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Discussion Starter #1
I'm new to the whole kayak world and ... I love it! I constantly find myself checking USGS for the current CFS level or watching kayak videos whenever I am bored. Kayaking is almost always on my mind. Now yesterday I took a swim... I wouldn't necessarily call it a gnarly swim but I was honestly kinda shaken. I was completely swept into the waves and could not for the life of me get the air I needed. I kept trying to swim and get my self into an eddy and out of the water, I had run out of so much energy and was unsure if I'd get oxygen that I honestly was at the point of giving up. I swam over a pour over rock and bruised up my arm and eventually eddyed out and FINALLY caught my breath. My boat and paddle were saved;I climbed into my boat and with my shaky hands grabbed the paddle.Assisted by one of my excellent teachers who helped me ferry across exiting the whitewater park. At this point I was extremely lightheaded,I paddled down the river for about ten minutes and swam again and this time instead of paddling on I walked to the take out. Rough day... Especially when non kayakers find out and make fun of you for out of all things swimming. They don't know a dang thing! I am wondering how do you (other experienced kayakers) trust your abilities and get back into your boat after a scary kayak experience? Any advice for an aspiring newbie?
 

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I took a long and deep swim a long time ago when I was just starting to really push myself. Once I was on shore and de-watering my boat an old timer asked me if I was ok. Before I could say a word he said,"wipe that booger out of your nose, I can't look at you seriously."

I guess what I'm trying to say is, shit happens. Pick up the pieces, go through your self evaluations, and learn from it. Eventually you will get more comfortable swimming in moving water or you will decide it is not for you.


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Discussion Starter #3
I took a long and deep swim a long time ago when I was just starting to really push myself. Once I was on shore and de-watering my boat an old timer asked me if I was ok. Before I could say a word he said,"wipe that booger out of your nose, I can't look at you seriously."

I guess what I'm trying to say is, shit happens. Pick up the pieces, go through your self evaluations, and learn from it. Eventually you will get more comfortable swimming in moving water or you will decide it is not for you.


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Thanks! That truly is good advice I know what you are saying though, swimming really is part of kayaking and I need to learn how to shake it off because I love kayaking!
 

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Plus, you did the right thing by calling it a day after the 2nd swim. Lots of times 2nd swims are caused by the exhaustion and trauma of the 1st swim. The river will still be there for next time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Plus, you did the right thing by calling it a day after the 2nd swim. Lots of times 2nd swims are caused by the exhaustion and trauma of the 1st swim. The river will still be there for next time.
Thanks and yep it sure will! I was lightheaded and disoriented and I was scared I might lose consciousness while kayaking which would not be a good thing!
 

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Swimming builds character. I learn something every time I take a swim, either about myself or about the river and usually both. I've had back to back swims, less than five minutes apart... it sucks. But nothing feels better than getting back in your boat afterwards.
Sometimes it's hard to remember, but just have fun; that's what it's all about. If you don't feel comfortable swimming through a particular section, don't boat it until you have your roll. If you need to take a step back to class 2, don't feel bad about it. Build your confidence on an easy section, work your way up to harder lines.
In the meantime, work really hard on your brace. I don't have a roll, but I've also only swam 5 times because I have a super dependable brace. EJ's Bracing and Rolling is a good video.
Also, let your pussy, non-kayaking buddies know that if they ever wanna get out there and give it a shot, they're then welcome to laugh when you swim. Orrrrrr... try laughing with them.
 

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We all swim no matter what our skill level so it is a very important skill. I would highly recommend a swiftwater rescue course, it will not only teach to be more comfortable swimming whitewater, when to breath, ( in the trough of the wave )
defence positions, too many details to cover here, it will also help you with self rescue and also make you an asset to your buddies when they swim.
If your not scared sometimes, your just stupid.
 

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kayaklifeislife,
don't give it up now you will regret it. you are going to find people that think swimming is bad but it is a great skill to have, yes SKILL!

take some roll classes and then get out and do rolls rolls and more rolls until you are confident enough to really hit class 3-3+ water. i have swam so many times my first two seasons that i now i consider myself an expert swimmer. i never let go of my paddle and always try to self rescue all my gear unless the situation absolutely warrants letting the boat go down stream for my buddies to save.

this season my mantra is no swims but i have had one swim thus far after my third lap down bridges (pouder river) in fairly high water.

