'White' water?

Inland paddling
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DaveBland
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'White' water?

Post by DaveBland » Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:48 pm

I was watching this fab vid from another thread [ and was momentarily [pleasantly] surprised to see a black face on the river. It got me realizing that there are really very few non stereotypically white paddlers I see in vids or come across on the river. Given I've been hanging around Birmingham and Calgary for the past 20 years, it doesn't seem very representative of the population I've seen.

So… is kayaking an elitist white sport? God, I hope not.
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by ion » Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:57 am

Lots of Asians paddling out on the West coast Dave. I can only think off the top of my head of one black guy, but he's an awesome paddler. And then there's this dude...what I'd give for those guns...

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by jam bo » Mon Sep 08, 2014 8:12 am

ion wrote:Lots of Asians paddling out on the West coast Dave. I can only think off the top of my head of one black guy, but he's an awesome paddler. And then there's this dude...what I'd give for those guns...

Image

Has he just bent those paddles? !!!

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Adrian Cooper » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:06 am

DaveBland wrote:So… is kayaking an elitist white sport?
Just because an activity is practiced predominantly by a particular section of society doesn't mean it is elitist to them.

Is marathon running elitist to west African males?

Is chess elitist to Russians?

Is netball elitist to females?

Not to say there aren't elitist activities out there, let's say polo is elitist to those who can afford to stable a dozen horses.

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Wadhamite » Mon Sep 08, 2014 11:48 am

A lot of the places in the UK with great, natural white water tend be in rural areas, which tend to be, er, quite white (for example... Wales. And Scotland).

It's easier to provide grass roots facilities for things like footie, gymnastics and athletics in urban areas, and proportionately harder to provide access to white water. Whereas if you live in Stone, you might as well join Stafford and Stone canoe club, because Stone's a bloody boring place to live! And unlike nearby Stoke, Derby etc, even Stone is getting pretty rural and agricultural and therefore white.

Having Lee Valley in London might help, if they can get local schools and clubs involved. But you're otherwise up against demographics.

[I have had similar arguments with non-UK friends about why Cambridge University is so white. There are probably some nasty institutional racism problems going on, along with sexism and all the rest, but my non-UK friends have a warped sense of how non-white the UK is because they base their perceptions on London, Birmingham or Manchester. The rest of the country isn't that diverse...]
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Lancs_lad » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:11 pm

I like it the way it is. No one gets offended when I wear my white gown and hood on the river ;-)

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by sundaykayaker » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:58 pm

What a brilliant question.
Same can be said of swimming - don't see many " None Anglo Saxons :) " participating in that sport either.

The River does not care about the color of your skin or ethnicity.
Once you have the kit on - it is difficult to tell, when you r running a rapid & screaming like a big girls blouse :o)

So, I have no answer to this question, other then to confess that I am from a "none white" ethnic group.
I have not been able to convince any of my "ethnic English" friends to try out a river outing.
I now just share my videos and endlessly bore them with my exploits.
The more I talk about it, more they think I am crazy.

C U on the Water . Come and say hello & If you guess my ethnicity I will gladly buy u a beer.
Just ask " r u the Sunday Kayaker " lol. unless you already know me. then its your round

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Big Henry » Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:11 pm

jam bo wrote:
ion wrote:Lots of Asians paddling out on the West coast Dave. I can only think off the top of my head of one black guy, but he's an awesome paddler. And then there's this dude...what I'd give for those guns...

Image

Has he just bent those paddles? !!!
If memory serves, he was so happy at having just won a medal at the Beijing Olympics that he slammed his paddles down onto the front deck of his boat and snapped them!

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Franky » Mon Sep 08, 2014 5:16 pm

Lancs_lad wrote:I like it the way it is. No one gets offended when I wear my white gown and hood on the river ;-)
How do you know nobody gets offended?

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by DaveBland » Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:27 pm

ion wrote:Lots of Asians paddling out on the West coast Dave. I can only think off the top of my head of one black guy, but he's an awesome paddler. And then there's this dude...what I'd give for those guns...
It's good to hear. I paddle with a half Chinese guy who's a bit handy in a boat too. But I just have never come across many non-white paddlers.
Well, hey, at least there's a shit load more females on the water than there ever was.
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by David Fairweather » Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:28 pm

So much of this is socio-economic. Think about how many current paddlers are introduced to Paddlesports through organisations such as scouts, and how well do those organisations reflect the ethnicity of a community?

