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DECISIONS, DECISIONS. PHOTOS: COURTESY OF DARREN BUSH


“What are my aspirations?”


INVEST WISELY. PHOTOS: AVERY BECHTEL


“What’s going to make me happy?”


We all have our motivations for paddling, but they pretty much boil down to the same thing—happiness. Just as important as leaving with a boat that meets all your specific needs is leaving with one that makes you happy. “Don’t discount rack appeal,” says Henry. “Some- times, want overrides need.” If it feels okay on the water and it gets you excited to paddle, there’s no reason not to go for it. “If you don’t give someone something that really excites them,” Henry points out, “they’ll likely walk away without the same good feeling.”


WHITEWATER KAYAKING


Who better to ask about buying the right whitewater kayak than the experts from the largest specialty paddlesports shop in the Rockies? When they’re not on the river, Colorado Kayak Supply (CKS) staff are stocking the shelves in their Buena Vista, Colorado, shop and keeping current with their extensive online store. CKS general manager, Dave Kloberdanz, has been whitewater


kayaking since the ‘90s and enjoys watching his shop evolve with the sport. He is always ready to share his experiences visiting America’s classic creeks and playspots, as well as advice on things to consider before making a purchase.


52 Annual 2012


Start the buying process by thinking about your goals. “Paddlers should start by asking themselves what type of paddling they want to be doing in two to three years,” Kloberdanz suggests. “For example, if a customer has a goal to learn how to throw a loop, we will recommend the customer select a freerunning kayak to start, allowing them to learn the basics of surfing and freestyle in a forgiving boat.” Alternatively, Kloberdanz recommends paddlers with the goal of running rivers exclusively go with a creek boat or river runner.


“What’s the difference between creek boats and river runners?”


If your plan is to downriver paddle, you’ll need to educate yourself on the finer differences between creek boats and river runners in order to get your hands on the right kayak. “A creek boat tends to have softer edges on its hull, designed for rolling up and over obstacles,” Kloberdanz explains. “Creekers also tend to have more kick rocker in the bow and stern for boofing off vertical drops.” River runners tend to have harder edges to help with carving in and out of eddies and a hull that is looser, referring to its ability to plane across the surface of the water. Kloberdanz puts it simply: “A river runner is designed to be fast, stable and easy to roll and brace.”


“Am I selling myself short on a paddle?”


“Lots of customers don’t think much about the quality of paddle they buy,” Kloberdanz notes. “Tey don’t realize that it’s an ex- tremely important piece of gear, especially as a beginner.” He’s quick to point out that the paddle is your connection to the wa- ter and having a lightweight, ergonomic and buoyant paddle will increase pleasure on the water. “Many kayak schools are starting to allocate more and more money towards better quality paddles because they can increase the learning curve dramatically.”


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