Whitewater Forum: Transition to Playboat
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Transition to Playboat

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Forum Name: Whitewater Forum
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URL: http://www.professorpaddle.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=11499
Printed Date: 16 Dec 2017 at 2:43pm


Topic: Transition to Playboat
Posted By: AaronS
Subject: Transition to Playboat
Date Posted: 18 Dec 2011 at 1:13pm
I've been paddling for a couple of years and feel like I'm finally reaching a new level of confidence and skill.  I started in a Nomad 8.5 and have been paddling lately in a Dagger GT.  I beleive that my skill development may have been hindered by paddling the large, round Nomad.  Since paddling the GT, which is still large, but has edges, Ive been learning how to be more accurate with my strokes, positioning, bracing, etc.  I want to move towards a playboat, now, but am unsure if I should go for a dedicated playboat or something more transitional like some of the river runner/playboat options.  I thought the Varun looked like a good option, but didn't get to demo it at the PP Ball and living in Enumclaw makes it hard to get up to Kirkland to demo anything from Charles.  Would love advice on:
 
1.  Type of boat to get
2.  Specific boat suggestions
3.  Any offers to let me demo
4.  Any offers of trade for a Nomad 8.5 (excellent shape)
 
Thanks for the help.


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If you're not prepared to be wrong you'll never come up with anything new.



Replies:
Posted By: jP
Date Posted: 18 Dec 2011 at 5:21pm
Wait a minute- are you trading your creeker for a playboat?
(I wouldn't.) You need one of each. Or maybe you're paddling a creeker with more edge...

Anyway, I'm not a strong playboater at all but here's how I'd start shaping my quiver if I were you based on what you stated:
(This is only my opinion but...)

1) I think every whitewater boater should have a creeker
(And use it), cuz that's what people run rivers n creeks in nowadays. It is the default boat that most closely adheres to the roots of the sport of whitewater kayaking.
2) since the Playboat is the compliment to the Creeker in this current paradigm of the sport as we know it today, I would get some sort of agressive playboat if you think youbwant to tap into that deep.
3) I would keep my eyes peeled for a used, cheap, outdated boat for your river runner/playboat hybrid, because such boats are abundant and easy to aquire. Here you could decide: do you want a longer playboat that you can "cruise" with, maybe catch bigger faster waves that your playboat can't? Or maybe you want your 3rd boat to be a longboat that will fill in the gaps and teach you things the other two boats can't possibly reveal to you about the bio mechanics of paddling a kayak? A boat that will be a little faster and tap you into dynamics that slow, extremely rockered boats can't.

The bottom line, in my opinion, doing as much paddling as I like to do is this:

3 is the magic number. I think veiwing one's interaction with the whitewater environment through the dualistic lens of the Creekboat/Playboat dichotomy is a bit limiting.
   Another way to go that I've noticed some boaters choose is to have two playboats. One having more volume for bigger water.

Since the sport is very defined by that dichotomy tho, it is a good starting point. The define the ends of a spectrum of sorts.You can branch out from there by buying used boats. But if the sport has really swept you off your feet, you may find that hopping in and out of two or three boats will really sharpen you as a kayaker- each boat will inform how you paddle the other. At least thats been my experience.

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🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋


Posted By: jP
Date Posted: 18 Dec 2011 at 5:27pm
For suggestions on specific boat models it light help to find someone of your size, weight, and build who is an avid paddler. Everyone is uniquely built and different sizes of the same model aren't always accurately scaled.

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🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋


Posted By: tiziak
Date Posted: 18 Dec 2011 at 6:52pm
I've got a Project 52 and a Fluid Element you can borrow. The Element is more geared towards ocean surf but it's badass on any wave...
 
And they're old school but I have an EZG 50 and a Subseven 0 as well.
 
Lemme know.


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If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.

Daniel Patrinellis
360.434.4616


Posted By: AaronS
Date Posted: 18 Dec 2011 at 7:23pm
JP, Thanks for the thoughts.  I see your point about the range of boats in the quiver. My current intent is to improve my paddling skills overall.  I don't know that I'll ever be doing loops and other areials, but when I watch the playboaters on the rivers I want to develop the skills I see them use reflexively.  My thought is to move more towards the aggressive playboat end of the spectrum, but in steps.  Also, I intend to keep my GT as my creeker as long as it holds up (its knida old). 
 
Daniel,  I might take you up on borrowing your EZG 50.  I think that's the direction I want to take in my progression.  It seems like a stepping stone between the boat I'm in and a pure playboat.  I'll contact you directly. Thanks for the offer...


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If you're not prepared to be wrong you'll never come up with anything new.


