Inexperienced borrower, son involved, no knowledge of a river with a known hazard, dangerously cold water - either one of those factors would be cause enough for me to refuse a similar request from friends who aren't skilled and well-equipped paddlers.
The water is a great place to learn, experience and enjoy, but it isn't a forgiving environment, and things can go west in a heck of a hurry. I'd tell a friend we'd do some paddling together later in the season, when the water's warmer and he could build the skills and knowledge base needed to be safe out there...
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