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#190186 - 04/14/15 05:20 PM Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling?
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 654
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
I'd really like to try taking a half-day trip paddling on a local river on an established paddling "trail" with my 10 YO. If we like it, we may do some longer trips. I know a place where I can rent a canoe and paddles for a great price, and we already have life vests (they're the kind you use for skiing, but that's okay, right?). I've paddled small boats around a small area a couple times, but I have zero training, unless you count the 1 hour of guided white water rafting I did as a kid. Even though I don't know much about it, it seems really intuitive, but as with most things, there may be some important things to know that aren't so obvious. Are there any gotchas I should be aware of before I try this?

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#190188 - 04/14/15 05:44 PM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: 4evrplan]
bluefish Offline
member

Registered: 06/05/13
Posts: 677
If you have any doubt about the water ahead, get ashore and scout it on foot. Bring a length of rope. If a section is too challenging , you can walk the canoe down the side of the river.
I don't know what type of river you'll be paddling, but watch for low hanging trees, especially where currents on a curve will draw you into them. They're called sweepers, and they're most likely the number one takers of gear and givers of wetness! Bring a spare paddle and attach a leash to it. The currents on bends can be deceptively strong.
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Charlie

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#190193 - 04/14/15 07:50 PM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: bluefish]
topshot Offline
member

Registered: 04/28/09
Posts: 242
Loc: Midwest
Are you paddling just yourself or will your son be paddling too? The various strokes aren't that hard to master. I'm sure you can find videos on those. It's knowing when to use them and coordinating with your partner that takes a bit of practice.

You should be fine with the skiing ones as long as they are a true class III (or II but that is bulkier) PFD.

Is this river slow/fast, any rapids at all? You generally want to avoid upstream Vs (obstruction in the water), go in the middle of downstream Vs (water flowing between 2 obstructions) and paddle either slower or faster than the current (ie, not drifting) so you have some control. If there's any significant flow at all, you definitely want to stay away from the really low (or downed) trees. I guess higher ones are called sweepers, the lower ones are called strainers and can kill you. As bluefish said, scan the water well ahead and if you have any reservations at all, head to the shore.

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#190203 - 04/15/15 09:01 AM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: 4evrplan]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
Texas paddle trails are fun! If you are canoeing, I'd suggest a practice run at a flat, still lake, or maybe even a day long workshop. When we started paddling, a workshop is fun and we learned a couple years skills in a day. A great family outing and will save you a ton of frustration.
When paddling with kids, you'll be doing 90% of the work. They get tired and distracted, you'll be the pack mule. Find flatwater (lake), low wind. Pack a lunch, have a picnic. Fish.
Many of our Texas state parks have canoe rentals on their small lakes and are perfect for adults/kids to learn.
I would NOT start out on a river...unless it's flat and still....until you paddle with your kiddo and get used to each other in a boat. Like I mentioned, you'll be doing most of the work and fighting currents, wind, and tired kids will exhaust you pretty quick, especially with no training. You have gobs of paddling options around your part of the state. Check TPWD, Boy Scouts, YMCA, canoe/kayak dealers for workshops. Paddling is a life long sport your family will really enjoy!
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#190205 - 04/15/15 10:08 AM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: topshot]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 654
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By topshot
Are you paddling just yourself or will your son be paddling too?


I'd like for him to paddle too, but I won't count on him really helping out, just more as a learning experience.

Originally Posted By topshot
Is this river slow/fast, any rapids at all?


The river in question is the Neches, and it's typically pretty slow moving unless there's high water, a distinct possibility this time of year. No rapids though.

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#190206 - 04/15/15 10:12 AM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: Dryer]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 654
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By Dryer
When paddling with kids, you'll be doing 90% of the work...


Should I rent one of those double ended paddles then? Thanks for the tip about workshops, I'll see what's coming up in my area (probably nothing, but it may be worth a short road trip).

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#190210 - 04/15/15 10:34 AM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: 4evrplan]
dylansdad77 Offline
member

Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
If the water is moving, unless you are intent on making time downriver, you can let the current take you and expend more energy steering and controlling the canoe, versus paddling. I've never seen double bladed paddles used in a canoe. Standard canoe paddles should work just fine, just be sure to maintain control of speed and direction - never let the boat go perpendicular to the direction of the water, otherwise you're swimming.

Good idea to tether an extra paddle - just in case.

I am 150% partial to kayaking - I've done my fair share of both kayaking and canoeing and I choose a kayak every day of the week and twice on Sundays. The only advantage a canoe offers is the ability to pack a bigger cooler! Either way, you should have a great time. Be safe and enjoy!
_________________________
Did you know that 83.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

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#190212 - 04/15/15 11:36 AM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: dylansdad77]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 654
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
The kayaking thing definitely seems cooler to me as a spectator, but the rental place (the local college) only has one person kayaks. I want my sons butt firmly planted in the same boat as me until he proves himself.

