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Discussion Starter #1
I got into back into kayaking last year after taking 16 years off (I did one short season of Class III in the late 90's). I have only paddled two boats since my 'resurrection': the LL XP10 and Bazooka; I have been amazed at how much easier Class 3 seems in both of them.

I have an opportunity to do an overnight wilderness run in Bulgaria in which my rental boat selection appears to be very limited. If the only boat I can get a hold off is significantly different design than my boat, how concerned should I be? For example the only option rt. now is the Recon 83, which has a high, continuous rocker and displacement hull, as opposed to the low rocker and planning hull on my Bazooka. I would also be 10 lbs over the recommended paddler weight, how big of an issue would that be?

I know a good boater should be able to do class III in any modern creek boat, but I'm not that good yet and the locals consider the run class 3/4. I have yet to pop my class IV cherry, but I did do the Rio Grande racecourse last year with ease to my surprise; I'm thinking it was due to the great new modern boat I have and not my skill.

It would be surreal to float under a medieval bridge to me. Video of the run for those curious:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86WMfltHoPE
 

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I'm not sure running class IV the first time in a small and unfamiliar boat while doing an overnighter in Bulgaria is a good idea.
 

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I know, but sometimes you got to do what you got to do... I would have to get a Class IV run in before then and take a rescue class. I would also have a 'certified' safety kayaker with me, familiar with the run, and family and car nearby halfway.


The point of the thread to see how insecure an unfamiliar boat makes others feel, and how long it takes to get used to the new boat. I would play in an eddy or lake the day before put-in.
 

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The Racecourse is class 3 unless you ran it at 2000+ cfs. I don't think the boat is going to make a huge difference for you, but I would suggest running some class 4 water stateside before you leave the country to go paddle...
 

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A Solid class IV paddler should be able to get in any modern boat and navigate III-IV safely. Curious if you're ten lbs over weight with overnight gear or without? From what you've shared my guess is you'll be gripped on a Class IV run with a loaded boat that is too small for you. Not that you'll die, or even get seriously hurt, but having to constantly fish someone out and chase their gear will definitely detract from the experience of you paddling partners. Maybe your "safety kayaker" is up for that kind of a trip, but they should know exactly what level you're at before hand.
 

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Be in shape. Go to a bunch of roll sessions. Try to get on some CL IV here but it looks like a great river a trip to remember for a lifetime. I would have a hard time not doing it. I would definitely try to shop around and see if you can find a properly sized boat. Get any creeker made in the past 5 years sized correctly for you and you will be fine.
 

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So you're > 200# with no gear & loading the boat with overnight gear and pushing above your skill level. Seems like a legit concern. Creekboats don't perform as designed when grossly exceeding the capacity they're designed for.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks for the input guys. I'm in the infancy stage of planning for this June trip. I hope to get a lot more river time stateside this spring.
I have been shopping around and already got an email saying I could probably get a Habitat 80, which puts me within weight range. I've also discovered that I can do a day trip on a nearby river (the Struma) which is Class 3; 4 only at very high water. The run parallels a road and easy to portage the one rapid that maybe 4. So it looks like I'll be warming up on that and then doing the Arda, if I feel good in the boat and the flow is good.
LMyers, I know the racecourse is 3; if you look at the video I posted, there's only a few of spots that have anything more than the racecourse in my opinion, and no keeper hydraulics. Feel free to tell me if you think the video is much more difficult than the racecourse. I know the view is different from the cockpit than a desk...My 'concierge' says the Arda is "4 max".
He also wants 50 euros a day for just the safety kayaker. They may sound reasonable to us, but no one in Bulgaria makes 50 euros a day (legally anyway); so if he has to wait on me to recover, and chase down my boat of couple times, that will be the least of my worries. If I do have to wet exit, I'm confident I can self-rescue, as I did many times in the 90's, haven't had to in my 2nd career, again the modern boat thing.
Anyway, what I wanted out of the thread was how I might feel in a different boat (displacement hull vs. planning hull effecting stability, maneuverability, etc.) Sounds like I got my answer, don't think about it while on the river, just think where you need to put the boat.
 

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The first time a paddled with a loaded boat was when I was putting on at the middle fork salmon for a self-support. I took one stroke and it felt like I was paddling a log! It took at a day to get used to then it wasnt a huge deal. But if there had been some challenging rapids right away, it could have been more exciting than I was hoping for. It will make it harder in tight technical water, but you will feel like a tank punching through waves and holes in bigger water. Bottom line... If I were you I would practice in a loaded boat... I would also want to run stuff before you go that is a grade harder than you expect to run in Bulgaria... this should help with the confidence.
 

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Also, check into whether the crux sections can be portaged... this could take some pressure off if you know you can walk around something if you get out there and arent feeling good.
 

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I wouldn't worry about the boat design. Yes, different boats have different feels in the water, but it should be something where you would become comfortable quickly after a couple rolls and eddy turns.
 

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He also wants 50 euros a day for just the safety kayaker. They may sound reasonable to us, but no one in Bulgaria makes 50 euros a day (legally anyway); so if he has to wait on me to recover, and chase down my boat of couple times, that will be the least of my worries. If I do have to wet exit...
This is one one the most entitled, asshole-sounding statements I've read in a while.

Sure, you can pay someone to pick up the pieces while you flop around down class III/IV in Bulgaria, OR you can put in the time and effort to actually learn to boat at a III/IV level, just like the rest of us.

Do you even have a solid roll? Low-payed Bulgarian or not, I'd be a mighty annoyed safety kayaker if I had to take some newbie who can't reliably roll any boat down a legit class IV section.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should, or especially should NOW.
 

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Video looked harder than what I remember of the racecourse at 2K.

I also totally agree with Glenn. Video lies, especially with whitewater, and usually makes it look easier than it is. The racecourse is essentially 5 pretty easy class III rapids, and aside from a couple spots, almost no scary consequences in a swim. It also varies drastically with flows, and if you did it last year, you didn't do it at "real" high water. In just the 6 minutes of that video, I saw a much tighter (pin potentials) river with longer drops, more moves to make, and apparently much more continuous whitewater than the racecourse.
 

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This is one one the most entitled, asshole-sounding statements I've read in a while.

Sure, you can pay someone to pick up the pieces while you flop around down class III/IV in Bulgaria, OR you can put in the time and effort to actually learn to boat at a III/IV level, just like the rest of us.

Do you even have a solid roll? Low-payed Bulgarian or not, I'd be a mighty annoyed safety kayaker if I had to take some newbie who can't reliably roll any boat down a legit class IV section.

Just because you can, doesn't mean you should, or especially should NOW.
This is a bit reminiscent of the "stepping up" thread that went on recently...
One guy suggested jumping from class III to -V without telling the paddlers you're with, so that you can up your game.
 

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This is a bit reminiscent of the "stepping up" thread that went on recently...
One guy suggested jumping from class III to -V without telling the paddlers you're with, so that you can up your game.

I mean hey, why not? especially if you can take advantage of the hard earned skills of some economically impoverished foreigners with your vast american wealth while doing it!
 

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Also, looking at this guys past posts, it looks like his ONE racecourse run was last october, which puts it at around 500cfs. Easy breezy.
 
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