Professor Paddle: What is too cold?
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jerryclayross
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  Quote jerryclayross Replybullet Topic: What is too cold?
    Posted: 27 Feb 2014 at 9:10am
Question for ya'll:

When is it too cold to take out a beginner (first or second time on the river)?

We're supposed to take a beginner class of students out to the powerhouse section this Saturday, and I'm concerned about the weather on Saturday.  As of right now, it's looking like a high of 35 and a 40% chance of snow.

If we had dry suits for the club, I probably wouldn't be as concerned, but our students would be paddling with farmer john wet suits, and dry tops.  We have pogies, and take along extra fleece layers, and hot chocolate, but is below 40 degrees and chance of snow too much?

Thanks for the help.
-Clay and the UPS kayak club
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irenen
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  Quote irenen Replybullet Posted: 27 Feb 2014 at 9:18am
What kind of rolls do they have, or do they not have rolls they could likely pull off on the river?  If they are likely to swim then that is cold for wetsuits in my opinion, I was on a run like that with newer people last weekend and I have to say those girls were as tough as nails - it was windy and snowing and some people who swam were in neoprene and they toughed through everything but it is iffy.  The other thing is if you're wearing pogies and swim and have to walk a long way to get to where your boat ended up your hands are frozen by the time you get there, so maybe back-up mittens or thin gloves to wear underneath pogies would be helpful, if possible?


Edited by irenen - 27 Feb 2014 at 9:18am
It's all fun and games until someone loses a paddle.
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jerryclayross
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  Quote jerryclayross Replybullet Posted: 27 Feb 2014 at 9:30am
Good question Irene.  Most will NOT have their roll.  They have good boat control and bracing, but we almost never have a beginner, who's just gotten into the sport be able to get a roll on their first day on the river.

Good call on the mittens, I always have at least one extra beanie and gloves in my boating first aid kit.
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  Quote jalmquist Replybullet Posted: 27 Feb 2014 at 10:32am
Agree with SH - your goal should be to ensure (most) everyone has a positive experience, as that is what leads to continued interest in paddling.  If the PH would have been an appropriate location with warmer conditions, step it down a notch and find a stretch where students can fell confident that they won't likely flip - if they don't want to.  In such conditions, its usually wiser to challegne the better students on easier water than it is to babysit the less confident students on more challenging water.  If the Fall City / Snoq below the falls section is the only location option, skip the PH section and put in at Tokul Creek for a longer river tour down to Fall City.  There are still good eddies / eddylines on which to practice (especially in the upper part of the run), and those that want to push their limits can challenge themselves silly at the wave drop below the David Powell road access.  Those that don't can be conservative or even walk the drop on RR.       
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  Quote Ellingferd Replybullet Posted: 27 Feb 2014 at 11:34am
I don't like boating in those conditions, with a dry suit. I think people are more likely to get hooked on the sport, and stoked to come back, if they have a good experience in the beginning. Sure, those who are dedicated will persevere through the tough conditions, but that isn't what teaching people about kayaking is about, in my humble opinion.I have seen people go out to learn this time of year, and never really got into the sport because their opinion of kayaking as this cold, uncomfortable thing, was formed by those early days on the river. I would tell them to go skiing, boating doesnt have to be a winter sport.
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  Quote irenen Replybullet Posted: 27 Feb 2014 at 2:14pm
Why does someone get thumbs downed just for asking for advice?  How lame is that?  Rhetorical question, to be clear, I know the answer.


Edited by irenen - 27 Feb 2014 at 2:15pm
It's all fun and games until someone loses a paddle.
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  Quote STLboater Replybullet Posted: 27 Feb 2014 at 2:39pm
Personal opinion is that sub 38 degrees is too cold.  If you are in the 38/40 degree range and have a wetsuit / drytop combo and students with some meat on them, you could borderline run a class, but not if you expect a lot of swims.  Some important factors to consider are... is your student going to take a lot of swims?  If so, it is too cold period.  Is your student male or female?  Males tend to do better with keeping their core temperature up.  Pogies are a must for everyone, and make sure to keep bringing your thermos full of hot cocoa.  You can always take them to an easier stretch, work on basics and try to keep your students in boat.

One thing that has not been mentioned about equipment is that any trip under say 50 degrees you should have your instructors in drysuits.  Rescue situations do happen, and often require you to be in the water for an extended period of time. 

SYOTR,
Gordon
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jerryclayross
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  Quote jerryclayross Replybullet Posted: 27 Feb 2014 at 2:56pm
Thanks ya'll.  good to have some experts say what I was feeling.  We're gonna cancel the class this weekend, and reschedule to our next available weekend which is in about a month.

That said, anybody wanna donate a drysuit or three? :)
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irenen
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  Quote irenen Replybullet Posted: 27 Feb 2014 at 4:58pm
I can't donate a drysuit but I have one you guys can borrow if we coordinate before a run you need it on.  Would fit someone up to around 5' 8" I think.  
It's all fun and games until someone loses a paddle.
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  Quote mokelumnekid Replybullet Posted: 27 Feb 2014 at 9:09pm
The Nisqually will be somewhat warmer but also longer. We'll (UKC) probably be there Sunday where the forecast is 44 degrees with 70% chance of rain. But we are taking a select group of students who (except for one) have a roll of some kind, tho some will be in wetsuits.
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  Quote RPMMAX Replybullet Posted: 28 Feb 2014 at 6:05am
When the river freezes over!!   
RPMMAX
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