Article from Paddling Life Magazine
edited by Whitewater Times
Mongo’s Tips on Getting Started
“I’ve seen a thousand different approaches to getting beginners down a river, be it Colorado River Rafting or anywhere. Some fail to train their crews properly and then blame the guests when things go wrong. Others feel every guest is looking for a near-death experience. Then you have the screamers, who yell at their guests to motivate them—they live by the creed, ‘The beatings will continue until the paddling improves!’
“Be calm and train your crew until you’re comfortable with them. Crews will generally reflect your own mental state. Panic equals panic. When I’m hiring new guides I’ll generally look for the ones who are having the most fun. If a guide is having a good time, so are the guests.
“Getting paid to make sure people have a good time on the river is one of the best jobs ever. Some of my best crews have been first-timers who haven’t developed any bad habits yet. I love watching someone’s initial fear turn into excitement.
“Select a trip according to your fitness level rather than your prior experience: It’s frustrating to get a men’s lacrosse team signing up for a scenic float trip because they don’t have any experience when they’d have much more fun on something more aggressive.
“One thing I’ve learned is that while a little bit of fear is a good motivator, a horrified guest is “baggage” and will quit paddling at the most inopportune times. Whenever I see the screamers in action I can’t help but think “and these people paid for this? So for any trip you plan whether it's a Colorado River Rafting trip or anywhere in the world follow some good advice here...