Posted By: BIGWATER
Date Posted: 18 Dec 2011 at 8:55pm
I agree every boater needs a quiver , a creeker and a few difrent playboats
playboating is for me, a way of maken easy runs much more chalangeing (sure i can run that rapid, but can i do it in a tail stand ? or throw wave wheels down the drop?) and its a way to interact with the river in ways a creekboat cant
im  oldschool when it comes to playboats .. i like longer squirty boats like the centrafuge and the ego ... learning to use the nose and the tail to engage the river is like getting 2 extra paddle blades
im more into river running play  , tail stands , bow stalls , wave wheels  and of course SOUL SURFING and spinning,  but i do have a short boat also for thoes epic park and play days
playboating will defeinatly keep your roll is good shape also


Posted By: water wacko
Date Posted: 18 Dec 2011 at 9:40pm
Aaron, this has been my experience. I started out playboating and did so exclusively for about 7 or 8 years. Worked my way up to newer moves over the years. Then got into creeking more. I now creekboat waaay more than I playboat and these are my observations about my own paddling.

Playboating gave me a very strong core and strong shoulders. It also gave me the comfort and ability to snap off rolls the first time pretty much anywhere in about any situation. Why? Playboating taught me 2 basic things, repetitively. How to roll, no matter which way I flip, off and on side rolls - via repitition. THouands upon thousands of rolls on all type of features. I found this useful later on creeks. Second, it taught me very precise boat control as I started running tougher rapids and runs. I ran Tumwater exclusively in a playboat for years and pretty much never flipped.

Playboating gave me very powerful core muscles and taught me to be very calm when I was upside down, mainly because I was upside down a lot playboating vs riverrunning/creeking. As I progressed into creeking, I was nervous, but rarely if ever flipped. I attribute this to A: having precise boat control, in a bigger creek boat, and B having very powerful core muscles from playboating so much. I also noticed I had better lines than most of the people I was creeking with, although I was more scared than they were, simply because I was new to creeking.

Transistioning to creeking was a slow process for me because I viewed class V, at the time, as totally crazy. The first time I saw pics of Robe Canyon on AW's site I thought it was freakin NUTS!! And that the guys doing it were bound to die probably sooner than later. No way would I ever run Robe. That's what I felt then. Obviously I have a different opinion now, but that was my comfort level as I was learning the sport.

As I progressed into creeking I learned new things and developed more tools to add to my whitewater arsenal. I would also like to point out that I NEVER had an agenda as I got into creeking. I just wanted to have fun and check it out. The first time I ran the Cooper I was pretty terrified and got out of my boat to scout every drop. I needed to look at it for myself. That's me and that is what I did to be comfortable. I needed to be comfortable to be in there and I resided to the fact that if I wasn't comfortable I wasn't going to do it. I still abide by that rule I made for myself. I will always walk it if I'm not 'feeling' it.

With this growing confidence and ability I started doing harder runs and noticed that I STILL never or rarely flipped throughout entire runs. First time down the Little White, never flipped. First dozen or so times down Robe, never flipped. First times down Top Tye, never flipped. Other runs have similar stories. I attribute that to the things I learned playboating a lot and my rule of not running it if I wasn't feeling it. My first run down the Little White I walked 4 drops, as an example. One other thing was working on my roll. After flipping so many times in so many different ways I felt I had a very real sense of what was going on and could visualize three dimensionally what was actually happening as I flipped and how I would roll, so I would commit to rolling in certain scenarios, seemingly reflexively, because I had such precise control and very distinct knowledge of how powerfully the water was pushing against my edges. I knew I would come right up and how to make that happen very easily and QUICKLY. I wanted to come up fast the first time.

Flipping on Jefferson Creek was one of my prime examples to myself. I flipped in the beginning of the run and immediately came up, just like I was practicing my roll in the pool. It's a real confidence booster when situations like that happen and you're able to prove these things to yourself, especially when your buddies flip in the same spot on the same run, swim and walk out.

Further, since I've been running creeks waaay more these last few years, my playboating has slacked way off and I've noticed my lightning fast snappy roll has diminished as well as my core strength. It's simple mathematics. Roll thousands of times less per year and those particular muscles get weaker with less range of motion, simply from not getting used. It's a simple fact.

My suggestion? Playboat at least as much as you creekboat and you will be a SOLID paddler. Playboating can be done on flatwater or in a pool, if you don't have the time or inclination to drive all the way to the river. There is a lot of flatwater in this region, so be creative. You can be your own best friend, or worst enemy in your paddling career. It's your choice. Hopefully this all helps. Rule number one. Have fun. Rule number two, challenge yourself within your comfort zone. Three, rinse and repeat.

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"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Howard Thurman


Posted By: James
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 8:15am
Don't trade the Nomad!!! Trade or sell the GT and then buy a play boat. The rivers you run in the GT are going to be the same rivers you will want your playboat for. The rivers you can progress in with your nomad will be what neither your GT or your playboat can put you on without a much heavier learning curve.

