The best way to learn? - Mountain Buzz

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Old 06-20-2005   #1
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 6
The best way to learn?

Ok, so I've been on a few commerical rafting trips and am totally in love with rafting and want to start going all of the time.
My brother kayaks and we started talking about getting a raft so that we could go on all sorts of fun trips together.

I took a three day raft instruction course up in Salida last week and it was awesome.

Now what?

My brother tells me that I'm way too inexperienced and that it would be really unsafe to go out in a raft on my own with some friends on say a class II section of the Arkansas.
He suggested trying to hook up with some experienced boaters who might be willing to take me along on some trips so that I can pick up the experience that I'll need if/when I eventually buy a raft.
Well, that and just to have a great time on the water.

That seemed pretty sensible to me.
So, any further suggestions?
Anyone who wouldn't mind a beginner tagging along?


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Old 06-20-2005   #2
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Join Date: Oct 2003
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Post a picture of yourself and we'll take it from there..... no I'm totally just kidding. Seriously though, I don't do much rafting but I know there's a beginer's group that has there own yahoo group.. not sure what's it's called, but from what I understand they run the serious class II gnar on a regular basis. Mostly kayakers I think, but something tells me there's some rubber involved. Look for post by rasdoggy and camonia (sp?), they always seem to be raving about it and I'm sure you can find a link to the site from one of their post.
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Old 06-20-2005   #3
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 305
I didn't know there was a Rave planned!!!

Class 2 can be the GNAR when you've been paddling for 2 months...

I don't know if there are any rafters in the group goatboater is refering to it's mostly class 2&3 kayakers.
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Old 06-21-2005   #4
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 239
If the only whitewater experience you have is a few commercial trips + the class, I would agree with your brother that you should tag along with some experienced rafters. If you know how to read water and pick your lines, though, I think you could learn on your own pretty well. Are you thinking of getting an oar rig, or just paddle boating it?

I've got a few friends that raft the poudre regularly. I can point them to this thread if you like - they're usually up for bringing new people.
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Old 06-21-2005   #5
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 6
Probably an oar rig. That's mostly what we practiced doing.

Although last night my brother planted the seed of getting an inflatable kayak instead and all day today I've been thinking about how cool that would be.
The idea of not being responsible for passengers is nice. It's cheaper.
I wouldn't have to get a whole ton of people organized on every outing or buy all of the extra gear.

Any inherent advantages/disadvantages of inflatable kayaks vs. rafts?

Is it generally easier to learn to properly use an inflatable kayak than a raft?
Or more difficult?
Is it safer?
Less safe?
General preference for which is more fun?
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Old 06-21-2005   #6
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 163
My thought would be that rafts are heavy, space comsuming monstrosities that belong strapped to the roofs of old school buses.

A duckie would be much more managable both on the river and off.

Have you considered....kayaking? Why waste time with an inflatible. If you like the water that much, you'll end up in a kayak anyway.
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Old 06-21-2005   #7
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Cody, Wyoming
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 249
get in this discussion with Pike's Peak River Runners, a group out of Colo Spgs. they seem to be open to having new folks along.

many of my friends would argue that mick has it backwards. many friends now have wife and kids, and are getting rafts to make the ww experience a family outing instead of a solo activity. it is also less risk to enjoy your favorite beverage on the float in a rubber barge, as compared to a plastic coffin. later.
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Old 06-24-2005   #8
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 239
Duckies are fun, but I'd not recommend buying one. Their main advantage is you can throw a novice in one and run semi-difficult rapids.

If you want a single person boat, get a kayak. Much more versatile and fun.

For multiple people, a 11'-12' raft is much better than a ducky (in my opinion). A ducky can take 2 people max. A small raft you can r2 it, or bring up to 5 people if they are reasonably light. You can slap an oar rig on it and pilot it yourself or bring a passenger or two. They aren't much more than a good quality ducky, plus you've got some room for beer.

For big water, you generally want a bigger raft (14' seems to be the sweet spot) or a kayak. With a bigger raft you can do multi-day trips in comfort too.

You could also look into catarafts. They aren't as versatile, but they're much cheaper. For some reason most of the oar rigs you see on tougher sections are cats. But you can't run a cat as a paddle raft...

I don't own a raft, this is just my perspective as a kayaker who has friends who own just about every boat imaginable (five ~14' rafts, one 12' raft, one 14' cataraft, one 16' cataraft, one mini-cat, a ducky, a sit on top, and numerous kayaks).
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Old 06-24-2005   #9
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Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: May 2005
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Check out High Country River Rafters at They always welcome new people.
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