th_up I think it's the "progression" thing...
These days -- I know, I know..."get off my lawn!" -- I think boaters progress a lot faster than what used to be the norm. Almost fifteen years ago when I started in the DC area, there was a pretty well-established, gradual, stair-step approach as to what you did, when you did it, and, most importantly, how many times (successfully) before taking the NEXT step. It took a long time to "graduate" to the LBS and the Upper Yough. But, nowadays, it seems like I run into folks who have two years of experience, who are "stepping up" to those runs. Maybe this accounts for the carnage and "beatering"... It's just very different. I also think that boats are better, which gives beginners more confidence, and maybe that also translates into getting better, faster. Looking back, I tend to wish I'd stepped up a bit faster than I did.

My $0.02...

:)
0