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Thread: Getting Back In To It

  1. #1
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    Default Getting Back In To It

    I stopped paddling Kayaks and Open Boats around eight years ago when my job took over. I was a level three kayak coach and level 2 open boat. In the eight years I have stopped I have since been married and have a young family.

    My daughter is four and loves being in and around the water as we already go sailing and do other water sports. I miss paddling on sheltered waters and white water and would like to get back into it as I think my daughter would really enjoy it and would give us another excuse to get into the great outdoors.

    Has anybody got any advice on how to get back into it and I expect things have changed slightly since the last time I paddled.

    Phill33

  2. #2
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    Default It's like riding a bike.

    This is just the time to get your young un into the sport. Local canoe group? I am sure that they would welcome an experienced paddler like you with open arms.

    Hope you get fixed up.

    Welcome,

    Charlie
    It's turned out nice again!

  3. #3
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    Default I expect things have changed slightly since the last time I paddled.

    Nope, 1 blade, 2 blade, strokes have been the same for a millennium. The only change is the price of boats: my first 30 years ago cost £20: a princes fortune, my latest, I cannot tell as my son reads this and always tells his mum.

    Actually the biggest change is the BCU. They have moved to match the general coaching qualification and you might find you need to re-test to maintain your qualifications. I found I had to start again (after a longer gap) and am only just a qualified coach again after previously being a professional instructor.

    Tyro
    "Oh, Eeyore, you are wet!" said Piglet, feeling him.Eeyore shook himself, and asked somebody to explain to Piglet what happened when you had been inside a river for quite a long time.

  4. #4
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    Default Thanks Guys

    I thought things had changed with the BCU as there was talk about restructuring the coaching qualifications just as I stopped paddling.

    Really looking forward to getting back into it, in fact my daughter and I got out earlier this afternoon for a paddle round the local marina.

  5. #5
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    Default

    Hi Phill, good to see you made it onto here. We'll have to drag the kids off for a paddle sometime. Have you sorted out a canoe for the Big Meet? Mike.

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    Default Welcome

    Good to have you along for the trip.

    TGB
    May the gentleness of morning, greet your silent passage through endless waters...

    May all your winds be gentle. And for ww - May it rain the night before.

  7. #7
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    Default Big Meet

    Thanks MickyFinn,

    Managed to borrow a boat but think we may have to share it between TimB as there are four of us going, should be enough going on to be able to take turns and maybe try some demo's Hope the weather is good to is!!!

  8. #8
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Phill33 View Post
    Thanks MickyFinn,

    Managed to borrow a boat but think we may have to share it between TimB as there are four of us going, should be enough going on to be able to take turns and maybe try some demo's Hope the weather is good to is!!!
    Hi Phil. Might be worth asking on here if anyone is taking a spare boat. With your experience you might well find someone willing to lend you one for the day/weekend. (I've known Phill for years and can vouch for him if anyone has a spare who's reading this). Regards, Mike.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phill33 View Post
    Has anybody got any advice on how to get back into it and I expect things have changed slightly since the last time I paddled.
    We seem to have had parallel backgrounds: extensive solo kayak and solo single blade experience... a gap (mine was a bit longer)... and now a daughter who's mad keen on water and watersports. What's changed? The issues you face and the questions you ask! Sure, much else has moved on... but the whole context is different when the aim is to put a smile on someone else's face, especially where that person is only a very occasional paddling partner, is comparatively tiny, and has her own mind when it comes to what's interesting / fun / good to do or achieve.

    We've tried to learn from the experiences of others.. but have had to discover a lot for ourselves. Recently, I think we've finally discovered what I think of as close to our perfect set-up: not necessarily right for everyone... but right for us:



    Most of what we do is just the bleeding obvious:

    • Play... lots!
    • Keep warm and well fed
    • Play more, especially ashore (paddles with adjacent paths / fun shorelines are great)
    • Spend lots of time playing in the water and getting wet
    • Play more, preferably dry: a spare wetsuit is a real bonus!
    • Keep the paddling places, duration and so on focussed on HER interests!

    Throughout it all we take lots of photos, and share stories with family and friends. We also try to paddle occasionally with other small people, to attend meets where we can paddle (and take classes) with others enjoying the same past-times, and take an interest in other people's photo records / you-tube clips and so on (the "This is Canoeing" DVD, with a 3 year old going down the Petawawa, has been a huge hit).

