Need to promote cboating? How?

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MrJack
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Need to promote cboating? How?

Post by MrJack » Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:44 am

Reading through some of the recent "discussions" left me a bit discouraged. As someone new to cboats (former kayaker, new to OC2 this summer) some of the posts got me thinking. I have really enjoyed the laid back, chill, personalities of all the nice people that have helped me learn about, and experience the sport this summer. I was thinking it was a canoe thing... everyone is super nice and willing to help out. Maybe it is b/c I have been paddling class II. More egos on the Ocoee? I was sensing a bad vibe from some of the recent posts on this site.

No offense to anyone, but I sensed some insecurity when reading some of the stuff about needing to impress kayakers and convince them that canoes are not an inferior boat. And this idea that you are doing nothing for the sport if you paddle an old boat, can't roll, and aren't trying to prove canoes are as good/better than kayaks? Do we need to?

How important do y'all think it is that we promote WW canoeing? If you think it is important, what are some good ways to do it?

I think our efforts would be better spent teaching our friends to paddle open boats, offering affordable formal training, and making WW rental boats available for more than just demo.

I feel very fortunate to have found my local canoe clubs website that offers weekend WW canoe classes for $65. I also lucked out that there is a guy in my area who rents WW canoes. If it weren't for these 2 things... I wouldn't be paddling now. Paying $1000 for my fiance and me to take a beginner WW canoe class from the "local" outfitter was simply not an option. Luckily we took a class, bought a used boat (probe 14) already outfitted, 2 werner paddles, 1 helmet, 1pfd all for less than $1000.

I wish the clubs would "advertise" on more than just their website. For example... 2 separate trained beginner classes had to be cancelled this summer b/c there weren't enough participants. I think that's unfortunate. People with "fleets" of boats could offer to rent or loan some out to people wanting to try out the sport. Simply expose more people to the sport for an affordable price.

We shouldn't have to get into the canoe vs. kayak "debate"... simply help people have a positive first experience in an open boat and let them experience what we like about it.

On the other hand, I kind of like that we are the minority on the river :-) Probably not good for the sport though. Everyone have fun paddling this weekend!

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Post by FullGnarlzOC » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:02 am

IMO - the canoe vs kayak thing is what makes it fun. It's all in good fun. Although, I'll go to my grave pushing the fact that open boating is the way to go.

Like Nolan said... "I like the feedback you get from an open canoe, all you have to do is look in your boat and you know how well your run was by the amount of water in your boat."
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Post by Craig Smerda » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:04 am

Have fun... first and foremost. That's all that's important.
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Post by FullGnarlzOC » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:06 am

Without the bickering back and forth, all we have is time on the water. You can only agree with each other so much until we are all "yes men".

It's the different personalities, opinions, and mindsets that make everything what it is....awesome and passionate. Like Craig said..."have fun, first and foremost" - Well, do you guys not have fun going back and forth with each other at the end of the day? MrJack, there is hardly any bad blood on this board, even if it seems that way. I had to realize this when I first signed up in the winter. I thought people were about ready to rip each others faces off... but in the end, everyone is just messin around. And they get to express their opinions on top of that...which is a release. Because let's face it...the girlfriend or wife doesn't want to hear about boating, as much as we all want to talk about it.

Since we are talking about how to grow the sport - I think the best way to do it is to have a club at every college in good river location. Odds are at least 25% of the kids involved in such a club, would be boaters for life. I say this because, it is such a great sport. All it takes is a little push to get into it.

Openboating is like hunting - it's a legacy sport. However, it can be introduced to non-boaters at the right age and be picked up - leaving room for new generations to paddle.
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Re: Need to promote cboating? How?

Post by ncdavid » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:15 am

MrJack wrote:Reading through some of the recent "discussions" left me a bit discouraged. As someone new to cboats (former kayaker, new to OC2 this summer) some of the posts got me thinking. I have really enjoyed the laid back, chill, personalities of all the nice people that have helped me learn about, and experience the sport this summer. I was thinking it was a canoe thing... everyone is super nice and willing to help out. Maybe it is b/c I have been paddling class II. More egos on the Ocoee? I was sensing a bad vibe from some of the recent posts on this site.

No offense to anyone, but I sensed some insecurity when reading some of the stuff about needing to impress kayakers and convince them that canoes are not an inferior boat. And this idea that you are doing nothing for the sport if you paddle an old boat, can't roll, and aren't trying to prove canoes are as good/better than kayaks? Do we need to?

How important do y'all think it is that we promote WW canoeing? If you think it is important, what are some good ways to do it?

I think our efforts would be better spent teaching our friends to paddle open boats, offering affordable formal training, and making WW rental boats available for more than just demo.

I feel very fortunate to have found my local canoe clubs website that offers weekend WW canoe classes for $65. I also lucked out that there is a guy in my area who rents WW canoes. If it weren't for these 2 things... I wouldn't be paddling now. Paying $1000 for my fiance and me to take a beginner WW canoe class from the "local" outfitter was simply not an option. Luckily we took a class, bought a used boat (probe 14) already outfitted, 2 werner paddles, 1 helmet, 1pfd all for less than $1000.

