Interesting Question from a Long Time Paddling Friend

Decked Canoes, Open Canoes, as long as they're canoes!

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chuck naill
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Interesting Question from a Long Time Paddling Friend

Post by chuck naill »

Sunday after our run on Clear Creek, we were enjoying some conversation and a beer. I good buddy asked me why I had not paddled for several years which caused me to take inventory of the past 10 years where, maybe, I paddled twice a year or so.

I started paddling in the mid '80's. By the '90's I was a baseball coach and camping. Our paddling was the Hiwassee and Nantahala during that era.

I explained that when I had paddled before 2002-2005 it was my son and I. He went to college and there I was with no one to paddle with at the time. Then came a season of family responsibility with very sick little ones.

Last year I got some new boats and equipment and introduced part of the family to white water. It was a great time. This Fall, after a tick bite, I missed some good water due to my health.

I am finally to a point where I can paddle again and have the freedom to pretty much go every weekend. We did the lower section of Clear Creek (Jett to Nemo) a couple weeks back. It was running over 3 and pushy. I was wearing my old two piece and took a couple swims, nothing new. I made the decision to get a one piece and wore it this past week and instantly more confidence knowing I was not going to get hypothermic.

The point of all this is that I came back to paddling with some time off. It is truly a wonderful sport regardless of the level you decide to paddle. We are up to ten boats with a combination of c-boats, open boats, and inflatables.

Have any of you had to stop and come back? It would be nice to hear about your transitions.
ezwater
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Re: Interesting Question from a Long Time Paddling Friend

Post by ezwater »

I've had to stop because of a back strain and other health problems. I could paddle easy now, but loading and unloading boats is a problem. I have about a dozen boats sitting around. I hate to quit at only 73. :cry:
waterbound
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Re: Interesting Question from a Long Time Paddling Friend

Post by waterbound »

Chuck,
I also started in the 80s, paddling open boats for close to 20 years. Then I got busy with a move and new house. Then I gained a BUNCH of weight and before I knew it, it was eight years since my last time in a boat. When the Whitewater center was built in Charlotte, NC, my interest was rekindled. So I decided to get back into the sport. Then I lost a BUNCH of weight. But my knees just couldn't take so I switched to buttboat. It was new and different but it was also great to be back on the river. Every trip was like visiting an old friend. That was almost ten years ago but I still enjoy it. I don't go as much as I did a couple years ago but I love it when I do. I'm in my late 60's now, so there are aches and pains, but I wouldn't think of getting out of it again. In fact, I'm going to try open boating again this year. SYOTR
Pierre LaPaddelle
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Re: Interesting Question from a Long Time Paddling Friend

Post by Pierre LaPaddelle »

waterbound wrote: . . . I also started in the 80s, paddling open boats for close to 20 years. Then I got busy . . .
Me too. Paddled in the '80s; local rivers, Arctic trips; took courses, taught courses; then, in the '90s, watched buddies lose interest, move away, take up mud-pies, die. . . ; retired, relocated, dusted off the gear, and now the attendance on mid-week trips exceeds those on weekends; pub afterward for screech and metamucil. . .

There's a common thread here: Baby-boomers fueling the '80s peak years, fading into the sunset, only to be reborn with paddle in hand, in the opening years of the new millenium!

The red 'Fly sets off the grey hair nicely! As the Facebook quote says, "The idea is to die young, as late as possible!"

Rick
C'est l'aviron. . . !
magicmike
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Re: Interesting Question from a Long Time Paddling Friend

Post by magicmike »

I started paddling a kayak in 1993. I always looked up to the openboaters ( who where the experienced guys) back then. I became a pretty confident class III / IV kayaker , and had a few great years of boating. I dislocated my shoulder and got out of boating all together for at least 6 or 7 years. 6 years ago I got back on the river slowly, with a canoe. I've now worked my way back to being a pretty confident class III canoeist. I often regret, and wonder why I didn't get back on the river sooner (in some craft or another)....but what ya gonna do? -M- :D
Randy Dodson
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Re: Interesting Question from a Long Time Paddling Friend

Post by Randy Dodson »

started canoeing in the early 90's (tandem) class II. Then graduated to solo in the late 90's, became an instructor and was paddling class III and occasionally IV when a close call on Upper Richland Creek took some of the starch out of me. I wouldn't mind getting back on some harder water but my shoulder and back (and weight) make life miserable in my solo boats.
In the past 7 years, I've gone from 40 to 50 days a year on the water to 12 or 15 days a year on easy stuff up to class II in my comfortable Old Town Cascade. But I still love what paddling I am able to do.
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waterbound
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Re: Interesting Question from a Long Time Paddling Friend