Plus you still have time to amend that Xmas wish list, at least if you have been a good boy this year...


Posted By: Courtney
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 8:55am
Just wondering, why do you want a full on play boat if you won't be doing loops and other areials?   Why not go for a boat like the EZG or Project where you can still do tons of play moves?


Posted By: water wacko
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 9:41am
I would consider both of those boats modern playboats. The All Star, Molan and Rock Star are as well, but are in an emerging category I call 'park boats'. Short, super fat, designed to primarily spurt out of the water! Rather than stay smooth and flat on the wave.

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"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Howard Thurman


Posted By: AaronS
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 11:19am
I guess I have been leaning toward the EZG end of the playboat spectrum, but wanted to get what Brett got out of his learning in a playboat and just wondered if I could get that from that type of boat or if I should go to the aggressive, short, stubby playboat.  I started in a big boat which has given me enough skill and knowledge to know that I can't keep progressing like I want to if I stay in a big boat.  Creeking is where I want to go with my paddling.  That's what gets me excited about the sport.  I have come to realize, though,  that I will not be able to step up unless I can do what Brett describes in his learning curve. 
 
James, I am curious about the ability of the GT to be a solid creeker.  I have had people tell me that it is a creeker (especially when I called it a river runner).  My Nomad is certainly in much better shape, but I like the edges on the GT.  I know that I can plow through a lot in the Nomad because of its shape and volume (I believe that's what stunted by skill development).  I see what you're saying about using the playboat like I'm using my GT now and keeping the Nomad for when I step up to creeking. 
 
So, I'm thinking about trying out the EZG 50 (I'm 5-9 and 155lbs) as my next step in my paddling evolution and keeping my Nomad.  Man, there are a lot of opinions and points of view to consider...
 
I appreciate being able to benefit from all of your collective experience and wisdom.  Thanks.


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If you're not prepared to be wrong you'll never come up with anything new.


Posted By: WA-Boater
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 11:20am
Wow Brett, it appears you got a little off topic up there, how much weed did you have on board? Entertaining and a good read nonetheless. 
 
Aaron, to address your 4 questions:
 
1.  Type of boat to get - Any play boat will serve you well as long as it's comfortable. If I understand you correctly you're not looking to do all the fancy moves, just have something you can develop/hone some skills in, right? If that's the case, even a 3-5 year old playboat, which you should be able to p/u on craigslist for $300 or so, will accomplish it. They will all surf waves and stay in holes. From there it is more the operator that dictates what's gonna happen.
 
2.  Specific boat suggestions - See above. Just make sure it is comfortable (feet and outfitting around hips) and is appropriate for your weight and height. Sit in it.
 
3.  Any offers to let me demo - Sorry, but all I have is an old chopped up Dagger Ego. 
 
4.  Any offers of trade for a Nomad 8.5 (excellent shape) - Like James said, don't get rid of this baby. One of the best creekers made and will take care of you on over-nighters, taking the girlfriend paddling and running the hardest whitewater you ever want to. If you need to get rid of a boat, get rid of the GT. Nomad 8.5 is my favorite boat, if I could only own one boat, this would be it.
 
I started paddling much the same way you did. I was in a Crossfire (11') for a year then upgraded to an Overflow (10'). I paddled the Overflow exclusively for 3 years or so and progressed from a beginner to class 4 paddler in it. I feel with a bigger boat, JP would probably agree, you develop more true paddling skills/technique than a short/playboat. Niether is right or wrong, but I'd say you are on the right path. If you don't really want to playboat or do fancy moves though, you might consider a boat like the Axiom, Mamba, Z-One or other play-river runner. Those boats will surf stuff on the fly that you would never dream of catching in a modern playboat. Only trade off is you won't beable to do those fancy moves.
I playboated year-round for a couple years in Washington but found the play to be hard to find. There are some excellent locations, but you gotta drive a bit and catch it at the right levels. Like Brett said, there are some ways that playboating contributes to other facets, but unless you are into it you might be dissapointed. Nowadays I just whip the playboat out for the Wenatchee's world class play in the spring and have fun. LMS, the kayak shop in Leavenworth, has tons of boats to demo. I'd recommend hopping in as many of those as you can come next spring and get out on the waves. It is warm and the play spots are epic. When it dries up, put the playboat away and go run some rivers. If you find that you like playboating the rest will take of itself. Jackson probably has the most comfortable playboats out there these days.
 
Any questions feel free to call 253 54nine 3nine45.
Darren
 


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Posted By: James
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 11:34am
The project is totally a full on play boat, and as waterwacko mentioned there are now various types of playboats. I would not call them Park Boats as much as I would call them Feature Specific Boats.

IE the Molan would be more of a Hole Boat , whilst the project is more of a wave boat. Some parks like Glenwood at high water would be a project style wave while at lower water would be more of a molan style wave.

