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Old 06-26-2008   #1
1srh's Avatar
the Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 42
Tips Anyone?

Im new to this sport. My first kayaking trip was very short. Just an easy float - couple of small swims. No problem enjoyed it. Then somehow I developed this disabling fear of the river. My next trip was terrifying and Ive walked away from several runs since then. Now I'm even
anxious in the pool. HOWEVER, I dont want to give up. I just need to learn to overcome this fear. Some tell me to just face it to force myself to go on runs even knowing Im going to swim a lot. Others tell me I need to step back into my comfort zone then progress at a slower pace to stay in that comfort zone.

Anyone have any first hand experience and tips?

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Old 06-26-2008   #2
castle rock, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 203
Well I would say just stay in the pool and work on your rolls. Close your eyes and have a friend flip you so you do not know when or what way you are rolling. Once you are under take a few seconds and just stay under befor you do anything. Then just roll back up. Each time work on staying upside down longer and longer. Then once the water goes down go to golden and play in the park there. do some rolls in the noise moving water and do the same thing work on getting use to being under water and stay there for longer times each time. Once you feel good move to a wave and play in it. once the wave kicks you out do a roll to show your self that you can do it and that you are in control. Then just roll in the wave. Well hope this helps, this way worked for me after i got my but kick the first time in a boat.

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Old 06-26-2008   #3
st2eelpot's Avatar
Professional Transient, See above.
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 310
My initial thoughts are to start over in a pool with an instructor. Paddle around in the pool with NO spray skirt. Once comfortable with that, perhaps go for the wet exit in the pool (still no spray skirt).

Remember at any point you can get out of the pool and practice this stuff on land. See how easy it is to get in and out of the boat in the water with no sprayskirt. Once comfortable there, try adding the spray skirt.

Just go slowly, with the goals of becoming comfortable in the boat, becoming comfortable getting out of the boat, and becoming comfortable with the water.
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Old 06-26-2008   #4
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 263
Practice your roll

Practice your roll on flat water A LOT (go to soda lakes, small pond behind chatfield res., pool, etc.) . Do hundreds of rolls--seriously (not all in one day of course, go as often as you can though). Then work on moving water rolls on easy stretches

And playboat A LOT--getting flipped in the playpark and rolling up, over and over again is great experience for rolling up after unexpected flips.

then, try to find experienced boaters to take you on runs you want to try, and follow their lines

Being confident in your roll is everything--if you're not supremely confident you can roll up in the class of water you're running, you will constantly be fearful of flipping--and conversely, if you are confident, then you're more relaxed and less prone to flipping in the first place...I know this firsthand--I had issues with my roll a couple seasons back, and after doing the steps I outlined above, I'm back on it again--until, of course I swim again
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Old 06-26-2008   #5
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 263
whups, just saw that you're in Florissant, so ignore my front range flat water refs--don't know any local flatwater there, but you prob. do I would guess...
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Old 06-27-2008   #6
Littleton, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1998
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 263
I was chatting about this with a buddy on the river last night, and he mentioned some AW articles about fear by a PhD psychologist/kayaker, so I thought I'd pass 'em along...

American Whitewater - JournalPage_

American Whitewater - JournalPage_

American Whitewater - JournalPage_

Dealing With Fear

Paddling School Blog: On Fear Management
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Old 06-27-2008   #7
Randaddy's Avatar
Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,406
Maybe take a ducky our for a trip on some class 1-2.
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Old 06-27-2008   #8
Vail, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2001
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 41
Keep it fun

Hey there!
I agree with the idea of stepping back slightly and just going back to a run that is pure fun, no matter how easy. If you enjoy that one do it a few more times and then maybe you can start to push forward again. The point of boating is to have fun and not necessarily to be a badass and fun the gnar (although that rocks, too). You won't stick with it unless you are having fun so just hang in the pool on and easy sections of river until you get your head back in the game. Don't just try to "suck it up" because you'll scare yourself more and probably won't end up sticking with it. Good luck!
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Old 06-28-2008   #9
1srh's Avatar
the Springs, Colorado
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 42

Thanks everyone, for the suggestions. Especially thanks for those articles Jay!

I have a private lesson tomorrow with RMOC and I’m going to see if I can use that time to learn to roll.
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Old 06-28-2008   #10
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 50
Pool sessions can be really stressful before you have a roll. Flipping yourself over constantly when you can't yet get back up isn't all that fun, even in a zero-risk environment. So while it's good to be in a pool, it's also good to get on the river-- just keep it to a class II where you know you can self rescue, and go with good people. The pool will get you your roll, and the river will remind you of why you're going in the first place.

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