    In terms of kit... the easy bit is the paddle: the Grey Owl Owlet isn't great, but is OK (and nothing else we've found is better). A canoe pole and a Solway Dory sailing rig allows more play afloat: something different (and the entertainment value, especially if you get screw up and get wet).

    Boat-wise... we've got (and use) a tandem... but regret that move: we have found that a symetrical solo canoe with significant tumblehome works way, way better. We paddle it reversed, with a saddle each (cut down for her) and with the weight distributed around me.

    Advantages?

    The trim works, and the lack of weight in the bows (airbagged) plus proximity to the centre of the canoe means that as a solo paddler, you can still draw the bows around easily enough.

    There's also enough clearance between you to take the paddle to the off-side (or hit and switch: great for pressing on when the wind / cold / small bladder / empty tummy suggests haste) without clouting her around the head...

    Your occasional partner has an ideal paddling station. The beam is manageable further from the stems than it would be in a tandem, and with the moderate tumblehome on our craft, my 5 year old can manage a vertical paddle stroke on the onside AND a vertical off-side draw whilst remaining locked onto a saddle with a knee in each chine.

    Beyond that... we'd recommend an airbag in the front and leashed True-North Pack (or similar) between the two of you and in the stern: makes rapid deep water rescue (we practise) quick and easy. Baler is a kiddie's beach bucket (square top). Everything's packed with a focus on dearest daughter's comfort... and even if it's uncomfortably warm, I try to wear my wetsuit or Peak Adventure One Piece Suit (semi-dry: open at the neck) - basically so that if things go wrong I can focus on her needs rather than on my needs.

    We're still working on assorted stuff to play with on the water: best thing has been a camera that we can BOTH use... and stuff we already had like binoculars or a GPS... and an ocarina. Off the water, even if your thing is modern, lightweight kit... the play potential of the kelly kettles, tarps, green-wood carving knives and so on is huge!

  10. #10
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    Default

    I expect anything I say won't help you much, but your question got me to thinking. In the last eight years - my paddling hs changed quite a bit. Going from very traditional - to much more practical.

    For one thing, I've been reading this forum. I bought a kayak. I got rid of my canvas/wood canoes and my birchbark canoe. I miss paddling them, but I don't miss the maintainance.

    I started using a double blade paddle with my canoe (horrors!). Just way too much easier and faster. I bought a row rig and a sail rig for my canoe(s). I also picked up my two current favorite canoes, a Bell CJ ($250), and a Wenonah Jensen (free).

    The Bell Magic I paid $2400 for sits in the garage rafters - I've decided I hate the thing.
    The perfect canoe -
    Like a leaf on the water

  11. #11
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    Default Spare boat

    Quote Originally Posted by MickyFinn View Post
    Might be worth asking on here if anyone is taking a spare boat. With your experience you might well find someone willing to lend you one for the day/weekend. (I've known Phill for years and can vouch for him if anyone has a spare who's reading this). Regards, Mike.
    I don't have a spare boat, but if anyone from the Yorkshire area has one they are willing to lend I have the means to transport it.

    Tyro
    "Oh, Eeyore, you are wet!" said Piglet, feeling him.Eeyore shook himself, and asked somebody to explain to Piglet what happened when you had been inside a river for quite a long time.

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    Default

    Not much advice I can give you Phil apart from being an example not to follow!

    But welcome to this place.



    Quote Originally Posted by pierre girard View Post
    I started using a double blade paddle with my canoe (horrors!). Just way too much easier and faster.
    Woohoo. I'm not alone!


    Quote Originally Posted by pierre girard View Post
    I also picked up my two current favorite canoes, a Bell CJ ($250), and a Wenonah Jensen (free).

    The Bell Magic I paid $2400 for sits in the garage rafters - I've decided I hate the thing.
    LOL. There's a lesson in there somewhere...

    Here comes the future and you can't run from it
    If you've got a blacklist I want to be on it


    Crow Trip Log

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    Default Advice

    Thanks GregandGinaS

    Your post has made me think what I used to do with the young groups when I was an instructor and your 100% right regarding the needs of the little one. Thankfully there are a couple of us starting up again and the kids are all around the same age so days out together should not be a problem.

    your post has given me food for thought and I appreciate the detail of information you have provided, once again thanks for the info.

