First swiftwater class I took w/ Mike Mathers - he was saying that people are learning bad rescue habits in the PPs: standing up, etc.
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Old 09-25-2015   #9
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 808
Seriously though, it all comes down to the fact that whitewater ratings are pretty useless. We take several subjective variables like pushiness, technicality, hazards and commitment, all of which can change based on weather, water level and wood, and try to cram them into a system of 5 numbers. I would worry less about what class a river is, and pay more attention to getting a reliable description before deciding if a new run is for you.

And you are all welcome to come experience our Class IV playpark. Its a pretty good time when the water is up.
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Old 09-25-2015   #10
azpowell's Avatar
page, Arizona
Paddling Since: 2014
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 134
jmack i got on the town run this year when it was at 4200cfs, the park as a whole is definitely a class 4 during high water. cant wait to get on it next year, hopefully it doesn't peak while im down the grand.

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ark, class ii, class iii

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