whitewater canoe - Mountain Buzz

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Old 10-02-2011   #1
snakester's Avatar
Mesa, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2010
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whitewater canoe

A friend recently gave me an older whitewater canoe. Have any of you guys ever used one of these? Do you use a regular paddle or a kayak paddle?

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Old 10-02-2011   #2
gunnison, Colorado
Paddling Since: 2005
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I have a friend who is an avid white water canoeist. He and all others I have seen always use a canoe paddle.
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Old 10-02-2011   #3
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Sandy, Utah
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I have known/seen a few white water canoeists over the years. They use a canoe paddle. Watching a skilled white water canoeist run rapids is really awesome ..... like watching ballet on the water. What boat did your friend give you? It seems like a pretty steep learning curve from what I've seen. But once you get the skills down it looks like a blast.
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Old 10-02-2011   #4
snakester's Avatar
Mesa, Colorado
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Yeah I'm not sure if I'm up for it or not. It's a Dagger and you sit on your knees and strap in which looks uncomfortable, but my son will be 14 next summer, maybe in time he'll be able to use it. I'm guessing they're pretty tippy on flat water but really I have no idea about them or how to teach him how to use it. We're going on one more Ruby H.T. trip tomorrow and I'm letting him take a flat bottom canoe down the river.
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Old 10-02-2011   #5
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Lakewood, 80214
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I have had a friend who has been and OC1 paddler for years and swears he will never kayak again.
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Old 10-02-2011   #6
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Sandy, Utah
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Seems like most folks I've seen doing OC1 have been in a Dagger.
Starting your boy out in some flatwater sounds like a great idea. I have a friend who has run his tandem tripping canoe down Deso a couple times with a partner and they have done pretty well. Whitewater canoes look pretty tricky, but same goes for most any boat when you first start. If you could find a seasoned OC1 paddler or maybe a class for you and your son that would probably be the best thing. I remember one guy who bought a whitewater canoe without any prior knowledge and tried to take it down a class II+ run. He was miserable, and sold the boat after that one attempt. Not a good approach to something new. I think if you get started out right, with some guidance & instruction you'll get to love it.
Have fun.
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Old 10-02-2011   #7
Nosebleed, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1977
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Half-a-paddle, half-a-brain is what my kayaker friends say when they paddle with me. It's like the difference between alpine and tele-skiing (half-a-binding, half-a-brain). Most of us open boaters just wanted to do something different. The waves seem a lot bigger when you paddle an open boat! The slopes seem steeper in tele gear--though not as steep as the old leather days.
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Old 10-02-2011   #8
Jenks, Oklahoma
Join Date: Oct 2004
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I started paddling in canoes, did some whitewater, moved to kayaks and now rafts.

I boat all three types now and each has it's strong points, depends on the trip.

My take is OC1 open boaters (even with plenty of air bags) are the most challenging to get down harder white water runs. I have OC1 buds who paddle any drop the rest of the kayakers do and do it with style.

My take is kayaks are the easiest craft to get down white water runs. Main reason is the ability to roll back up right (skilled OC1 boaters can do this as well), the flexibility in choosing your line in that the kayaks are so maneuverable that often times if the boater sees another line they can take it.

My take is rafts are easier on mild ww drops with easy lines as you can just square up and blow on thru. The real challenge comes with a loaded raft, a line that requires multiple moves and big time reversals that flip the raft. Flipped loaded rafts are normally difficult to get to shore and then flip upright. Often times there is only one raft line and it seems to have big reversals along the way to deal with. Loaded rafts usually require the boater to decide on a line and then stick with it. Whereas kayaks and even canoes often times have alternates lines even at the last moment as you approach the drop.

Like so many things, it all depends on the specific run as to which craft is easiest. But a flip in a kayak (given some homework) is not a big deal, a flip in a canoe (given a lot more homework) is much harder to deal with. A flip in a raft especially a gear raft (even with a lot of homework) is orders of magnitude harder to deal with than a kayak.

My opinions only and interested to hear others chime in.
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Old 10-02-2011   #9
Boulder, Colorado
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Open canoes are great. I started paddling one. It will help your water reading abilities. Be ready to swim though. If you switch to kayaking then it will seem easy compared to one paddle. What model is it? That will decide how stable it is. Have fun!
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Old 10-02-2011   #10
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Newport, Oregon
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DONT SELL THAT BOAT! Just cuz it's not easy doesn't mean it's not fun! My family had me canoeing since I was 3, on flatwater trips in Canada and the easy stretches of Colorado/Green/Yampa out here. From there I took it to rafting and kayaking but through my last year in OR I went full circle and got back into WW canoeing. I agree with what people are saying here, mostly. Some hard core OC1 ers really think that a canoe is a better craft for tough rapids, they claim boat length, weight and a higher paddling vantage point all give them an edge that kayaks don't generally have.

I personally think kayaking is a lot easier, but only at the top end. In the beginning stages, a canoe feels a lot less entrapping than a kayak and you can see more of the river ahead (cuz we're not running horizon lines our first few months...). The number one thing I've seen people freak out about with kayaking is being upside down and trapped in the boat, a non-issue in a canoe. The debate of canoe vs kayak will go on forever but I think that the WW canoe has a definite place in a good quiver for any level of paddler. The alpine/tele analogy is apt, there is a fluid art to canoeing that is somehow diminished with a kayak. They have to plan a rapid almost like a raft but stay flexible in their micro decisions like a kayak.

Having my ww canoes made me enjoy easier stretches of water more, opening up my variety of padding options. They let me share rivers with more people (for much cheaper than a raft ) and I can still bring beer, lunch and fishing rods!

keep the canoe, get used to it, 14 years old is perfect age to get excited about the river, whether in a canoe, a raft or a kayak. Give each their fair due!

Oh yeah, Dagger used to make some of the best ww canoes, they stopped producing them a few years back however. A lot of the molds got sold to other companies like Mad River. There's lots of companies out there with different models for different functions. If it floats, it'll do to learn on!
"Paddle silently, boof loudly"
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