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Old 09-27-2012   #21
Rivertime, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1978
Join Date: Feb 2012
Posts: 60
I'm just a ball-less class II-IV boater who likes to float, take in the views, loves being on the river and enjoys some excitement. So what do I know? I can only imagine how awesome I'd be if I was all down with the gnar flashing the brown. God my awesomeness would feel amazing as I looked down on all the pussies!

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Old 09-27-2012   #22
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

The only time I've seen a CC in the flesh was at Westwater a few years ago. Thinking back to what I saw that day, I know I wouldn't want to be in one of them on six miles of flat water, trying to get to Cisco in a headwind.


Rich Phillips

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Old 09-27-2012   #23
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 1,302
Tango's post was dead on. There are a ton of fun ways to make your way down the river, and every river has a great river craft that matches that style of whitewater. SUPing, rafting, tubing, kayaking, and swimming are all enjoyable. Talking shit on the buzz is also enjoyable.

From the perspective of someone that has become proficient in kayaking, IMO modern whitewater kayaks allow for people to navigate rivers in the most efficient manner possible. For some it makes class IV fun... for others it allows for hucking huge drops. The main key here is that a chosen line can be hit with grace and style... and if the person messes up, they have the ability to roll and continue on their way without yard-saleing all of your shit... something that very few operators of other river crafts can do. If your goal is just to make it down the river then a CC is probably fine, but from what I have seen the boats seem to lack grace and style.

I recall first seeing the creature craft proto-types about 10 years ago, and like many others I was intrigued. Later that year, the day after the Gore race a few Creature Crafts were running Gore rapid, and it turned into a shit show. They entered on the meat line, hit ginger, flipped onto it's side, top downstream, and proceeded to get worked for about 5 minutes in the hole in a terminal looking sidesurf. The guy in the top seat was reaching down as far as he could to hold the guys head out of water that was in the bottom seat... effectively keeping either of them from doing anything to get themselves out of the hole. Granted, it's just Ginger Hole and barely class V, so it flushed them eventually. To this day it remains the least stylish line I have ever seen on Gore Rapid, and I have spent a lot of time watching rafters go through there.

Start sticking lines on big drops with more style, and you'll gain more respect from the rest of your river brethren... and more customers. I realize that running the lines that you have run takes huge skills... but it doesn't always look very smooth, and thus the problem.
Kyle McCutchen
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Old 09-27-2012   #24
Vancouver, BC
Paddling Since: 2004
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 9
Originally Posted by RiverDriver View Post
When Mountaineers began using synthetic materials for protection from the elements, O2, or strapping ladders to the side of the mountain? Or were these ways for them to mitigate the risks of what they were trying to achieve?
This is a great comparison, actually.

Every mountaineer thinks that synthetic puff and lightweight gear is the shit. And likewise nobody in boating thinks we should ditch keyhole cockpits, step-out pillars, modern PFDs, or lots of other technical advances. Those mitigate risk.

But when you get into O2 and fixed gear, a big part of the mountaineering community feels that those are cheating and taint ascents where they are used. And that those ascents should be re-done in better style. Like it or not, that's about where CC are at right now.
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Old 09-27-2012   #25
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 184
Like many other comments, I am similarly impressed with folks that have a high skill level at their chosen sport. After trying out a variety of craft, I am a rafter. Do you guys remember the hydrobronc (inflatable gerbil wheel)? I ran one of those down the lower Deschutes. Seymour and Jmack lead me down Meadowcamp (where I was gripped) in a kayak, I ran a bublik with the Russians down the Cal Salmon, and yes I have R2ed a Creature Craft. I was unimpressed. Frankly, it kind of sucked. But I have tried it.

My current passion is running big water class V in as small and light a raft as possible. I think a strong R2 or paddle crew is awesome. I love a light oar boat or cat. For me, the true nirvana of whitewater is stylishly cleaning a complex challenging line in a huge rapid. Everyone keeps saying that CC are most adept at exactly what I love to do, big water class V rafting, but they do not enable the zen that is cleaning it up. They make it harder to stick lines and make sure that you will live when you inevitably fuck up.