The biggest difference is that for a newer playboater your going to be looking at surfing and playing as you go down a river, not like your going to drive up to skook for a few days although you might (be alot cooler if you did!) but really if you running down a river the shorter hole boats are not going to surf as many waves and are going to be harder to catch on the fly stuff, whilst the longer boats are going to be harder to surft or play on shorter or steeper waves (ie perling ends and flushing) it is a combination that you will have to determine for yourself.

The easiest solution is:
buy 3 playboats : 1 for surfing waves, 1 for hole play, and 1 for down river fun.
buy 1 river runner for general river running not play as much as attainment and slalom
buy 3 creekers: 1 for big water, 1 for steeper gradient and 1 for racing in long classes
buy 2 rafts: 1 for r2ing, and 1 for rowing so when your on big overnighters you have a place to store all those boats.
buy 1 innertube: because on hot days nothing beats floating with a wet caboose
buy 1 squirtboat: you really should have 2 but you really only need 1
buy 1 canoe: because if you have all of the boats above it is really the last thing to add into your quiver to become the all encompassing river master

and then make sure your garage is big enough... if not I would recommend moving, and you might consider looking for a place near the river....

Paddles, helmets, and all that jazz can be left to another thread because I think this is enough to stimulate conversation for a while.


Posted By: James
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 11:39am
Oh and I should note I am not paid commissions or perks from the local boat stores for suggesting you need 12 boats....

Oh and no divorce lawyers give me kickbacks either... but as you build your quiver keep that  topic on the radar.



Posted By: WA-Boater
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 11:39am
Aaron-
The GT is not a solid creeker by any means. If you get on class 4/5 in it you will find your self under the water or on your stern. Two places you don't want to be. Can some people take the GT down a class4/5 run sucessfully or creek in it? Sure, but it's not the way to do it safely. The Nomad is hands down better than the GT. You want the Nomad or other creekboat for creeking. Maybe look into the new Mamba Dagger has coming out or even the Pyranha Burn; something with a bit more edge if you prefer.
You don't need a playboat to get the learning curve stuff that Brett talks about. Lots of people will tell you these days that you need a playboat get that edge/curve. Mainly because that's how they developed their skills. When I started kayaking the playboat wasn't an option. I developed my skills with a long boat and after several years of paddling I purchased a playboat because I wanted to playboat. If you don't want to playboat then don't.
Creeking is where I want to go with my paddling.  That's what gets me excited about the sport. Same here man. That's why I don't playboat unless it's the Wenatchee. Don't get rid of the Nomad, or you will regret it. There might be a boat that will help hone some skills better than the Nomad, but it certainly isn't a playboat. You can spin a playboat 180 degees or more in one stroke. You aren't going to do that in any creekboat, and I don't see how that is progressive. I say learn how to paddle the boat you are gonna creek in.
We are the same body size (i'm 5'8" and 165) and I've got a Mamba 8.0 you can try out. I will also have the new Mamba sometime early 2012 you can try too.
 
Darren


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Posted By: NateW
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 2:05pm
I'm a pretty novice paddler, but I've really had great luck with my 4fun. I think a standard fun would probably be the right boat for your size. I think the older fun which I own is a bit more focused for river running, while the newer one is a bit more play focused. I was able to do a ton of paddling because I live in Wenatchee and we had such a long year. Compared to the other more full on play boats I've tried the fun is easier to roll and easier to catch waves.


Posted By: jP
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 2:44pm
Keep the Nomad. Any of the above posts who recommend this are spot on, IMO.

Right about now PPeeps who know me on this forum would predict me to side with WA Boater rather than Water Wacko. They would be correct. But still, while Bret may indeed be Wacko, he does have many valid points as he espouses the church of the playboat. His skill as a paddler speaks for itself. When I see him capsize on a class V run, he always rolls up rather instantly.

But like Wa Boater, I come from a now ancient era of much longer boats, and the paddling style typified by them is not in vogue, yet still is an asset to creeking: driving a boat to stay on your line. You can float into a lot of stuff and that saves energy, but when you drive a boat hard you can change the shapes of the features you cross over: move whitewater out of your way.

There are more then a few ways to skin a cat (sorry, Irene :).

Thats why I advocate 3 boats. But keep the Nomad. I could go boat something w/ you and share some clues that will help you leverage the Nomad's design. You could walk away with a new appeciation of its capabilities. I could also list some famous poster childs who all rock the Nomad, as well as some lesser know locals who are bad asses in their own right. Still, its not for everyone.

Btw James: he also needs a Shredder, a Slalom boat, and a Saltyak!

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🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋🐋


Posted By: tiziak
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 3:12pm

Play boating is fun, don't get me wrong, but thatís not really the Washington scene. Thatís why we have so few boaters. It's too cold here. Brett's hardcore, he likes to role. I hate being upside down, I get brain freeze.  And I donít like getting my hair wet.

