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HomeNL-2017-09 Increase Enjoyment

Increase Your Enjoyment
Reprinted from October 1987
by Leonard Hulsebosch

The newsletter section of this web site contains 40 years of Houston Canoe Club newsletters. Amidst those many publications are buried a lot of gems of wisdom, that are still just as valid today as when they first appeared. The following article from 30-years ago is one of those gems.  

More and more people are being drawn to the exciting and some-times challenging sport of white water. Many are uneducated to the danger and power of moving water, yet are taking to the water in all types of watercraft. The combination of people, equipment, terrain, moving water, and watercraft result in countless rescue situations. Many of these could have been avoided with a little common sense and a basic knowledge of river safety. By implementing personal safety practices and getting instruction in simple rescue techniques and practicing them under controlled conditions, all can help make this sport safer and more enjoyable.

It is important that all know and accept their skill level in order to match his or her ability to the difficulty rating of a given rapid or river. Use the following skill descriptions as a guide to rate yourself on moving water, not flat water.

BEGINNERS: No previous white water experience.

NOVICES: Familiar with terms such as eddy turns, peel outs, ferries, tongues, strainers, hydraulics, and have paddled several Class I-II rivers.
INTERMEDIATE: Mastered basic strokes and maneuvers in Class II-III water. Decked boaters should have a reliable pool roll and should be working on a river roll. Open boaters should have good high and low brace. 

ADVANCED: Comfortable playing in Class III water. have reliable river roll, competent in river and rapid reading, and know basic safety and rescue techniques. Must be confident in negotiating Class IV waters. 

EXPERT: Competent in Class IV plus water, have a 99.9% reliable roll for decked boats and have mastered all previously listed skills, including advance techniques. 

By realistically appraising your personal skills, you will be better able to match yourself to club paddles and hence, enjoy yourself on the river. Nobody likes to "get in over his head" by taking a club trip that exceeds his skill level - everyone loses - so, know your skill level! 

The author, Leonard Hulsebosch