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In denver, want to get into whitewater kayaking
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By Nick Orticelle
From Denver, Co
Jun 23, 2009
Just me...

For years I've wanted to get into kayaking, but never had a good area to do it from living in Texas previously. Now I'm here and it's something I NEED to give a shot.

Are there any suggestions for getting started? What to practice, how to practice, suggested type of boat for a first, and location wise...great, safer places to practice (lakes, streams, etc). I was just going to jump into it by picking up someones used set-up off craigslist and go from there.

I'd really like to avoid taking those intro courses that cost hundreds of $$ (unless they are highly suggested from you guys). I could maybe go for a few pool sessions, but avoiding the already expensive start-up is very important to me.

The most kayaking I've done was on blow-up duckies on up class 3 up in Maine on the Kennebec river. That was about 6-7 years ago, and it was the time of my life...so it's soemthing I've gotta do now that I've got all of these rivers at my disposal in CO.

I've searched the internet a bit on getting started, but not too much. I just wanted to chime in here for extra suggestions or links to good webpages/references. Hope to get some feedback!

Thanks! -Nick


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By Wayne
From Superior, CO
Jun 23, 2009

I can understand avoiding lots of training classes, but would recommend getting enough instruction to know what strokes to beware of overusing and not develop habits of using them. The high brace I tore my shoulder up with comes to mind :(


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By Jeff Bevan
Jun 23, 2009

There a number of outfitters on the Arkansas River in the Buena Vista/Salida area that offer kayak instruction. Check with the state parks they also can steer you in the right direction.


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By cheifitj
From Boulder, Colorado
Jun 23, 2009
Casual Route Pitch 3  <br />Photo by Mark Cushman

I never took a class when I started and I think it would have helped a lot. Get your self some gear, depending on what type of boating you want to get into. Get in a pool and practice moving around with your hips and rolling as soon as you can. Then get out on some moving water and practice hitting eddys. It helps to have some friends to go with. Check out mountainbuzz.com if you haven't yet. Feel free to PM me if you have more questions and want more details.

Jon


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By Merlin
From Grand Junction
Jun 23, 2009

Duckies are way underrated, it all depends on what you want to do but class 4 is easily doable in duckies and a lot easier to get good at than hardshells.

These are a good boat at a great price. I have the solo and tandem www.gravityplay.com/xstreamgear/zoik_solo_inflatable_kayak.h>>>

I added thigh straps and threw another front seat in to get a good wedge for better control.

For my money an inflatable is hard to beat. I'm not going to be running class five anytime soon, can hit as hard as I want up to class 4, can pack it onto a plane for trips to other states, can pack the tandem up to a couple hundred pounds for multi day trips with my wife, and can store it easily.

Look here (or call the guy, he's very helpful) for more information on IKs www.theboatpeople.com/

A good first run might be the Filter Plant run up on the Poudre, mostly dead easy with a section or two of excitement.

Maybe hook up on a slightly longer trip like the Colorado Pumphouse to Lyons and practice the movements. Spending hours on easier stuff really helps pound in the basic movement.

All things being equal though this isn't the forum, go here www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/index.php

My two cents- just find people that are fun to do it with, if you are semi-fit or better it isn't that hard to get half decent at.


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By JWong
From Los Angeles, California
Jun 23, 2009

There are practice/play areas on Clear Creek in Golden, Boulder Creek, and on the Platte across from the REI store in Denver. All of these areas are fun to goof around in and a good place to practice.

All of these areas are a few hundred yards long and the water is not very deep, so you can walk back to the top and drop in over and over. They are also basically in city parks, so access is very easy.

JW


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By darrell
Jun 23, 2009

im a self taught paddler. i bought the stuff, did a class 2 and swam alot. then i bought a book. THE BOMBPROOF ROLL i think it was. im sure all books or videos are just as good. i went to a pool and it took a few hours to teach myself. and then i hit some easy rivers and got it down. paddlers are really freindly folk in most cases. as for boats. buy used. its a buyers market as every boater has one for sale. i would get something river-play. although im from oregon and CO might be different paddling. more creeky i think. try to get one less than 6 or 7 years old design has come a long way recently. most all are good. read about boat design too. it will probably be covered in an instruction book. duckies are fun too. but i think hard shelling is a bit more elegant. wait paddling is never elegant. exept for neils point at 3.1. outside of eugene, oregon. thats heh van.


