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Being a nube :mrgreen:, but wanting to learn I have a question. When you first started what did you do to get better? When did you know you were ready to take the next step? Best advice you ever got? I will on the Poudre Filter run this Sat morning in a double ducky.
 

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I joined up with boaters who were better than I was, who had the patience to take me down runs I could handle. I read a lot of things online, though I'm not sure it helped any. Then, as soon as I could, I started trying to make easy runs harder, catching difficult eddies, etc.
 

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I acquired tons of literature, DVD's and books on strokes and rolling. Then spent the winter working on paddle strokes and rolling in flat water. Every minute spent on flat water training pays dividends. Eric Jackson wrote a book called Paddle Strokes. The book is very well laid out and easy to understand. Go through it step by step and learn the drills. Along the way you will learn boat control also.

As far as knowing when your ready. I think that is more of a personal issue. You'll know when your ready.
 

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When I first started paddling, I SWAM! A LOT! But didn't give up. You go with people who are better than you but patient, and know your ability and can get your gear if you swim. Running the same areas over again give me confidence to make easy runs harder too.
Best advice I ever got was to pay attention, look where I want to go, and relax.
 

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Rocky Mountain Adventures has some great one/two days kayaking classes you can take. Also boat with somebody better than you and who wont mind cleaning up your yard sales. See if you can find somebody to take you to a lake to learn some basics such as brace, roll, and strokes. Filter Plant is a great run to learn on enjoy!
 

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I started in a tube and a canoe. running play parks is always a good place to start. Golden, lyons, boulder. Apple valley, chutes, filter plant were all runs i did. Then started up the chain to things like Shelly's cottages, bridges, rustics, foxton, waterton, fractions, upper eagle, lower eagle. Then moved on to IVish stuff like Numbers, Upper mish, poudre park, lower clear, dumont, upper CC and so on and so forth.

I swam a bit in the beginning and really put some flat water time into getting my roll. Then battle tested it in play parks, alot.

Best thing to do is boat, every chance you get. Be serious about getting better, it won't happen unless you push it. There is a fine line between pushing it and knowing your limits, it is okay to walk. You don't want to end up having lost all confidence.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
This is good stuff. Looks like I will be in the Tempe Town lake (Phoenix, AZ) this summer getting better. The water will be warm and gross. Keep the post comming, this is a great little community forum.
 

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LOL, Tempe Town Lake, yes it will be gross but it will have less broken glass than the Salt River tubing section. Have fun!
 

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Now EJ has a bunch of DVDs that have made a huge difference in my paddling.

Buy old gear, because you going to swim and lose it, or it will get beat up.

Find people who are kind and patient, and who are willing to show you the ropes.

Be patient with yourself. Take your time and run as many rivers as you can as many times as you can. Every river mile counts.
 

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Got tired of thinking about kayaking, bought a boat, convinced a buddy to get in it too at the same time, and went for it. We kept it to Class II stuff for awhile and had a great time. But I swam sooooooooo much, got pretty good at self rescue at the same time. And I watched a sh*t load of youtube "how to" videos for kayaking.
 

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I just started kayaking this past month and I have been watching endless youtube videos since the winter time. Seems like all the skills I picked up from heading out to still water everyday even if it's only for an hour.
 

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Watch yer edge!

Here's how I got into kayaking. I was an engineering student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. My instructor for a class my junior year was Guy Babbitt and every Monday morning he'd come a few minutes late into class with bloodshot eyes and full of energy. We'd ask him what's up and he'd reply that he just returned from a great weekend of boating in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan or Minnesota. So I got interested and before I knew it I was spending hours of each day on Lake Mendota committed to learning how to roll a kayak. I still remember the cheers that came from three guys who had watched me for days and days as I floundered in the slimy green water.

Anyway, my advice is to spend lots of time on flatwater working on your edge control. Get the boat as far on edge as you can and brace before flipping over. Work on keeping your boat on an edge wherever you paddle. Do circles, figure 8s, whatever, just keep the boat on edge. Paddle forward, paddle backward. Make the edge transitions nice and smooth. The better you get on flatwater the better you'll be in moving water and ultimately on the whitewater. You'll definitely swim less often if you hone your flatwater skills and develop a kickass brace.

Happy paddling!

M2
 

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Best thing you could do is join a paddle club in your area. If you don't have a club down there like Colorado Whitewater, you might be able to hook up with one of the shops. A lot of them offer a "club" membership and that will get you discounts on lessons and a "support group". Most shops also have bullitin boards with other boaters looking for people. it gets really expensive to keep paying for lessons without something like a club, but if that's your only option, take it. Also, you can look for camps and clinics in your area. The more boating buddies you have, the more you will get out. The more you get out, the better you will get.
Just a warning, though. You are going to get all kinds of advice from all kinds of boaters. You are better off taking the advice of a few people that you trust and not trying to take all of it. It will make you nuts and they don't always agree.
Be patient, because very few of us just jumped in a boat and learned right away. It can be an extremely frustrating experience for some. You will probably either love it or hate it. If you love it, be prepared for it to take over your life. It's more of a lifestyle than a hobby.
Plan on being in your boat A LOT at first. The longer you wait between boating, the more you will have to re-learn.
Good luck and welcome to boating!

Kim
 

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I think it's what you feel comfortable with......understanding what the river can do to you is very important......but if you look at something, consider the consequences, and decide you're comfortable with it.....then do it.

My first few miles in a kayak....ever....was on the Poudre, Bridges. I swam five times in the first mile. Loved every second of it.

However, I kinda understood river dynamics a bit before jumping into a kayak, I'd been rafting since I was a kid and wasn't really scared of swimming whitewater.

It just comes down to understanding the consequences, finding the right people to guide/teach you, and finding a "comfort zone" regarding how much you want to push yourself.
 

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Many years ago I broke both feet in a fall and could not climb or hike for awhile. My best friend took me out to Boulder Creek to show me I could have fun sitting down. Fell in love with it and my now ex wife bought me a kayak for my birthday.

Right away I was going with friends that were much better than me and just following their lines. For the first few years I always had a Class II roll on Class IV runs, so I got good at staying upright. If I did anything different it would be to have a bomb proof Class IV roll BEFORE I got on Class III runs.

Got old, got bad shoulders, got bad knees, got a drinking habit and pretty much gave up kayaking for catboating....so it goes....
 

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1. During the season spend as much time paddling as possible in both time and days, with as many back to back days as possible.
2. During the off-season spend get at least once session a week in at the pool for practice. Kayak polo is a great way to do that.
3. Once you get your roll down play every chance you get during each run. Work on eddy squirts, pop-ups, surfing, etc. The more you play the more you'll roll, the more you roll the better you'll get. Don't be afraid to roll. Rolling 50-100 times during a run (mostly while playing) is excellent practice.
4. Play parks can offer great roll practice in a more controlled environment. You can also learn a lot being in a hole (surfing, rolling, etc).
5. Once you've got your skills down, try and join a multi-day paddling trip. Your skills and confidence can really take off being on a "new" river for back to back days.

Cheers!
 
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