Getting into kayaking - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-30-2010   #1
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1
Getting into kayaking

I'm new to kayaking and would like to get into whitewater kayaking. What would you suggest to get started? Also, what would be a good used whitewater kayak to invest in? Thanks.

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Old 07-01-2010   #2
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 50
1. Take a class if you can. If you're in college your school might have a program. At least find a local swimming pool that has open hours for kayakers (i.e. "pool session"). You can usually borrow/rent gear there and often learn how to roll from more experienced boaters.

2. Find a crew of trustworthy folks. I don't know what the scene is in Denver but the Pikes Peak Whitewater Club in C-Springs is friendly and runs several beginner trips a year.

3. Paddle generally within your abilities. If you're swimming (i.e. falling out of your boat) once in a while, most friendly boaters are pretty forgiving. If you're swimming constantly they'll stop inviting you on trips.

4. Be a pretty girl. People will be stoked to have you along.
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Old 07-01-2010   #3
SimpleMan's Avatar
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: '05
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 394
I am a super beginner, been kayaking for about two months. When I asked this same question of the buzzards many suggested that only by spending uber cash could I actually get into kayaking properly. Much was given to the idea that only newer boats will see me through beginnerdom in such a way that I would continue kayaking. So, I could save money all summer and winter and get into kayaking next season, or just buy the most affordable, jenky gear I could find on Craigslist and get out there. I did the latter. My boat is uncomfortable and out dated, my skirt is the wrong size, I don't have a dry top and can't roll. But I love kayaking. And maybe in a few years I'll get a super nice new boat. For now, I'm $200 lighter and newly addicted (and crampy and soar and wet).
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Old 07-01-2010   #4
Great Falls, Montana
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 50
Right. New gear & new paddles are nice (but probably unneccessary), but there's NO reason to buy a new boat. If you can buy one new thing, I would buy a dry top.
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Old 07-01-2010   #5
goldcamp's Avatar
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 354
I agree that you don't need fancy gear to get started but you do need to learn how to roll, farry, eddy, and paddle. If you go to the play park people will generally be open to help you with pointers and there is no better way to dial in your roll then getting bitch slapped 20 times an hour. But definately start with some flat water, get instruction if you can afford it, look for instructional videos if you can't. The rest is just getting out there. You'll be surprised how open people are to helping and having you run stuff with them as long as you're not a total liability.

Now get after it!

And if your a pretty girl I will help...
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Old 07-01-2010   #6
fids11's Avatar
Rifle, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 112
I started this year as well, here's my take on things. Most people will tell you to not buy gear right away in case you're not into the sport after you first river experience. Probably good advice but I bought all my stuff this past winter cuz I just had a feelin that this would be something that'd i'd really be into and it worked out for me. Easily one of the most addicting and challenging sports I've ever participated in. SimpleMan makes a good point in that you don't need to spend tons of cash to get started. However, if you do alot of 'net surfin, you should be able to find a boat that fits you well even if it's old. The swap section on here usually post a new boat everyday and sellers are usually very friendly and helpful about if the boat would be a good fit for you. Also, before you buy, check the eddyflower site and look to see what type of boat it is (river runner, play, etc..) and if it's in your weight range. With that being said, if you have a chance to demo or try a variety of friends boats, that obviously would be your most ideal option before you choose.

I second the drytop idea for gear beyond the essentials (pfd, skirt, paddle, helmet, booties). Yes, they are expensive but i've paddled with beginners who only have splash tops or less and they're always terrified to get wet and don't want to practice their river roll because they're too cold. Plus, any money you might've spent on a cheap top might as well go towards buying a drytop so you don't buy twice.

Anyways, have fun, you'll never meet a friendly brotherhood of people than paddlers. In most every other sport, people usually try to best other people and then let the world know how sweet they are and don't share any secrets. Paddling is the exact opposite of that. People into this sport basically rule on all levels and you'll meet a ton of fun folks. If you're ever in the Glenwood area, send me a PM and i'll take you some beginner sections!
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Old 07-01-2010   #7
Cheyenne, Wyoming
Paddling Since: 2009
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 217
Just some info: look at Sierra Trading Post. They have dry tops and splash pants for 1/3 the cost.. Granted they aren't top of the line Kokotat but they work. If you decide this isn't for you, then you won't be out a ton of cash.
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Old 07-01-2010   #8
Slangy's Avatar
Ogden, Utah
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 9
I am new to the sport as well. Actually I have been new to it for quit some time. About 10 years ago me and my grandpa took some lessons up in Jackson Hole. Didn't learn to roll but learned how to wet exit like a champ. After we got home we enrolled up at the local college and took lesson after lesson on learning to roll. I about killed the guy numerous times because I sucked at it so bad. But I was very determined. My grandpa bought me a new boat, a boat that was actually for someone my size, man what a difference that made. Luckily my grandpa had a large pool where I could practice. I quit for about 2 years and never got back into it, what can I say I was a high school kid and partying was my number 1 priority. Needless to say my grandpa passed away and was only able to roll a few times, pissed him off like no other, so the last 2 years I have been at the pool all summer long practicing my rolling skills. I no longer have to wet exit in the pool or on a lake. I can now roll back over on either side. But I am still a beginner in that I still haven't dared take it down a big river. I take it down the upper part of the snake down to the West Table boat ramp, but never all the way down.
So enough of my rambling, my advice for you is just give it hell, practice whenever you can and when you can afford it get a nice boat that fits your size, weight etc. But most importantly have fun with it.
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Old 07-01-2010   #9
NathanH.'s Avatar
Bend, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 348
I am new to the sport as well, only been paddling a month. I have a couple things to add.

1. Dry-tops make every trip so much more enjoyable. Purchase one.

2.Get your roll down, it's easy to get rolled on the river and have a nasty swim when your starting. It's hard to keep your head on straight when your only river experience in a kayak is a bad one.

3. It's all about who you go with, no kidding. Go with solid boaters that make you feel comfortable and relaxed about what your doing. Also go with people who run the run you're on all the time.

4. Scout everything you run, even if it's class II and III, it's going to get you into a good habit and make you feel confident on the rapids you plan on running.

5. When in doubt (not just fear) but actual doubt of your ability to make it through something... Don't run it.
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Old 07-06-2010   #10
fort collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 3
just getting into it too

I'm looking for someone to go run the river with. easy, fun and often is my prerogative. let me know if you're in need of a river or lake buddy.

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