Want to share WW suggestion....

-- Last Updated: May-24-05 8:52 AM EST --

I reccommend this to any new WW paddler. This really helped me a bunch. A few years ago we ran a class 2 with some 3' drops at low water. It was extremely boney with lots of rocks. It was an excellent place to practice maneuvering rocks, getting yourself unpinned (avoid pinning) AND running rapids backwards. I DON'T reccommend this on a high volume river (300-400 cfs is good) and as always practice with a group or guide with rescue skills. The point that I wan't to make is that on such a river I had the opportunity to be in many situations that I may encounter only on a smaller scale and was able to learn so much. :)

Opposing viewpoint

– Last Updated: May-24-05 12:49 PM EST –

Read your post several times; didn't agree with it the first time I read it, and still don't agree after numerous rereads.
Made me wonder how many novice whitewater paddlers have already read it, or would read it, and think, "that's a good idea, I think I'll try that".
You suggest finding some class 2 water with 3 foot drops, lots of rocks, and then practicing maneuvering, getting yourself unpinned(avoid pinning), and running rapids backwards.
What whitewater paddling, and whitewater rescue experience do you personally have? What whitewater training, and whitewater rescue training have you personally received?
You further add; always practice with a group or guide with rescue skills. I "will" agree with that; novices attempting what you're suggesting will probably need someone with first aid & rescue skills! I don't know any highly trained whitewater paddlers who would make the suggestions you made as being appropriate for novice paddlers. Who suggested this whitewater training regimen to you?
I offer my suggestion for novices that want to do whitewater.
1. Take an introduction to whitewater class with a certified instructor.
2.Learn how to manuever your boat on flatwater first, then on moving water, before you progress to running boney class 2, with 3 foot drops, backwards.
Three skills every novice should have(in my opinion), before they attempt any level of whitewater are:
1. River reading skills
2. Boat control/proper strokes
3. Self rescue training


P.S. I think any trained/skilled whitewater paddler who goes along on one of the practice session you suggest is leaving themselves wide open for a lot of grief. Don't believe they'd recommend your suggested practice sessions to begin with.

I agree with both
BOB, I agree with your cautionary interpretation and advice, but I read the initial post more lightly…

My read: “In general, ww paddlers looking to improve their skills should – on water that they are comfortable in and with an appropriately experienced/equiped group – should take advantage of relatively gentle conditions to practice moves and situations that they may accidentally encounter on harder runs or more difficult conditions.”

The key thing being that the gentleness of the conditions has to be relative to your experience. Certainly not every “novice” (a vague/broad term) should practice on 3’ class IIs with lots of rocks. So, adjust accordingly - newer paddlers on less ambitious rapids, and experienced paddlers catching class II+ eddies and holes while paddling backwards.

The point is, take advantage of friendly opportunities to practice your reading, running and rescue skills.


I can’t disagree with anything you posted. That said, I believe that the novice, aka beginner, should be aware of the natural consequences of paddling whitewater, and how quickly those natural consequences may occur.

While I do not consider myself a whitewater guru by any means, I question whether a paddler, self described as a beginner, is qualified to be making suggestions about a whitewater paddling regimen. Can a beginner have an opinion? Certainly they can. Hopefully the naive will not accept all suggestions on pnet as whitewater gospel.

Yes, practice is good. And no, every whitewater paddler did not take an intro to whitewater course and/or a rescue course. But I’ll bet those who did, have a lot better idea of what I’m talking about when I mention natural consequences.


Oh for Gosh sakes already!!!
I have about had it with this freaking board! I assume that people have 1/2 a freaking brain. PLEASE tell me how a novice paddeler will ever become a skilled intermediate or expert if they dont get off freaking FLATWATER??? I recommended a moderate way to learn advanced techniques, I even put the d*&$ disclaimer for gosh sakes. My skills? If it is relevant I will always rate myself a beginner because I feel that there is always more for me to learn. God you people are wound so tight here, lighten the h%$# up.

