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BIGWATER
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  Quote BIGWATER Replybullet Topic: A dying breed. The playboater.
    Posted: 20 Feb 2017 at 6:31pm
I know I'm beating a dead horse here, but I just gota say something.
Every year it's more and more creek boats and less and less playboats. I understand that people want to run the knar, and that modern creek boats are amazing. I just feel that something has been lost. I'm not talking about fair weather playboaters that break out the Playboat for a few weeks on the Wenatchee. I'm talking about useing a Playboat all year, on everything except the truly steep creeks. That's the way it was, creek boats for creeks, Playboat everything else. I feel that the community as a whole has less skill now, and thinks if they want a challenge it has to be class 5. Lost are the days of cherishing a perfect wave or the sweet cartwheel hole. Showing up for what used to be a play run and being the only one in a Playboat is now the norm. Waves like the Naselle are all but abandoned, if I didn't go it would be empty. Yet in the 90s you had 15 people in the eddie. I don't mind haveing it all to myself, but it would be nice to have a few people to play with.   Bring on the playboating!
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  Quote JayB Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 12:15am
I used to have playboats - but I have big feet for a guy my size and at some point I realized that by virtue of not living near any consistent play spots I was a) always going to suck at playboating b) tired of waiting in an eddy for 15 minutes watching people who didn't suck at playboating crank out 100 flat spins only to wash off after about 11 seconds when it was my turn to hit the wave and c) that the discomfort of being crammed in a tiny-ass boat for the opportunity to do things that I'd never be good at and hardly ever spent any time on the river doing didn't make any sense. That was 10 years ago and I've never missed having a playboat - although I'd pick one up again if a whitewater park magically materialized within 45 minutes of my house.
-Jay
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  Quote megspk Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 9:36am
Currently working on getting a new playboat!! I'd be down to learn more once I get my boat. Get the stoke rolling again!! Paradise is a great place to park and session too. You can always take out downstream if you don't wanna do the whole lower, so I've always thought that would be a great learning spot. What's Naselle and where is it??
I figure the hardest thing here about playboating outside having no playparks, is the fact the water is so damn cold. Even with a neoprene hat it's cold. Plus you have to wear more layers which I feel like can restrict movement. But that's just excuses right?!
A strong person and a waterfall always channel their own path. -Unknown

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  Quote imageAK Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 10:27am
Ive only got a wavesport bigez, but ive been trying! Been out to the naselle myself! thats a stout couple of waves!
Most of the "play boaters" are now club boaters and spend more time working on moves in the pool than the river...
It would be pretty cool to have folks to learn from. Especially with such a close proximity to the tilton myself...
aint nobody got time for that!
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  Quote jalmquist Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 11:14am
I gotta admit, after having both ears drilled I'm a little more hesitant spending copious amounts of time upside down in the winter.  Bigger boats are so warm and comfy!   But I do miss the days when conversation around heading to the Mosh Pit included someone suggesting, with merit, that it might be crowded.   

Access also plays a roll, albeit a small one, at least for me.  Some favorite winter play runs like the southern Green and the Chehalis are now gated.  Sure, the Tilton is a fantastic option, and it's still fun to play boat the regulars like the Green, MM, Sky, and so on.  Maybe I'm just getting old and cranky!  But hey, creek boats surf!  And while they don't spin on green waves, you can get dizzy at Paradise!                            
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  Quote AdamG Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 11:46am
To each their own...ones boating preferences evolve with time and space. What's important to me is that I continue to boat and accumulate experiences and friendships.

I started boating on SE rivers 17 years ago and quickly was creeking 100% of the time. This was also what seemed to be the peak of creek racing so mad-bombing was the norm. It took me too many years to realize that as my creeking resume progressed, my upside down skills digressed.

Fast forward in time and to the promised land of boating, I seek to be a more well-rounded kayaker. My local run is class 3 and that's a huge part of it but I use it as an excuse to downriver playboat & train so I am poised to run harder whitewater.

Watching you squirt your way down the lower Matheny with the queets at 25+k inspires me to spend less time pointed downriver forward-stroking......bring on the bigwater!