 

If youíre looking for more edge and a little bit more of an aggressive boat then Darren is correct, the Burn is perfect. It has edges that are razor sharp and that thing carves into eddies and current harder than you want some times. I've made the transition to a semi-displacement hull and, in my case, I believe itís helped me step up my own game.

Your Nomad is probably a bit sluggish as far as turning in moving water, compared to a flat bottom boat like a Burn or a Habitat (?), but I bet itís much more forgiving. Iíve come to appreciate that. Boats fit kind of like shoes, even if you and I are the same size, I might not fit in a specific boat the same way you do. Might not be comfortable for me, might not be able to pull of the same moves as easily. Try all the different boats you can, they are all very different after the initial shock of a new boat wears off. A medium burn was my first creeker and I loved it. Iím 5í8Ē and ~170 pounds. Now I boat a much larger boat, in length and volume, and I love it! Iíve never boated a Nomad, but I would say that if the three best boaters in the state all do, thereís something to be said there.

JP has plenty of advice to dish out when it comes to becoming a better boater and how to reach your goals, and I would listen to him. Itís all about practice. I wouldnít buy a play boat because you think itís gonna make you a better creek boater. I would buy a play boat if I wanted to become a better playboater. For me, Wenatchee season just means that Icicle is in! If creeking is where you want to be, invest the time. Start overanalyzing rapids you are comfortable with and make them harder. Step up your own game. Start drinking bootie beers for rolls and such. Make a game out of it with your boating partners. Tumwater Canyon is the PERFECT place to step up your creeking skills. Its forgiving, big, and you will never run out of different lines. You can run it at 800 cfs or 8000cfs and its all good. There are almost always people looking to rally up there and you can scout everything from both side of the river.

Either way. Just get out and have fun.

 



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If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.

Daniel Patrinellis
360.434.4616


Posted By: tiziak
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 3:14pm

On another note, I remember reading something Dane Jackson talked about in an interview. He said that his dad wouldn't let him creek until he had a solid brace on both sides, and essentially never needed to roll. Remember, a roll is just a brace that failed...



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If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.

Daniel Patrinellis
360.434.4616


Posted By: BIGWATER
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 4:11pm
well i may be the one and only play boater left in WA i guess
 
there is TONS of play in WA and if you dont think so , you just dont know where it is , or you fail to see the features because you are not looken for them
as far as not wanting to get yer hair wet , well then there is no playboating anywhere
 
i know this is off topic  and i dont mean to piss anyone off,   but saying there is no play in WA is just silly  and it has been my scene for years 
not that i dont like creeken but i do spend more time in a playboat then in a creeker
 
playboaters unite !   all we need is a lil rain!


Posted By: AaronS
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 5:46pm
So, I guess I'm trying to assess my learning style and take in all of the advice posted here.  I know there are world class paddlers who only ever sat in a playboat to prove they could be successful.  Meanining...it probably isn't necessary to get a playboat to get really good at paddling a creekboat.  Makes sense.   I guess I see the skills that I want to develop (better bracing, more proficient rolls of varied kinds, comfort in holes, etc.) demonstrated more because I see playboaters doing those things a lot on the rivers I currently run.  The only creeking I get to see is usually clips of the good lines and the guys who make it look easy (although the latest carnage post on PP was great).  I think, based on my learning style, I would benefit from running the same rivers I have been running, but in a boat that challenges my comfort level and my skills.  I know that I can make these rivers a lot harder than I make them right now because I take most of the easier lines.  It just seems like a next step is running the lines I know in a boat I don't.
 
It seems like I can do a good combination of 1)running harder lines in my GT (the one I'm most comfortable in), 2)learning how to paddle my Nomad better (I'll take you up on your offer, JP), and 3) spending time in a boat that requires more of me, but in familiar environments. 
 
James, I don't know that my marriage would survive any attempts to acquire the armada you laid out. 


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If you're not prepared to be wrong you'll never come up with anything new.


Posted By: tiziak
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 6:29pm
Originally posted by tiziak

Play boating is fun, don't get me wrong, but thatís not really the Washington scene. Thatís why we have so few boaters. It's too cold here.

 

See above. Thereís tons of play boating. But if you've boated in California, the SE, or even just the East Coast period, then by comparison it's COLD here in WA. Other than the Wenatchee, I wear a drysuit year round. It's much more fun, in my opinion, to playboat in a life jacket and sprayskirt than with a drysuit or drytop on. Completely different vibe.



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If you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there.