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By DaveB
Jun 23, 2009
Vitruvian Man (da Vinci)

Get a real whitewater kayak (enclosed hardshell). Plenty available used...not expensive. You won't regret it. (Most experienced hardboaters affectionately refer to duckies as, swim-behinds. They may be fun for a while, but, sooner or later, you'll want a real boat you can readily roll and will better handle standard whitewater.) Might as well learn in one from the start.

Most important - Get quality instruction from experts and knowledgeable friends. Don't underestimate the value of their experience.


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By Merlin
From Grand Junction
Jun 23, 2009

DaveB wrote:
Sure, they may be fun, for a while, but sooner or later, you'll want a real boat you can readily roll and will better handle standard whitewater.)


Depends who you are/what you want, plenty of people run gnar stuff in IKs and continue to use them after decades. I've come to the conclusion that the IK vs hardshell debate is just this sport's elitist, never ending argument.

I'd agree that there is plenty of stuff I'd never run in an IK but then again I wouldn't run it period. People who talk about getting bored with IKs probably have mostly used crummy ones. My friends Stearns folds like an old sheet in class 2 stuff, the Zoiks take the same stuff like flat water. Move up to the Hysides or similar and the fold boat argument doesn't even enter the equation.

I'd say rent both, see what you want, make friends and get them to show you the ropes. It makes a whole lot more sense to get instruction from guys you'll do trips with later on than to line the pockets of guys you have to pay for every time you meet with them.

Once again, post here www.mountainbuzz.com/forums/index.php
and take everything you read on the internet with a grain of salt, or several grains.


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By Evan1984
Jun 23, 2009

Wayne wrote:
I can understand avoiding lots of training classes, but would recommend getting enough instruction to know what strokes to beware of overusing and not develop habits of using them. The high brace I tore my shoulder up with comes to mind :(


This is awesome advice. I jacked my shoulder up doing a roll in a pool. It was embarassing and uber painful.


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By Nick Orticelle
From Denver, Co
Jun 23, 2009
Just me...

woah...I knew this wasn't the best forum to be asking this, but that's a ton of responses in only half a day.

I am definitely interested in a hardshell. I had fun with the duckie, but just not what I envisioned myself going for. Not knocking on them, but just planning on the hardshell as being able to roll and keep going just sounds enticing. Thanks for the info on them though, never knew they were that serious.

I hear a lot about getting friends to go out with. That is my major problem right now. The only friend I've got that paddles is out east. The ones out here that want to paddle are too cheap or poor to get any gear. So I'd be banking on people offering me to join on some trips. I live right down the road from the REI/Platte river whitewater park...but that even looks a bit much for not knowing what I'm doing at the moment. And by myself...I'd be saved by the tons of kids swimming there daily...how sad.

I'll start scouring the mountainbuzz forums for info on boat selection and all and see what classes are out there for paddling technique. Didn't think injury based on technique was going to be that big of a deal.

Thanks for the advice everyone...hope I can get this together pretty quickly! -Nick


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By TedV
From Lost Wages
Jun 23, 2009
another moderate trad route

IK vs Hardshell,
Yeah there is that thing about rolling and staying in your boat.
The biggest difference, IMO, is surfing a good wave. It's just about the funnest thing you can do besides good sex and pretty much impossible in an IK.
Get instruction, period. The other posters were right about shoulder injury. It sucks and it's easy to do to yourself. One blown shoulder would pay for the best and most expensive course. Shop around and get training from the best source you can find. It will jump start your paddling career and help save you from potential injury.


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By Tony A. Davis
From Drake, Colorado
Jun 23, 2009
Pic

Nick, you can also check out Boulder Sports Recycler, they sell used kayaks and gear on consignment and I have seen fairly new model kayaks in the $300 to $400 range.

Like Cheifitj I learned on the go and things would have been smoother if I had taken a class but when I started a 10' plastic kayak was state of the art and there just wasn't the availibility of classes like now, so like the other have said find a good paddling class, it will make things even more fun. That coupled with some safe friends with throw ropes and you are good to go.

Another big vote for Clear Creek, total fun.