Canoeing and kayaking are pretty much limited to those who have had swimming lessons, have been introduced to the sport, and have the time and money to get involved in what is a pretty pricey activity. Once you put the UK population into that Venn diagram, the centre will inevitably be predominantly white. I don't think the sport is elitist, but perhaps (like rowing, sailing, equestrian sports, mountain biking, archery etc...) the conditions are.

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by ion » Mon Sep 08, 2014 9:57 pm

David Fairweather wrote:So much of this is socio-economic. Think about how many current paddlers are introduced to Paddlesports through organisations such as scouts, and how well do those organisations reflect the ethnicity of a community?

Canoeing and kayaking are pretty much limited to those who have had swimming lessons, have been introduced to the sport, and have the time and money to get involved in what is a pretty pricey activity. Once you put the UK population into that Venn diagram, the centre will inevitably be predominantly white. I don't think the sport is elitist, but perhaps (like rowing, sailing, equestrian sports, mountain biking, archery etc...) the conditions are.
I think you pretty much hit it smack on the head there.

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Franky » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:01 pm

A lot of it is just background and environment and whether or not it even occurs to you to take up the activity.

Sometimes it comes down to knowing somebody who does it and recommends it. That's what happened with me. If it weren't for a chance conversation with a friend, I'd never have considered taking up paddling (and I was nearly 40 when I did). I suppose I had a certain image of it that I didn't think was "me".

These demographic issues are interesting for all sorts of reasons. Around where I live there are lots of biochemists and lots of software engineers. But there seem to be far more biochemists who paddle. Should there be a drive to get more software engineers into paddling? :)

Perhaps another factor is that the easiest and pleasantest places to learn to paddle are medium-sized towns (50 000-100 000 people) with easy access to open countryside. Those types of towns tend not to have large ethnic minorities.

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Franky » Mon Sep 08, 2014 10:28 pm

David Fairweather wrote: Canoeing and kayaking are pretty much limited to those who have had swimming lessons, have been introduced to the sport, and have the time and money to get involved in what is a pretty pricey activity.
Maybe times have changed, but when I was a kid (1970s) everybody had swimming lessons.

As for pricey: for my first two years paddling I spent £50 a year on club membership and maybe £100 on waterproof clothing. Everything else was provided by the club. Maybe it's different elsewhere, but I don't call that expensive.

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Sickboy » Tue Sep 09, 2014 12:08 am

Franky wrote:
David Fairweather wrote: Canoeing and kayaking are pretty much limited to those who have had swimming lessons, have been introduced to the sport, and have the time and money to get involved in what is a pretty pricey activity.
Maybe times have changed, but when I was a kid (1970s) everybody had swimming lessons.

As for pricey: for my first two years paddling I spent £50 a year on club membership and maybe £100 on waterproof clothing. Everything else was provided by the club. Maybe it's different elsewhere, but I don't call that expensive.
Maybe more perception than fact, there are loads of clubs offering coaching and kit for very little. I was chatting out the car window with the passenger of another car while clogged in traffic the otherday (I had the Ocoee on the roof), 'how much?'
'This one a few hundred, new, nearer two grand in all'
'Wheres the nearest place to try canoeing in rapids?'
'Lea valley where they had the Olympics, otherwise bloody miles away!!!'
End of conversation due to traffic shifting off, from that I suppose it does sound expensive and a PITA......

Plus there is the whole climate problem, for the most part its pretty chilly over here, I've tried everything to get the other half and her family to come paddling in the summer, waters far too cold for their Caribbean bones even in August. I just think anglo saxons on the whole are used to being cold and wet on a regular basis and accept that to have fun round here you have to take it on the chin.
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Mark Dixon » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:06 am

Carribean/African origin people have a different bone structure from whites and so make excellent athletes and footballers but crap swimmers, there are swimming pools in every town in country so its accessible, dont know any involved in athletic meetings?. As someone pointed out earlier kayaking comes from a love of water and swimming in particular so its no surprise there are very ltd numbers involved in paddling.

