Starting in a playboat?

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jonnysmedley
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Starting in a playboat?

Post by jonnysmedley » Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:01 am

Hi I'm relatively new to white water kayaking and am considering purchasing a Big Dog Havoc (playboat). It would be my first kayak, would I be better off getting a longer kayak with more volume? Thanks.

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by SimonMW » Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:18 am

There's no right or wrong answer. The only answer I can give is that it 'depends'. As in it depends on what you want to do? When you start out you probably do not know what type of boating you want to focus on, so buying a boat will always be a bit of a stab in the dark. Learning playboating would be a great way to gain confidence in a boat though, and control. But if you don't like playboating and prefer to go on river trips and learn your skills going down grade 2-3, you'd be better off with a river runner like a Diesel, Axiom, Antix, etc.

Best suggestion is what we always say to people here. Join a local club, and see if you can borrow club boats, and have a go in other members boats, and try a few areas of boating to find which one you like. Although I'm still going to say that learning to playboat would be fantastic for your long term skills development.

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by MikeVeal » Wed Aug 30, 2017 7:38 am

The playboat will give you a steeper learning curve, expect it to take a bit longer to learn. This is because the boat will be far more sensitive than a bigger boat. The bigger boat will be far more tolerant of your mistakes than a playboat. But because of that, as a beginner , you won't learn the same level of boat control in a gurt long voluminous tank.

So yes, ultimately the playboat will expose you to the need for more precise paddling early in your development. You'll learn more slowly, but you'll learn more.

But yeah, it depends. Playboats make crap tourers for example, slow, cramped and no space for kit.

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by TechnoEngineer » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:54 am

I find there are two principal dimensions to running WW - one is to be able to run good lines accurately, the other is to cope with what happens when you go off-line.

I think that if you spend more time in a playboat, you get better at handling when you go off-line than you do at being able to run good lines. You need to be in a good river runner to be able to run good lines.

I think that makes sense :)
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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by SimonMW » Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:09 pm

I don't necessarily agree with that. When starting out, you can easily have a boat such as an EZG, Fun, Axiom etc, even an old Dagger Juice or G-Force which allows a lot of play, and river running. You can run rivers in a playboat. Good technique is good technique no matter what boat you are in. Arguably you'll learn to paddle good lines better in a boat that will give you more instant feedback into what you are doing wrong, than a boat that will paste over the cracks.

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by yabbadabba » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:15 am

I like playboats and I find them fun but I dont run very many rivers.
My main use for the playboat is messing around on local water features, the occasional river run, the odd trip to a white water centre and lots of messing around in the surf.
On the odd river run I do I find the playboats good fun, a bit more hard work at times.
White Water centres I love the playboats and have a good time.
Local water features, I could not make use of them with any other boat.
Messing around in the surf, on days when the surf is not good enough for the surf kayak to get wet a playboat for me is an excellent alternative.

Downsides to playboats in my eyes.
You cant carry so much kit in the boat.
You have to paddle harder on flat water and rivers.
Some times it can be harder to exit and climb up a steep banks on the river.

I am not an expert so the above is just my opinions.

Tips

Buy a kayak you are comfy in. By this I mean sit in one for at least 20-30 minutes or preferably borrow one for a paddle session.
If unsure dont spend huge amounts of money on the latest playboat, you can buy many older playboats for very little money and then if you change your mind on paddling style you can sell it again and most likley break even, make some money or only lose a small amount.

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by Jim » Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:45 pm

TechnoEngineer wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:54 am
I find there are two principal dimensions to running WW - one is to be able to run good lines accurately, the other is to cope with what happens when you go off-line.

I think that if you spend more time in a playboat, you get better at handling when you go off-line than you do at being able to run good lines. You need to be in a good river runner to be able to run good lines.

I think that makes sense :)
Not to me it doesn't.

You need to BE a good river runner to run good lines, the boat your use is largely irrelevant as long as you are comfortable in it.

I have found very few rapids over the years where my topo was actually too slow to make a line, my playboats are faster with more precise control (except maybe the Jed, but I have never used it for river running). Rivers have always been fine in a playboat, rocky ditches less than fine and it was the move of my peers more to rocky ditches (and then kids and not paddling any more) that caused me to stop river running in playboats, in the UK at least. I took a 4Fun to the grand canyon last year and found it too big and stable for me, I would have been even happier running the big volume in something a little slicier (although comfort for 2 weeks needs to be considered).