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By Merlin
From Grand Junction
Jun 23, 2009

I'm not knocking hard shells, if I ever had the stones to do class 5 or really tight stuff or drops I'd be all over them. Since I'm just as likely to take it on a plane and do ocean bays or rivers in Florida I find the portability of an IK hard to beat.

If you want a hard shell used is definitely good but you might want to wander in to
www.confluencekayaks.com/
www.alpinesportsoutlet.com/
www.alpinesportsoutlet.com/
www.coloradokayak.com/
and pick people's brains. I know that there is a used kayak swap/sale in Golden occasionally but I forget where.

One local shop I do like if you want instruction is here boc123.com/index.cfm
it is a quality outfit.

Edit - Craigslist is a great place to buy from.

Remember to budget for a paddle, life jacket, and (at least for me) a wet suit, wet suit gloves, wet suit booties. It adds up but is worth it.


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By Nick Orticelle
From Denver, Co
Jun 25, 2009
Just me...

Well, I'm planned to take a lake lesson on saturday through Confluence Kayaks at Chatfield reservoir to go over wet escapes, paddling techniques, and rolling. I stopped in there yesterday to talk about gear and all, and they were amazingly friendly and helpful.

They also charge $15 a day for demos...any and all demos, as many as you want to try in one day. Is that typical of shops??? Because I think that sounds amazing. The fact that they are right beside the platte river park makes it even better.

Thanks for the help everyone!


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By cheifitj
From Boulder, Colorado
Jun 25, 2009
Casual Route Pitch 3  <br />Photo by Mark Cushman

Nick,
Yea, the guys and gals at Confluence are all great, not my local shop since I dont live in Denver, but I have been a few times before. I deal with Alpine Sports in Boulder and these guys are also really awesome. They do free boat demos on Wednesday afternoon at the Black Bear hole in Lyons.

I have seen demos run from free to 50 bucks depending on the shop and location. Hit me up with a PM I may have a boat you can borrow for a while to learn on. (Its older but super bomber- Eskimo Diablo).

Jon


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By Nick Orticelle
From Denver, Co
Jun 30, 2009
Just me...

Hey Jon, thanks a lot for the offer of borrowing a boat...that's an amazing offer that I would've taken you up on. However, I just purchased a boat from a guy off here. An older Necky Jive 810 with pretty much everything I need to get going. It'll be a great beginner boat for me and can't wait to give it a shot.

I had to push my intro lesson back a few weeks, but I'm glad I'll be learning in the kayak I'll be using afterwards.


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By Jason Himick
From Boulder, CO
Jun 30, 2009
Future Goal

Nick,

Check out Mountain Buzz for good advice on kayaking from local paddlers (www.mountainbuzz.com).


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By Nick Orticelle
From Denver, Co
Jun 30, 2009
Just me...

Yep, been lurking around there for the last few weeks or so.

After I take my lesson I'll be joining in on the NOP (newbie outreach program) that the colorado kayakers have going on monday nights. I was super excited after hearing about that on mountainbuzz.


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By Nick Orticelle
From Denver, Co
Jul 12, 2009
Just me...

I love it already! I took a lake lesson yesterday...and because my teacher was pretty much a great instructor I just went for the river lesson today to get moving on my learning. It was very tame today since the dam release on the Platte was very low, but I still had a great time.

I got my roll the first day ever in a kayak, and even got a combat roll in some rapids today! The instructor just had a great way of teaching people how to roll. I am, however, terrible at getting out of eddys and ferrying across rapids...I either flip or am close to flipping every single time.

Either way...I'm so glad to be able to get out on the water now. I can see myself sticking with this for a long time. I'm planning on heading out to Union Whitewater park tomorrow to get some more practice in.

Just figured I'd fill you guys in that gave me a ton of helpful posts. Thanks!


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By aaron davidson
From Denver, Co
Jul 15, 2010

i really want to go kayakin but dont have a canoe or know anyone who does a do a ton of rock climbing in clear creek canyon and see guys doing it all the time.
does anybody have any suggestions?
im looking for people who will take me too. it looks freakin awesome.


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By Andrew Gram
Administrator
From Salt Lake City, UT
Jul 17, 2010
Andrew Gram

as people said ad nauseum to the OP, take lessons to get started. the learning curve isn't that long, but it is much steeper than climbing.


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