Edited by AdamG - 21 Feb 2017 at 12:45pm
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BIGWATER
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  Quote BIGWATER Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 2:33pm
I agree, to each his own and that the river can be experienced in many ways. I know playboating is not for everyone. I understand the reasons for the decline in playboaters over the years. I have heard the reasons/excuses many times, my feet hurt, it's cold, I'll never be good enough, there are no places to go ext ext.
My point was just that something has been lost. You don't need a play park or a park and play spot (although it's nice). I guess i mean down river playboating. Like Adam said it's a great way to build skill and make any class of river a challenge. I can have fun on a class 2 eddy line or challenge myself to wave wheel as many times as I can on a class 3 wave train or catch that sweet wave in the middle of a big class 4. It's also great training for getting stuck in a hole, you don't want the first time you cartwheel to be in a hole on a class 5 run. It is just a way to get more intimate with some of the subtle but amazing features the river has to offer. Smashing through a rapid in a modern creekboat is like driveing a tank through a mini golf course instead of playing it. Both sound fun! Haha. I want to be in a tank in class 5. But it's just not nessisary on easier runs.
I do miss the days when we would spend hours at surf city or the old play hole on the Tilton with a few beers. Then bomb down the canyon to the lake just before dark.
I don't expect playboating to make a huge comeback, just don't want to see the artform get lost.
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  Quote NateW Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 2:56pm
Don't you think that to some extent the decrease in popularity is that very few companies are making the style of playboat you are describing? Everyone still makes a very small football shaped boat that is good for big tricks and big waves, but there isn't much to choose from for a boat that can easily surf small waves and cartwheel/squirt/etc.

A buddy and I took a trip over to the MM (my first time on it) Saturday and he commented how surprised he was at the number of creekboats and river runners were out there. I thought the MM was a great place for a playboat, but if it was a local run of mine I'd take my creekboat out on it as well to work on my skills in that boat as well.
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  Quote BIGWATER Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 3:07pm
So true. The modern playboats are not designed for down river playboating, but they are offering some more retro designs now. I prefer a dagger Ego, Supper Ego,centrifuge or ultrafuge. If anyone has one collecting dust please let me buy it! And yes the middle middle is a great play run, with way to many creek boats on it. But yes, you need to spend time in your creekboat on easy runs before your on class 5. I spend most of my time in a playboat and getting in the creeker can feel weird. Not good to feel weird on class 5
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  Quote NateW Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 3:40pm
As a Wenatchee local I'm really jealous of the Sky / MM / Green. You can have a lot of fun in both a playboat and a creekboat/river runner on the exact same section of whitewater. I get over it pretty fast when I'm doing after work trinity sessions with at most two other paddlers.
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  Quote bobber2 Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 3:53pm
I think it's the cold water... if you go to the east coast you'll find mostly playboats on anything under class IV-
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  Quote BIGWATER Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 4:25pm
I have never boated on the east coast, I hear some people even still squirt boat and C1 there. But with a much bigger boating community your bound to have more playboaters and the warm probably helps.
Honestly cold is not an issue on most days of winter playboating. Most of the time I need to roll to cool off Im playing so hard. If I take a creek boat down the same run I'm hardly getting heated. I have seen groups split up because the creekboats sitting in the eddy watching us play get cold, while we surf our selves silly and break a sweet. It's all relative and let's face it kayaking is not about being in the lap of luxury. You have to be willing to put up with some hardships no matter what kind of boat you are in. That's why most of the population would never even touch a kayak.
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  Quote BIGWATER Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 4:35pm
And Nate, I agree. The Wenatchee has a few good features but is mostly flat. The waves can be amazing but the season is short. There are definitely worse things than surfing after work, no matter how many times you have to do it. Hehe
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  Quote RPMMAX Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 5:44pm

