Complete Newbie to the sport and the area - Mountain Buzz

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Old 05-21-2004   #1
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 1
Complete Newbie to the sport and the area


I've come across this forum while searching for info about Colorado. I am a complete newbie to kayaking. We (wife and I) are contemplating a move to Colorado however. We are looking to move into the area around N. Colorado, probably somewhere between Boulder and Fort Collins.

A few complete newbie questions:

How much does it cost to enter into the sport? (Just the basics)

How difficult is it to learn?

How is the northern Colorado area for rivers? Will we be able to find some easy rivers in that area?


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Old 05-21-2004   #2
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 29
The entry for gear into the sport will start at about $600/person and work its way up. That would be assuming you found used gear somewhere.

But don't go out and buy gear and then start kayaking. I went through one of the local kayak shops a few years ago and paid $300 for a 3 day lesson. It seemed kinda steep but they get you going at the right pace and with people in your skill level (no skills). They focus alot on how to read the river, which is the main difference I see with people who have taken the class versus people who haven't. Also, your classmates end up being great boating buddies.

A couple of the kayak shops around denver that I know do lessons are:

mountain miser
Boulder outdoor center
confluence kayaks
Rocky mountain adventures (Ft Collins)

Good luck.
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Old 05-21-2004   #3
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1985
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 115
Kayaking is a great activity with various levels of skill needed for flatwater to whitewater. Start with taking a lesson or two with an ACA (American Canoe Association; certified instructor. You can go to their website for local listings of classes. As for gear, start off with used gear and make sure that it is in decent shape. Bring a friend with you who has some knowledge about equipment or ask your instructor. You should be able to get started for <$500.00/person. Rivers, check-out the guide book "Colorado Rivers and Creeks". You can also join the Colorado Whitewater Association, It's a great non-profit focused on education, environmentalism and bringing folks together to paddle. Good Luck!
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Old 05-22-2004   #4
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 13
My husband and I took it up three years ago. We had ww canoeing experience when we took our first roll class. We purchased used gear. Probably the biggest help was hanging out with two other local couples who took us boating and showed us the ropes. It seems that most people who kayak are very cool and always looking to turn you on to new stuff.

We used to be big skiiers, but between old knees and the cost of skiing, kayaking is our new adventure. You buy your stuff and then its free. You can't beat that. Wave lines are much smaller than lift lines too!

We're in Laramie, about as close to northern colorado as you can get. We enjoy quick trips to the Poudre. We're also fairly close to the Yampa. Of course the Colorado is pretty close too. In the west, if its less than 150 miles, its a hop, skip and a jump. I totally agree with an earlier post, get CRC. Its helpfull and its just fun to read.

Good luck and have fun. There's no doubt you will. Cool to see another couple joining the sport.

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Old 05-22-2004   #5
Golden, Colorado
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,017
The best way to get started around here if you're new to the area is join Colorado Whitewater Association . Membership is $25 per year. They organize free river trips every weekend and about 4 camping trips a year including a training weekend. You just look at the schedule, join one of the trips at your level, and someone will guide you down the river. It's a great way to quickly meet a bunch of people at your skill level. Most of my regular boating partners I met initially through CWWA. Plus the organization does a ton to promote access to rivers in colorado.

It'll cost about $600 - $2000 largely depending on how much you spend on a boat and whether it's new or used. I would highly recommend getting a used boat and spending no more than $500 while you're learning.

Northern Colorado would be perfect since the Poudre is close and has a bunch of class II and class III water to learn on.

You're rate of learning will totally depend on how quickly you get a reliable roll. People who learn a bombproof roll will get out and play on waves and step up to harder stretches faster than someone who is hesitant because they are afraid. Take a class and learn a solid roll quickly. CWWA also has roll clinics.

Have fun, it's a great sport.
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Old 05-24-2004   #6
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Aurora, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 453
I agree! Your best bet is to join the CWWA. It's a great club, the instructors are awesome, and the members are friendly. You can always find someone to help you out on the river trips. I probably would not have stayed with it without their help.
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Old 05-24-2004   #7
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 13
A third vote for joining CWWA. The people are great. Also take blutzski's advice and learn your roll as soon as possible. I waited until the end of my first season to learn my roll and am sorry I did. Swimming sucks!!!!!

Good Luck

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Old 05-25-2004   #8
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 44
Log on to Colorado Whitewater Association website.

Read the latest issue of their newsletter "Spray."

Don Dowling of Confluence Kayaks wrote a great article on selecting boats. This guy is unbelievable, and a way super cool groovy boater.

Plus, some other near genious named Dave Cooke wrote an article on key learnings for the first year paddler. I don't know who this guy is, but he is like some kind of savant or something; the insights, the plain language, the modesty, on and on. This is the real thing here allrighty. And by shere coincidence, he's got the same initials I have. How exceptionally super cool is that I ask?

Read up and suit up, fun fun fun. Oh and uh I guess safety first. I almost forgot that one. Sorry. Yup think safety, then fun fun fun. And don't let anyone make fun of you for putting reflective tape on your helmet. It is cool and very safe. They are all so jealous.

Good luck.
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