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Old 12-22-2006   #11
Tiggy's Avatar
Steamboat Springs, CO
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 213
Get her to row a raft

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Old 12-22-2006   #12
tellutwurp's Avatar
Longmont, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 260
well Mike, I think getting her knees all banged up on the poudre in high water may have been a bit scary not too mention swimming down foxton. That scar above your eye is a pleasent reminder that even if you don't swim doesn't mean you're going to stay perty... Hell, I imagine she doesn't even want to be around it after our epic on the arkansas... Anyway, maybe you should get her in one of those clinics for women where she can meet some people that paddle at her level...but then again she probably doesn't love it and was just doing it for you and to be around you. And I agree with Tiggy, we should get our girls a raft...

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Old 12-23-2006   #13
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 115
What about our BOYFRIENDS or HUSBANDS who get scared %$#*less while trying to learn how to kayak?!? As a veteran girl paddler (>20yrs) I taught a few old boyfriends (and my husband) how to paddle. My husband wants nothing to do with kayaking. So I bought him a duckie. He can paddle almost everything I can (except huge whitewater) and the groover fits in his duckie for our extended trips!
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Old 12-23-2006   #14
Girls at Play
Anna Levesque's Avatar
Asheville, North Carolina
Paddling Since: 1994
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 21
There is a lot of good advice being posted! I'd like to reinforce how important it can be to find a group of women for her to paddle with. It can make a huge difference. A few weeks ago I paddled a class IV river with a group and there was a woman who was paddling for the first time in 6 months. She was doing great and the guys she was with meant really well and wanted to encourage her, but without even realizing they got in her way and she had a few bad experiences.

One guy decided he wanted to show off and surf the hole (which wasn't very fun in the first place) at the bottom of the rapid and throwdown. He had a hard time getting out of the hole and she came down while he was still in there. She saw him and it freaked her out so she back paddled a bit trying to avoid him and ended up sidesurfing the hole. Of course she knocked him out! She ended up getting a bit trashed and swimming and feeling badly about her skills even though she was doing fine. That guy didn't mean for her to swim, but he could have waited until everyone was finished running the rapid before he surfed the hole. The guys would have boofed over him or gone around him, but she was already feeling stressed that day. If she had been more aggressive she would have boofed over him too, but she was nervous and it freaked her out. I was a bit peeved at the guy because it would have been really easy for him to just wait to surf the hole -- that should be common courtesy and river etiquette. And his lack of consciensciousness cause her to have a bad experience!

On a rapid further downstream the guy who was leading her (a different guy) led her down the hardest line -- probably because that was what he wanted to run. When I saw that she was following hime I knew she would have trouble because it's a pretty hard line. She ended up getting pinned on a rock and having to push herself off the bottom. Luckily she didn't swim, but it freaked her out.

These were good examples of how even when guys mean well they can still end up getting in the way because they don't approach the sport in the same way. Guys are more physically aggressive and they recover from and brush off swims or bad lines a lot more easily than women do. It's important to remember this when paddling with women. It's really, really important for women to have safe, fun experiences when they're starting (especially nervous women) and if you're not willing to paddle class II and take the easy lines and maybe not play so much that day then you shouldn't really be leading nervous women down ther River. This may sound like a generalization, but I've seen it so many times. Like people have said here in their posts-- women are social, they like to take it slow and easy at first on the river. I also agree that it's better to learn without your significant other.

I really hope she doesn't quit without trying to paddle with other women and finding a group that she has fun with. I do also agree though that the sport isn't for everybody and you can't force it. Let her know that if she has any questions she can email me.
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Old 12-24-2006   #15
e-town, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 274
I have had the same issues. My girl was a great class III boater, she did shosho and browns a bunch, she had an offside roll, hand roll in a pool, and now she jsut will paddle a duckie. I never pushed her too hard, and she is just not into it any more! she can row easy stuff, but wont really noat anymore. she will be in denver so I hope that she will get into some womans groups and [paddle some more, but she just hasnt gotten into it. she loves being on the river but how do I encourage her to be in her boat more?
when girls are involved she is deffinatly more apt to being there, but, I take it like skiing, dont ever teach your signifigant other how to ski, or be abetter skier, it always spells trouble! any advise would be great!
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Old 12-26-2006   #16
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 140
I think it's important to realize that not everyone has the same passion for rivers that we all share. Flip the tables abit...say your gal loves ice skating and is a "Class V" is skater too. You come along as a total noob and she tries to get her guy into ice skating so she can share the experience/passion with him.