Chris I have a centrifuge

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  Quote imageAK Replybullet Posted: 21 Feb 2017 at 6:46pm
theres still a pretty stout group of squirt boaters in the pdx area, and open boaters/c1 boaters in Washington as well. Its just a matter of finding the groups I guess. Im trying to get into a canoe for the first time soon. play boating is being reiterated as an important thing as well, I think there has just been a trend in new boaters for a while now and the are all getting in creek boats first & soon we'll see a rise in play boating.
aint nobody got time for that!
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  Quote itchy Replybullet Posted: 22 Feb 2017 at 12:46am
I really love playboating but the play here is worse than everywhere else I've paddled that actually has whitewater (i.e. mountain states all over the US except for the NE). Too many boulders, not enough bedrock, and it's cold. Yeah, the Wenatchee is great and Paradise is one of the best cartwheel holes of all time (but it's so cold and the swirlies are hard for newer boaters).

I agree that not playboating affects people's skills negatively--there are a lot more swims here than anywhere else I've boated as well (and sometimes they are my swims!), and people's ferries often look super shakey, etc.. But people are also safer in creekboats. I ran a lot of runs in a ProZone and an S6 that are kind of sievy messes--Gore in CO and Little River Canyon in AL come to mind as well as a lot of creeks in AR and the SE, and sometimes I got my ass kicked, powershaded ad infinitum, etc. I never got pinned but it definitely happened, a lot. In creek boats, people get worked less and pinned *way* less.

I also think that creek boats have gotten a lot more fun, except on really big water (and the newest flat-hulled creek boats look like they'd be great there). It used to suck to turn a creek boat, and they were heavy, hard to boof, couldn't surf, etc. A lot of the late 90s to mid 2000s creek boats were terrible kayaks. There were some exceptions (I love my Diablo even though it can't always turn fast enough to get to Plan B if necessary) but slicey playboats did offer a superior kayaking experience, all in all.

I think the Nomad changed all that. Creek boats got awesome. It became really easy to charge through stuff, autoboof rocks and holes, catch eddies, etc., in a fast, stable and predictable boat.

At the same time, playboating went to big wave stuff dominated by 15 year olds, which is super fun to watch but too inaccessible for the average kayaker. And then the boats went that way too, and got a lot worse for general kayaking. And because no one but middle age guys splatwheel in slicey boats, no one buys slicey boats to splatwheel in except middle age guys, and then no one else realizes just how damn fun it is.

And there is the problem, I guess--not enough people know how fun it is to throw down on an eddyline on a warm sunny day, or have long-term kayaking goals that don't involve being terrified. Playboating is great for being able to turn up the skill and the fear independently (you can do either, both or neither as you like) while still getting an amazing workout and becoming a better kayaker.



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  Quote BIGWATER Replybullet Posted: 22 Feb 2017 at 7:28am
Like I said I know I'm beating a dead horse. But I think it's funny how people keep mentioning the cold and how there are no spots around here. The Wenatchee and paradise are my LEAST favorite places to Playboat here in WA. There are many great runs and spots to be found if your not with a crew that's racing to the bottom in a creeker. Not enough bedrock? I hardly boat anything around that doesn't have a bedrock canyon on it. I guess you find what you want to see. We ran the Southern Green last Friday and I forgot how many waves and perfect bedrock surf spots and holes it has at 8FT. The same run at 6ft is nothing special.
Are creek boats safer? Not if you can't roll,a swim is a swim no matter what boat your in. Many people never practice a roll cuz they never flip over in a big stable modern creeker. You don't use it you lose it as they say.
To each their own.

Edited by BIGWATER - 22 Feb 2017 at 7:29am
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  Quote imageAK Replybullet Posted: 22 Feb 2017 at 8:14am
haven't been lucky enough to get up to the southern green with the steep price on that rec permit. But heard about your guys trip on Facebook. Been figuring out how to paddle from near the headwaters to the toutle this spring. Such a beautiful river, hopefully they stop that copper mine.

Any gems your willing to share besides the tilton and the naselle?
aint nobody got time for that!
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  Quote NateW Replybullet Posted: 22 Feb 2017 at 12:41pm
Originally posted by itchy


And there is the problem, I guess--not enough people know how fun it is to throw down on an eddyline on a warm sunny day, or have long-term kayaking goals that don't involve being terrified. Playboating is great for being able to turn up the skill and the fear independently (you can do either, both or neither as you like) while still getting an amazing workout and becoming a better kayaker.


