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Discussion Starter #1
I recently had a chance to R2 my smaller raft with a buddy. It was both of our first times R2ing. It was a blast, but it identified that neither of us had a solid plan for commands.

We had the person on the right side of the boat be the "guide", as we are both right handed and thus had a little bit more natural ability to draw/pry/J stroke from that side. And we used simple commands like "Bow right", "forward", "back", "Bow left" to get down the river. We got down the river just fine in class III+ water, but it certainly wasn't as smooth as if we had a more traditional guide in the back of the boat.

So...

I was wondering what everyone else does for R2 situations.
 

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R2 is a fluid situation. I like being on the left and the right and have no personal preference as to where I am in the boat as the "Guide". My boat,(Super Puma) So I call commands, but R2 is more fluid. When I stared paddle boating, I used to yell commands, but realized that palledlers don't respond to being yelled at and having no voice at the end of a run sucks. Now I "call" comands in a firm, but reassuring voice. Once you commit to a move and start calling comands, do your best to make that move, but always have a plan B and C in the back of your head. When done correctly and with a good R2 partner, you almost never have to call comands. It ends up being more of a conversation about the river. "Hey look ahead, I think we should be river right at that S curve", or "hey we have to move from right to left on this drop". I tend to ask for more or less power from my partner as well so I do not get over tired. If I say "relax" my partner know that I am in control of the boat and should not be making paddle moves. We can then discuss the next move or rapid. Some partners need more "talk" from me, while others have a better idea of how to read water and we just have a normal conversation as we manuver down river. The worst partners try to set the boat the way they want and always have a paddle lilly dipping in the water, no matter what I have asked them to do. They usually don't get a call the next time we head out.

Sounds like you guys started to have more of a conversation as you went down. Continue to boat together and discuss rapids and moves on the fly. Things will sync up and you will get on the same page.
 

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My wife and I almost split because of multiple bad rafting outings. It was because I couldn't read the water. As a class IV paddler, I followed commands real good, but didn't know how to get the boat down the river; I kept turning the boat because I paddled too hard.

Like brendo, when both read the water the same, it is fluid. If one is more skilled, ask questions or even try to guide a rapid or two solo from the back. Once you know how to make the boat go where you want it to go, a R2 will be that much more fun.


Good luck!
 

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Great thread. I'm interested in hearing how others R2 as well.

Last thing I need is a divorce. Wife and I both have had no issues climbing together for the past 15 years, but we're both new to boating and I've seen other couples damn near throw each other in the river.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My wife and I almost split because of multiple bad rafting outings. It was because I couldn't read the water. As a class IV paddler, I followed commands real good, but didn't know how to get the boat down the river; I kept turning the boat because I paddled too hard.

Like brendo, when both read the water the same, it is fluid. If one is more skilled, ask questions or even try to guide a rapid or two solo from the back. Once you know how to make the boat go where you want it to go, a R2 will be that much more fun.


Good luck!
For clarity's sake, I have plenty of guide experience on class IV water - so does my buddy (that I'm R2ing with). I'm just interested in what people are using for coordination.
 

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Jared
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My Dad and I sometimes can coordinate really well, and have an easy day. Other days, we want to paddle each other more than the water. We did the upper Clack a few years ago in R2 configuration. I'm headed up there with a small group Thursday, and I might take a rookie paddler in R2 configuration with me. A 14' Sotar is a little big for R2, but I've done it before with a very experienced paddler. It's only running 1280, we'll see how we do, and I'll report back ;-)
 

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My wife and I R2 our 14' Sotar and we do just fine... mostly Class III. Obviously 14" is a bit large but we make it work. I have more experience than she does and find myself playing the guide role a little more BUT she seems to pick up on a lot when it's just the 2 of us.
 

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My gf and I just picked up a minimax with the hopes of R2ing a bunch over the next several years. We have both kayaked the last 4ish years, but I have more experience on the river and around a raft. Because of this, our R2ing experience will begin with more stroke calling from my part with the intent of taking a step back and letting it become a more diplomatic exchange.

...and more laid back than that last sentence sounds...
 

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Until you get dialed in, it is best to have a guide. Just think about it a one person paddle crew. Really the only differences are that you can discuss you line, "hey, you wanna go left" and that only two people need to paddle in unison.
 

