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Discussion Starter #1
I can imagine being terified on the n.f. payette but we had an easy class 1/2 float where one of our group was just terrified and being the trip leader i was looked to for well..leadership!? Long story short i went from compassion and then i offered to walk back with them then i slowly became a bit tough love. With hindsite they realized that they where over reacting and that the river was beyond easy and safe but man it turned a fun float into a stressfull long hand hold. I should say the person has experience and is young and athletic. I wasnt mean but i wanted to be. How do you help your kayak friends advance in water and deal with fear in a fun way? I allways try to distract them and have fun , help them breath , play games catching eddys but iam just an intermediate paddler so we go on easy stuff thats sometimes just boring and shit o dear its like their on the stikine and yet after were done their asking "where we going next?" "I dunno the bar i need a beer!" Helpfull hints , ideas, strategies. I wanna keep going but wanna have fun not scout every riffle and freak out over a tippy eddy line?
 

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I have dealt with fears on a raft, but could not imagine having to deal with this while kayaking! If I know someone is fearful, I take them on a float with small rapids. Most of the time that fixes the issue, or they don't ever raft again. I'm just flabbergasted that someone would even get in a kayak if they were/ are that fearful. I know not very helpful.
 

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I agree with SlipShot, if they're that fearful, you'd need to assess how committed you are to their improvement.


Start out somewhere closer to tough love at the start of the trip. Be confident, but be firm. Let them know what to expect from you when their rational mind is still listening, before their irrational/subconscious takes over.

Part of what draws me to kayaking is the little bit of fear that makes me grow. Massive fear means zero growth. If they're scared, they're not growing..how bad do they want to become a kayaker?
 

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Fear will only be overcome by confidence in that they probably won't get hurt or die and that they have a skill set they've built to run things successfully. A number of things that may help and that I've done....

Learn the HOG (hand of god) roll. Then practice with your party members in a pool or eddy but be very clear that is an option but may not always work in moving water. Knowing that someone might come to help a roll eases the mind and gives them more time to try and roll themselves.

Eddy out before the rapid they are scared of and scout it with them. Then, go run it clean on the line you talked about so they can see it. Then walk back up and have them follow you through it.

Same as above but swim it in front of them. Most stuff beginners should be on is 2 and 3s. I've swam every rapid on our local beginner run and have lived to type nonsense here. I've even had beginners swim rapids with me.

Take them to park and play spots so they can work on their skills in a more controlled environment.

It really comes down to how much you want to help them and how much you want them to succeed. The easiest is tell them to sign up for lessons and learn that way. It's okay to not be a kayaker. A really bad experience early on (whether dangerous or not) will make more non-kayakers than kayakers.
 

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Its beyond super important to be able to control "frame" with new fearful ppl on the water. One needs to change the "mood" by changing conversations and fun story telling.. lighten shit up if you know what I mean. Sometimes the guides tone effects fear in ppl with low confidence. So, when you see someone all freaked out, slow down, smile, talk, laugh, and change gears. Pull over, swim..... Hike, if you need too,. Talk about things they rock at. Like if they are a good runner, ask them running question.. let them know how much fun it is to hang out with them., stuff like that.
 

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It really comes down to how much you want to help them and how much you want them to succeed. The easiest is tell them to sign up for lessons and learn that way. It's okay to not be a kayaker. A really bad experience early on (whether dangerous or not) will make more non-kayakers than kayakers.



Frankly I raft because it's an easier investment in my time to be able share the river with people.

I raft for friends.
I kayak for me.
 

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It's hindsight at this point. But, dealing with fear you need to find the root of that fear. Often, fear is rooted in the unknown. First, in the case of kayaking, how much experience has this person on whitewater? Did that person have a bad experience(s) like swims? Dealing with swims is a matter of confidence rebuilding. Fear of the unknown is a matter of experiencing those scenarios manifested in ones mind with the realization that "it was not that bad". This also applies to any sport, and comes from my experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
All goos posts thanks. I have "rise above" tattoed on my wrist cause when i was a "kid" i read in some sports psychology book that rubbing on your wrist helped calm anxiety when under stress lol. I got it cause i was surfing big waves and scared shitless in Hawaii and well..it didnt work but seat time did. I learned to hang glide on the beach and then went and flew the owens valley and the "rubbn'" well..it didnt work=sold hang glider a few years later. I figure if your healthy and athletic thats half the battle. Our rule in the house is the right stretch of river at the right flow. So well probably never get all that good but we see great things and usually have fun. Kayaking is frickn scary i guess but we also do way more flat water than most people except maybe bird watchers or bass fisherman or some dumb shit. Get yourself a silly tattoo and rub on that shit and quit your cryn cause your not gonna die untill you do and what else ya gonna do anyway dumbass.? For fuck sake "yes" its scary now shut up and pilot that goddamn kayak or "yes" you are gonna fucking die! Good motivational speaker huh!? More lessons to learn and everyday anothet horror story or tragic loss on a seemingly easy river somewhere near by us all. Maybe ill give everyone but me a break. Anyone here ever do the stikine or n.f. payette ? Is it terrifing? Lol. Great ideas and sound advice thanks everyone.
 

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There's a pretty good case study on group fear dynamics right here on this website, search up the "bout lost my life yesterday" thread...
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Ok ...i actually just read that post! Now i dont feel so bad about my buddy lol! So weird how everyones story is so different when it comes to comfort zones lol!
Last jab at my buddy-" dude you ran that little drop perfect good job buddy!" "You mean that one i allmost drowned on!?" Lol!
 

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Just like on a powder day.... there are no friends on a powder day, unless they can keep up.
Shame them into growing balls, explain to them that they can't hang with the level of the other boaters, or tell them the reality is that kayaking is not for them.
Sometimes people just need tough love to understand when they are in over their head.
Don't waste your limited runs on other people. Keep up, or get a raft.
 

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Drugs, lot's of drugs. Ya, that's it, lot's of drugs!
They really do help a lot sometimes!!!


I think about at half of getting good at this stuff, is overcoming fear.
Same with skiing, dropping cliffs, heck, a lot of days at work, for me!
At first you learn to distance your self from it, to separate yourself from reality of effects, at least I did. Eventually it quits really bothering you anymore.
You come to terms with mortality.
Everyday I get out of get out of out of bed, it really COULD be the day that I die, this life is going to fucking kill you, and the sooner you stair that fact in the face, and get past it, the better off you are, and way happier, to.
Not that you shouldn’t put in a good effort not to die, but your gonna fucking die, all there is to it, so might as well get over it.

It’s stupid to fear the inevitable, when you think about it!
 

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" well my psychologist says I'm good to fly" is my standard answer when asked, how's everything going up here, by passenger's sticking their head in the cock-pit to chat. We went through a week of psychological testing and two meetings with a psychologist before getting hired by a major airline. One testing process included how well we separate our self-preservation(going completely
nuts) with how we complete various tasks, comprehensively and methodically in the simulators under different emergency scenario's. A waste of time to me, because I slipped through some how and my kids don't even trust me driving their cars.
 
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