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Ok, this is a very personal question and i am sure it will mean different things for different people. I am really curious, and it would be nice to have some really thoughtful responses. My question is:

What makes a good Paddler?

Personally, what do you guys and gals value in a person you view as a good paddler. Is it technique, a certain attitude, a certain skill....whateveer. Thanks
 

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Personally -- I value a boater who comes prepared for a decent "safety meeting" . . .not that I don't or won't, its just nice when your paddling pals step up, ya' know?
 

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Well I have to be honest that safety meeting wasnt one of my criteria. I am happy if they show up with a throw bag..
 

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I agree with Timmay, a quality boater needs to come to the river packin' nugs. A "safety meeting" is always important before you go boating. :D
 

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Ok, let me get this straight, ya run the shuttle then you sit down and have an actual 'safety meeting' on the river? What exactly do you talk about? I mean I know that most of you run harder stuff than me but come on, you really have a meeting?
 

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gh - yes, we actually have a meeting, but sometimes we don't talk . . .depends. we meet just off the river, in the bushes.
 

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I think it depends...

Are you talking about a play boater at the local play park or a creeker at the put in of some long gorge?

I think overall someone who is safety conscience,is helpful and courteous is probably are the biggest overall factors (regardless of what type of paddeling they do).
 

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Ok, I think I am catching up. Sounds like a fun meeting.
 

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Personally I think what makes a good boater is the ability to read water, and work with it not against it. I like watching lines where a paddler has a minimum of strokes and seems to finesse their line vs a paddler that just charges and paddles hard all the time. Of course those safety boaters are always nice...if you know what I mean...wink, wink, nug, nug.
 

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hmmm

Attitude of paddler makes for the best partners and paddlers...If they have a great outlook on what they are doing regardless of what it is will make the river that much more special...Too many folks(specially as a beginner boater)make paddling out to be a contest,who is better ect....Paddling is explore ring with great friends on beautiful rivers in breath taking enviornments...Attitude is the key too being a great paddler..If you make your pals want to share a river with you,regardless of class you are a great paddler and someone I want to boat with...


As for safety----the last safety talk I got was Putin on to linville gorge this spring..."You have to paddle on verbals,there are too many drops too look at" and "PADDLE WHERE YOU CAN BREATH!!!!!!!"
 

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I feel like I am writing a high school essay. I sucked at that. None the less the topic is really cool so here we go.

What makes a good paddler?

A person who reads water really well and then picks a solid line based on their knowledge in my mind is a far paddler than the one who is told the line and never misses it. They are better that the person that can throw all of the latest moves on a feature. What I am saying is... Learning to maneuver a boat exceptionally well but not knowing how to read water does not make for the best paddler. Some people memorize a line down a rapid and they may look awesome running it but what about new rivers.... Some play boaters work a spot until they can do lots of tricks in it but cant do a thing in or on any other feature. (this whole issue seems to be my greatest problem i need to know how to read water better)

Then there are people who can handle their boat well but just look kind of sloppy maybe. For example take a guy like Tao Berman, he has done some pretty amazing stuff but when you see Nikki Kelly paddle it makes Tao kind of look like a beginner. A good slalom racer just looks so efficient, so graceful.

Generally a good boater is the one you follow or the one that you only look over your shoulder to see what they just did. Not to check up on them.

Then their are the people that are good to paddle with.

Generally I pick attitude over a really good safety boater and here is why. Honestly I am not going to put myself in a situation where I might have to put my life in someones hands. It is a huge disrespect to that person to ask that of someone. It is not fair to ask them to live with the guilt of second guessing all the factors that go into a bad experience. When i read the posts of people that die paddling sometimes I hurt worse for the people that lived through the whole experience than those that died or even the family and friends of the lost ones. I just take my time advancing. Making sure that the risks are manageable for me. I know that my theory does not account well for freak accidents, I guess just be careful in what you are asking of others when the risk is getting high.

Attitude makes a really good person to paddle with. I guess that goes without saying and that is the most personal aspect of all. My preferences are a person that enjoys the experience and is not all caught up in trying to prove something. People that are quick to encourage people at various skill levels, even those that are better than them. A person that gives up their time in the hole for someone else without getting worked up about it. And then.... I hope this comes off right, and this is way personal but i think that everyone will identify.... but I am a pastor. I hate telling paddlers that, seems like I would rather tell them that I had leprosy or somthing.... Like I am a professional leper or something. Anyway being measured up like that sucks. Regardless of what you do professionally or even what you believe. By saying all of that I am not attempting to bring religious beliefs into this whole deal so please don't assume that is what I am attempting. I see that in boater talk and it always looks messy. (notice I did not say what kind of pastor or what religion i am a part of). All I am saying is that being measured up sucks "cant we all just get along?" HA!

So yeah those are my thoughts.

ben rodda
 

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A good boater is one who makes all of those around them better. They never hesitate to make sure you understand the safe line, how to get that first loop, nor do they shy away from saving your ass. They do this because they never forget that they once needed encouragement, and for someone to save their ass. A good boater will willingly take on the responsibility of making sure you get back, because that good boater knows before you do, that you are ready for that next challenge.

To all the good boaters, THANK YOU, I had a grerat summer, and learned alot.

ed
 

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Gary, I recently had a very similar experience to yours on Toxaway and Overflow in the SE. It's hard to scout there and I ended up hucking stuff that I would have stared at for a long time in CO. The best boaters to me are the people who enjoy the adventure that is kayaking. Both kinds of safety are extremely important. There is no way to survive the paddle out of westwater in the winter without one type of safety and there is no way to survive Lake Creek without the other type. Paddling style doesn't bother me, it reminds me of all of the snobby BS that was high school. P.S. I met the sickest boaters in the SE - if you want to get good, go run the Green 200+ times each year.
 

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a good paddler.....

A good paddler shows up with beer, more beer, and did I mention beer?

for real....

A good paddler shows up with their gear (the correct stuff needed for the trip). They show up with a good attitude. They show up prepared mentally for what lays ahead, which is especially useful when they haven't run the run before. They show up to have fun. They show up aware, both before they get on the river, while they're on it, and post-run. They look out for their buddies, be they people they just met or have run rivers several times with. They also boat winthin their abilities and know when not to push it or get pushed into it. Sometimes even when it is with their abilities, a good paddler will know when to say when or no. Lastly, a good paddler can get spanked and still enjoy it... boy does that sound like kinky behavior....
 
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