    Phill

  14. #14
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    If any of those thoughts (or what follows) can help, great: just remember that this ain't going to be to everyone's tastes


    Out wandering the dog this morning I realised my post makes no real mention of why sticking a youngster way forward in a tandem to get a nice narrow paddling station doesn't work:
    • To stay seaworthy with adult-weight near the stems, and to provide space for adult knees, tandems tend to be high and wide to a LONG way forward: by the time you get to a nice narrow paddling station for a youngster you are generally putting a thwart in VERY high (so they can reach over the high gunwales)... which means they need a long paddle to reach the water - and leaves you with the issue of making a false floor from minicall foam / whatever to give them something to kneel on.
    • If your tandem partner is a part-time, lightweight... you're basically soloing... and having a kid that far forward {a} means you tend to crash through waves rather than riding over them; and {b} makes drawing the bows around a complete bugger when they cannot (or will not) help (not forgetting that your ideal solo position of 6" aft of the centre thwart will not work unladen because of the child's effect on the trim... so you are likely to be a tad too far aft anyway).
    Hence... a solo boat... with a SMALL airbag (nice cushion for said child, keeps the weight aft, helps with recovering the canoe) up front... and the child nearer to you (essential given that solos ain't designed to be seaworthy with the bows held down by an additional paddler).

    Beyond that, I also got to thinking about solo hulls easily available to you.... and thought I should add a bit in.

    Two fairly common 14' Royalex solos you could try would be the Argosy and Yellowstone Solo: not symetrical, so you defintely don't want to paddle them backwards, and with sticky sterns (you might find that frustrating: the stern only really skids well when SERIOUSLY heeled) - but they are both fun. The Argosy would have the narrower paddling station for the child and would eat up the miles better... but the Yellowstone Solo is more play-oriented.

    Although less common, the 15' Swift Osprey (available from Wolfgang Hölbling: a member here) is another lovely boat: another that's not symetrical, but very seaworthy and a joy to paddle. I think I prefer it to either of the above - though it's a lot of boat for any youngster to handle, even set-up as a tandem (by some margin, the biggest of the trio). It DOES, however, come with a well designed sliding seat, and pushed back, that might (especially if relocated 6" aft) allow enough movement for the canoe to be used as a tandem with a child in front whilst retaining just enough movement forward for you to relocate to a conventional solo station.

    If you (as the adult paddler) fit well, the Bell Merlin II (being brought in by Tony at Sue's Canoes, and well received so far by all who've had one from him) strikes me as a better (if more expensive) option than the above Royalex hulls: still not symetrical, and because it's slightly swede form, quite trim sensitive... but IDEAL for your young tandem partner as a tripping canoe. Aside from the weight being manageable by a 5-6-7 year old... the forward paddling station would benefit from low rails, a narrow beam AND tumblehome. Be warned though: if you test one (I know of several now around in East Anglia)... try and take a pedestal / whatever to sit on BEHIND the seat as the trim will NOT work from the normal seat position with a child in front!

    Beyond all of those... only a smaller / lightweight / WW oriented (and pretty experienced) adult is likely to want something as lively as my Flashfire as a tandem (though it is GREAT for the child: my 5 year old can just about paddle it herself - which was part of the idea behind getting it)... but Jörg Wagner may still have an aluminium railed Wildfire available (I was offered it at a good price)... and I can't think of any 14'x30" solo that would work better as a dad-and-daughter tandem - and that IS symetrical, so you can just leave the solo seat in for when you are alone and have a pair of saddles to paddle it reversed when using it as a tandem.

    Of course... if the budget can stand it, Jörg's also got (or did have) a gorgeous Plaicid Boatworks, double diamond Rapidfire: if you fit kneeling (it's not for larger paddlers) that is the most awesome tripping solo for setting up as a tandem! My daughter could paddle that in a straight line last summer. It's shallower and narrower at the rails than any other recreational hull I've been in, so fits her great at almost ANY paddling station. The greater length provides capacity... and the lines means it also glides like a racing boat - it's a design to REALLY put a smile on your face! Had the prospect of a Colden Canoe Dragonfly in 2011-12 not been in my mind... I'd have had that canoe!

    I'm sure other options exist... but for doing what WE do (and as I said, that ain't going to be for everyone)... these would be my main recommendations.

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