So true! Things can always go wrong and eventually some CCrafter is going to have a fatal swim, good thing that has never happened to a kayaker... its an interesting debate and from what I can tell tubing is the purest form of the sport? How about skinny dipping?
Cache Creek is a shit show irrigation ditch where I river guide some weekends we take kids on their first river trip and people who would rater have a guide than risk it in one of the thousands of IK's that get the good luck shove every Saturday and Sunday. Perspective is everything the first day I worked this trip was horrifying then toward the end of the summer I would calmly try to avoid the wrapped IK's and crying coeds hanging on to branches as they dig their ankles into a better foot entrapment. On one of these days I invited a guy to try rafting but he said "no I'm more of a Tuber". Its hard for me to imagine identifying as a Tuber but really it is probably the origin of whitewater as we know it though drinking beer and floating down the river has changed a lot from J-riggs to SUP's technically its just about having fun and tubing requires no assumption of skill or sobriety just get in and try not to miss the takeout.
I've boating with Darren and in my opinion his boats are amazing but Kayaks move like fish and you can carry your own boat so I've been thinking about taking up paddling but after a decade and a half of river guiding I still prefer to go rock climbing in my free time to each their own I guess.
When I first saw the CC it looked like a RedBull prop and I walked over to get a free drink... the next day they ran some water falls I've never seen anyone run. Since then I've boated with them quite a bit and even own one here are some things I've learned:
-It dose not self rite! (yes it takes skill to snap them back up just like a kayak)
-You look at the river different... big holes OK, eddies with rocks Danger! So what might look like a blown line to a kayaker could be the run for a big inflatable boat. A few cartwheels in a big hole might be preferable to a potential wrap or puncture.
-Not an Elitist sport, anyone wanting to get in a boat usually gets a free ride.
-The tops roll down! Yep then you just have cataraft vuala (don't forget to unstrap).
-They can save lives! The Rescue Craft that Darren sells to fire departments and SAR teams is designed for Low Head Dam rescue and is the only boat that can safely rescue a swimmer from a low head.
Joe posted a really wonderful quote from Jeff West (comment #3) and it really is true a kayak is part of you and that part of you connects you to the river directly. Still my experience on the river is not about me for me it is about sharing and it's hard to fit more than one in a kayak.