Daniel Patrinellis
360.434.4616


Posted By: jP
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 6:34pm
Don't worry, Bigwah- it's ok to piss people off on this forum- (trust me I have a LOT of experience with that )

Seriously, though- you're points are as valued as anyone else's and the fact that we have so many diverse opinions on such a narrow realm of focus (even the widest Washington river is still relatively narrow) is reason to celebrate. It means we aren't slaves to the machine (yet).

I liked reading Danimal and Brett's hindsight about their paddling journeys. Danimal (tiziak) talking about how his preferences have changed, for example. Figurin out what makes boats different is part of the fun, and partly why the sport will never stagnate, imo. Endless subtle tweaks can radicly alter how boats perform.

Bottom line is that if it is a whitewater boat, and it floats, it'll work. Obviously when PPeeps launch a thread like this though they'd rather have a 'flood' of responses than just one person's reply- so we're fortunate to have this forum.

Regardless of personal preference (Creekboatn vs. Playboatn vs. All the other whitewater modalities that are not outmoded, just inconvienient for the industry to manufacture and market to a teeny tiny demographic), for me personally paddling every different catagory of boat I paddle (Creekboat, Playboat, "Longboat", Slalomboat, Saltyak, ect.) teaches me how to paddle the other one better.

Here's an example: you cited the EZG. That's proven to be a popular design over the years that isn't a flash-in-the-pan like so many boat designs come n go. It sticks around. People like it and praise it.
Me? I'm not an avid playboater because it takes too much dedication. I'm in the "can't teach n old dog new tricks" catagory. Its much easier for me to just go creek wherever I want. It's routine.
But I can look at any boat and reasonably determine what a design will do for me without paddling it, more or less. Got a good deal on an Ezg so I bought it. Started paddling it for awhile n figured it out (somewhat), but when the Wenatchee is running big, I still like the 9'+ Diablo for surfing big open waves.
The thing is, 'lil EZG taught me how to find the playboat that is hidden within El Diablo's design. (Kinda- Rob or Darren could really rip the playboat right out of El Diablo- I suck at playboatn so I can only scratch its surface). I found I can hone some playboatn technique in 'lil EZG and then transfer it to El Diablo where before I could barely flatspin it. Its hard to do that in a long boat which is why playboats really took off: The Jackson kids can blow our minds with flavor of the week tricks, while "the masses" can easily do flatspins like they never could back in the long boat era.

I don't know if this post makes sense. Benjamin Franklin would not understand all this bullsh*t, but he'd be intrigued to read all of our passionate opinions regarding our recreational activity (I used to boat on the Potomac w/ Ben Franklin). Gil Scott Heron would prolly just get pissed n start rappin "Whitie On The Moon". But I don't care because paddling keeps me from goin postal. Great topic, regardless. Wish people discussed more boat design more often.

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Posted By: jP
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 6:40pm
Gotta agree w/ Tiziac here: The Gauley or the Cheat individually put the Wenatchee to shame for playboating, each of those two WV runs having dozens of super high quality play waves and holes. The Wenatchee, Washington's crown jewel of playboating, has, like, 6 spots on the average.

I love the Wenatchee, and I'm not dissing Wa paddlers by extension- I love them too. Just callin it like it is.

Basalt canyons just make better "creekin" than "playboatn". Sandstone slabs tend to make good play (Wenatchee, West By God Virginia, ect.)

Gettin off topic now, though.

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Posted By: BIGWATER
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 7:46pm
well i guess i did piss off tizak but hey  what ya gona do
i still think posting  in giant letters that washington has no playboating scene and that its to cold here is very negative and that its not going to encourage anyone to playboat
 
i have paddled in many warm locations over the last 18 years ... and honeslty i ALWAYS wear a drysuit ... even on water that is 70  and the air temp is 100 i still get cold if not in a drysuit .... i may have just one thin layer on under it but im still in a drysuit... people think im nuts putten a suit on in the blazing heat  but i know how i need to dress .....some people run hot , others run cold
now i have never seen a river that is body temp, maby then i would not use a suit
 
and yes the wenatchee is nice ... but its got nothing on the moshpit or the nassell in my opinion....to bad they only come in a few times a year and im the only one there most of the time
ill shut up now cuz i see this is going no where fast , and yes its off topic


Posted By: Mr.Grinch
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 7:50pm
I'm another person who likes my playboat more. Remember, that's the initial topic of this thread. Aaron, when pool sessions at UPS start up again, feel free to hop into my Fuse 56. Might be a little large for you, but not a lot. I've also got a smaller boat with slicy ends you can flip around as well. Al with the yellow Jackson Fun will probably let you hop in that for a few minutes after he's done and is getting ready to leave. He let me paddle it. Also, if they're available, the student club has some Dagger Kingpins which are excellent.

