No one should ever swim?

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Big Henry
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No one should ever swim?

Post by Big Henry » Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:04 pm

This is taken from the Top Tip: Grab loops and security fixing points on WW boats topic, and as I thought it was a bit off topic I'd start another thread.

Jon Davies wrote
...and if we are talking playboat then someone who is likely to swim shouldn't be paddling a playboat.
Surely this would mean no-one would paddle a playboat until they are a very accomplished paddler? On this logic, could you say no one should be paddling white water if there is a chance of swimming? Where, then, does one learn the specific skills for that water (or boat)? I'm sure everyone on here has swam at least once! I know I have, and occasionally still do as I still consider myself to be learning.[/quote]

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dom_edward
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Post by dom_edward » Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:21 pm

I think it is too easy to take that comment out of context. If the playboat is being used solely to "play" then it shouldn't be too hard not to swim as it should be easy enough to roll in most situations - this wouldnt take a very accomplished paddler just one with a good roll.

I think the original comment was more on the lines of someone using a playboat as a river runner - which is not what is intended for and hence playboats don't require the full WW spec of a river running boat - so if you were likely to swim whilst running a river it isn't the best choice of boat.

This doesnt mean you shouldnt be paddling white water if there is a chance of swimming - just that you would be advised to choose a boat that is more suitable for swimming out of and getting rescued afterwards. By choosing a more suitable boat you can then gain the skills to take a "playboat" down a river.

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Mr Hoppy
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Post by Mr Hoppy » Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:23 pm

I think the logic is that you gain WW skills in a more sensible boat and then once you are competent then you start to paddle a playboat.

Modern playboats aren't suited to noobies, low volume and sharp edges aren't kind on nervous paddlers.

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Post by Grumpy Fisherman » Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:32 pm

Mr Hoppy wrote:Modern playboats aren't suited to noobies, low volume and sharp edges aren't kind on nervous paddlers.
But may be exactly what they need to accelerate their learning curve. Horses for courses.

Owen

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Post by Matt R » Fri Nov 17, 2006 12:48 pm

Mr Hoppy wrote:I think the logic is that you gain WW skills in a more sensible boat and then once you are competent then you start to paddle a playboat.

Modern playboats aren't suited to noobies, low volume and sharp edges aren't kind on nervous paddlers.
As Owen said, learning in a playboat will obviously be more difficult and a steeper learning curve, but will undoubtedly give you a more accomplished skill set and improved boat control / technique. The main reason being that you can't get away with bad technique in the same way that you can in a boat designed to be kind to you.

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Jim
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Post by Jim » Fri Nov 17, 2006 1:17 pm

So I'm not the only one who still runs rivers in a playboat then?

I think whoever made the original comment probably had some sort of grade of water in mind that put the comment into a context in his own head. Certainly if I was paddling grade 4 and 5 with people in playboats I would expect them to be for the most part above and beyond swimming on that sort of water, but it has to be remembered that EVERYONE swims at some point (unless they've given up paddling). Those of us that haven't swum for a while tend to get nervous as the years tick by, expecting the next one to be a big one!

Jim

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Ryan Clements
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Post by Ryan Clements » Fri Nov 17, 2006 1:59 pm

Jim wrote:Those of us that haven't swum for a while tend to get nervous as the years tick by, expecting the next one to be a big one!


This is very true Jim- I took a not particularly nasty (tactical ;)) swim in Italy in the summer... it was quite a shock to the system. I thought I was in for a much more unpleasant experience when I "paddled" over right angle backwards a few weeks back at a particularly chunky level, but thankfully got away with it. I hadn't swam for about three years prior to the summer and I some times wonder how I'll react if take a more serious swim. Shiver.

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Post by Bertie.. » Fri Nov 17, 2006 2:05 pm

Swims happen. To think otherwise is to think you're somehow invincible which we're not.

Personally, I'd rather have an embarrasing swim out of a playboat every once in a while (getting in some swimming practice) than not swim at all only to have one big swim with serious consequences.

I remember sometime ago, someone once said that everyone should take a swim at least once a year as practice.

I've had three this year, but like buses - I've been waiting a while for them. I guess I was just overdue.