But instead of doing a local rental, I think I'll take Dryers advice and start off with some TPWD (Texas Parks and Wildlife Department) sponsored paddling workshops. They're putting on tons of them, and most aren't too far to drive. I just need to make some calls to see which ones are okay with kids. There are even some free ones in Galveston, about a three hour drive.

Correction: I looked it up, and Galveston is about a 3.5 hour drive.


Edited by 4evrplan (04/15/15 11:39 AM)

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#190215 - 04/15/15 01:57 PM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: 4evrplan]
dylansdad77 Offline
member

Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
You wouldn't happen to be a veteran of the armed forces, or closely related to one? The only reason I ask is there is a NPO called "Heroes On The Water" that specializes in getting veterans and their families out on the water paddling, fishing etc. free of charge. I just met a rep of theirs at a tradeshow in NJ and spent 20 minutes speaking with him about my father, a Viet Nam vet.

They have several chapters in Texas. Check them out too.
_________________________
Did you know that 83.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

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#190218 - 04/15/15 02:38 PM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: dylansdad77]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 654
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
Originally Posted By dylansdad77
You wouldn't happen to be a veteran of the armed forces, or closely related to one?...


As a matter of fact my dad is a vet, but I wouldn't feel right taking a spot away from more deserving folk, especially our service men and women.

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#190221 - 04/15/15 05:23 PM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: 4evrplan]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
We kayak and use only double paddles. My daughter and son-in-law canoe and swear by kayak paddles in their canoe.
You'll paddle straight ahead, faster, no j-strokes (which slow you down). Two of you with double blade paddles will really haul in a canoe, and probably won't fight each other as much.
So, being a new paddler, give both a try but my money is on the kayak paddle in the canoe. The only single blade paddle I own (out of a pile of paddles) is for emergency paddling if my sailboat runs out of wind. grin
Again, rivers are best avoided until you know you can fight currents, slow and fast, and have a few practice self rescues under your belt and some river reading training. The workshops will teach that. New paddlers and rivers are done all the time, but avoidable accidents happen. An adult with a child and a swamped boat can either be terrifying or fun, all in the training. In scouts we spent more time under the canoe than in it, goofing around.
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#190334 - 04/23/15 12:26 PM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: 4evrplan]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3890
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Unless you're running into some white water I don't think you'll have anything but fun.

When our kids were young we took the floating and put them in their own canoes and let them learn how to paddle by doing it. The life jackets you have will be fine as long as the fit well.

I wouldn't use a double paddle in a canoe. It's easier to push off the shore with a standard paddle and with a bit of practice you'll almost never have to change the side you're paddling on. The trick to going straight when paddling on one side of your boat is to twist the paddle a bit at the end of the stroke and push it away from the boat to move the boat back straight. I think the name for this is an "S" stroke, but I may disremember that.
_________________________
--

"You want to go where?"



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#190338 - 04/23/15 02:19 PM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: billstephenson]
dylansdad77 Offline
member

Registered: 03/12/14
Posts: 158
Loc: New Jersey
Originally Posted By billstephenson
I think the name for this is an "S" stroke, but I may disremember that.


I believe that's called a "J" stroke...
_________________________
Did you know that 83.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot?

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#190347 - 04/23/15 10:47 PM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: billstephenson]
Dryer Offline
Moderator

Registered: 12/05/02
Posts: 3571
Loc: Texas
"J" stroke. And do try a double kayak paddle. I know several canoe aficionados that only use double paddles. They are much longer than traditional canoe paddles and push off's are even easier. At least give it a try. Sculling, turning, speed runs, all easier.
Good read: http://www.paddling.net/guidelines/showArticle.html?519


Edited by Dryer (04/24/15 09:09 AM)
_________________________
paul, texas KD5IVP

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#190463 - 05/04/15 10:17 AM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: 4evrplan]
4evrplan Offline
member

Registered: 01/16/13
Posts: 654
Loc: Nacogdoches, TX, USA
The 10 YO and I did our first kayaking class Saturday. He took to it like a fish to water. In fact I couldn't keep up with him in a straight line. The only thing is, he got bored with it quickly and wanted to go do something else. Oh well, there's another free class coming up toward the end of June that I really hope we can make it to, so hopefully, I'll see how he does then.

Getting some basic instruction was really good. Even though they didn't talk about navigating river hazards at all, there was other good information, like how to tell if a life jacket is still good, how to approach wakes, and that you should carry a whistle. Thanks TPWD and volunteers!

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#197060 - 12/06/16 03:01 PM Re: Any Gotchas I Should Know Before I Go Paddling? [Re: 4evrplan]
Adventure510 Offline
newbie

Registered: 12/06/16
Posts: 4
Loc: Virginia
Definitely scout out the rout you are taking on any river before going. I would suggest to get a skirt for any type of water just to stay dry. Helmets aren't a necessity unless on rough water. Also don't do anything stupid.

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