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TOPIC: Teaching girlfriend to Kayak...

Teaching girlfriend to Kayak... 6 years 10 months ago #29413

  • Darth_GoosE
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So, I took my girl to Gauley fest this last October and got her a pfd, helmet and spray skirt. I plan on letting her use my small fluid flirt and I'll use one of my older boats.

Thing is, I'm a little nervous about her freaking out and hating it because she hears rocks hit her helmet or can't get her combat roll. I plan on taking her down a nice gentle class II section with long recovery pools for her first time, but other than that, is there any advice one how to keep her from losing it because of a swim?

I'm primarily worried because this winter we went skiing together and she did great until she took a hard fall. After that she was just so nervous the whole time that it was no fun for her. I just don't want that to happen again.
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Re:Teaching girlfriend to Kayak... 6 years 10 months ago #29414

  • AdrianTregoning
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Well, let me share my limited experience with girlfriends and kayaking :-) I went out with a girl for almost 3 years and she got into it. It took her ages to roll but eventually she got it. She was terrified of rolling in the dam but MANY pool sessions using goggles seemed to help. The best way for her to gain confidence was to keep paddling this easy little class 1 and 2 river, a lot. That was key, learning about eddies etc. and the most basic of skills. Eventually she paddled a 45km overnight trip with class 2 and 3, even some continuous sections, and only swam about 3 or 4 times I think.

Then another girl I went out with for just over 2 years. In that time, she paddled down one rapid, once, and never again. She never wanted to learn how to roll and never stepped on a river again. She didn't swim, she just didn't like it. I just had to accept that was that :-) Another girl recently tried once, loved it, almost rolled the first time on the river but now we aren't together anyway.

So....what did I learn? Women (generally, don't crucify me here ladies...) need to take things slow, real slow. Gain confidence and become familiar. Step up the game too much, too quickly, and you'll put someone off for life. I got a mate into paddling. He too paddled that same easy class 1 and 2 river but only about 2 or 3 times. Then we hit a river which none of us had done before, at a high level. After 20km's on there he sold his kayak and will never kayak again. He took some swims and hurt his back, which gave him grief for more than a year afterwards...

At the end of the day, kayaking is not for everyone. Take it slow, and good luck mate! Just make sure you two have fun. And, to score some more points, pack in a small blanket into a dry bag, some snacks and have a small picnic. That's a winner for sure :blush:
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Re:Teaching girlfriend to Kayak... 6 years 10 months ago #29415

  • mad possum
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Hey DG,
yeh, there's actually lots you can do beforehand, i'm teaching my wife atm and have learnt a lot from it.
firstly, there's a podcast, 'in between swims' get her to listen to the one released on the 30/10/09 called 'The kayaking mindset' by Heather Herbeck, it helped my wife a lot, (its worth it for the guys too) and has to do with the mental aspect of kayaking, which is what my wife has had to work hard on. Secondly, a boat she feels comfortable in is very good, my wife hated the river runner but loved the creeker she tried, felt safe and it worked well with how she paddled. she hasn't learnt to roll yet, but she's not worried about that, since she knows how to wet exit and has practiced it so the fear of being tipped over has diminished. Heather Herbeck is also part of a group called 'river angels' (google them for their web page) and has learnt a lot reading what they've posted, found inspiration in what they do, and has see that there are girls out there doing great stuff, and has since set her standards higher for what she thinks she can achieve herself.
Lastly, dont loose your temper, if you loose control of yourself due to frustration, you've lost her from the river, if you need to talk, raft up and talk quietly in her ear rather than talking loudly from a boat's distance away, she'll feel safer and won't think your angry with her (personal experience) :angry:
It definitely sounds like you need to inspire her with a lot of confidence though, and you're the best person to do it! so take heart, good luck, and do your best!
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