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Post by wonny j » Fri Nov 17, 2006 2:08 pm

Jim wrote: Those of us that haven't swum for a while tend to get nervous as the years tick by, expecting the next one to be a big one!
Sounds horrendous!

Thats why I try to swim on a fairly regular basis, maybe once a year lately.

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Mr Hoppy
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Post by Mr Hoppy » Fri Nov 17, 2006 2:13 pm

Grumpy Fisherman wrote:
Mr Hoppy wrote:Modern playboats aren't suited to noobies, low volume and sharp edges aren't kind on nervous paddlers.
But may be exactly what they need to accelerate their learning curve. Horses for courses.

Owen
I didn't say I agreed with the logic, it very much depends on the paddler. Some people I encourage to get into 'fun' boats as soon as possible, others I don't.

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MadHatter
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Post by MadHatter » Fri Nov 17, 2006 2:37 pm

In the uni club we have found that it can be beneficial to put some paddlers more or less straight into playboats. For example some of the much smaller girls 5 ft and 7ish Stone are generally happier paddling the LL Pocket Rocket than any of the other "larger" club boats, because they find it easier to control. Generally though we only put them into it if they are confident and dont mind a swim or two and we are happy that they will still enjoy themselves.

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Post by steddyjames » Fri Nov 17, 2006 2:49 pm

I spent my first 4 months of learning to kayak in an old placcy squirtboat (Eurokayaks Enigma) because it was the only boat around at the time.

Certainly made me very used to being on end and I learnt to roll effectively in a matter of weeks. My first time out on moving water I swam 13 times in about 1.5hrs.

Not saying that's the ideal way to learn but my learning curve was v v steep. That summer was great fun, only thing was I was in a country where the water was as warm as a bath which made the whole process much easier!!

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Re: No one should ever swim?

Post by RichBII » Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:15 pm

Big Henry wrote:Surely this would mean no-one would paddle a playboat until they are a very accomplished paddler? On this logic, could you say no one should be paddling white water if there is a chance of swimming? Where, then, does one learn the specific skills for that water (or boat)? I'm sure everyone on here has swam at least once! I know I have, and occasionally still do as I still consider myself to be learning.
You can pick up the basic skills (including turning, support strokes, bracing and rolling) on flat water before complicating it and learning the ww specific skills on top! In my personal case, that's what happened, but I still swam on my first day of ww paddling and my first time at Hurley as I wasn't used to being upside down in ww and didn't have the confidence yet to roll up.

An anecdote... I had my first swim for years this summer (since that time at Hurley, as it happens). It scared me a bit at the time.

Considering it afterwards, I believe it wasn't just a case of my swimming karma catching up with me. We were boat scouting a straight forward looking slide, to all appearances (from above) much like many others we'd run recently, and it would have been hard (but doable) to get out to inspect. There was a blind spot whch I couldn't quite see, which happened to be the hole at the bottom. As it turned out, there were a couple of underwater rocks there backing up the hole into a 2 or 3m towback...

Basically, I made an assumption based on the character of river (mostly bedrock) and previous experience of similar rapids, which turned out to be false, and I was subsequently "unlucky."

Moral of the story? Don't rely on luck- it's not the fault of bad luck when it goes wrong, it's the fault of the bad judgement which allowed luck to take a part in it.

Now, to soften my approach slightly- swimming has to be an inevitable part of the learning process when you're on a steep learing curve. The important skill is in assessing the risk and the consequences, and whether you are happy to accept them. You also need to consider whether the people you're paddling with are happy to accept said consequences.

Happy (and safe) paddling!

Rich

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Dave T
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Post by Dave T » Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:16 pm

Jim wrote: Those of us that haven't swum for a while tend to get nervous as the years tick by, expecting the next one to be a big one!
Jim
I havent had a swim since summer 2004 which was through a lovely syphon in Norway. Since then I have been waiting for the next biggy which luckily hasn't come (yet).
When I Paddled with a uni club in the past I got to see loads of ugly swims and its inspired me to stay in my boat!

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kendomat
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Post by kendomat » Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:43 pm

Just to add to this point.. The best boater in the world may take a swim once in a while.

