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I don't think there is a clean correlation showing that guides or private boaters are better or worse. Plenty of shitty guides out there and plenty of shitty privates. I think it is more in line with the amount of days you've spent on the water, any training you've gotten, and trying different boats/methods of getting downriver.
 

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I was unable to find such an example using Google. From reading I suppose it is possible for a paddle rafts to experience dramatic weight shift in a rapid, but that's an example of people pulling a boat over, not a wave.

If you found a video, I'd love to see it. I don't think it's possible. Energy discharge in a breaking wave is always in the direction of travel, which in the case of moving water, is upstream.

It's easy to visualize if you think of shore break on the ocean. Ocean waves and river waves are similar. They both move through water. In the ocean, the water is still and the waves move. In a river, the wave is still and the water moves. Seeing a raft flip downstream would be like seeing that same raft in shorebreak flip towards the ocean. Never happen.
I've seen videos paddle boats going over a steep pourover, hit the slackwater behind it, and then all the passengers slide to the downstream side and the boat flips downstream. Get enough momentum and stop it and a lot of weird stuff can happen. You are right though...most flips are upstream.

I'll go look through the carnage videos on youtube and see if I can find an example.

I agree that raft guides run the gamut from insufferable assholes to super awesome, friendly and helpful. Most are somewhere in between. One of them was a crazy dude that we ended up involuntarily evacuating at Black Tail Canyon because he threw a hissy fit and started threatening people. Sat Phone calls to dispatch and they came and got him the next morning. Its a long story then that...but not gonna tell it again.
 

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When you are on the water, wear your PFD. Statistically speaking, all else is moot. Ignore the egos and enjoy the river because fact is, the drive to and from is the most dangerous part. Float on!
You're not the boss of me. Sometimes I drive without my seatbelt on either.
 

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If you really did abandon a trip member in the GC, and it’s not hyperbole, that’s not acceptable. Dick or not, a group that begins a trip has the obligation to see every member safely to the takeout if possible. Ostracize him, have a nice man to man talk, duct tape his mouth or him to his boat?, all acceptable depending on the depth of his depravity. Maybe even trade him to another group that will take him for beer or ice (stretching the regs a little here). But dump him man? No way. Sorry, but just sayin’
 

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I think there is also something to be said about not all raft guides are equal. There are guides who are completely satisfied running the same class 2 or 3 section for decades and think they are the holy grail for doing so. Then there are guides who travel the world guiding rivers both commercial and private. Yes some of them are ass hats too but there knowledge in reading water and running trips is much more divers.I ’ve meet numerous browns guides who have been there for over 5 years who have never run a private multi day and will tell you all about how everything your doing is wrong
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Found one... there are a number of downstream flips on a shallow steep pourover in this one...

Woohoo the elusive downstream flip! I'm not sure pulling a boat over on top of you counts but it was a fun video. I have to grin watching clients trying to dig out of the hole while the guide digs deep and pulls them back in. He's like, you paid for it, you gonna get it!

I went paddle rafting once. Boat full of guides. Clackamas river. Offseason training. River was flood. We rounded a bend into a powerful ledge hole. We got to the cusp and I knew there was zero chance so I simply stepped out. Guess I figured my chances were better swimming than flipping in a boat of full swinging paddles. They didn't invite me back, which is okay because not knowing the river, I trusted these guys. They clearly did not expect what we encountered at those flows and a few of them had bad swims, refused to get back in the boat and walked the road. It was a maelstrom and we shouldn't have been there.
 

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My experience...no big difference between the privates and the guides in terms of number of jerks; people are mostly nice and respond when treated with respect. But, there are jerks in both camps.

As for safety, I would assume the guides are safer for MANY reasons. They have strict policies and requirements that must be followed to maintain their licenses and insurance. No alcohol on the river, nobody in the kitchen, they setup/breakdown camp, they pull folks into the big boats on certain stretches of the river, they run the same stretch over and over and over, etc. The other thing that I always try to keep in mind when I am near a guide...this is their living. I am out just having fun but I am not working for a higher tip, worried about 12 folks with little to negative experience with water, 12 different personalities that I only met this morning or yesterday, etc. Many of us view them as having a great job...and they do. But don't forget that these folks have a stressful job too and their ability to get some seriously out-of-shape people down a river safely while maintaining some level of civility amongst the passengers...not for me.

I try to give them some leeway. Although, I have, once or twice, had a discussion with a guide on etiquette.
 

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My experience...no big difference between the privates and the guides in terms of number of jerks; people are mostly nice and respond when treated with respect. But, there are jerks in both camps.

As for safety, I would assume the guides are safer for MANY reasons. They have strict policies and requirements that must be followed to maintain their licenses and insurance. No alcohol on the river, nobody in the kitchen, they setup/breakdown camp, they pull folks into the big boats on certain stretches of the river, they run the same stretch over and over and over, etc. The other thing that I always try to keep in mind when I am near a guide...this is their living. I am out just having fun but I am not working for a higher tip, worried about 12 folks with little to negative experience with water, 12 different personalities that I only met this morning or yesterday, etc. Many of us view them as having a great job...and they do. But don't forget that these folks have a stressful job too and their ability to get some seriously out-of-shape people down a river safely while maintaining some level of civility amongst the passengers...not for me.

