Please show me the way.. - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-19-2009   #1
 
chicago, Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 29
Please show me the way..

I've been watching several whitewater kayak videos on youtube and I think it's very cool. After researching for days, I think I need to do playboating. Problem are I'm in Chicago and not sure how I should proceed.

I talked to a couple of kayakers in town, they told me to take kayak lessons and join a boat club for borrowing kayaks. I took an intro to kayak in a kayak festival last week, which is basic paddling strokes. Recently, a friend had persuaded me to raft in Ocoee by the end of this month, so we planned to take a one-day whitewater kayak lesson with NOC.

Ok, then, I think I need a playboat and the whole gears to practice after that, maybe dropping it in lake Michigan or some local rivers and try to play tricks. Problem is I'm not sure that the boat club has such playboats I need, as far as I know, they are loaded with sea kayaks.

So I'm wondering if it's stupid to just go demo and buy one. If I have to buy, I'll need to buy something that I can't outgrow within a couple years. I'm still looking for somewhere to demo the major brands like the jackson/wavesport/etc. around chitown and wondering if I should travel further to find a good outfitter to demo/buy and set/tune up.( I had read on the web that it's quite important ).

So, what is the fastest way for me to get start playboating ? I'm not getting younger.

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Old 07-19-2009   #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,009
Hi,

Try the Chicago Whitewater Association at

Chicago Whitewater Association - Illinois & Upper Midwest Kayak Club

The upper Midwest is short on whitewater, but these folks know what's there, run classes, can give you gear tips, and even get you out on the river with their trip programs for beginners and beyond.

And if you want to get into rafting, let me know. I live in the Fox Valley suburbs of Chicago, and am always looking for kindred souls in this prairie wasteland.

Hope this helps.

Rich Phillips
gulchradio.com
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Old 07-19-2009   #3
 
hojo's Avatar
 
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,235
Chicago Whitewater and Wisconsin

Quote:
Originally Posted by richp View Post
Hi,

Try the Chicago Whitewater Association at

Chicago Whitewater Association - Illinois & Upper Midwest Kayak Club

The upper Midwest is short on whitewater, but these folks know what's there, run classes, can give you gear tips, and even get you out on the river with their trip programs for beginners and beyond.

And if you want to get into rafting, let me know. I live in the Fox Valley suburbs of Chicago, and am always looking for kindred souls in this prairie wasteland.

Hope this helps.

Rich Phillips
gulchradio.com
Richp speaks the truth. The weekend of September 19 is the Last Ditch Slalom up on the Wolf River. It used to be (and maybe still is?) hosted by Chicago Whitewater. It's an excellent place to come up as the rapid is typically very tame that time of year, you're surrounded by safety and boaters interested in improving paddling technique. It's a race but it's intended for beginners on up. You can rent/borrow boats right there too. It may not be the venue to learn cartwheels but it'll improve your paddling all around. I'll be there. http://www.sws-wis.com/buttercup/documents/bcup2009.pdf PM me if you think you may come and I can give you more info.

Also, check out Welcome to the Wausau canoe / kayak corporation website They host a rodeo clinic along with a competition and have a few more water releases this summer.
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Old 07-19-2009   #4
 
Denver, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 125
Hey, I recently moved from Chicago and you definitely have some resources there. I too would recommend the Chicago Whitewater Association. They got me started in high school and I am forever grateful. Their instructional clinics are just as good as commercial ones and much less expensive.

There is some decent freestyle near Chi when there is rain. The Root River up in Racine has a quarter mile stretch of water that is as good for playboating as any out here in CO. Also, the Wausau Whitewater course is a great resource. Everyone up there is pretty friendly and will be more than happy to give you pointers. The rodeo clinic they give is a fantastic deal and (as long as you have a solid roll) you would be a good fit for it.

As for gear, I would check with Ryan at Geneva Kayak. He has a store out in Geneva and also one in the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. Bear Paw Outfitters up in WI is also a good choice.

Good luck, man, and maybe I'll see you on some of those UP creeks in a few years.

Pete
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Old 07-19-2009   #5
 
Durango, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 79
All good advice and I echo the sentiment about Bear Paw. Contact Jamee Peters. Their shop is really close to the Wolf and their instruction is excellent. You can take a class then demo boats to figure out what you would like. Check out their website at Bear Paw Outdoor Adventure Resort

Bear Paw is probably the best place to check out whitewater stuff as many other shops have gone away from the whitewater business. Hard to focus on whitewater when so many calm rivers and lakes are in the area. But the Wolf, Red, Peshtigo, Menominee and others provide great playgrounds to hone and develop your skills. Then when you're ready be sure to take some time off in the spring to hit the creeks of the north and south shore of Lake Superior. The Silver, Baptism, Falls, and so many others offer terrific creeking. Believe me, there's nothing like coming off your final drop into the beauty of Lake Superior!

Cheers and happy (and safe) paddling!

Mark
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Old 07-21-2009   #6
 
chicago, Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 29
Thanks richp, I'll try to hook up with CWA folks, actually I'd spoke with them in the festival, they mentioned that I'm pretty much too late for beginner classes/trips this season. Raft ? Yes, I'm all for it. I'm planing to raft the gauley this sep.

hojo, I'll be there if nothing goes real wrong, it sounds cool event.

pbell, ibyakn, thanks for the light, I've never thought that WI has so many WW opportunities, will check those out in some weekends real soon.
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Old 07-21-2009   #7
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 1,009
Hi,

I'll be on the Grand in September, but if you get the urge to do something at some other time, send me a PM. I've got two rowing rigs that just beg me to get them on the water.....

Have a good one.

Rich Phillips
gulchradio.com
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Old 07-21-2009   #8
wannabe kayaker
 
Dayton, Ohio
Paddling Since: 2006
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 56
You might check out the East Race in South Bend, IN also. The Chicago club is probably the way to go, but the East Race would be a close place to play.
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Old 07-21-2009   #9
 
chicago, Illinois
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 29
I'm so pumped up, I'll definitely visit the East Race, it's so close.
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Old 07-21-2009   #10
 
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2000
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 42
why a playboat? I'm not a proponent of starting a new boater in a playboat. You have SO much to learn...and to do it in a playboat...you're a long way from throwing ends in a water park.
there are river runners that are great surfers and more stable, other guys will poo poo that, but you can get a boat cheap on craigslist, boatertalk, not to mention mountainbuzz. I've seen great starter boats for $150 to $200. sometimes with PFD and paddle. learn the basics, and when you get bored, you're ready to move up to a playboat.

just my opinion. let the flames begin.
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