this time of year you have to respect the water levels and take on only what you feel you can swim safely not boat safely. trust me on this one!!! this is such a rewarding sport and you will get better and be glad you took some lumps early on.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Swimming builds character. I learn something every time I take a swim, either about myself or about the river and usually both. I've had back to back swims, less than five minutes apart... it sucks. But nothing feels better than getting back in your boat afterwards.
Sometimes it's hard to remember, but just have fun; that's what it's all about. If you don't feel comfortable swimming through a particular section, don't boat it until you have your roll. If you need to take a step back to class 2, don't feel bad about it. Build your confidence on an easy section, work your way up to harder lines.
In the meantime, work really hard on your brace. I don't have a roll, but I've also only swam 5 times because I have a super dependable brace. EJ's Bracing and Rolling is a good video.
Also, let your pussy, non-kayaking buddies know that if they ever wanna get out there and give it a shot, they're then welcome to laugh when you swim. Orrrrrr... try laughing with them.
Sounds good! I'll check out that bracing video and work on my roll and you're right they don't know anything! They'd probably cry in a kayak!
Maybe I should take a step back this particular section I've ported before and after one successful run the day before I went in for the kill again and definitely did not have it down. Working on my roll and brace is probably what I need to get my confidence back.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
We all swim no matter what our skill level so it is a very important skill. I would highly recommend a swiftwater rescue course, it will not only teach to be more comfortable swimming whitewater, when to breath, ( in the trough of the wave )
defence positions, too many details to cover here, it will also help you with self rescue and also make you an asset to your buddies when they swim.
If your not scared sometimes, your just stupid.
I had never thought about trying swiftwater but you're right that might really help!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
kayaklifeislife,
don't give it up now you will regret it. you are going to find people that think swimming is bad but it is a great skill to have, yes SKILL!

take some roll classes and then get out and do rolls rolls and more rolls until you are confident enough to really hit class 3-3+ water. i have swam so many times my first two seasons that i now i consider myself an expert swimmer. i never let go of my paddle and always try to self rescue all my gear unless the situation absolutely warrants letting the boat go down stream for my buddies to save.

this season my mantra is no swims but i have had one swim thus far after my third lap down bridges (pouder river) in fairly high water.

this time of year you have to respect the water levels and take on only what you feel you can swim safely not boat safely. trust me on this one!!! this is such a rewarding sport and you will get better and be glad you took some lumps early on.
Thanks! I really do need to get my roll because some day I wanna start creekin" and running waterfalls! It makes me feel better to know that a lot of other
people are part of the "swim team" I'll definitely get back up in my boat and know my skills and know when I am ready to run the rapids that WILL be waiting for me when I'm ready.
 

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SWR class is a great way to get your mojo back. If you know you are going to swim, which everyone does, why not get comfy with it? Then when you get back to it, do it at your own pace.
 

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Kayaking is one of those things like riding a dirt bike, it takes a commitment to get "good enough", but it's very rewarding once you can do it.
Keep after it, you're not going to get good overnight.
It's not like jumping on a raft or an atv and just hitting the river or hitting the trail and being "OK" after a few outings. You need more commitment to master the smaller craft.


Remember, you're doing this for fun. Stop for the day when it's not fun.
 

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Get back in the h2o ASAP the longer you wait the more the fear will build up. Do an easier section to build confidence like 32nd St. to 9 th St. bridge.
 

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the mental game of boating is all about staying in a fun and safe place between the two poles of blind confidence and abject terror. you don't have any basis for judgement til you encounter the mental space you are in now.

before all you had was "wow this is fun, gimme MORE!!!" Now you can start the delicate balance between "whee MORE!" and "whimper... portage"

you know, now, what confidence feels like when it isn't necessarily balanced by a healthy fear of consequences. As you regain confidence on runs you already know at flows you find comfortable, you'll re build your mental game.

do so before stepping up again.

but if you ever find yourself back at the "wow this is fun gimme MORE!!!" place without the little voice of fear you now hear, you will know you are setting yourself up for a beating.

stick with it, you have the passion and a few good days will have you back on your game!
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Get back in the h2o ASAP the longer you wait the more the fear will build up. Do an easier section to build confidence like 32nd St. to 9 th St. bridge.
Okay ! Good idea that's a good manageable section that I know fairly well!
 

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Discussion Starter #18
the mental game of boating is all about staying in a fun and safe place between the two poles of blind confidence and abject terror. you don't have any basis for judgement til you encounter the mental space you are in now.

before all you had was "wow this is fun, gimme MORE!!!" Now you can start the delicate balance between "whee MORE!" and "whimper... portage"

you know, now, what confidence feels like when it isn't necessarily balanced by a healthy fear of consequences. As you regain confidence on runs you already know at flows you find comfortable, you'll re build your mental game.

do so before stepping up again.

but if you ever find yourself back at the "wow this is fun gimme MORE!!!" place without the little voice of fear you now hear, you will know you are setting yourself up for a beating.

stick with it, you have the passion and a few good days will have you back on your game!
Thanks I'll have figure out my freaking boundaries like actually having control will keep me in check. Maybe a step back into easier waters is what I need.
 

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And oft repeated advice around here is to try and make your easy runs harder. Take more difficult lines, catch smaller eddies, but in an environment with lower consequences
 

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When ever I swim, the first thing I do is practice roll and figure out what went wrong that caused me to fail my roll. As long as I know what I did wrong, and how to go about rectifying the problem, I feel a lot more comfortable about getting back in the water.

EJ's sculling brace technique is great and I use it a lot (often to recover from a roll that is about to fail), but in all reality, if you can brace, you can roll. If you can't roll, you probably can't brace, since they are practically the same skill, just that the roll starts when you are completely under water.
 
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