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Old 07-01-2008   #11
Andy H.'s Avatar
Wheat Ridge, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,911
This may do the trick if you're ready to pull the trigger:

Riken Raft Frame Oars no patches or leaks

and its in your neck of the woods! There are a few questions to ask first though (type of frame & oars, age, air it up for blown baffles, etc), the answers of which could either have the boat in the "gem for a steal" or "dog of a deal" category.

Nothing in the world is more yielding and gentle than water. Yet it has no equal for conquering the resistant and tough. The flexible can overcome the unbending; the soft can overcome the hard. - Lao Tse
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Old 07-01-2008   #12
WhiteLightning's Avatar
Eagle County, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2002
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 928
Use the search feature on the 'Buzz, there are a lot of good posts already on this topic from the past. Raft guide training is a great way to get lots of practice, and a short-cut to the basics, but bear in mind that it usually happens in the spring. Also, fly fishing oar cert classes may be better for you since most of the local whitewater outfitters in the Vail Valleyare 90% paddle boating, and their training will follow suit.

Post on here to plan trips. As Andy said, the Upper C is a great rookie training ground. Check out anything between Pumphouse and State Bridge for some good training runs (there are lots more, but that is a good place to start). This is where almost everyone in the Vail Valley learns to kayak, raft, etc. their first time.

It takes a big man to cry...It takes an even bigger man to laugh at that man.

-Jack Handy
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Old 07-01-2008   #13
Chip's Avatar
SE, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: Apr 2007
Posts: 1,098
Fishing & floating vs. whitewater

Welcome to the Magic Kingdom!

If you've rowed in competition, you have way more physical skill than most rafters. Rigging, boat handling, and reading water are all things you'll learn given a couple seasons of floating Class I-II water for fishing & camping trips.

Get a quality boat. A good raft or cat can mount a variety of frames.

Specialised fishing rigs have elevated swivel seats and weird frame pieces (to keep the flycasters from pitching out) that whitewater rafts lack. But they aren't suited for hauling gear or running whitewater.

Whitewater rafts tend to be set up for one of two purposes: daytrip thrills (minimalist) or hauling gear for multi-day trips. One way to straddle the divide is to get a modular frame (basically, lengths of tubing and aluminum joints) from a good outfit like DRE or NRS. Such frames can be set up for fishing or whitewater, given the necessary components.

If you buy a welded steel frame (less costly), it is what it is. The basic geometry can't be altered. But you can hang cargo frames or deckboards ahead or aft of the frame for more gear or passenger space.

Outfitted trips definitely give you a taste of what's what, but are generally oriented to hauling max paying bodies as quickly as possible: boom & zoom. Private boaters on pleasure trips don't operate that way.

Starting out with Class I-II floats and working up to more challenging stuff is a good way to go. Nice to be confident and feel like you've learned enough to be in control of your boat (if not your fate).

yrs, Chip

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