I try to give them some leeway. Although, I have, once or twice, had a discussion with a guide on etiquette.
This is a good word! Guiding is fun, but sometimes it suuuuuuuucks. People are challenging at times. And even though it's fun to be on the river everyday, it's still a job, and sometimes jobs are not fun.

Also, most guides (not all), understand river etiquette because we're on the river every day. My experience with private boaters and river etiquette has been a mixed bag. For example, private boaters cut right into the middle of our pod ALL THE TIME. I've seen private boaters do that before rapids, and even during rapids. It's wild. Commercial companies usually don't do that to each other. And if we are going to pass another company, we'll connect with their trip leader to ask if it's ok for us to pass.

Because we're on the river every day, we tend to know river etiquette. Private boaters that come out a couple of times a season may not always know proper river etiquette. Again, a lack of river etiquette can happen with anyone, but I do see it far less with commercial companies as we're on the river way more than the average private boater. Just in raw numbers, we have more river miles than the average private boater. Even the most enthusiastic private boater that is on the water three or four days a week is not on the water six days a week like we are.

That being said, I do see commercial companies that think they own the river. Sometimes when I am on a private trip (even on the river I guide commercially) companies treat me like I don't matter, or I don't know what I am doing. So, I can see why private boaters have challenges with commercial companies.

All that being said, as one of the posters above mentioned, there are good people and bad people everywhere. It's not exclusive to one camp.
 

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I don't know, maybe it's an age thing. Most of the folks I boat with were guides at some point in youth. We have enjoyed sharing this experience with our families, with our kids growing up together on multi-day trips. For the most part, we are all fairly chill both on and off the water.
 

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My experience...no big difference between the privates and the guides in terms of number of jerks; people are mostly nice and respond when treated with respect. But, there are jerks in both camps.

As for safety, I would assume the guides are safer for MANY reasons. They have strict policies and requirements that must be followed to maintain their licenses and insurance. No alcohol on the river, nobody in the kitchen, they setup/breakdown camp, they pull folks into the big boats on certain stretches of the river, they run the same stretch over and over and over, etc. The other thing that I always try to keep in mind when I am near a guide...this is their living. I am out just having fun but I am not working for a higher tip, worried about 12 folks with little to negative experience with water, 12 different personalities that I only met this morning or yesterday, etc. Many of us view them as having a great job...and they do. But don't forget that these folks have a stressful job too and their ability to get some seriously out-of-shape people down a river safely while maintaining some level of civility amongst the passengers...not for me.

I try to give them some leeway. Although, I have, once or twice, had a discussion with a guide on etiquette.
This is a good word! Guiding is fun, but sometimes it suuuuuuuucks. People are challenging at times. And even though it's fun to be on the river everyday, it's still a job, and sometimes jobs are not fun.

Also, most guides (not all), understand river etiquette because we're on the river every day. My experience with private boaters and river etiquette has been a mixed bag. For example, private boaters cut right into the middle of our pod ALL THE TIME. I've seen private boaters do that before rapids, and even during rapids. It's wild. Commercial companies usually don't do that to each other. And if we are going to pass another company, we'll connect with their trip leader to ask if it's ok for us to pass.

Because we're on the river every day, we tend to know river etiquette. Private boaters that come out a couple of times a season may not always know proper river etiquette. Again, a lack of river etiquette can happen with anyone, but I do see it far less with commercial companies as we're on the river way more than the average private boater. Just in raw numbers, we have more river miles than the average private boater. Even the most enthusiastic private boater that is on the water three or four days a week is not on the water six days a week like we are.

That being said, I do see commercial companies that think they own the river. Sometimes when I am on a private trip (even on the river I guide commercially) companies treat me like I don't matter, or I don't know what I am doing. So, I can see why private boaters have challenges with commercial companies.

All that being said, as one of the posters above mentioned, there are good people and bad people everywhere. It's not exclusive to one camp.


As I read these responses I chuckle to myself and can totally relate as far as my personal choice of boating. Being a packrafter I get looked down upon, talked down to, trash talked, and have even been straight up told that they hoped I drown for having no business being on "their" river in a pool toy - yes I was told that by a kayaker on numbers @ ~ 1800cfs. They don't know my boating skills and experience, yet they make assumptions. Seems like packrafting is somewhat new to the lower 48 and not really "mainstream" so most kayakers and rafters are somewhat "ignorant" to what can be ran in a packraft based upon the boaters experience and skills.
 

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All that video proves is there are a lot less smart people then dumb. All the smart ones cruised by on the left and had a nice hike and lunch.
 

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I'm not a guide, but have some friends who guide. I feel for all of you.