Every one is prone to fatigue and cramp, and this so often happens just after that famous last saying "I'll have one more go then im off, Im knanckard".

Also as an extra point, it is good to take a swim once in a while, in a controlled environment of course, as it prepares us for that time in our lives when a swim is the only, or forced option.

I took a play swim on a river the other week jsut messing around, and I proved to my self how unfit I was, and not accustomed to the idea of swimming.
I was totally knackard, and could hardly swim strong enough to cross the eddy line with my boat etc..

Dump the boat swim for you lives..... hehe

Matt
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Post by Matt R » Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:50 pm

Jon Davies wrote:...and if we are talking playboat then someone who is likely to swim shouldn't be paddling a playboat.
The other thing to remember is that certainly in my case, streamers were put there to make it easier for swimmers to grab hold of. So the likelyhood of me swimming is irrelevant.

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Post by smallchilli » Fri Nov 17, 2006 3:55 pm

Being only 14, I spent four years as a scout learning flat water moves.

Once I got on my first white water, all the years of practise on the flat just clicked into place and I was on my way to some bigger paddling!

Perfecting flat water skills - the way forward?

Dan

(not going to be around for the weekend to reply, sorry.)

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Post by RichBII » Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:08 pm

smallchilli wrote:Perfecting flat water skills - the way forward?
This reminds me of something a Kiwi said to me in NZ: "The English all seem to have good technique because they spend ages paddling on flat water." I think it was both a bit of a rib at the fact that our water levels aren't as reliable as they have there, and a geniune (though not necessarily well founded) compliment!

Like you, the "ages paddling on flat water" bit is actually true for me (I could roll 3 years before the opportunity for whitewater paddling arose). That's in stark contrast to the approach observed in many Uni clubs (including that of said Kiwi)! I think somewhere in between the two is best for fast, but safe progression.

Kendomat- completely agree, almost included some of your points, but decided to cut it down a bit! I am probably lacking a little in swimming practise, but when ever I do practise on WWS&R courses etc I seem to hit some rock or other, so it turns out to be the least safe paddling related activity I've come across!

Re the "knackered" point though- surely a swim due to fatigue comes under poor judgement (reading youself, not just the river...)?

When good boaters take swims, I guess they are happy to accept the risks and have good rescue set up to avoid further consequences. Or, they're just plain crazy! Different people seem to have different criteria, ranging from "am I going to paddle that line perfectly" to "am I going to come out of there alive." Fair enough...

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Post by Gavers » Fri Nov 17, 2006 5:49 pm

smallchilli wrote:Being only 14, I spent four years as a scout learning flat water moves.

Once I got on my first white water, all the years of practise on the flat just clicked into place and I was on my way to some bigger paddling!

Perfecting flat water skills - the way forward?

Dan

(not going to be around for the weekend to reply, sorry.)
I learned almost all I know in my school pool, was in there since 2nd year (year 8 for English peope?), and now in second year at uni. I only started out on rivers when going into my first year at uni. So far in my year on white water, I have swam a total of 5 times (though I'm b*ggred if I can remember the last one), and all my swims have been friendly.

So, I'd say learning the basics on flat water/in a pool was a seriously big help. My first river was the Nith in the borders, and I managed to handroll up after getting friendly with a rock. Being in the pool for so long made me easily able to do that, on my first white water.

Back to the oiginal question - Having a big river runner to learn in, in my opinion, is both good and bad.. it's good because it keeps the beginner dry/not swimming/etc. It's bad because when they fnally get into a small playboat, they don't lean it enough, and end up going in more regularly.

Need to cut this short, going out to a celidh now, woo!

Gav =)
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Post by scotty2hotty » Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:16 pm

If no one swam there'd be nowt to laugh at or talk about in the pub. Its like skiing without a good wipeout. Imagine Norman Wisdom without his comedy heel trip...... boring. So get swimming and falling, its good for you.
you can get rid of your temper, but not by losing it!

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Post by buck197 » Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:48 pm

Phew, its safe to swim again and so I can paddling tomorrow. Seriously swimming and paddling go hand in hand for most people.
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Post by MrJazz » Fri Nov 17, 2006 6:54 pm

wonny j wrote:
Jim wrote: Those of us that haven't swum for a while tend to get nervous as the years tick by, expecting the next one to be a big one!
Sounds horrendous!

