Read about the Green Race from a Women's Perspective! - Mountain Buzz

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Old 12-04-2006   #1
Girls at Play
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Asheville, North Carolina
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Read about the Green Race from a Women's Perspective!

Andria Baldovin, this year's Green Queen, shares insight into her race day.

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Old 12-04-2006   #2
Join Date: Nov 2005
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guy vs gal attitudes in article

First off, great article. Rock on ladies!

But a couple of things struck me about the female/male difference in paddling:

1) I found it interesting that Andria mentioned the confidence gained with by paddling with her fiance for running the gnar. Myself and two of my other good IV girlfriends all went through a dependence stage on significant others in paddling and steppin' it up. We all three seriously lost our confidence after break-ups where these guys were no longer our safety net. We all eventually gained it back and became more independent, self confident, safety-aware paddlers. A very good thing - but the time getting there was hard. Have other females experienced this with significant others? Does this EVER happen with guys or is this just a chick thing?

2) The self-preservation comment....I paddle predominately with guys who joke I have ovaries of steel...but they ring like bells on occassion. Is that why I will portage even when I know I am a better technical boater than my guy friends, but my guy friends will run it? What's the difference between strong self-preservation and plain ol' chicken?
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Old 12-04-2006   #3
Join Date: Jun 2006
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Never happens_the only thing men depend on you for is sex!
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Old 12-04-2006   #4
Join Date: Nov 2005
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not safe even in the betty buzz from tetosterone

Suppose I should have known that would be a dude's response from the testosterone infected side of the Buzz. Woman are wise. I just did not write it all down and you missed what is inferred. So let me simplify it:

1) Woman know that guys only want sex.

2) Woman use you bad ass boaters as our personal safety guides/coaches to advance our skills. Guys are much more willing to pull our ass out of a hairy situation exactly because we are providing that much demanded service.

4) Heck, running gnar is a pretty good turn on.

5) The point from earlier: Once that symbiotic relationship ends, if prior to the female having taken advantage of all the coaching, there is a transitional period to which I was referring.

6) BUT eventually became more independent, self confident, safety-aware paddlers. A very good thing.

At this point guys, you should pay attention. Once we don't need you for paddling.....we can also go out and buy a good set of Energizer batteries. Treat us with a bit more respect eh?
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Old 12-04-2006   #5
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It sounds like you do an excellent job of paddling for you....I have many times walked when I know that my skills are capable of nailing the line or I have seen a not so great paddler make it. The important issue is to paddle the rapid because you know you can and you feel "it". I have talked about this with many boaters....some that I highly respect which disagree with me.......I run the runs as if there is no one on the shore with a rope or in their boats as safety. I run the rapids as if I'm soloing. I paddle for me...........Some times I do things that people think are for sure out of the question but make sense to me....sometimes I don't paddle things that I've styled in the past ...even the day before. I paddle for me and it sounds like you do the same......Kayaking is amazing and we're all so lucky to have it.
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Old 12-05-2006   #6
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Good Points Moshe

I can relate to what you're saying. I didn't date another paddler until I was well into my paddling career, but once I started dating Andrew I really felt good about having him on the river -- especially running class IV-V. It may be because we feel that our significant other cares more than other people what happens to us so we have confidence that they're looking out for us. It can be a positive thing, but eventually it becomes a dependence that isn't healthy (in my opinion). I've met women who won't paddle without their significant other and they rely on their companion to tell them if they're ready for something etc..

So it's good to ween yourself -- it may be forced through a break-up or women can also just decide to start paddling with other people. That's why I think that paddling with other women can be such a confidence builder. A lot of us have had similar experiences and approach the sport in a similar way. We can support each other to independence. And, in my experience women are VERY supportive of paddling for yourself (like erdvm1 mentioned). And women are more likely to take their time on a harder run and to explore different options together. The more decisions you make for yourself the more confidence you build.
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Old 12-05-2006   #7
Join Date: Apr 2004
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i'll agree with you to an extent (moshe) -

i think that this phenonema can and does happen with dudes, also - basically, i'd describe it as when i'm with competant boaters, i feel more confident and more ready to push my personal limit. most every boater that i boat with is better than I.

so when i'm out with lesser boaters, i don't feel that.

obviously, sounds like you guys are going the right way, recognizing a potential reliance, and trying to be motiviated to not have that reliance. probably not a good thing for any paddler to be too dependent on someone else, but we all rely on our partners as a safety net to some extent, and that is probably a wise factor to consider when deciding to push it or not.
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Old 12-05-2006   #8
Join Date: Feb 2004
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I agree that it is easy to slide into a reliance on boating partners who are more skilled. When I’ve been with boaters who I trust fully, and especially the times I’ve had instructors or guides being paid to watch my back, I’ve pushed myself much harder and taken more risks.(ie the kind of risk where I could say “well I might take a beating but I won’t die and I’m paying this guy to clean me up).

I had what’s probably the less typical experience for a female paddler, I never dated a kayaker until I was a solid IV boater (and after that, never dated one long enough to become reliant on their coaching). I often paddled with folks of my skill level or lower, so I became comfortable leading early on. I think this was great because it encouraged me to develop confidence and judgement skills. I think that one of the best things a woman can do is to start to lead early on and often (even if it’s on class II and you class V boyfriend is following your lead).

That said, it sure is great to paddle with accomplished women. One of my all time best memories is a misty 7 am run down the Bridges section on the Futalefu with Rachel Moore (a guide for Bio Bio Expeditions who equals any other guide on that river), no one else on the river. I was totally inspired by her confidence, skill and low key attitude, and simply the uniqueness of the experience.
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Old 12-05-2006   #9
pnw, Colorado
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I dont really see it as a gender thing but more about your confidence level with whomever you decide to follow and their readiness to help. I started paddling and a paddler took me under his wing and showed me the ropes. He moved to Virginia and I was lost. I realized that I had never picked my own lines or even really scouted. Now when people are following me I make it a point to scout an easy rapid and let them tell me the line and put them up front whenever they are ready.
"Yesterday I was clever and tried to change the world. Today I am wise and try to change myself." -Rumi
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Old 12-05-2006   #10
Join Date: Dec 2003
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Great story about the Green- acknowledges many feelings I have had running class V. Learning to let go is a big part of it. I know I still need to practice and work on many of my skills to build my confidence on harder water. However lately I let my fear take over too often when I KNOW deep down I can make the moves necessary. The more this happens the more the fear grows- harnessing it is the hard but essential part. I have not been lucky enough to find other women to paddle with but hope this forum will give me some connections. I love pushing myself ultimately but it can be hard for me to do when I am surrounded by men who seem to deal with fear very differently.

Moshe- self preservation or plain old chicken??
I like that question- I have to admit I am both. I tell my boyfriend and justify it out loud that it is about self preservation... but I know deep down that I am just chicken!! I agree with erdvm that going with whether you feel it or not is huge- however sometimes you just have to go. I ran Tunnel Rapid my first few times I ran Gore. One day I scouted with some others, got scared and decided I was walking it. After that I did not "feel" it for a while. Finally one day I had to say F--- it, I can do this, and just go for it again, even though I wasn't necessarily totally "feelin it". I have "felt it" and totally gotten my butt kicked- then I start to question that "feeling it" instinct... lalala- here starts the overanalysis which can paralyze me!

Kayaking with a significant other.......
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