Women Boaters Discussion Group - Page 4
Devon: Many of us who surf kayak a lot have a motto, “Live to surf another day.” We don’t spend as much time in our creek boats, and when we do go creeking, we’re willing to avoid something we’re not comfortable with and say, “Hmm, I think maybe ‘I’ll live to surf another day’ and walk that.” So, it’s definitely supported.
One thing I’d also add is trusting your judgment as a woman – often, since it’s a male-dominated sport, you’re out there with males and you often get a lot of your information from males. That’s great but it doesn’t necessarily empower you. I think it’s very important to read guidebooks, postings online, watch videos, gather all the information you can before running a stretch of river or going to a new play spot so you can make an informed judgment. That will boost your confidence because you’re trusting yourself, not the judgment of others. And if you’re kayaking, your roll is your key to confidence. If you have a bomber roll, both sides, front, back, any way you can imagine, then it’s a completely different game.
Erin: I definitely agree with trusting your own judgment – I made a bad decision getting my information from guys. I came up bleeding and out of my boat; because I went over an eight-foot drop upside down.
Ashley: Being new to kayaking, I also have been following others through lines. I have definitely learned to follow my own judgment and quit following people, because it gets me into trouble. Let me tell you , you can read a river better then you think once you start trusting in your own ability. So trust your judgment, as Devon and Erin were saying, and you’ll be a lot better off.
Virginia: I have a question for Devon about team sponsorship. How hard is it for a woman to be sponsored? And do you see more women getting involved in teams?
Devon: Generally, there’s almost always more prize money in events for men and almost all the men make more money than the women. Granted the men can do a lot of amazing stuff and you can probably make the case that they can go bigger and higher than we can in many instances. But at the same time it still costs as much for us to go to events as it does for them, training, etc. It’s a big discrepancy. There are probably more sponsored male athletes, but there are more male paddlers.
I don’t think there’s any aversion out there to sponsoring women or them not being as marketable. But there’s definitely a big money difference. Nikki Kelly, who is probably the world’s best creek boater and a great freestyle paddler as well, is a wonderful person and she will get her nose right in people’s face and say, ‘It didn’t cost me any less to be here, this is not fair!’ But it’s kind of the way of the world.
e-News: How about learning styles, what are the differences there?
Devon: I’ll just say that as far as learning opportunities – taking clinics, private lessons, joining a mixed men and women paddling group, maybe a women-only group are things you can do to boost your skills and your confidence. Those are things you can do for yourself.
Around the country there are women-only paddling groups. There’s a really large group out of Portland, PDXGirlPaddler They’ve gotten a lot of publicity and all women are welcome. I think this sort of group is starting to be more popular. Anna Levesque did the first video series for women, called “Girls at Play”. It talks a lot about the issues we’ve been discussing, about how we approach it differently and learn differently.
Erin: There’s also “Women’s Night on the Kern”.
Devon: Lotus did a series they did around ten spots across the U.S. where women could come and paddle. Now they do “Ladies on the Lower G” where women can come and paddle together. So there’s starting to be a lot more.
e-News: What are modesty issues when you’re boating in a mixed group?
Erin: It’s just like in the book, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you always bring a towel laughter. And that’s how you change, or bring a sarong.
Devon: Years ago, on a Grand Canyon trip, the group used the phrase, “Skirts Up, Zipper’s Down”, meaning during a potty break, women go upstream and men go downstream. So we’ve adopted that when boating in mixed groups, there’s no question and we just go in opposite directions.
e-News: Any solutions for long hair and gaskets and Velcro®?
Laura: I rub cotton balls into the hook side of the Velcro fill it in partially. It will still mate with the loop portion but doesn’t grab hair as badly.
Jenni: I always have my hair getting stuck in gaskets and Velcro and I’ve just learned to live with it. I think it’s just something we have to deal with and that’s what happens.
e-News: Or use the cotton balls.
Devon: Women have smaller necks, so the adjustment tab on dry wear and splash top necks sticks out farther and this has the hook portion that grabs your hair. Also, when you can, using a punch-through neck really helps and when designing women’s pieces, don’t make the adjustment tab as long and there won’t be as much excess to catch the hair. The punch-through neck is comfortable and functional.
Keli: We had it reversed on some tops, and more women said their hair was getting caught. Maybe this was just an adjustment issue with excess length in the adjusting tab, but there was an issue of hair getting more caught in the Velcro.
I’ve got a question for Devon, about the punch-through neck closures. I’ve been reading in forums and such that adjustable necks keep out more water, compared to the punch-through over cuffs. In the force of rapids supposedly they let through more water. What’s your opinion?
Devon: I think what may happen is the drain holes may not be big enough and that may cause more water to be forced in. You might want to make larger drain holes. I’ve been using the Women’s Flux, with a punch-through neck gasket cover, and the Inversion, with it’s adjustable neck, and I haven’t noticed any more water with the Flux. When playboating you’re constantly getting water forced in there and I haven’t noticed any difference. I did not note any water building up in my punch through neck this past month. The Women’s Flux is my top choice in a drytop.
e-News: How about issues of family boating, boating with kids?