I can remember doing things like that
in my first three years of whitewater paddling. And I wasn’t wildly ambitious. But I could recognize fairly safe situations for taking controlled risks. I, personally, never had whitewater courses in my early years from fully qualified instructors. Instead I was subjected to a training procedure known as the Flushing Technique, not recommended for anyone.

now that I have composed myself. I will say I understand and appreciate BOB that you are concerned about safety for new paddelers. As am I, for my own and others. I recommended a way for a paddler to practice advanced techniques in a moderate environment. It’s just really getting to be preach.net.

Your skills…
I think your skills are relevant. Please do tell us about your whitewater experience, besides paddling backwards down boney, class 2, with 3 foot drops. And please do elaborate on who besides you that promotes/advocates your method of whitewater training. Based on your last post, there is little doubt in my mind that you are in total control of your emotions, readily accept others opinions, and have a win-win style of interpersonal communication. Please, oh please, don’t take your boat & go home.



– Last Updated: May-24-05 10:34 PM EST –

I think all your classes have really inflated your head. If you must know I have experience rafting class 1-4 and kayaking 1-3. This is not about me anyhow. And you never did answer MY question. How is a boater supposed to advance in WW skills if they never get off flatwater? A pool class?? I actually took a couple of instructional river trips where the "guide" was also our "instructor." (Which is what I reccommend) As opposed to someone taking a pool course and thinking they are READY to run a class 3 at high water, just because they completed a class! So please ofh please BOB, answer my question.

Clearly stated…

– Last Updated: May-24-05 10:54 PM EST –

How to improve skills?
Clearly stated in my first post.
I see no correlation between doing guided raft trips, and paddling whitewater in a solo kayak, or canoe. No guide in a solo whitewater boat telling you all back, all forward. Been there, done that, on the Nantahala, Ocoee, and Chatooga section II & III. Fun no doubt.
I didn't mention my past training, you did. I'm certainly not ashamed about it however. My hat size is still the same as always, size 7. Don't think you'll find anyone I've paddled whitewater with complaining about my swelled head. They'd probably comment on my over zealous concern about safety & for "watching each others back", or how they like having me downstream with a throwbag. I offered alternative suggestions to learning whitewater skills.
You are an adult; I'm sure you're capable of making well reasoned decisions about your life.
And if not, well that's where the natural consequences come in........


There is no one…and I mean NO ONE

– Last Updated: May-25-05 12:09 AM EST –

whose river advice I trust more than Bob's. I have learned a lot more by LISTENING to him than I would have by ARGUING with him. He has EARNED that trust and respect by demonstrating his knowledge, skill, and experience without EVER being preachy.

And hdove...if I recall your earlier posts when you first came on board here...weren't you paddling an inflatable kayak, i.e. rubber duckie? An inflatable is a lot more forgiving than a canoe or kayak, and certainly doesn't require the same skills. That's why so many outfitters rent them to beginners.

Personally, I think you should have read through the advice given to you, thought about the lessons in it, and applied it to your specific situation to see if there was merit (no one should blindly accept things as fact without due consideration) instead of getting mad because they didn't agree with you. If you had done that, you might have learned something that could improve your skill, technique and safety. But then, that's just my perspective, but I have a whole brain, which is more than a beginner might have after crashing into a few boulders going backwards on a 3' drop on Class II rapids.

Yes, well, I understand Bob’s concern,
but I think the problem may lie in what we call beginners and novices. I don’t think anyone is talking about untrained beginners, or even inexperienced beginners, engaging in this sort of experimenting. I remember plenty of trips on class 2 or easy 2-3 rivers in Georgia, back in the 70s, when the experienced paddlers would do goofy things like running 3’ ledges backwards, or side-surfing holes and getting windowshaded, and then the “beginners” would try it. Can’t remember anyone ever getting hurt, but it can always happen.

There’s only a few things we can learn in the mainstream of opinion.

Now, is that nice?

– Last Updated: May-25-05 7:33 AM EST –

Texas Lady, you were ok until you started that crap about having "a whole brain". Not nice, and hdove doesn't deserve that just for expressing an opinion.