I wish the clubs would "advertise" on more than just their website. For example... 2 separate trained beginner classes had to be cancelled this summer b/c there weren't enough participants. I think that's unfortunate. People with "fleets" of boats could offer to rent or loan some out to people wanting to try out the sport. Simply expose more people to the sport for an affordable price.

We shouldn't have to get into the canoe vs. kayak "debate"... simply help people have a positive first experience in an open boat and let them experience what we like about it.

On the other hand, I kind of like that we are the minority on the river :-) Probably not good for the sport though. Everyone have fun paddling this weekend!

Amen, brother. I promote the sport by introducing new folks to it. I encourage novices. A lot of my trips are to water that is well below my maximum skill level. I do that so that I can work with less-experienced boaters and bring them along. A few of my paddling partners are former kayakers. Like Shannon McGuigan. When she decided she wanted to switch from K to C, I found her a boat, bought it, repaired it, and sold it to her for well under what I had in it. I'll never be a world-class paddler. I hardly ever roll. But I can paddle a rapid with style and grace. And I can bring lots of new people to the sport with my enthusiasm. And I love butt-boaters.

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Post by Smurfwarrior » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:16 am

And....the person you are referring to is the first respondant. :) He's rubbed me raw with his preaching to the choir. Yes, Gnarz, thats you I'm talking about. :)

I'm all for promoting the sport, and I do my share of it, but there has to be a balance between pushing and scaring. I'm sure people saying "that guys an egotistical loudmouth" will do more to hurt than seeing someone swim out of a OC. I've impressed the he11 out of kayakers with how quick it is to recover and keep pressing on without much drama. Anyway, welcome to the sport... and every sport has one in the crowd that everyone just sits back and watches make a fool out of himself. :)

Oh, last random thought... this trash talk about C1 vs OC1 is childish and does nothing but give people the wrong impression about how cool most of us are. Focus on the single blade. Its proper use is where the talent is displayed.

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Post by jakke » Fri Aug 13, 2010 5:55 am

I also take high pleasure in paddling easier rivers, well in my comfort zone, guiding less experienced paddlers. And I still have fun pulling of moves on the hard lines. ICE, I have reserves so I can help out where needed.
I also take the time to explain the value of good technique and the basics, and invite people to join trainings, which I try to make as much fun as possible.
Last but not least, I have my website, and I try to put some video footage online of our trips. That's fun for those who were with us on the trip, and shows the rest of the world what can be done in a canoe.

From the whitewater point of view, yes it's sometimes a fight against kajak, since there still are a lot of kayakers who think a canoe is inferior to a kayak on whitewater. On the other hand it's also good fun to be on the river with some paddling friends, no matter which craft they paddle.

But having fun while we are on the water is still the most important.

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Post by Smurfwarrior » Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:06 am

After having pondered this thread for awhile, I believe that if those with a bunch of older/used boats in their own personal armada would put some of those back on the market at a reasonable price, newbs would have a ton of used boats to choose from and the sellers could then invest in a new boat. Both feeding the new boat market and allowing those not willing or able to purchase new a chance to get in, get paddling and then get hooked. Just a thought,....

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Post by ncdavid » Fri Aug 13, 2010 11:12 am

Want a Probe 11 or a Shaman? I've got 'em for reasonable prices. When cold weather comes, I'll finally get my Dagger Rival ready for sale. It'll be cheap, too. I like to sell boats as cheaply as possible if it'll help get new people into the game. Prefer a great C1? I've got a full-cut Viper you can buy.

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Post by Cheeks » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:17 pm

Be on the water. That's the most important thing.

Look, I like the kayak vs OC as much as the next guy, but at the end of the day, the dark side is still on our side.

With the exception of boats and paddles, we have pretty much similar gear, and they drive new products, like PFDs, helmets, knives, etc.

Plus, they help us get access. Most of our brothers on the Ausable were kayakers, but I would be the first person to sign up and represent them in court if I could.

The point is, I don't take the boating thing too seriously. Yeah, I swim, so what, its a water sport. I can't loop my probe or do an ender (yet) but I can carry beer. My real life is too serious. Boating's supposed to be fun.
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Post by Sir Adam » Fri Aug 13, 2010 12:19 pm

I think it is great to see young(er folks than me) very passionate about CBoating... that is great! I recall it not so long ago that I also felt I needed to "convert" the kayakers. These days I"m more interested in getting folks out on the water.... and think every CBoater should try a kayak, and every kayaker should try a CBoat or two. I prefer CBoats (and I think if some kayakers tried them they would too;) ), but I've learned a tremendous amount fooling around in different boats.

Regarding the tone on this board, it is something we moderators struggle with. We do not want to moderate, censor, or anything... but there have been times (like last fall / winter) the tone was indeed getting out of hand and we had to "speak" to a few posters. No one has been banned, and I've been pleased things have settled down a little. It is easy to lose sight of the fact this is a GLOBAL board, not a regional one, and a lot of regional "smack talk" really is better left to regional boards where everyone in the group "gets it". Some folks think this is too uptight of a stance, but I think the comments made in this thread support our decision to keep things calm and supportive and limit the "smack talk".