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Wadhamite » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:25 am

Mark Dixon wrote:Carribean/African origin people have a different bone structure from whites and so make excellent athletes and footballers but crap swimmers, there are swimming pools in every town in country so its accessible, dont know any involved in athletic meetings?. As someone pointed out earlier kayaking comes from a love of water and swimming in particular so its no surprise there are very ltd numbers involved in paddling.
Careful with the generalisations - there's more diversity in body shape and size in Africa than the rest of the world put together. Africa is the continent with the tallest and shortest populations, for example. There will certainly be African-ancestry body types that are very good for swimming, kayaking etc.
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Mark Dixon » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:38 am

Why should I be careful? I'm not being racist I'm stating facts, how many coloured Olympic swimmers are there? How many white people are there with Golds at running?
There are lots of Pygmys and really tall races in Afrika but they live in Afrika, not the general Western World where kayaking is an active sport

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Poke » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:17 am

Mark Dixon wrote:Carribean/African origin people have a different bone structure from whites and so make excellent athletes and footballers but crap swimmers.
Mark Dixon wrote:Why should I be careful? I'm not being racist I'm stating facts
I don't think anyone is accusing you of being racist. You’re being warned against making generalisations. Just because the fastest people in the world are black, doesn’t make all black people good at running. Equally just because there are not many black Olympic swimmers (aren’t there – I don’t know?) doesn’t mean that all black people are “crap swimmers”.
Mark Dixon wrote:how many coloured Olympic swimmers are there? How many white people are there with Golds at running?
Just because you aren’t world class at something doesn’t mean you don’t enjoy it. I mean, I enjoy mountain biking for example. There’s no risk I’m ever going to compete at a world class level in it, but it’s still great fun. Equally, even if you aren’t a fast swimmer, you can still enjoy being in the water.
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Wadhamite » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:48 am

Mark Dixon wrote:Why should I be careful? I'm not being racist I'm stating facts, how many coloured Olympic swimmers are there? How many white people are there with Golds at running?
There are lots of Pygmys and really tall races in Afrika but they live in Afrika, not the general Western World where kayaking is an active sport
I meant 'don't make evolutionary just-so generalisations'. The reasons that there are many African-ancestry runners are partly to do with biology, but a lot more to do with culture and upbringing. I would put good money (and in fact, maybe could get a research grant to prove!) on the fact that that European countries produce fewer African-ancestry world class swimmers than athletics produces world-class African-ancestry runners is overwhelmingly down to socio-economic factors and NOT body shape, muscle composition etc - because you're going to get European-ancestry and African-ancestry Western athletes to match your 'ideal' body type for all sports. Whether both groups make it into (in the first place) and through the pipeline to elite standard is going to be much more influenced by your parents, where you live and how much money your family has, than by your genetic heritage.
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Wadhamite » Tue Sep 09, 2014 11:52 am

For argument, Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah are both skinny beggars, ideal long distance running body shape, arrived at by completely different genetic histories. Somewhere out there will be a black , British Michael Phelps who'd be a whizz in the swimming pool, but does he a. know how to swim, b. have access to an Olympic standard pool, c. have parents who can fit their work schedules around taking him to/from training etc. Biological potential unrealised due to lifestyle factors...
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Big Henry » Tue Sep 09, 2014 3:23 pm

Wadhamite wrote:For argument, Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah are both skinny beggars, ideal long distance running body shape, arrived at by completely different genetic histories. Somewhere out there will be a black , British Michael Phelps who'd be a whizz in the swimming pool, but does he a. know how to swim, b. have access to an Olympic standard pool, c. have parents who can fit their work schedules around taking him to/from training etc. Biological potential unrealised due to lifestyle factors...
To think, there might be a Masai warrior out there who could have smashed all the skiing records if only he'd ever been near some snow and a pair of skis!

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by DaveBland » Tue Sep 09, 2014 4:27 pm

Mark Dixon wrote:...kayaking comes from a love of water and swimming in particular
Whoa… hold on there buckaroo… I feckin HATE swimming. The worst sport ever. It's like walking only more boring.
Sliding down skanky wet ditches in a plastic tub comes more from a love of falling down the stairs in muddy wellies.
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Wadhamite » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:00 pm

Big Henry wrote:
Wadhamite wrote:For argument, Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah are both skinny beggars, ideal long distance running body shape, arrived at by completely different genetic histories. Somewhere out there will be a black , British Michael Phelps who'd be a whizz in the swimming pool, but does he a. know how to swim, b. have access to an Olympic standard pool, c. have parents who can fit their work schedules around taking him to/from training etc. Biological potential unrealised due to lifestyle factors...
To think, there might be a Masai warrior out there who could have smashed all the skiing records if only he'd ever been near some snow and a pair of skis!
If he'd moved to Finland at 2, who knows :p
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by sundaykayaker » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:23 pm

So... It comes down to it.... a chance has a lot to do with it... "My Story"

One day, about 8 years ago, on a family outing to the River Severn. We saw a rowing club. The door was open so we went in. However our excitement of wanting to join in was met with cold shoulders. which was distinctly off putting - a rear event, given my sociable nature. I found my self ushering the family out of the club house - I did not want the kids seeing their father resorting to foul language.

