Soul Boaters - Mountain Buzz

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Old 02-11-2005   #1
jonny water's Avatar
Geologist, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 614
Soul Boaters

A soul boater is one who paddles for themselves and not for the camera, for their friends, for money/sponsorship, or anything else. But what happens when paddling does involve your wife or your kids. My wife recently had a baby and I love to paddle and sometimes that involves Class V, but I feel that I shouldn't be putting myself at risk for my kids sake. Does this mean that I can no longer put myself in Class V situations. I mean, shit happens, look at Rich Weiss, an olympic kayaker who died running Big Brother, a Class V waterfall that he ran numerous times before on a falls that is considered an easy drop by some peoples standards. I guess I would be comfortable limiting my kayaking trips to Class IV, but I haven't peaked yet and I love wilderness boating. What do you think?

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Old 02-11-2005   #2
Renaissance Redneck
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Huson, Montana
Paddling Since: 1988
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,195
Fortunately I got my class V mostly out of the way before our first pup. I expect that when the boys are old enough to get out of the raft and into their own boats we’ll start running hard stuff together. Until then I’m happy throwing ends in the playhole and taking the fam on class III raft trips.
"You're gonna be doin a lot of doobie rolling when youre LIVIN IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER"
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Old 02-11-2005   #3
jonny water's Avatar
Geologist, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1991
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 614
that's a good idea and I have thought about what the future holds. Maybe I'll get a raft, but a canoe sure sounds more fun. Do your kids like the water?
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Old 02-11-2005   #4
Dave Frank's Avatar
Boulder, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 2,822
My son loves the river. We've been taking him on easy whitewater since before age 1. He used to cry when the ways were done. He'd yell "more waves" and be bummed about flatwater. I am a little bit more conservative in my class V boating than prior to being a dad. A near death experience, while my wife was pregnant really made me think about how unfair to them it would be, for me to leave the world prematurely. I still run hard whitewater, but tend to walk around more stuff.

I just made a double skirt that allows my 3 year old to sit in my lap, without the boat taking on water. He loves it. We haven't had it out on the river yet, but it looked very promising in the pool. I cut the leg out of an old wetsuit and aqusealed it to an old skirt. He sits on a piece of foam right in front of my seat. He says he wants to try a roll, but wwen the the time comes he says not yet. No pressure; we'll do it at his pace.

I look forward to years on the river with the family.
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Old 02-11-2005   #5
Lewiston, Idaho
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 21
I have two kids, and still paddle class V. Although, I have slowed down a lot, because of work and wanting to spend time with my kids. The weekends of disappearing until Sunday night are mostly gone. I try and keep safe;^)
I plan on canoing with them. I am not too interested in a raft, but think flat water canoing to start, with slow addition of rapids might work. But only time will tell. Having kids at home certainly changed my attitude, but it doesn't have to halt to the natural progression of paddling skills. Each person has to find their own comfort level.
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Old 02-11-2005   #6
placerville, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1993
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 781
hey john--that kid seems to have turned you into a sensitive fellow... i agree with you mostly, after having our twins i think about no matter how on it i am, shit could still happen in class 3, 4, or 5, and the only way to limit the risk totally is to not paddle some stuff. blackadar died in class 3. numerous examples. for me, i think the key will be not running stuff that has dire consequences [at least that i can see or know about] whatever the difficulty. OB is class 5ish, but i do not think i would die in there, so i will continue to run it. a lot of colorado small creeks could hurt you, but probably not kill you. north fk.? probably not sad to say--best run of all time. i guess our crew is toning it down huh? i beleive dd feels the same. we had a good run. at least russell is not here to give us shit, god bless him. maybe some big water class 4 in idaho this spring?
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Old 02-12-2005   #7
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Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 569
I spend most summer days in the raft and a caption canoe with a really cool set up. It has three seating positions for paddling solo or tandem. If I sit in the solo seat and Otter sits in front of me he is actually inside of my stroke. It works really well and I feel like if something happened he is already in my arms. We have paddled Cemetary - low water class 2 a number of times and it is really fun. I like the sand box action in the raft as well. Our second will be 1 this summer and we will definately be out a lot. I can't wait for the future. As far as running the gnar goes I am so far back from that edge I couldn't even see it with binoculars but that is me. Make sure and focus on each day because each one kicks ass.

friend of the fork, knife, and spoon
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Old 02-12-2005   #8
Parker, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1986
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 31
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Class V

My 1st son was born before I learned to boat class V water. Having a family has sort of kept me out of that class of boating. I have 3 sons ages 19, 17 & 15. When they were young I seldom spent a night on the river. I generally boated one day each weekend, if I got out at all and that keep me from developing the skill that I needed for more difficult water.

Today they all 3 Kayak and we have boated together for several years. Boating with your Kids adds a whole new dimension to the sport. I recently went to Ecuador with David ,my oldest son, and we had a great trip with SMA (thanks to Don, Darcy and Larry). I highly recommend that trip. They provided a great environment for a father and son to boat in.

To me boating is more about family and friends than Class V water. I have spend so many hours with my boys on the river I am not sure how I will handle the day when they are out of my house and I get back to boating mostly with friends. I even bought a raft a few years ago and use it in places like Westwater so that I can bring my wife and other non-boating friends along for the ride. Having the raft allows me to share my enthusiasm and love of the sport with others. All of that makes me more aware of how safe everyone is on the river and less inclined to take class V risks.

I have discouraged my sons from getting into class V water. The oldest is definitely good enough to boat it and I expect that he will try it someday. I may try it with him but I will be 50 in August and as I have grown older I have lost that desire to take class V risks in any sport. I love boating and hope to still be in my Kayak when I am 80 but getting into Class V or encouraging my boys to go there may not be in the cards.

Bill Crockett
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Old 02-13-2005   #9
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 8
All very interesting posts. I've got a 11 month old daughter and another one on the family means the world to me. So does boating. I feel like I've got a life-times share of class V boating in with exotic trips all over the world, but I still want more.
I've learned how to boat conservatively. I walk lines that I used to run. I get off runs that feel out of my league (even if they felt good the day before) I also listen to that little voice inside that hints of bad things to come. I've ignored it too, and bad things did come.
It's up to everyone to pick their own line. Keeping the smiling face of my beautiful daughter in mind just makes my decisions easier.
Cheers and keep it real!
P.S Yeah Rich W. died on the Upper White Salmon (my old stomping grounds) His wife was pregnant at the time and waiting for him at the take-out. The river was really high! Most locals back down from Big Brother at that level. It was well within his ability, obviously, he was an incredibly gifted paddler, but at these levels it's a dangerous rapid. Everyone makes their own call. Just had to clarify that water levels have a very profound effect on this river!
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Old 02-13-2005   #10
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being a father to a 5 and 2 year old has made me a little more Conservative. that being said, I am only 26 an I still have a pretty hefty class 5 hit-list. I do think about the consequences if something were to happen, but kinda think if its your time its your time. having kids also helps you make smarter more thought out decisions. I just love looking back up a creek and seeing the maze i have just descended. It looks like we'll be moving back to north cackalacky in July so its game on this spring. I can't wait to share the whitewater experience with my boys.
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