I will also say why I am no longer a member of AW (for now) - I think they do a great job protecting rivers - but their magazine (full of "fear" and "gnar" articles) has kept a number of folks from getting on the water - I try and get everyone on the water that passes through the house:) A few times they've pickedup AW and been COMPLETELY turned off. So while the "FullGnarlz" way of boating will convert some folks (who paddle their kayaks a similar way), it may scare others off. In the end it'll likely be a wash, so do what you want to and have fun!!

Which brings me back to actually answering the question posed - YES, we should promote CBoating (it's one of the reasons I put up with all the work of CBoats.net!), but in my opinion (so take it with several large grains of salt :wink: ) what we need to promote is the FUN. For some folks that IS the "FullGnarlz" way. For others camaraderie and beautiful scenery on the river. If folks see us all having FUN, and not having huge egos they are more likely to be interested in joining us. I know very few people who do not like to have fun (though they are out there....).
Keep the C!
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Post by RodeoClown » Fri Aug 13, 2010 1:33 pm

I think we're stuck with a paradox: we believe that anything that can be done in a kayak can be done in a C or OC, but at the same time we have to admit that it's harder in a C or OC boat. We don't want to admit that a canoe isn't the best craft for whitewater, but at the same time part of our enjoyment, and possibly our ego, comes from the fact that a canoe isn't the best craft for whitewater. Trying to tell other people that they should be in a canoe because it's so much harder than what they're doing has never made any sense to me. Rather, I like to think of it as "another challenge." It's not something better or worse, cooler or lamer, just something different. I think we'd be better off and able to promote C-boating better if we stopped looking at it as C-boaters, Open boaters, and/or Kayakers, and looked at ourselves simply as paddlers.

To be perfectly honest, I'm not convinced that "canoeing" is that much harder than kayaking. In the Canoe Movie, Nolan Whitesell said something along the lines of "the limitation was never the canoe, the limitation was the designs and outfitting systems." Until very recently, canoe design hadn't really progressed in the past 10 years or so, while a heck of a lot of progress was made in decked boats. They've gotten a lot "easier" in that time. Now that we're starting to see some up to date designs, canoeing will also reap those same benefits. (Notice I say "starting" because I hope that people will actually buy these boats, so we'll continue to see new designs.) Paddling the L'edge down the Upper Yough didn't seem that much harder to me than paddling it in a K-1, and probably easier than a C-1 (granted I have the skill set to paddle it in either boat. If you took you average kayaker and put them in it, they'd probably get thrashed, but I the same is true of putting an open boater in a kayak.)

Ramble over,
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Post by Craig Smerda » Fri Aug 13, 2010 2:40 pm

I recieved a call from a very good friend of mine last night that owns/operates a paddling shop and outdoor center... in his own words "Craig... I've become completely bored with kayaking... this is the first time in a very long time I've really wanted to buy a canoe for myself." He had just paddled the new boat. He stated that he'd probably still use a kayak for creeking but he's really looking forward to river running and river playing in a canoe again. I thought that was pretty cool.

Jeremy also has some very valid points and I truly feel that his boat is also going to open new doors and avenues for people that are bored with kayaking, want to learn to do new things in an open boat, and that are simply looking for a "new" challenge.

At ASCI last weekend I saw a lot of younger folks out having fun in canoes... that was pretty cool. Dooley has also mentioned that he's seen a lot more young people getting into canoeing... so maybe there's some hope for us yet.

The best thing I think we can all do is to just get out on the rivers and enjoy ourselves... when people see and hear us smiling, laughing and having a good time... maybe they'll start to wonder exactly what they are missing out on. :wink:
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Promoting c-boating

Post by keez » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:20 pm

We need hot chicks in bikinis... works for the beer companies.

Hold it, doesn't Bud have a guy in a skirt - Eric Jackson!!

Make it fun and get'em young.

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Post by cheajack » Fri Aug 13, 2010 3:55 pm

In the words of Pogo, "We have seen the enemy and he is us". We are all just paddlers in the larger "circle", but inside the larger circle are many smaller circles, flat water, white water, canoes, sea kayaks, etc. Why has there been such an explosion in the dollars spent by consumers on SOT rec boats and touring kayaks in recent years? Is it because of the price point? Or the shallower shorter learning curve? As the interest in these types of crafts has increased in the general public, advertising dollars and manufacturing effort has chased it. That's the American capitalistic way. If we want manufacturers to invest more money in whitewater single blade craft then we must recruit more people to the discipline to expand the market and as many have said, the emphaiss should be on having fun. I think the limited availability of rental boats and basic instruction for canoes when compared to SOT or touring boats is holding canoeing back. I don't have an answer, but applaud people like David Sink who maintains a small "fleet" of canoes for college students and other interested people. I have seen David make several converts to canoeing this season and they are on fire because they are having fun. I think far too much emphasis has been placed by print media on hair boating, waterfalls and expedition paddling. While it makes good reading lots of folks come away with the impression that whitewater paddling is too difficult and dangerous for the average Joe. A readily available positive affordable experience might be the best way to overcome this misperception.

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