The idea of ice skating makes my skin crawl but I would probably go along with it abit to check it out... but then after awhile and since there is still no real passion for it or desire to grow in it then I'd probably start passing on it too.

Bottom line...flip the situation around and put yourselves in something you don't have much passion for... What would you do? Probably the same as many of your girlfriends are doing.

Not everyone gets it the way we do. Life goes on.
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Old 12-29-2006   #17
CUkayakGirl's Avatar
303, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 301
Kim you rock!!!!

I totally agree that you should not teach a sig. other how to paddle, emotions get in the way. I know I turn wimpy and second guess everything when I paddle with my boyfriend, it is something I can't help and sometimes I get very frustrated.

I would say make sure she has a solid roll; she will never have confidence if she can not make her roll.

If you guys are in the metro area this summer PM me, I will be around and would love to help in any way I can; the more girls paddling the better.
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Old 01-09-2007   #18
Join Date: Dec 2006
Posts: 11
There are two things that I think are really important; confidence and being totally comfortable around everyone you are boating with. Having confidence means the difference between being scared shitless and really enjoying yourself.

I know where your girl is coming from. I started kayaking about four years ago. That summer I fell in love with it. I got my roll right away and was ready to try anything. I even ran the numbers on the ark (at low water). By the next spring however I had lost something and had a bad first trip down filter plant, filter plant of all runs!! That one bad run completely ruined my confidence. Ever since then I have only kayaked a little each summer and each time out have been scared shitless. I am also a raft guide, so swimming doesn't bother me (did that a few times on the narrows of the ark this past summer) but for some reason I don't even want to practice my roll. I feel bad going with the people I guide with becuase I feel really silly if I swim. It is very hard seeing people you learned with or who learned after you progress further than you.

I would definitely try to get her around some female paddlers. They know what she is going through and have a better chance of talking her through it. I know that you want to help, but because you are on a different level of paddling she may feel embarassed around you. I was so embarassed when I swam at high water paddling with my boyfriend, he was completely supportive and always right there to help but he is a solid class V boater and I felt silly.

Also, try to get her in the pool this winter and give her lots of encouragement. ******just becuase she is scared now doesn't mean she doesn't have passion for the river. I live to be out on the water and I struggle to remember that great feeling of confidence and joy that came from paddling.
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Old 01-28-2007   #19
FoCo,NoCo, Colorado
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 280
Love the person, not the sport

My suggestion would be to get your SO to love the river as much as you do, assuming you love the river more than the adrenaline rush. If you want her to be around on the river, you might have to try other approaches.

As Tiggy said, she could learn to row a raft. She will become very popular among river people and have a very deep appreciation for the river. Or a duckie. Or just being a passenger in a raft.

In all cases, it would be best if there were other friendly female paddlers around. And the water isn't too high or too scary.

You have no idea how flat a river has to be to make some kayakers relax. The Filter Plant isn't it. Try Horsetooth.

Don't push, you stand to lose it all.

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Old 03-31-2007   #20
Driggs, Idaho
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 20
1) She thinks she was "scared shitless" and you thought you "never pushed her too hard". Maybe you should work on some communication skills. It seems like you thought the situation was fine, but she didn't.

2) She obviously remembers being scared more than she remembers having fun. Everyone gets scared, but the fun to scared balance needs to lean toward the fun side. If I didn't have fun, I wouldn't kayak! Was she having fun when you guys went boating? Maybe you should try to communicate a little better, and make sure she is enjoying herself when you are out on the water.

3) You shouldn't try to teach your girlfriend how to boat. Period. Pay someone else (lessons), or find her a group of beginner (preferably female) paddlers to hang with.

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