I have seen a few guides with poor etiquette and one company with horrendous etiquette (multiple asshole interactions, must be endemic to their company)...but by and large, the commercial industry is filled with really great people, both business owners, guides on the river, bus drivers, etc. It must be tiresome herding cats all the time.

My biggest frustration with commercial groups is when all the customers get off the bus at the put-in and stand around in the other lane of the ramp, busy getting selfies, and generally getting in the way of privates who are trying to rig and get ready. It happens over and over and over again. And I really don't hold this against the tourons who don't know any better, or against the guides who probably told this group and the last 11 groups to get off the bus and clear the loading area while they are busy trying to quickly rig and launch and get PFDs and helmets on the guides and keep family groups together and assign seating and and and... you guides must all breathe a massive sigh of relief when you get all the cats herded onto boats and shove off and finally have them contained on your boat!
 

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Discussion Starter #36
If you really did abandon a trip member in the GC, and it’s not hyperbole, that’s not acceptable. Dick or not, a group that begins a trip has the obligation to see every member safely to the takeout if possible. Ostracize him, have a nice man to man talk, duct tape his mouth or him to his boat?, all acceptable depending on the depth of his depravity. Maybe even trade him to another group that will take him for beer or ice (stretching the regs a little here). But dump him man? No way. Sorry, but just sayin’
Not dick. Dangerous psychopath. It was cast him or bludgeon him for medevac. I'll let you ponder the gravity of a situation required for such a decision. We formed a united front and cast him by force. Once he knew it was over, it was the first time I ever saw him smile. He stated his intention from the beginning was to destroy the trip, and evidently found great satisfaction in his success. We posted guard that night to make sure he didn't hike back up the canyon while people were sleeping.

After the trip we found out his personal info was fraudulent. Nobody knows where he went. He was a FB friend of one of the party and the TL needed an oarsman. Very foolish. His sabotage cost thousands. The emotional damage he inflicted will be life long for some. He is a monster.

I appreciate what you are saying. I believe if you knew what we endured, you would instead be criticizing why we waited so long. And justly so. We failed. I failed. I had opportunity to prevent this and did not act.
 

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I agree that there are some 'jerks' in both commercial and private worlds. But I don't necessarily think it is even steven. As many have stated, guides are doing a job - privates are having fun. I also believe that on average, guides are probably more knowledgeable than privates. HOWEVER, there is a fine line between trying to help someone by giving suggestions and trying to control someone. Granted guides are definitely used to controlling their custies, as it should be. I have seen many instances where guides on a private trip cross the line from helping to controlling. The opposite (privates on commercial trips being controlling), just doesn't happen.
 

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Not dick. Dangerous psychopath. It was cast him or bludgeon him for medevac. I'll let you ponder the gravity of a situation required for such a decision. We formed a united front and cast him by force. Once he knew it was over, it was the first time I ever saw him smile. He stated his intention from the beginning was to destroy the trip, and evidently found great satisfaction in his success. We posted guard that night to make sure he didn't hike back up the canyon while people were sleeping.

After the trip we found out his personal info was fraudulent. Nobody knows where he went. He was a FB friend of one of the party and the TL needed an oarsman. Very foolish. His sabotage cost thousands. The emotional damage he inflicted will be life long for some. He is a monster.

I appreciate what you are saying. I believe if you knew what we endured, you would instead be criticizing why we waited so long. And justly so. We failed. I failed. I had opportunity to prevent this and did not act.
I can’t honestly say what I would have done in your situation, clearly worse than any I’ve experienced or even heard of. I hope to never be tested in such a way. I’d like to think my morals and ideals would stand the test, but can easily see where I would fail, esp if I felt any of us were at risk.
 

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I was on this trip and was witness to all of this, I was the one who told him "you are not welcome in this camp". I had my wife and 10yo son on this trip... dude was a mess!!! Never really heard what happened after the trip. I was just glad to be away from all of that...

On a happier note I'm super stoked to run the grand again this year with my favorite folks and boating crew...

On a side note @Rightoarleft is one of the most easy going folks I've ever boated with, truly a genuine good person!
 

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Discussion Starter #40
I can’t honestly say what I would have done in your situation, clearly worse than any I’ve experienced or even heard of. I hope to never be tested in such a way. I’d like to think my morals and ideals would stand the test, but can easily see where I would fail, esp if I felt any of us were at risk.
It was a surreal experience watching this man transform the minds of a group into a servitude of fear. A couple of us could see it happening but by the time we really caught on, it was too late. His calculated lies and manipulation had taken hold and few dared speak against him. I spoke out. He then began to instill a belief that I was an enemy of the group. It worked. And that's when I began to be afraid. I've never witnessed a man exercise such power over minds. These were hard-core backcountry recreationalists. Longtime rafters, climbers and canyoneers. These are not weak people. Nor is he a large man.

Trust me, I know how stupid this sounds. Nobody can be prepared for such a test. I don't think it counts as a learning experience because I'm not sure what actually happened. Seemed almost supernatural at times. The group doesn't talk about it.
 
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