Play is where you find it and what you make of it. I'm not aiming at doing crazy aireal manouvers, either, but if my skills take me there, that's fine. For now, the boat I paddle most on rivers (and flatwater play/workout) is the Fuse. I've had a smaller playboat and a larger play/runner and this boat suits my style best at the moment. Surfs great, forgiving, easy to roll, still gets vertical, and is a new enough design that it is still in production. I think a boat like it (LL Freeride, JK Fun, Dagger RX, etc) might be what you'd like. They aren't as hard core as Stars and Projects, but they'll play enough (surfing, spinning, wave wheels, even loops) and not be so tricky at first. Whoever posted about the longer slicy boats brings a point I also enjoy: letting the river do some of that play work for you, like on eddylines for stern squirts and cartwheels. Sure, it isn't throwing Phonics Monkeys, but I'd doesn't sound like that's your intention at this point in time. Basically, I like to surf anything along my way down a river. I like playing eddylines and splatting rocks. I like throwing wave wheels and just screwing around in the currents. I love a good wave with a nice foam pile for spins and blunts, especially when there's eddy service. I have looped, but I'm terrible at it. What puts a smile on my face at this point in time is getting the most out of every disturbance in the river flow that I can.

I don't own a creeker, though I hope to get into it in the next few years.


Posted By: water wacko
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 8:05pm
The Sky has a ton of playboating at all kinds of levels and I should exlain what I'm saying when I say 'playboat'. When I was first starting out playboats were the thing. Loops and cartwheels were what we were all doing. River running in a playboat, to me, is 'playboating'. Additionally, catching as many waves on the way down the river as possible is all part of it. It taught me a lot and that is my suggestion. And yes, like Tiziak said, it's freakin' COLD in the winter! Another way to 'challenge' yourself sometimes. Also, please take my post with a grain of salt (or two). I'm not trying to talk myself up like I'm some badass or whatever. I was just sharing my experience through my years on the water and how 'playboating' I feel turned out to be a very complimentary paddling style, to creek boating. That's all. We're all between swims and it's never a good feeling when someone swims. Most of my postings are just ramblings as if I'm blathering on. Keep the good stuff and throw out the rest.

Aaron, there are a lot of good comments here to mull over. JP is definitely stoked to share his plethora of experience on the water and can teach you a lot.

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"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." ~Howard Thurman


Posted By: jP
Date Posted: 19 Dec 2011 at 10:00pm
I still got a lot to learn, too. And I have been influenced by modern playboaters: I used to scoff at the backdeck roll, no matter how much James used to extoll its virtues. But I started practicing it. One day above Lava Dam Falls (Farmlands Stretch of the White Salmon) I flipped. I noticed that a lot of times what causes me to flip is being too much in the back seat, but off balanced onto my left edge. I flopped over right into the set up for the back deck roll.

I don't know what concerned me more: being above the falls heading for it upside down, or having a crowd on the rock watching me anyway I busted that roll out and have been sold on it ever since. Kinda embarassing since nowadays all sorts of first year boaters got back deck rolls, but still- with paddling, old dogs can learn new tricks if they want, and that's cool. Now if I flip that way, I roll up that way and its much quicker than setting up for my standard roll.

Also, watching Rob should convince anyone of playboating's applications to creek'n: he can bumble down all kinds of gnar backwards, spinning around, upsidedown, whatever- seemingly "cool as a cucmber in a bowl of hot sauce" cuz he gots his X,Y, and Z axis all figured out. I'm cool with X and Y, but I try not to get too extravagant on the Z axis other than a standard boof, or the occasional tailstand or bowstall. I like being pointed toward where I want to go with a dry head.



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Posted By: Courtney
Date Posted: 20 Dec 2011 at 8:53am

Aaron,

It sounds to me like you would be really happy in a play boat but not a full on play boat.  They are great to do all sorts of play moves except the highly advanced one's and they are also great at running rivers up to class IV depending on the river and volumn.  Since you're going to be new to play boating it's going to take you some time to get the moves down not to mention just getting used to the feel in the rapids.  Once you are feeling great doing all of these things and taking the hard lines in rapids then you can think about buying another boat - more playfull or not.  What skill level are you at now with rapid classification and what kind of play are you presently doing?  I know you mentioned that you're mainly running the easier lines right now but I missed what class rapids you said you're running.  Also, did you say that you're selling your other boat or keeping it when you get your new one?  If you're selling it, definitely don't go with a full on playboat because that would hold you back on the harder runs IMO.  If you're keeping it I still think a moderate playboat would be right for you. 



Posted By: AaronS
Date Posted: 20 Dec 2011 at 10:30am
I run the Upper Green and Middle Middle a lot.  I typically have not done many of the big boofs on either, though more so lately.  I will try to surf a few of the waves, but my GT pearls easily and my Nomad washes out given my current skill level.  I have run BD on the Sky a few times at levels of 1200 to 2400, mostly through the Needle.  I have spent almost no time in holes and in fact have avoided them like the plague.  However, I seem to have turned a corner lately in my ability to brace and use my body more (I believe I have been paddling with my arms only for the past two years) to drive onto, over, and through features (like someone said earlier), so I am becoming less afraid of holes.  One of the turning points for me was at Maytag on the White Salmon.  I spent some time with a friend talking about active paddling and how to use my hips and head at the first drop.  Running that rapid opened up a new understanding of what I had not been doing.
 
