WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

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WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by Mark R » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:01 pm

Discuss...
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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by Tea Boy Tom » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:10 pm

And if it was indoors and warm.

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by Lancs_lad » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:16 pm

You have definitely come out of retirement MarkR!! Liking it!

Love a good Troll thread :-)

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by DaveBland » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:18 pm

Okay, I'll bite…

Risk is an inherent part of the fun. with risk comes excitement. The thrill of landing a drop, styling a line is deffo accentuated if you've walked [stumbled] back to your boat, with dry mouth and shaky hands, splashed your face with cold water, had a couple of deep breaths, gathered your nerves and given it.

But, only to a level. those days on the river when you've truly been scared most of the run, are actually not so much fun. There's a threshold.

So here's my view. Paddling is the most fun when you are pushing, but within your comfort zone. I would argue that when doing this, the risk is actually fairly slim. Probably no more than any other sort.

Let's take that drop on the Lyn as an example ; )

If you have run that before, or are on the top of your game, regularly paddling G5… have scouted it and set up safety, I'd argue the risk is minimal.
If however you are off your game, never run it before, don't scout thoroughly but run it coz your mates are***, I'd say the risk is way higher.

Take both those scenarios… who has the most fun? I'd say the first scenario?

The trouble is, you can only get to scenario one, by doing a bit of scenario 2. Bummer eh!



*** Please, please don't think I'm saying this is what happened in that 'other' post. Or take it that anyone should or should not be paddling anything.
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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by davebrads » Fri Dec 20, 2013 5:33 pm

DaveBland wrote:If you have run that before, or are on the top of your game, regularly paddling G5… have scouted it and set up safety, I'd argue the risk is minimal.
If however you are off your game, never run it before, don't scout thoroughly but run it coz your mates are***, I'd say the risk is way higher.

Take both those scenarios… who has the most fun? I'd say the first scenario?
First of all, that is only two scenarios. What about a third, you are on your game, you never run it before, scout it thoroughly, you are aware of the risk, you run it and nail it. Now who's having the most fun?

And how about this for a fourth. You are on your game, you never run it before, scout it thoroughly and see that someone has taken ouot the pin potential. You run it and nail it. Have you had as much fun as scenario 3? I don't think so.
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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by DaveBland » Fri Dec 20, 2013 6:36 pm

Fair points indeed, Dave. Hard to argue with that. Bugger. I wanted to argue.

EDIT: ooh hang on, I can.
In your last scenario, would the lack of stress from realizing the pin was now safe mean you relaxed and and had more fun. Does the joy come from nailing the line and being proud of yourself or from beating the risk.
I think when I was younger, maybe the 'risk', but now I'm older the 'line'.
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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by davebrads » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:16 pm

Nailing a difficult line is great, but nailing it when there is the added pressure of a nasty outcome if you go off line is even better. Partly this is simply relief in getting away with it (again), but also there is the additional satisfaction of having tested your skills under maximum pressure and still held it together. And that is why I do it.

I am finding it harder to maintain form under pressure these days, it could be an age thing, or else it is simply because I am not getting out enough, but I haven't given up yet.
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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by snuggle_bunny » Fri Dec 20, 2013 7:35 pm

Life without risk is no life at all. Also! as someone quoted elsewhere:- '100 percent of non smoking, non drinking triathletes die.

I rode motorcycles for 25 years - at least on the water no-ones going to pull out of a junction on you

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by DaveBland » Fri Dec 20, 2013 8:01 pm

snuggle_bunny wrote:...at least on the water no-ones going to pull out of a junction on you
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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by banzer » Fri Dec 20, 2013 9:32 pm

Did this one a few years ago. Something along the lines of would it be more fun if rocks were polystyrene, and you could breathe water? Can't find it.

But no, it wouldn't, because you wouldn't get as much adrenaline.
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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by Mark R » Fri Dec 20, 2013 10:54 pm

I fully accept that our sport is risky; I have seen the worst it can deal out. But I don't get kicks from risking my life (or from seeing friends risk theirs), I don't go to the river actively seeking ways to risk my life.