Congratulations on having a whole brain. Now let's hope you can find your manners.

Does old school learning have a place?

– Last Updated: May-25-05 7:37 AM EST –

If the original whitewater boaters hadn't experimented and played in classII water without first taking lessons, where would we be today? This is an advice and suggestions board. Personally, I'd like to see more of both as it relates to technique and skills advancement. It seems we mostly give advice and suggestions on hardware. I would like to see more in the way of advice and suggestions other than "instruction to take instruction." Personally, I learned a lot of my modest skills in the same way hdove described with the same amount of water flow, 300-400 cfs over a decent area. And yes, I could read that little bit of water too. No big deal.

Thank you…
Bob’s post is the only post I had issue with. BOB, I need to say that the instructional guided trips I was speaking of were personal paddle craft instruction led by certified instructers with CPR and swiftwater rescue certification. What’s wrong with an Inflatable Kayak? Some people paddle them their entire lives. I enjoy my IK (see profile photo) because I enjoy the comfort and the water splashing over me. I recently purchased a hard kayak, but In the warm weather I will probably always choose my IK over my hard kayak. Anyhow, anybody who knows me or has paddeled with me knows that I am extremely safety concious, but you would not know that. The meaning and purpose of my post seemed to be pretty clear to the other posters, but then they were probably not looking to pounce on anybody. As far as my emotional state, I have a tendency to use words and exclamations to express a point, maybe I over compensate. Oh well, I am not going to lose any sleep over it! Now if you’ll forgive me I need to start planning my next paddle trip. Oh, and thanks to the other posters that saw my post for what it really was :slight_smile: Heather

Not anymore…
We are doing everything for the children now-a-days.

Paddle easy,



– Last Updated: May-25-05 7:54 AM EST –

The reason that WW technique is not talked about here is because, like above, you can't have a discussion without someone jumping on ya, questioning your skills screaming safety etc. Of course those things are very important but it gets old when you get pounced on. It seems to be a few certain people on this board who consistently seek out posts to attack to make themselves feel important.

@@@ Oh and by the way BOB, I think that is pretty ignorant - your remark about "and that's where the natural consequences come in." For someone who is supposed to be so concerned about safety of others that was pretty MEAN and ignorant. Last night I wanted to say to you "Pride cometh before a fall" but I did not because I thought to myself no, that's mean and ignorant, I would not want to even suggest that something could happen to you on the water. Seems I have some consideration.

the bob

– Last Updated: May-25-05 8:42 AM EST –

I just get effing sick of people acting like you aren't entitled to express an opinion or share your personal experience unless you are a primo whitewater (or sea touring, whatever) paddler with a jillion certifications. Ease up for gosh sakes.

And as far as bob's "natural consequences"... we have all done idiot things on the water and fortunately most of us survive. But the ones who don't... did they deserve to die more than we did, when we did idiot things? I don't much care for that "Darwinism" crap, it's snobbish, elitist, and just plain mean.


– Last Updated: May-25-05 8:45 AM EST –

Has been nice to me in the past & helpful in spots. But I agree, I see a trend forming (actually for quite some time) & it looks as though Thebob.com is starting to lose his grip & follow that trend.

Matter of fact, if I recall correctly. He was one that posted to me, something along the lines of:

"Some things work for some people & some things don't".

I would probably trust his say because he has been on here awhile & has probably been there/done that. ***BUT***, I am always open for new suggestions that may be useful or helpful for the types of rivers, creeks & puddle jumpin' I do.

Paddle easy,


looking for advice
No matter what it is, I always seek out someone I know is experienced so I can pick their brain.

Heather…As a self proclaimed beginner, are you confident you’re giving out sound advice to other beginners? There’s learning how to do something, & then there’s learning how to do it correctly. I think that’s the crux of theBob’s position, & frankly, I think it’s valid. Since you are a beginner, I’m not sure how much faith I’d want to put in your way of learning WW. As anyone who’s done WW knows, it can be unforgiving & deadly to even experienced paddler’s. So again, as a newbie, are you confident you’re giving sound advice to other newbies?