As to whether the OP should start in a playboat or not, I would suggest there are 2 things you need to think about:
1) are you comfortable enough in a playboat - not just feet and ankles, but are you relaxed or constantly twitching waiting for the water to grab an edge and try to flip you?
2) do you have peers or leaders that are using playboats and can give you guidance as you develop your own way of using yours?

If you have physical pain, or your core is working constantly to stay upright you just won't have the endurance to run rivers in a playboat, you will be sore or exhausted far too quickly. If you are the only playboat in a group that all paddle creekers, you will have constant nagging to get a proper boat, and you will have to learn all of the nuances of 3D paddling for yourself without assistance, also you will find before long they move to less and less playboat friendly 'rivers' (rocky ditches) where you will be forever battering your ankles against rocks and increasing your vertial pin risk and such.

If your answer to either question is no, I wouldn't recommend starting out running rivers in a playboat.

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by clarky999 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:19 pm

I see a very definite trend of people who've learnt in playboats to rely on a much more reactive style with lots of sweepstrokes to adjust course - which you can't get away with so easily in a creek boat - rather than dynamically paddling forwards and using momentum to move through a rapid. It looks like hard work, and many seem to struggle once they get in a big(ger) boat on harder rivers as they haven't developed the tactical side of running rivers so well.

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by DaveBland » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:51 am

clarky999 wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:19 pm
I see a very definite trend of people who've learnt in playboats to rely on a much more reactive style with lots of sweepstrokes to adjust course - which you can't get away with so easily in a creek boat - rather than dynamically paddling forwards and using momentum to move through a rapid. It looks like hard work, and many seem to struggle once they get in a big(ger) boat on harder rivers as they haven't developed the tactical side of running rivers so well.
I agree but then there's also a trend of paddlers who have learned in creek boats who come undone as soon as they are thrown around. There's a benefit in both.
dave

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Jim
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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by Jim » Wed Sep 06, 2017 1:28 pm

DaveBland wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:51 am
I agree but then there's also a trend of paddlers who have learned in creek boats who come undone as soon as they are thrown around. There's a benefit in both.
Best bet is to do everything*

*except sprint/marathon, the boats are too wobbly

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by clarky999 » Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:20 pm

DaveBland wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:51 am
clarky999 wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:19 pm
I see a very definite trend of people who've learnt in playboats to rely on a much more reactive style with lots of sweepstrokes to adjust course - which you can't get away with so easily in a creek boat - rather than dynamically paddling forwards and using momentum to move through a rapid. It looks like hard work, and many seem to struggle once they get in a big(ger) boat on harder rivers as they haven't developed the tactical side of running rivers so well.
I agree but then there's also a trend of paddlers who have learned in creek boats who come undone as soon as they are thrown around. There's a benefit in both.
Definitely benefit in doing both, no question there! But given the OP and original question I'd say a longer boat would be better for overall development.

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by DaveBland » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:34 pm

Okay addressing to OP...personally I'd advocate for starting in a slicey but longer boat [RPM, Braap, Axiom stylie] and get the best of everything. Learn to use edges and still get some speed and control.
dave

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by gp.girl » Wed Sep 06, 2017 8:08 pm

clarky999 wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 3:20 pm
DaveBland wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:51 am
clarky999 wrote:
Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:19 pm
I see a very definite trend of people who've learnt in playboats to rely on a much more reactive style with lots of sweepstrokes to adjust course - which you can't get away with so easily in a creek boat - rather than dynamically paddling forwards and using momentum to move through a rapid. It looks like hard work, and many seem to struggle once they get in a big(ger) boat on harder rivers as they haven't developed the tactical side of running rivers so well.
I agree but then there's also a trend of paddlers who have learned in creek boats who come undone as soon as they are thrown around. There's a benefit in both.
Definitely benefit in doing both, no question there! But given the OP and original question I'd say a longer boat would be better for overall development.
So a river runner would be perfect :)

Or buy 3 boats.....

Join a club with a good selection* and try different ones.

* only works if you are the right size.
I can roll :)

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by Jim » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:05 pm

Don't stop at 3.
I think the one I just ordered is about No.18 but it is getting hard to tell.

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by DaveBland » Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:42 am

Jim wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:05 pm
...but it is getting hard to tell.
Yeah, when you aren't even sure if it's a boat or not, it's time to stop. Otherwise you'll end up on one of those SUP things and that's just urrrgly.
dave

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Re: Starting in a playboat?

Post by gp.girl » Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:10 am

Jim wrote:
Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:05 pm
Don't stop at 3.
I think the one I just ordered is about No.18 but it is getting hard to tell.
Come on he's only just starting. Plenty of time for more!
I can roll :)

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