However, I think that this acceptance is actually what keeps us (mostly) safe and alive on the rivers. If you start looking for ways to artificially remove the risk element, you've misunderstood safe paddling.
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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by clarky999 » Sat Dec 21, 2013 11:01 am

Depends. Some risks we glory in, boofing bigger drops etc. Some risks make me shudder, and walk around rapids that otherwise would be a lot of fun to paddle - like siphons. Nothing glorious or fun about dodging siphons.

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by roo » Mon Dec 23, 2013 8:10 am

It's always calculated risk. The art is in getting your maths right. "Take the bloody shot" :-)

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by Dr Robin » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:47 am

No. I think that part of being human is allowing a space for negative feelings, such as fear, loneliness, discomfort. Why watch a horror movie rather than a rom com? Why run a marathon rather than take the bus? Why go walking in winter rather than summer? Why go camping rather than stay in a hotel?

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by Tuomas » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:10 am

There is inherit risk in whitewater paddling that there is no way around it. Sometimes, in some cases I wish there was less of it. My favorite type of rapids are big and powerful, but with clean lines that carry no extra hazards.

Especially last summer, as we road tripped around Northern Norway on some less paddled rivers, we came to a lot of awesome and big drops that a lot of seemed to have something extra to make them a bit risky. Be it a lot of flow going under an undercut or some misplaced rock or whatnot. Sometimes I just could not help myself thinking that with just a bit more cleaner line and without a specific hazard the drop would be so awesome.

In our group we had a one young charger who paddled most of the drops we other deemed too un-clean or hazardous... Sometimes making the line look and and sometimes less than.

But as the my favorite quote from Doug Ammons says: "It just is, and it can’t be anything different. If you find yourself wishing it was something different, then that just means you have more to learn."

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by TechnoEngineer » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:36 am

clarky999 wrote:Depends. Some risks we glory in, boofing bigger drops etc. Some risks make me shudder, and walk around rapids that otherwise would be a lot of fun to paddle - like siphons. Nothing glorious or fun about dodging siphons.
Totally agree with this. I recently saw someone being recirculated in a nasty stopper, and it almost put me off paddling completely.
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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by justin-g » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:53 am

Yes. But with enough perceived risk to still get the excitement going.
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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by Mark R » Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:57 am

justin-g wrote:Yes. But with enough perceived risk to still get the excitement going.
;-)

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by 66quinny66 » Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:36 pm

justin-g wrote:Yes. But with enough perceived risk to still get the excitement going.
Isn't this what it's all about (other than the Hokey Cokey)? Wouldn't it be the perceived risk rather than the actual risk that gets the adrenaline flowing? At my age, I find that I now have a fairly low adrenaline threshold so my perception of risk is different to some of those around me.
Even on the log flume above, I think I'd be thinking "but what if..." And formulating a Plan B.

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by roo » Mon Dec 23, 2013 7:57 pm

Mark R wrote:
justin-g wrote:Yes. But with enough perceived risk to still get the excitement going.
;-)

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Oooh, wezzit?! That's on my tick-list.......the "other" tick-list.......

And coming back to Clarky999, I'm with Robin.

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by Jim » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:42 pm

Surely this entire subject is wrapped up with cutting edge psychology?

It can be difficult to separate hazards and risks - the hazards (rapids) are the same for everyone, the risk (probability of it not going to plan) is personal.

One way to reduce the risk is to become more skilled, if risk is reduced in that context I would say that WW paddling would be better.

Another way to reduce risk is to modify the hazards to be less hazardous, that in my opinion would not make WW paddling better.
Taken to the extreme it could cause paddlers to stop increasing their skills since there would be no need, and that would be detrimental to WW paddling......

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by Big Henry » Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:52 pm

If WW paddling carried less risk, WW paddlers would paddle riskier rivers to compensate.

