-- Last Updated: Aug-07-13 10:43 AM EST --
trying new techniques, equipment, boats. Some boats work better in some environments than others. Unfortunately, a few folks don't get that. Last summer I was paddling the new river gorge in wv , plenty of high volume class III and IV whitewater. Unfortunately, there was a group of three who decided to try it in their "rec" kayaks they recently purchased from Dunhams. This was just their second time in the kayaks. Only two of the three were wearing lifejackets. At least they had one on the kid that looked to be about 13 years old. No sprayskirts, no flotation, and no sense at all. They ignored several signs at the put in that stated the danger of the river and the classification of the rapids. They made it past upper railroad before deciding to quit. They pulled and pushed their boats upstream along the shoreline to get back to the put-in after encountering a number of us who told them they weren't prepared to go on.
Yes, we all start somewhere. I'm quite sure, at some point in the future, someone will make a point of paddling a rec boat down the gorge, just to show us it can be done. But it isn't going to be me. Some boats are better suited for more specific environments than others. The guys I met said they were told when they bought them that "their boats were good for up to class III." Clearly, that isn't the case.
I've got no problem with rec boats provided they're paddled safely in their intended environment. But sometimes they do not just stay where it is appropriate, and frequently the users go without wearing pfds. Hmmm, the least experienced paddlers are the ones who think it isn't necessary to wear a pfd. Darwin at work.
I think its great that kayaking has gone mainstream. Just realize box store boats have limitations. I myself like paddling more than my local farm pond so I paddle more specialized boats yet I know those who are highly skilled can make a less suitable boat work in more extreme environments.
Sport Cases (Electronics)
Kayak & Canoe Outriggers
Hardshell Kayak Sail Rigs
Custom Greenland Paddles
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