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Discussion Starter #1
I'm just looking for a little guidance as a newcomer to whitewater. I've gone on about half a dozen rafting trips, class IV and V, as a tourist (paid an established company, paddled the river with a guide, group, etc). I've always wanted to be more involved but never had the time or money for more than an occasional trip. It seems I'm in a good position this year and would like to learn to kayak and go on as many rafting and kayaking trips as possible.

Here are my two basic goals and I would welcome input on either.

1. Get as much rafting experience as possible, especially with my the local river, The Salt. I'm going to try and shoot for one major trip a month at minimum, with as many one or two day Salt trips as I can squeeze in between. If anyone has an rafting company recommendations for the Salt, that would be awesome.

2. Learn to kayak whitewater. I kayaked a few sections the Kennebec River in an inflatable (Ducky) once. I don't have any experience outside of that. I'm looking to take lessons, classes, etc. I would like to find a school within a day's drive. Currently thinking about Sierra South. I haven't been able to find anything in the desert of Arizona. If anyone has suggestions for someone in Phoenix who wants to learn, I was expecting to have to make a few trips to the Kern but would like to learn some basics locally. Any input here would be great.

Thanks!
 

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Sign up for a raft guide training program and become a river guide. Work your ass off for little pay for a summer and learn to kayak with friends after work. You'll be a pro with tons of on water experience and know everything you need to in no time. Meaning you'll be a retarded rookie for 3-4 years max....

Really, it's the best way to dive in.
 

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Paddle Clubs

If you were in Colorado, I would tell you to join Colorado Whitewater. Unfortunately, I don't know of any kayaking or whitewater clubs in Arizona. I am sure they are out there, you will just have to look. That is your best (least expensive) bet. They will hook you up with kayak lessons and river trips at very little cost. I hope you find one. If not, make the trip to CO and join us. For $35 a year you can get all the kayaking you can stand. Check out coloradowhitewater.org and americanwhitewater.org.

Good luck. Hope to CYOTR!

Kim
 

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Desert Paddlers Main Page - Home for Arizona Kayakers

SAPC_Home

Canoe and Kayak Clubs Paddling Boating | Canoe & Kayak Magazine

Phoenix Kayak Club (Phoenix, AZ) - Meetup.com

I don't know anything about these clubs...but I have found that my local clubs are good a good way to meet people that will teach (for fee or free). They are a good way to get on the river, where you will meet more people (for the most part kayakers are always willing to lend a hand), and rapidly expand you ability. That being said, I am not sure about the meetup thing, but it is an option...personally I would go with a club affiliated with ACA or AW

American Whitewater - Welcome
Home-American Canoe Association

Hope that helps.
 

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Paddle clubs

If you were in Colorado, I would tell you to join Colorado Whitewater. Unfortunately, I don't know of any kayaking or whitewater clubs in Arizona. I am sure they are out there, you will just have to look. That is your best (least expensive) bet. They will hook you up with kayak lessons and river trips at very little cost. I hope you find one. If not, make the trip to CO and join us. For $35 a year you can get all the kayaking you can stand. Check out coloradowhitewater.org and americanwhitewater.org.

Good luck. Hope to CYOTR!

Kim
Suggestion for What's new: Colorado Whitewater Rafting | Rafting in Colorado | River Rafting Colorado | Colorado Rafting | RoyalGorgeRafting.net Have a great season in 2010.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
A mod should remove that crap if they see it. Posters like Wazoo aren't trying to contribute to the community in anyway, only to get their site higher in the search engine ranks. Often they aren't even associated with the companies they post, just paid by a gorilla marketing firm to spam the forums.

So back on topic, I've scheduled a three day kayak class in Kernville, CA during the second week of March. I'm expecting it to be cold, but can anyone tell me just how crazy I am? Weather.com shows average night temps in the 30's, and I'll be camping. Any idea what to expect on the water? Freezing water temps? I'm told wet suits are provided but I'm committed to the sport and want to be comfortable as possible so I'm going to start buying some of my own clothes and equipment. Any suggestions on what to buy, bring, and wear? I was thinking I would start with an underlayer and something for my feet. Neoprene booties? Any suggestions are welcome.
 

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A mod should remove that crap if they see it. Posters like Wazoo aren't trying to contribute to the community in anyway, only to get their site higher in the search engine ranks. Often they aren't even associated with the companies they post, just paid by a gorilla marketing firm to spam the forums.

So back on topic, I've scheduled a three day kayak class in Kernville, CA during the second week of March. I'm expecting it to be cold, but can anyone tell me just how crazy I am? Weather.com shows average night temps in the 30's, and I'll be camping. Any idea what to expect on the water? Freezing water temps? I'm told wet suits are provided but I'm committed to the sport and want to be comfortable as possible so I'm going to start buying some of my own clothes and equipment. Any suggestions on what to buy, bring, and wear? I was thinking I would start with an underlayer and something for my feet. Neoprene booties? Any suggestions are welcome.
You're not crazy to be going to the Kern then but it will be a bit chilly. The air temp won't be an issue really but you'll be paddling sections on the Upper Kern which is all snow melt making for some chilly water. I've guided the last three seasons on the Kern and when i'm guiding out there I wear a full wetsuit, splash jacket, and neoprene socks (with some river shoes over them) all the way through May and into June. You would probably be okay wearing something like that but you might get a little cold especially if you are spending a lost of time in the cold water (wet exiting and learning to roll).

Whenever I kayak on the Upper Kern I wear a dry top instead of a splash top and usually add a layer or two underneath it (I strongly prefer to be closer to hot than cold). If I were planning on wearing a dry top and taking a lot of swims I would want to couple it with some dry pants. Dry top + dry pants and a base layer or two would probably be ideal for warmth but also quite expensive (couple hundred a piece). If this is out of your price range go with wetsuit (full length) + splash top.

If you are looking to gain more knowledge about water I know that there is at least one guide school offered in the Kern River Valley in mid-april. I would highly recommend going to guide school if it fits into the budget. It'll teach you a lot and it's a bunch of fun hanging out with a group of eager and new boaters.

I know I gave a lot of different options for apparel, sorry about that. Hope it helps a little bit at least.

Feel free to email me at dfindley11 [at] gmail [dot] com if you have any more questions that I could attempt to answer more specifically.

David
 

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Kernville

I am assuming that you are taking a class with Sierra South in Kernville. If so, you will be in good hands. The shop is full of very skilled teachers and they have some great sections of river to work with there. I used to travel there every spring for a freestyle event in early April. The weather then was typically warm during the day and cold at night. The highs that time of year were often in the 80's which made for happy paddling.

That said, the water was always cold. If you were in the market for some gear it would be worth your while to invest in a good dry top. If you really are committed to learning to paddle your money will be well spent. In the west you will wear a dry top more often than you won't. In Colorado we wear them even in the heat of summer because of the cold water.

Certainly learning to paddle in the spring will be trial by fire (or ice) but if you wait until it is warm outside you won't have any water left to learn of. You should search the net and see if there are any paddling clubs in your area or if any of them have pool sessions that you could attend. Getting in a boat in the comfort of an indoor pool will help your comfort level when you hit the river.

Dan Brabec
 

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fresh meat...... you will do fine, if I can do it, so can you
 
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