Steering a Paddle Raft - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 08-01-2012   #1
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
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Steering a Paddle Raft

Ok, I've been rafting for three years but only on an oar rig. We are going down the Snake between Hoback and Alpine and I'm curious if I should run a paddle raft instead. I've canoed rivers so I understand the "rudder down" concept, but haven't had anybody paddle in front of me before. This stretch seems like the perfect learning ground. Any tips for learning how to run a paddle raft? I will be in a 14 foot self bailer instead of my 18 foot cat. I have the capability of running as either an oar rig or with paddles.

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Old 08-01-2012   #2
 
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Silverthorne, Colorado
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run it as a stern mount paddle assisted rig, or just a paddle assisted oar boat.
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Old 08-01-2012   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tanderson View Post
Ok, I've been rafting for three years but only on an oar rig. We are going down the Snake between Hoback and Alpine and I'm curious if I should run a paddle raft instead. I've canoed rivers so I understand the "rudder down" concept, but haven't had anybody paddle in front of me before. This stretch seems like the perfect learning ground. Any tips for learning how to run a paddle raft? I will be in a 14 foot self bailer instead of my 18 foot cat. I have the capability of running as either an oar rig or with paddles.
I have paddle boated for 22 years and am not sure what a rudder down concept is.

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Old 08-01-2012   #4
 
Golden, Colorado
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As long as you will not be the only one paddling, guiding a paddle raft isn't that hard. If you sit on the right, use prying rudder strokes to point more right, and paddle with your abs to go more left (just like a canoe only your rudder strokes can use the raft as a fulcrum point which is bad form in canoeing).

If you need big adjustments, just tell your crew what you need with a "Left back" or "Right back" command.

Unlike an oar-rig, paddle rafts very rarely back ferry. Point where you want to go and use your crew to power through things.

As for R1ing a raft, it is certainly doable but usually takes a few hours of practice to be bad at it and a season to be able to do it reasonably so good luck.
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Old 08-02-2012   #5
 
Jackson, Wyoming
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Welcome to ElevationImaging.com - Eye Select Online Studio

I don't think there are many rafts flipping at these flows, but you can see for yourself how folks are doing at "Big Kahuna" (probably the most likely trouble spot right now) at the above photo site. You might select "private" to see how the non-professional paddle rafts are doing. There still seems to be some possible ducky carnage (select "Snake River Kayak and Canoe" to see the commercial duckies).
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Old 08-02-2012   #6
 
Salt Lake City, Utah
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Great! Thanks for the beta, photos and advice. I really enjoy this website for the great info that can be thankfully obtained. Cheers to you guys
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Old 08-02-2012   #7
 
Eagle, Colorado
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Not sure what the "rudder down" concept is, but you definitely want to learn how to J-stroke if you are going to guide with a paddle assist setup. I have done hundreds of trips in a paddle assist set up and recently started running an oar rig. The oar rig is significantly easier, particularly if the water is remotely technical, but paddle assist is a lot of fun.
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Old 08-02-2012   #8
 
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Sandy, Utah
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I have paddle captained a couple times. What I found was that I needed to be clear, concise, loud, but still calm. Screaming at folks was counterproductive. Remember that your paddlers are your power, may sure they are working with you and not against you. Balance the power in your boat, practice a few spin moves before you get to the rapids, and have fun. Don't forget a safety talk also.
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Old 08-02-2012   #9
 
Jackson, Wyoming
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Get your crew to paddle in unison; put good listeners/doers up front on both sides -- they will be in unison and folks behind them can (may?) follow.
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Old 08-02-2012   #10
 
Land of Lovin, Colorado
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I prefer to crack a bullwhip and yell "MUSH!!! You lazy freaks or we're all going to die!"
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