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by roo » Tue Dec 24, 2013 7:23 am

On a serious note: Dougal Haston The Philosophy of Risk by Jeff Connor. Great book, was a honeymoon present back in the day. Wish I'd read it before the wedding ;-)

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by Xan » Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:46 am

So would people class WW paddling as an extreme sport??? Based on the above comments that people think it's part of the challenge (which I totally agree with BTW)

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by geomore » Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:21 am

Everybody knows - You're not a proper kayaker until you've had a religious moment on the river...

...The thousand-yard swim stare. A Paddler gets it after he's been swimming for too long. It's like... It's like you're really seeing beyond. I got it. All proper paddlers got it. And you'll have it too.

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by roo » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:24 pm

An accessible extreme sport, yes. But it doesn't have to be extreme. Proximity flying on the other hand......

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by Sayno2playboats » Tue Dec 24, 2013 4:09 pm

geomore wrote:Everybody knows - You're not a proper kayaker until you've had a religious moment on the river...

...The thousand-yard swim stare. A Paddler gets it after he's been swimming for too long. It's like... It's like you're really seeing beyond. I got it. All proper paddlers got it. And you'll have it too.
Love it! M

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by DaveBland » Tue Dec 24, 2013 9:55 pm

Big Henry wrote:If WW paddling carried less risk, WW paddlers would paddle riskier rivers to compensate.
So true!
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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by morsey » Wed Dec 25, 2013 8:57 pm

Le Guillotine wave on the middle Tawe!
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Interesting that Dr Robin mentions loneliness and discomfort, as a confirmed solo paddler those are maybe specific issues that he confronts out of choice whilst paddling! Personally I find solo paddling is a place where I don't feel alone, i.e. I don't dwell on the loneliness aspect, or it doesn't manifest itself with any degree of intrusion into my thoughts. And, actually there have been several incidents when paddling with groups where we really could have done with more man power and then the feeling of being alone (isolated) struck quite noticeably. Discomfort, anyone who has ever put their boat on their shoulder and walked a mile understands that, although personally I don't see that as a negative thought analysis. Having spent many years forcing myself out of the house at stupid o'clock to put miles on my bike for race training, I take fully every single hard session as a bonus, as a positive enforcement of endurance and of the ability to push yourself well out of your comfort zone. It hurts physically, but mentally it is a positive. For me the negative is not getting out, defeated by cold, by adverse weather, by injury or illness, and dealing with the negative aspects (lack of self belief, confidence, self assurance) of that can be countered with the same tools that are used to get in the zone for kayaking.

Would be an interesting study to give stimulants/suppressants (triple blind: control, dosed and placebo) to paddlers and measure the effect of their response to conditions on the rivers. I'm guessing that the outcome would indicate that many would lower their assessment of the risk and paddle freer! And, without that artificial stimulus, paddlers are naturally addressing their risk assessment based on skill, confidence, experience, fitness, awareness etc. But ultimately there is an acceptance that there is a risk, and rivers will always present a higher risk no matter how refined paddlers become. Even the best paddlers in the world know they cannot paddle every river, every rapid, every fall. The risks are infinitesimal whilst humans have a finite ability and defence/coping mechanism.

I would have done another river, on Sunday just passed, if the risks (for me that day) were less. I'll go back when I'm paddling better and the reward will be better than if the risk were lessened.

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Re: WW paddling - would be better if it carried less risk...

Post by DaveBland » Thu Dec 26, 2013 6:40 am

davebrads wrote:Nailing a difficult line is great, but nailing it when there is the added pressure of a nasty outcome if you go off line is even better. Partly this is simply relief in getting away with it (again), but also there is the additional satisfaction of having tested your skills under maximum pressure and still held it together.
Sorry it took me a while to get back on this... been thinking [and drinking] on it.

I totally agree - or would have done a few years ago, but these days, I feel no need to test my skills under max pressure. I've done that, proved to myself what I need to, and got to know myself better. Today, the pressure is still there and the challenge still alive, but from knowing how I paddled, not knowing that I beat the risk. Sure, if the risk is there, then fine, but it has no impact on the reward.
As a result, for me personally, the answer to the question in the title is "it makes no difference".

...and Morsey, great post above.
dave

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