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Old 04-28-2015   #21
slickhorn's Avatar
Seattle, Washington
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 365
One would presume that a guide "flipping for tips" has done so in a spot that is safe, in a spot that isn't beyond their limits, in a spot that will generate laughs not terror in the flippees, probably in a spot this regularly happens.

by definition, that is not limit pushing, except maybe for a passenger.

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Old 04-28-2015   #22
boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 298
I realized my limits once I got married.

May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
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Old 04-28-2015   #23
Paddling Since: 96
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1,372
Really good stuff in this thread. I too am older and make decisions partly based on that. I'll be 65 this summer but I still have class 5 kayaking skills other than the bomber roll(s) I once had. The upper Ark is my home run but I won't boat it at high water because I don't want to find out if I could survive a big water, mile long swim at 8,000+ feet of elevation.

I also choose who I boat with carefully. I choose what I am willing to boat partly based on who I'm boating with. If I'm going to push myself I will pick my group very carefully. I am lucky enough to have a world class paddler for a son and I have followed his perfect lines down many a run I wouldn't do without him and relied on the safety he and his friends are able to provide. That being said, I can't remember ever swimming on a harder run and needing their rescue skills. I usually swim when I bone out while ELFing.

I too am expanding what and how I boat. Multi day self support kayaking and now rafting are wonderful new ways to push personal limits. Prepping to row the Grand this summer for my first visit to one of the Cathedrals of our sport.

I'd also point out that I know quite a few class 5 kayakers that now have young families etc that are supping to challenge themselves with a new sport without the same level of risk.
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Old 04-28-2015   #24
2kanzam's Avatar
Charleston, West Virginny
Paddling Since: 1996
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 461
Originally Posted by Learch View Post
One thing I haven't seen brought up is who you boat with. This has a major impact on what I am willing to do. I evaluate the skill set of the people I am boating with, maybe I don't know them all that well, maybe I do. If I know that I most likely have the higher skill set of the group as far as abilities and rescue experience, then it is not the day for me to push myself. I then take responsibility for the group's safety and want to be in a position to help, not be helped.
If I have people in my group that I know are equal to or more advanced than me, I am more willing to push myself to my limits. This requires a pretty high level of trust. I have had a few day trips in the last year where I felt more comfortable to push my limits because I had people I could rely on if problems arose.
^^^Exactly what I was gonna say.

I was one of those that pushed my limits too far on year 2. A strainer ate me and my boat...but probably stopped me from continuing on down a trip that I was woefully unprepared for in many ways...and likely would have been at best a miserable experience and at worst dangerous. It was a humbling experience, and I already considered myself a river rat at the time....but it made me look back at all the stupid stuff I had done on the river in the past.

I'm pushed by a deep need to explore and get to places few have the ability or desire to go through the effort to enjoy. I'm annoyed at the few runs where a single rapid intimidates me to the point I haven't run it yet. I know fully that I want to live and boat for a long time, so that is the only thing that keeps me honest with myself when deciding wether my skill level is up to it or not. I may even be a little TOO conservative sometimes.

I respect the river more everytime I get on it...and also a little more everytime someone dies on it that I know. I still get the jitters on my first run of the year, or even on a new -to-me classII out of that respect. I think this is a good thing, it keeps me safe to boat again...but dammit, sometimes I still wish I was a young, dumb and invincible 20 year old not knowing just how close I was pushing it.
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Old 04-28-2015   #25
SpeyCatr's Avatar
Coquitlam, BC, Canada
Paddling Since: 2013
Join Date: Aug 2013
Posts: 267
Thanks for the insight so far everyone. Some very insightful responses that have given me (and others) a lot to think about.
Future owner of AIRE Wave Destroyer w/MadCatr Frame
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Old 05-01-2015   #26
Calgary, Alberta
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 361
Risk tolerance is a purely personal thing... and I don't judge anyone for accepting their own level of risk. I only judge when they don't understand the risk.

The other thing that's really neat about it that has very little to do with age is that it changes when you get slapped.

In other words, the risk you THINK you're willing to accept changes when you realize that the reality of something going bad is harder to handle than you thought.

I've been involved in such a situation where I was fully aware of the risks and how to protect myself, but when I was involved first-hand it got a lot more real.

People should push themselves, but it's a balancing act that nobody really has the answer to.

A quote I once heard seems relevant:
"People are born with a luck jar and an experience jar. The luck jar has marbles in it (who knows how many). Every time you get away with something you take a marble from the luck jar and put it in the experience jar. Eventually there are no more marbles in the luck jar."

I'm paraphrasing from memory...

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