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Having a guide would probably help get communication rolling too. In the sense that, if someone is shouting out commands there will be less confusion in the boat.

I will be trying this as we get started. Also, making sure to switch who is guide so both paddlers get used to the configuration.
 

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Make the IIIs Vs and the Vs IIIs. calling out commands in must make situations is a useful modus. What I would recommend is to "practice" by running low water technical class II/III and using the "zen" method (just talking about lines and an occasional "move" when needed). One thing my wife and I try to practice is not much back paddling to make turns. Trust that your partner will make the turn with a forward paddle. This not only helps get away from the "1 guide" mentality but also helps keep downstream momentum to punch holes in a smaller, lighter craft. Have a blast!!!!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Make the IIIs Vs and the Vs IIIs. calling out commands in must make situations is a useful modus. What I would recommend is to "practice" by running low water technical class II/III and using the "zen" method (just talking about lines and an occasional "move" when needed). One thing my wife and I try to practice is not much back paddling to make turns. Trust that your partner will make the turn with a forward paddle. This not only helps get away from the "1 guide" mentality but also helps keep downstream momentum to punch holes in a smaller, lighter craft. Have a blast!!!!!
I don't disagree with your statement about backpaddling, but I will say that it is (like most things) conditional. In the Pacific NW we have plenty of very tight technical runs that require ferrying across rivers using a backpaddle or back paddles to turn because of the necessity for a really fast turn.

https://vimeo.com/64268764
 

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I don't disagree with your statement about backpaddling, but I will say that it is (like most things) conditional. In the Pacific NW we have plenty of very tight technical runs that require ferrying across rivers using a backpaddle or back paddles to turn because of the necessity for a really fast turn.

https://vimeo.com/64268764
Absolutely! There are few, if any static "rules" in whitewater. I was speaking to a practice method for trust building. Slowing down steep or technical runs makes them much more manageable. I have used this practice method with the wife and guideschoolers to get them away from thinking of the r2 like a paddle crew/oar boat. I think the r2 is so efficient because of the dynamic nature in which you can paddle. Not just back/forward/pry/draw but using your paddle like a kayak paddle to sweep, your partner like two oars to turn or your downstream momentum like a 6 load. Love what you guys are doing up there. Cant wait to make it up and eat me some BIG MANS BBQ (shameless plug for you T).
 

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What are peoples thoughts on foot cup/cones on a two thwart raft used for r2? Placement? Necessary?


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My R2 style differs based on who is with me. When I R2 with my brother it's fantastic - we do more kayaking than rafting and tend to think alike when reading rapids, small talk before key rapids, no one guiding, both working in tandem pacing each other, etc.

When I take newbies it's all about guiding/explaining and setting up well in advance.

When I take my kids (R2, R3) it's a mix between conversation and guiding. It's fun to turn the tables and have them pick lines and guide some of the easier rapids.

If R2 ever becomes boring, switch over to K2 and it will be anything but boring.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
What are peoples thoughts on foot cup/cones on a two thwart raft used for r2? Placement? Necessary?


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I straddle my middle thwart like I've seen most people do it. If I were going to "try" R2ing without a middle thwart, I guess a foot cup would be required. I don't care much for footcups in general.
 

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I've never R2'd enough to get it dialed in so it's unspoken with a partner but it must be nice.

Always guide just like I had a full boat, same commands work just fine for R2 as they do for more, and you don't have to re-learn anything.
 

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Foot cups are all about boat setup. In a smaller boat like the Mini Me or Aire 9.5 used as R3, I think they would be a blessing. I don't like the thwart straddle unless in a little boat in medium / hard water or a bigger boat in harder drops. It is not a comfortable position to be in for a long period of time. I use the thwarts in the Super Puma to wedge my feet under, the only people that might need foot cups would be those in the front bay and the only time that happens is when R6 and the boat is almost overloaded. When running the Mini Max as R2, we sit on the back thwart and the feet move more, so foot cups might enhance the experience. That little white video make me want to get some and gives me spiders at the same time.
 

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Well, we ended up with 4 paddlers today, so I got nothin'. Lots of river traffic on the Upper Clack today, probably 6 groups I saw while we were up there. Someone is camping on the beach across from big Eddy, there is part of a tree sticking up at the top of Rock and Roll, and Toilet Bowl is a lot easier at 1200 lol. It was a good trip ;-)
 
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