Thats why I try to swim on a fairly regular basis, maybe once a year lately.
Yes indeed. I make regular trips to my local swimming pool just to make sure.

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Lowri Davies
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Post by Lowri Davies » Fri Nov 17, 2006 8:49 pm

As his sister I sometimes understand things my brother say that no-one else would understand as even being English! So I would like to explain what I suspect he was trying to say (even more so since his comment has now been taken out of context).

Quite often paddling around North Wales (I suspect this is not a phenomenom limited just to N Wales though) we see people with appauling technique because they have jumped into a playboat and thrown themselves down every bit of white water they can see before learning even basic boat control. Surviving seems to reassure them that this is fine. Spectators to this cringe as said paddler ploughs their way down pretty difficult white water with real consequences; more high braces that are shoulder dislocations waiting to happen than you can shake a paddle at.

My brother was in no way trying to suggest that you should never swim if you paddle a playboat. We are all between swims is a very wise statement that we both believe in. It is just frustrating having to pick up the pieces on the river of people who have just jumped in at the deep end. Particularly when river running and their swim is due to the fact that they are paddling a playboat on white water at the limit of their ability/experience.

I also do realise that the smaller boats are easier for smaller people to learn in, as does Jon since we both started paddling while fairly young, small and dare I say weak! However, there are small boats and there are aggressive playboats, they are not necessarily the same thing. Boats like inazones are a prefect small person's learning boat.

I believe that using an aggressive playboat to run rivers in the early stages of your paddling will result in worse technique and bad habits that are hard to shake. I suspect this was the foundation of my brother's sweeping statement ;-)

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Post by kendomat » Sat Nov 18, 2006 1:32 am

Although I do not believe it is the play boat, or indeed any craft which is to be blamed here... There is a large stigma n paddling that people must learn to kayak in a specific type of boat i.e. a dancer, invader or such type.
My feeling is that this view is far out dated, and people should be able to learn to kayak in any, and as many boats as they can. Learning to kayak in a play boat is no more of a hurdle than learning to kayak in a dancer. They all tip in if you lean rather than edge.

I feel it is about the quality of guidance, and the abilty for the 'learner' o adapt to the boat.

What I do feel is the main issue here is people jumping in to the deep end, and not meaning the boats. I am talking about paddling a river, with no guidance from some one who actualy knows how to paddle and pass skills to the beginer, and people not being comfortable on flat water then going on to moving water. But again its all about the teachings.

Kind of boat does not make a diference, the guidance and intsruction does and safety control measures does.
I teach at a centre where we have alkinds of boats play boats and gp boats. And I get begineers out in both, with out a thought of throwing them in at the deepend.

What do people think?

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Post by kendomat » Sat Nov 18, 2006 1:33 am

What you up to these day Lowri.. Married yet.
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Post by luckypants » Thu Nov 23, 2006 4:18 pm

Well said Lowri. And as I am thier Dad, I second the sentiment. Both these guys started off in my old Creek and progressed from there. The point was then that

a) such a boat is forgiving and stable, so when running rivers, making a mistake was not disastrous. It lets you know you've edged it wrong, but gives you a chance to correct it.
b) Boat is easy to swim out of. A beginner will swim a whole lot more that your experienced boater, so making life easy is good.
c) Boat is easy to roll. When you have a beginners WW roll, edges that can catch at the wrong moment will kill your roll.
d) Boat is easy to rescue (see point b). big fat boat that floats high in water, good grab hadles and does not swamp on rocks.

So beginners should be in beginners boats. That Creek was one of the best, look at the paddlers it produced! That boat saw some epic boating by all of us until Jon killed it practising his boofs on the Rawthay :)

On the swimming thing, of course we are all between swims. I used to practice swimming on a regular basis. Being able to swim 'safely' (or should that be correctly?) in WW is a basic river running skill and as such needs to be practised to perfect it. Next time you are spending a day on the river practising your rescue skills (which of course you all do on a regular basis right?) Volunteer to swim that grade 3 while everyone throws lines to you..... if they miss you'll have to rescue yourself!

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