As we were heading home. Spotted a boat on a car roof going in to a car park of a high school. decided to follow it in. A group of individuals were changing in the car park. Got talking to one of them who pointed to an out building and said to go and see someone in there.

The rowing club and the Kayaking club share the River Severn. One frowns at new comers the other open and welcoming.

Post script to this long story is, my kids did not want to learn to paddle. But I did.
That's how I Joined Wyre Forest Canoe Club. And Now go paddling Most Sundays :)

So you can analyse population demographics, dissect socio-economic trends, bisect cause and effect of monitory polices. Can argue for or against multiculturalism. Feel you belong to an elitist or an inclusive group.
In the end smiling face trumps a frown.
And how come DaveBland we have not paddled together ???? Is it cose I is black :)
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Hakase » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:32 pm

Big Henry wrote:
Wadhamite wrote:For argument, Paula Radcliffe and Mo Farah are both skinny beggars, ideal long distance running body shape, arrived at by completely different genetic histories. Somewhere out there will be a black , British Michael Phelps who'd be a whizz in the swimming pool, but does he a. know how to swim, b. have access to an Olympic standard pool, c. have parents who can fit their work schedules around taking him to/from training etc. Biological potential unrealised due to lifestyle factors...
To think, there might be a Masai warrior out there who could have smashed all the skiing records if only he'd ever been near some snow and a pair of skis!
I feel like this could quite easily turn into a 1993 American sports movie...

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by DaveBland » Tue Sep 09, 2014 8:03 pm

sundaykayaker wrote:And how come DaveBland we have not paddled together ???? Is it cose I is black :)
Sunday Kayaker :)
Probably more to do with the fact that in the last 8 years since you've been paddling, I've been several thousand miles away. But I'd love to meet on the river…

I did think that it was all down to social and economic factors too, but taking Calgary as an example, it's relatively multi-cultural, with enough of an established immigrant population to have totally embedded 2nd and 3rd generations of immigrants having all the same opportunities as everyone else. Also, pretty much everyone here is from somewhere else.

Add to that the massively supportive culture for outdoor sports and having it on your doorstep, and I start to come to the conclusion that Sickboy may be right.

Is it that certain cultures either value outdoor sports less or that they really don't like the getting cold and wet part?

Dunno, but it's been interesting reading everyone's thoughts.
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Sickboy » Tue Sep 09, 2014 9:18 pm

DaveBland wrote: Is it that certain cultures either value outdoor sports less or that they really don't like the getting cold and wet part?
Cultural values regarding outdoor sports would be a massive study for someone, beyond me at this time of night for sure.
Mentioned this thread to the other half earlier, seems I forgot a massive reason why she wouldn't touch 'white water', It'd take her many many hours (and much cash) to sort her hair out if it got wet away from a hair dryer. Women....
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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Franky » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:11 pm

DaveBland wrote:
Mark Dixon wrote:...kayaking comes from a love of water and swimming in particular
Whoa… hold on there buckaroo… I feckin HATE swimming. The worst sport ever. It's like walking only more boring.
Sliding down skanky wet ditches in a plastic tub comes more from a love of falling down the stairs in muddy wellies.
I've always enjoyed swimming but I've heard several people at my club say they don't like it, or are not very good at it.

Given the frequency with which I capsize, it's just as well I'm a decent swimmer. But seriously, it was a definite factor for me in taking up paddling - I've swum regularly all my life, and it gave me a liking for the "feel" of water. Not being *too* worried about falling in is definitely a bonus when you start paddling.

Mind you, I know a keen windsurfer who is a very nervous swimmer and hates falling in.

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Re: 'White' water?

Post by Franky » Tue Sep 09, 2014 10:22 pm

DaveBland wrote: Is it that certain cultures either value outdoor sports less or that they really don't like the getting cold and wet part?
Can you really talk about "cultures" not liking getting cold and wet? From my observation, the variation is much more between individuals than between cultures. I know as many white people who hate outdoor activities as I do who enjoy them.

Personally, I really dislike being cold (can cope with wet), and I would much rather paddle lovely warm rivers in Brazil than freezing ditches in Britain. But my enjoyment of the activity overrides my aversion to the cold. (Anyway, when you're paddling you don't feel cold, it's the get-ins and the lunch breaks that have me shivering.)

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