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So I've just recently began getting on some whitewater. Bought a cat and run a few trips this year. I have many river miles but almost all in a canoe and on calmer stretches of river. Realizing my novice, I've scoured the pages of MB for all I can learn. Very vibrant, rich culture whitewater inspires.

One thing I seem to continually recognize as the elephant in the forum is a not-so-underlying distrust, almost an animosity between kayakers and rafters. I have to say I'm so new I don't understand. Sort of like your first year in SLC.

Seems kayakers feel rafters lack some version of integrity on the river. They can't be trusted in a situation. Rafters seem to think the best use for a kayak is as a groover.

I hope some of you will help me understand this version of a culture war in what I approached as a kind lifestyle.
 

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no tengo
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I think many would disagree with you. Its not so much what craft you are in it is who you boat with.
 

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Mania has part of it... I'd add, Know Thyself. That usually dictates who you'll boat with and why. If you're going to share the river then it doesn't matter what type of boat you use.

Speaking of which, I met up with some very excellent rafters on Shoshone last week that allowed me to join their shuttle and kayak a lap with them. No animosity there!
 

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Find out for yourself, if you just people just by the shape of their boat, the color of their skin, or their religion, you're just going to be part of the problem. Nice people are nice, mean people suck, no matter what they row/paddle. Get on with boating and don't worry about stereotyping people already.
 

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I do both. I've not encountered much animosity on the river, but trash talking comes with the territory. There are going to be jerks out there, but it certainly isn't the norm. Boaters in general are very nice people. Sorry you are getting a bad impression.
 

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Most all I've seen is good natured ribbing. Lots of horsing around, but we all know we're there for each other when the need arises. Well, I don't know about that Grif fellow!
 

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I have met some great people here, both rafters and kayakers. I have caught (and given) shuttles to both, without any issues or hassles. Shhh don't tell anyone, but I have even gone so far as to go boating with both rafters and kayakers at the time, together! Most people here are kindred spirits who live to get on the river.

I have also seen the ugly side, those belittle you for your gear, or think that they are better for having this or that. To me the bigger difference is those that boat and those that don't.

It doesn't matter what you use. Any day on the river is better then the best day on land.
 

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Thus far I fall into the "rafter' category (tried kayaking and it wasn't for me at the time). In so far as I can tell- nearly everyone I meet on the river is a little crazy and a lot of fun, regardless of what craft they are using.

However, I have noticed that I have gotten glares from kayakers who are surfing who don't want to move out of the way for my raft. As a rafter going downstream, I usually have only one chance to hit something whereas a kayaker can stay and play for hours if they choose. Also, IMHO, kayakers are a bit more manuverable than a bit fat raft, so- it would be nice if a kayaker who saw a raft coming for them, to politely move out of the way for the 23 seconds it takes me to go on by.

I don't have any animosity towards kayakers, but there are times when going down the river I'm thinkin' "really? - couldn't you wait a few seconds for me to get a good hit and then go back to surfin or whatever".

Kayakers- if I'm off in my observations, please feel free to enlighten me.

Kendi
 

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Most all I've seen is good natured ribbing. Lots of horsing around, but we all know we're there for each other when the need arises. Well, I don't know about that Grif fellow!
This. Most people I know who boat have done both, although they tend to prefer one over the other. However you choose to go down the river, it's all fun.

The real hate is reserved for the fishermen.*


*Just kidding Travis!
 

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However, I have noticed that I have gotten glares from kayakers who are surfing who don't want to move out of the way for my raft. As a rafter going downstream, I usually have only one chance to hit something whereas a kayaker can stay and play for hours if they choose. Also, IMHO, kayakers are a bit more manuverable than a bit fat raft, so- it would be nice if a kayaker who saw a raft coming for them, to politely move out of the way for the 23 seconds it takes me to go on by.

I don't have any animosity towards kayakers, but there are times when going down the river I'm thinkin' "really? - couldn't you wait a few seconds for me to get a good hit and then go back to surfin or whatever".