I think the idea of long term goals that don't involve being terrified is a great thought. It made me chuckle and it's definitely true.
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  Quote BIGWATER Replybullet Posted: 22 Feb 2017 at 1:32pm
That is definitely a great statement, and so true. Long term goals are part of what kayaking is about. It took me three years of trying to bow stall on every eddy line I crossed before it finally clicked. I was both happy and frustrated, I finally got it! But why did it take me so long. Haha
Being terrified used to get me buzzed, now it just makes me sick to my stomach lol
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  Quote Ellingferd Replybullet Posted: 23 Feb 2017 at 2:38pm
I agree with the sentiment that it would be nice if more people playboated. WA is a little lacking in the playspot department, but I dont think its as dire as everyone makes it out to be. The Wenatchee is about as good as it gets when the spots are in, and there is plenty of downriver to be had at those levels. Downriver wave moves can be had in-between all the major spots, and I often try to see how many macho moves and kickflips I can get between rodeo, trinity, and turkey. The section of rolling waves just above turkey, which I now refer to as Randy Savage, is literally one of the best sections for macho moves I have ever paddled (and I have spent my time on the New and Gauley, probably the two best playboat runs in the country if you include the dries). As for other runs, the sky at 5k and above is awesome for playboats and offers up great downriver potential. I have gotten some of the biggest downriver moves of my life in aquagasm and other places at flows above 9k in my playboat. The problem is that people seem to be paddling runs like the sky in creek boats, which I really dont understand. Dufay in particular.
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  Quote Fenix747 Replybullet Posted: 24 Feb 2017 at 4:40pm
I'm glad this is being discussed! Brings back memories of how I started. In a first gen Jackson 2fun that was so small and so squirrely that you had that steep learning curve with edges and keeping forward and rolling a lot. It was great, then creek boat took over and playboat became springtime on the wenatchee or while I lived in Montreal it was after work park and surf.

But there is hope! Can't begin to say how much I love my Braaap, plays and runs class 5. I sold my creeker and haven't regretted a thing! And it looks like companies are catching on and bringing back some old school designs. Braaap, mullet, axiom, antix, loki are all current models aimed at downriver play which is awesome!

The main thing i'm stoked about this discussion is the idea of creekboat for creeks playboat for everything else. Getting beat down and cartwheeling in a class 3 or 4 hole regularly instead of a class 5 when its not preferred. As this is my current dilemma, I had a bomber roll back in the playboat everything days and that made my creeking game surge. Couple years of seldom flips and charging hard brought on confidence. Then the roll gets rusty and I start swimming more often and confidence goes down. Hard to take a step back when pursuing progression, but the playboat everything else is more like a step sideways in the right direction. Its great training and we don't even have to call it training, its playing!

I've had this mindset before, but I called it Ridiculous. Don't know why I forgot about that, glad its come back to light. Taking the Mobius out tomorrow!
"Full Face" Andy
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  Quote outdoorjunkie88 Replybullet Posted: 25 Feb 2017 at 1:26pm
I'll playboat with you!! I usually
Follow the crowds on the green. Sky or wenatchee but would love to find some other play rivers.
Drew C.
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  Quote BIGWATER Replybullet Posted: 25 Feb 2017 at 7:43pm
Next time the Tilton is around 2500 it would be awesome to go with a crew that wanted to spend and hour or more at surf city. At that flow wave 1, 2 and 3 are amazing. I like stopping at the island and surfing wave one for a while, getting out, chillen ext. It's eddy service if your quick. Then to the second wave(cliff eddy wave) for as many rides as you can make it back to the eddy for. Then to the last wave for chillen on the beach and walking up for surfs. After that are many more catch on the fly waves at that flow. If it's looken good I'll make a post. Playboat for life! Lol
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  Quote imageAK Replybullet Posted: 25 Feb 2017 at 11:10pm
yeah give a shout next time the flow is up!

Edited by imageAK - 25 Feb 2017 at 11:24pm
aint nobody got time for that!
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