Let's take a real world example. I think Nutcracker is the hardest rapid to cleanly raft on the NF Payette at the flows I have seen (up to 2,500 cfs). I have run Nut cleanly five times and popped an oar, but still hit the line on a sixth. It is challenging because you enter river left on a pretty big wave train that continues to want to push you to the outside of a right hand turn. After the turn is the nut, left of the nut (where the river is pushing) is manky, the right of the nut has one big hole to punch and is tight, but is clean. To make it to the right of the nut and inside the turn you do this really cool move where you intentionally stall on top of the biggest entrance wave and kind of surf it over to the right line. Its a hard move. It takes a class V skill set and has class V consequences. To this day, nut gives me that little feeling in my stomach and I am stoked when I style it. Every CC I have seen in Nut takes the left line and just deals with the mank because they can. It looks stupid.

I am by no means a purist (I raft), but everyone has to draw the line somewhere. I have the utmost respect for Cramer et al. for doing something that has never been done before and being at the top of the sport. I would never hate on someone for their choice of craft. I would also never choose to make the CC my choice of craft even if it enabled a Stikine descent. Similarly, I would never climb a mountain using a fixed rope or oxygen even if it meant I could summit Everest.

I am all for risk mitigation. I wear a pfd, a beacon when I ski backcountry, a rope when I climb and a seatbelt when I drink and drive. But, that risk mitigation can't impair the thing you are setting out to enjoy! I love powder turns, but I won't wear an inflated innertube around my waist even though it would float me in an avy. A piece of pro at my waist climbing would be awesome but it would create rope drag at the lip of the roof. A self righting raft would be great, but make one that doesn't shit up your view, add weight, and make the craft handle poorly.

Everyone on this forum LOVES whitewater, even if they enjoy it in different ways. We love the purity of the sport, the camaraderie with our crew, the beautiful places we visit, and the challenge of doing a good job at something hard. The Creature Craft just doesn't provide these things for me but another homie may be completely different and that's fine.

As an aside, the folks in the Big Falls and Sunset vids look to be one short step from being in a barrel.
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Old 09-27-2012   #26
Atlantis, .
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 38
I think the analogy to synthetic gear in mountaineering is the dry suit, not the creature craft. The kayak/CC argument is more similar to the backcountry skier/snow-mobile argument. It allows a realm you have spent much time developing the skills/fitness to see to be penetrated by - for the lack of a better term - punters. You can make the argument that everyone is there for the same reason but they're still - and always will be - annoying in the eyes of the purist.
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Old 09-27-2012   #27
NoCo, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 36
I may be wrong but I think that if I started out above almost any rive and didn't do anything but hold on I would get to the end of the river unscathed. So what's the point. You should take that thing down Inga that would take some skill. Those are the only holes on earth that look like they could eat a Creature Craft.
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Old 09-27-2012   #28
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Nampa, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 240
"No one in a CC just sits there and hopes for the best while floating down the NF Payette. Everyone, despite their skill level, attempts to navigate the rapids and drive the boat." -RiverDriver

Actually that's not true. I've not only seen but spoken with "passengers" that have had a nice amusement park ride down the NF Payette.
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Old 09-27-2012   #29
sh$t show voyeuor/host
Barnard(Marshall), North Carolina
Paddling Since: wen?
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 285
where'd ya'll get such tall ass horses?
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Old 09-27-2012   #30
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Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
People like to feel good about themselves and they like to think they do whatever they do with style and hopefully with hard-earned skill.

All we are seeing here is people of various levels of "purist" instinct react, not because CC require little skill, or reduce consequence, but because when someone can do one day 1 something you took 4 years to master, well, you just don't feel they earned it. And that cheapens the purists sense of pride/superiority. And so they look down on those folks who "didn't earn it." As if CC'ers have never used other boats.

It says a lot more about the purist than it does about the CC'er.

That Jeff West quote on page 1 of this thread is really unfortunate. Never met him but all I've read presented him as a great guy I'd like to boat with. Except that quote. I won't get on my high horse about my boat of choice, but lordy folks, let people boat in whatever way makes it rewarding for them. what skin do you have in the game?

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