Post by waterbound »

Randy Dodson wrote:I've gone from 40 to 50 days a year on the water to 12 or 15 days a year on easy stuff up to class II
This may be natural. I was going at least 30 days a year, most with the same buddy. When he contacted cancer and passed away I found myself out of the loop. The last couple of years I've only paddled ten to fifteen days. Most of that has been on class 2, low 3 rivers that I could shuttle with my thumb and paddle solo. But that's okay, I just don't have any dragons to slay anymore. I don't have any desire to paddle what some of these young guys are paddling now. I'm getting old and that is what it is. Some of us fair better than others and keep getting on the big stuff. As for me, I'm happy just to still be in the game.
chuck naill
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Re: Interesting Question from a Long Time Paddling Friend

Post by chuck naill »

waterbound wrote:
Randy Dodson wrote:I've gone from 40 to 50 days a year on the water to 12 or 15 days a year on easy stuff up to class II
This may be natural. I was going at least 30 days a year, most with the same buddy. When he contacted cancer and passed away I found myself out of the loop. The last couple of years I've only paddled ten to fifteen days. Most of that has been on class 2, low 3 rivers that I could shuttle with my thumb and paddle solo. But that's okay, I just don't have any dragons to slay anymore. I don't have any desire to paddle what some of these young guys are paddling now. I'm getting old and that is what it is. Some of us fair better than others and keep getting on the big stuff. As for me, I'm happy just to still be in the game.
Your comment about "dragons to slay" resonates well with me. I am as content being on the river with the little ones as I have ever been slaying dragons.

I'll ad that swimming twice last week on some bigger water failed to bother. On that day when our group got off the water a younger than me paddler said the best part of the day for him (he paddles a kayak) was not having to roll. I do remember being of that mentality. I think watching the videos of some young and very good paddlers swim has helped me realize that a swim does not necessarily rank you as a paddler. My issue was hypothermia for which the new dry suit remedied.

Several of my group employee yoga. I have begun to stretch several times during the week and have noticed a positive result.
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dixie_boater
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Re: Interesting Question from a Long Time Paddling Friend

Post by dixie_boater »

I began paddling canoes in the early 80's and was very active until the early 90's. My wife and I had children at the end of that time period. Consequently, I began to paddle less often and my core group of boating friends drifted away from the sport. In 2001 I bought a new Whitesell and became an active boater once again. That was a good decision for me. I paddled more class 3/4 stuff than I did before I stopped paddling in the early 90's. At 43 I was older than many of the people with which I paddled those difficult runs, but that never made a difference to them. I was no longer the young guy that jumped in every hole I could side surf on the middle Ocoee. I enjoyed myself on the water and found new boating friends.

I'm 58 years old now and still paddle every other weekend on mostly class 2 or 3 streams. I have a psoriatic arthritis and that limits my boating to easier runs. I can't push myself on really high water runs like I could in my late 40's and early 50's. The water levels have been so good with the El Nino weather pattern that we've been having a blast since last October. I and a 64 year old friend paddled 4 times in 8 days over the Christmas holidays. I'm happy I can still get out there and won't stop boating until it's physically impossible for me to do so. I believe a lyric from one of Tom Petty's song holds true: "If you never slow down, you'll never grow old". I feel younger than lot's of folks my age that have slowed down and quit being active.
Michael McCurdy
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Re: Interesting Question from a Long Time Paddling Friend

Post by Einar »

Started at 40, the usual beginning, messing around in long boats, picking up skills for camping and tripping.
But, alas, fell in with a bad crowd of ww oc'ers and got the bug, bad.

Always continuously paddled since then, running gr 4 one bite at a time, but realistically, just a comfortable 3+'er in an OC.
Probably my best fortune is good knees and no injuries, just a lucky deal of the cards.

Took up kayaking last year at 65 yrs just to renew the sense of the unknown, the fun of starting at the beginning again. And oaring rafts down into the US. Busier than ever.
Keep going till you can't, then do something else.

After all this I still enjoy a day of noodling down a local grade 2+ with friends and heading to the pub
e.
Paddling is easy, organizing shuttles is hard.
Not misplacing all your crap in somebody else's car seems to be even harder
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