I think, after trying to digest the input on this forum, I'm going to try a few things before selling or buying anything.  I'm definitely going to step up my lines on the Green, MM, and Sky.  But I'd also like to try a river/play boat (as the new Kayak Session Gear Guide calls them) as well.


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If you're not prepared to be wrong you'll never come up with anything new.


Posted By: jP
Date Posted: 20 Dec 2011 at 11:06pm
Dude- hit me up sometime and we'll run the Upper Green. (If enough water accumulates behind HH so that they'll release some! #@$*% civilization! the nerve of these people to develope such infrastructure as water supply! Civilization is ruining my contemporary wilderness experience!----don't mind my absurd sense of humor)

Anyway, another thing to do is just keep alternating between the boats you have- sometime when the Green is running above 1500 you should follow me through the rapid called "Three Boofs" (Papa Boof, Mama Boof and Baby Boof). Three boulders in succession that form pour overs at the right flow. These are good places to work on timing your boof stroke.

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Posted By: AaronS
Date Posted: 21 Dec 2011 at 6:51am
I will be getting in touch for sure. And the semi-satirical societal commentaries are always fun to read! Dan is loaning me his EZG 50, so I want to get out in that to see what that's like (if the HH communists ever figure out what's really important .

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If you're not prepared to be wrong you'll never come up with anything new.


Posted By: Courtney
Date Posted: 21 Dec 2011 at 9:19am

Aaron,

To stop the boat pearling when you're front surfing you have to carve it from side to side and lift the knee on the higher side up to pop your boat back up to the surface.  Also, if you can, staying back more on the pile will help.  You can do this with any boat.  I learned "back in the prehistoric days" (like JC said) and my first boat was a long fiberglass boat 1970's thing.  My next boat was a Corsica S and then they kept getting smaller and smaller from there.  It's all technique and time learning it and the boat.

Courtney   



Posted By: mokelumnekid
Date Posted: 26 Dec 2011 at 11:22pm
Is there some way to archive these posts for more than a year or so? I found this one to be especially illuminating, as I have had some of the same thoughts as Aaron, tho he is further along in his skill level than I am. You all make really great points! On posts like this PP really rocks.

I have two boats in my noob arsenal- a 2010 Mamba 8.0 with the creek (Nomad) outfitting and a new Liquid Logic Freeride 57 which is their new river-play model (like the Fun, Varun and Fuse). I love both these boats. The Freeride is especially comfy for folks with a longer in-seam and is amazingly stable. I've been in all four (Fun, Varun, Fuse, Freeride) and the Freeride was the one for me. But of course it is a bit more river and a little less play than say, the Fuse.

WA-boater, would like to hear your impressions of the 2012 Mamba compared with the old model, when it arrives.

My big challenge now is that after two weeks in Fiji- that cold water and gray skies just don't look as fun as they used to...imagine that!


Posted By: BrianP
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2012 at 10:09pm
So, I recently acquired a creek boat (DR mafia) and have realized a few things. When I first started paddling, a bunch of runs were in a Mamba, it got me down the river without really having to worry about edges, just keep it pointed downstream and paddle mindset. When I moved into a JK Fun, I got my ass kicked because I'd not been paying attention to that. I've been paddling that for about four years and thought I'd progressed really well in a lot of ways. I can put it most anywhere I need to at the last minute with minimal effort.
Now that I've been running the creeker, I see how much more I could have been learning by starting in a longer boat. Sure, I learned to mind my edges, and how to maneuver it well, but the simplest thing like an easy ferry or catching a wave with great eddy service is a completely different beast in the creeker. With the creek boat I have to pay a LOT more attention to my ferry angle to avoid being washed out. Same goes for last minute lateral moves. The play boat I can turn and paddle and it will carve a line to where I want to go, the creeker forces me think a lot further ahead because while I can turn it easily it may not want to drive that direction without a lot more effort.
I've seen jP talk more than once about "driving" a creeker and I think I'm starting to see what he means. Hopefully I'll start catching on to that and applying it more.
So I guess what I was trying to say is this: The playboat taught me about edge control, and how to deal with "funny" water where a creek boat might just skip over the top (I'll call this the "micro" aspect of boat control). The creeker is currently teaching me about the "macro" aspects of boat control.
That being said, I'm still learning a lot about how to drive this thing so if I see any of you on the river, I'd be glad to have some unsolicited advice!



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