Kayakers- if I'm off in my observations, please feel free to enlighten me.

Kendi
Well, if there is a collision between a kayak and a raft I think we all know who is going to win. If they're that uptight, they should be fishermen.*

*Just kidding Travis!
 

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V for Victory
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I've never had a problem with a rafter nor a fisherman.

Rafters have collected yardsales and given me rides and beta.
 

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I started out in kayaks and never ran anything with a rafter. Different gear, different lines etc. Then I discovered almost every rafter had a cooler of beer and turkey legs.

I bought a raft this year.
 

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Being primarily a rafter but also a kayaker I have no problem with either. However, I have come extremely close to running over and knocking out surfers. The Glenwood wave has attracked them by the hundreds! Many yet seem to realize that I will run your ass over if you are in my line. With that said, I would love to try surfing on the river.
 

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Now, if you want to talk about kayakers and tubers.....
I have no problem with the tubers...yes, i cringe when I see the ones that have no pfd, or protective gear, getting worked in a hole...oh, and did I mention not knowing how to swim??? However, I have witnessed some ridiculous behavior on some kayaker's behalf when it comes to the tubers...in particular, this one guy in Golden that kept yelling, "Wait, there's more trash coming down" every time a tuber appeared!
I was actually a little embarrassed for this guy and his miserable attitude!
 

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I'll summarize it by saying this; rafters haul their bitches, turkey legs and schlitz on overnighters, kayakers have a circle jerk with whiskey and eat oatmeal for breakfast...nuf said join the crew.
 

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turkey legs and schlitz on overnighters
No, no, no you've got it wrong - let's try four course dinners and Guinness with fresh-baked brownies for dessert.
 

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I think kayakers tend (many exceptions) to spend more days on the water because there is more accessible to us and it is less of a process to prep the gear. This also leads to a more diverse skill set (I would consider myself an 'expert' rafter too so I feel I can make this judgement). Unfortunately, this can also lead to a sense of superiority but it seems rare that it then leads to animosity. We're all friends on the river and there for the same reason. I do get frustrated if I'm having a great surf and see a raft approaching but watching the faces of the people getting that one good hit is enough to make it worth sliding over. We as humans are exceptionally good at finding and exploiting differences amongst ourselves so its easy to do between kayakers/rafters, westerners/easterners, locals/tourists, black/white, whatever you choose if you're so inclined.
 

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...I don't have any animosity towards kayakers, but there are times when going down the river I'm thinkin' "really? - couldn't you wait a few seconds for me to get a good hit and then go back to surfin or whatever"....
I'm also a rafter, never even tried kayaking. My goal is to stay upright and dry, which seems to be contrary to kayaking! :-D The only thing I see between the two groups mentioned is that they may be different breeds of the same animal. We all love the river, we just spend our time differently on it.

Anyway, I don't think it matters whther its a rafter, kayaker, fisherman or tuber. Like someone else said, there are good people and jerks in all of those groups. I was on the Eagle a few weeks ago, and a guy pulled out onto the river right in front of me as I headed into Trestle. We ended up going under the bridge and into the rapid side by side, and I couldn't use my left oar (should have used it in the middle of his chest I guess). My point being, the guy should have moved earlier or waited for my to go by so we BOTH would have had more room to run it.

I've also seen rafters and kayakers alike eddy out, slow down, speed up, etc to give each other room on the river. No animosity, just common courtesy. Everyone waves to each other, says hello, etc. I see people in all crafts helping each other carry boats to and from the river, load trailers, etc. The same could happen between a kayaker and a raft. Or a tuber and a kayak. Etc.

In my experience, I would say that there is far less animosity or negative experiences than there is a common love for the sport and positive experiences. Like a car wreck on the highway or other bad things in our society, maybe it's just that the bad experiences stand out more?

Anyway, I hope whatever animosity you sense is the exception, not the rule...
 
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