There are definitely expert boaters out there who may no longer run Class V!!!
Bunny Johns is the first who came to mind. I don't know how much she paddles nowadays since I live on the West Coast now and haven't kept up with her paddling activity. Though she's in her mid-70s now, I'd be willing to bet that she could stand by a river in street clothes and, in just a few minutes, give enough tips to almost any paddler on this forum to improve his or her paddling by leaps and bounds. She and other great boaters such as Kent Ford and Ken Kastorff were responsible for early development of NOC's world-renowned canoe/kayak school and are still among the greatest living boaters, whether they're running Class V or not.
And, of course, there's Payson Kennedy, who, at age 81, place 7th in the OC1 men's 55+ downriver competition, finishing within 5 minutes of men half his age.
Younger boaters need to respect the fact that as people grow old, their bodies may not be able to do everything they did when they were younger, but their brains may still retain every shred of expertise they acquired during their younger years.
If I had to choose a class of boaters to call "expert," I would suggest some of the boaters who've taught at fine outdoor schools like Endless River Adventures or NOC for many years, especially those with decades of experience like Ken Kastorff, Juliet, and my son Craig Parks. These instructors know boating like no one else with the possible exception of well-known competitors like the Lugbill brothers.
Thanks for your encouraging feedback. My orthopedic surgeon has only recommended a reverse shoulder replacement, after which it's unlike that I would be able to canoe. So it would be counterproductive since my desire to return to canoeing is the only reason I want my shoulder to be fixed. It doesn't bother me in ordinary day to day living. I'm also interested in prolo for chronic lower back pain that DOES limit my activities.
There's an orthopedic surgeon who does prolotherapy in the same Portland OR area clinic as the doctor who recommended shoulder replacement. I'm going to make an appointment to ask him if it's appropriate for my case and find out the cost. It's ironic that my insurance would cover surgery, which I don't want, but not the less expensive treatment.
Yes, I use it so I can get out of bed in the morning in spite of 30 years of crippling back pain. The doc is working with me on that too, but he has put focusing on that off for awhile so as not to blow my insurance company's collective mind. :-)
He also wants PT to focus on my shoulder right now instead of diluting it with concern about my back, and has encouraged me to continue doing daily exercises for my back during my daily gym workouts. Those have helped me cut back some -- one day last week I was able to get out of bed without first swallowing pills for the first time in years. Waking up to no pain was very cool. YAY!!!
Yes, fishy_counter, I AM really hesitant, especially after researching the surgery â it's quite the drastic approach and apparently tends to fail after 7-10 years. The only remotely similar situation I found was a video of a senior ballet teacher who had the surgery on both shoulders and was able to return to teaching. It didn't specify whether she had regular shoulder replacement or reverse.
My doctor recommended trying physical therapy for six weeks before seeing him again. Initially he thought I probably had bursitis and he seemed rather stunned after he saw my MRI. He put me through his series of range of motion tests a second time and seemed baffled that I still have good range of motion. His diagnosis listed on the PT order lists:
Rupture of right rotator cuff Sprain/strain Supraspinatus Sprain/strain Infraspinatus/Acute Rupture of right proximal biceps tendon
My shoulder was frozen for some time after I first cracked the tip of the humerus while snow skiing around 30 years ago, but naproxen sodium relieved it. Until a few weeks ago, the only times I've been really troubled by it were when I once tried to take up water skiing some years ago and when it went crazy at the end my last kayaking trip in 1995 just as we approached the takeout. Until recently I haven't had medical insurance so I haven't looked into the problem since that skiing fall years ago. The only possible reason I can think of that it's not frozen is that I've taken nsaids daily since I strained my lower back while loading rafts on a bus in 1989. Crazy, huh?
However, during my recent attempts at dragon boat race training, my shoulder and upper arm were so painful that I could barely make it through one minute sprints. My friend on the team and the team coach want me to come back after being surprised by this newbie dragon boater showing up with a gorgeous NOC-style forward stroke. I ended up seeing the orthopedic surgeon because I was afraid the dragon boating would cause more damage.
Thanks for your response. I live in SW Washington, close to Portland OR. I've been seeing Dr. Pierce with Rebound Sports Medicine. He wants me to have physical therapy for 6 weeks, then come in for another visit. He is a 72 year old windsurfer, so he at least understands my desire even if he doesn't know our sport intimately. My son Craig Parks has had shoulder surgery by a doctor in Kentucky who is highly regarded by Ken and Juliet at ERA. I think I'll get his contact info from Craig when he returns from NC tonight and ask if he'll look at my MRI.
I used to teach whitewater canoeing and kayaking and now want to get back into the sport after 20 years away. My first attempt was working out with a dragon boat team, which quickly revealed very severe shoulder pain resulting . Now that I've had an MRI, my orthopedic surgeon suggested that my rotator cuff is in such bad condition from old skiing and paddling injuries that a "reverse delta shoulder replacement" may be the only solution.
Researching online, I've found that "contact sports" are not recommended after such surgery but I haven't found anything about canoeing. Since I'm not so young anymore, I don't care about getting back to super challenging whitewater, but I would like to at least be able to canoe class I and II, fairly easy whitewater. I'm looking at having a small composite canoe made, so it should be fairly light and easy to maneuver.
Do any of you have experience with paddling after such surgery? It's fairly major surgery that I don't want to undertake unless I feel confident that I'll be able to paddle afterwards. I have nearly full range of motion and little pain except when paddling, so other than to get back into paddling, there's no urgent reason to have the surgery.
I don't know the local schools except to say that my son's kayaking girlfriend is at PSU and likes it. Portland is nice because there's both great whitewater and snowboarding within an hour's drive. We're having a very dry, warm winter, so I don't know that there will be much to paddle this summer. There's a PDX Kayaker group on Facebook where people organize trips. There are lots of small towns within commuting distance of Portland.
When I lived in the San Francisco area in the early '90s, I paddled and taught canoeing some with the UCSF Outdoors program. I imagine things have changed some as kayaking has become more popular, but back then I was surprised out how California lacked a strong paddling community like that in the Southeast. My guess was because it had no strong central focal point like the Nanty/Ocoee area.
Unless it's drastically different now, I would definitely look for a local club with whom to paddle, at least until you make enough friends to put your own trips together.
I'm a leftie who paddled with a right hand control paddle for years. Though I'm not very ambidextrous in other situations, I had no problem at all learning to use a right hand control paddle â it took maybe 60 seconds to learn.
If you can make it down to the Nantahala, absolutely the best kayak instruction is from EndlessRiverAdventures.com (where my son teaches) or Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC.com) where I used to work. The calibre of instruction at either school is awesome.