Depends on what experiences are discussed. I have been rowing for 20 years and I am at the top of my game. I know folks who do things that simply are beyond my skills. I figure I am in the 95% bracket. That last few points allows you to do the almost impossible. But getting there from here cannot be put in terms of hours on the oars. Sometimes dents in the boat and bug eyes are the only way to learn. Expensive lessons if you miscalculate. Which is why I am content not making those last few %age points.
Not trying to brag here. But like many things in life, it is hard to define when you arrive.
Interesting question. As UG said...with approximately that amount of experience, most people would be reasonably accomplished. I have always been a fairly aggressive boater, and have gotten in over my head more than once. I went through a learning curve...then reached a kind of "felt like an expert" zone where I felt invincible. Later a couple of experiences showed me that no matter how good or experienced you are, there is some water that can eat you.
Lat week a friend of mine died in a plane crash. He had thirty thousand hours. He was meticulous and careful. How much more experienced can you get? I love drift boating. I love big water...but I look at it all with a more conservative eye than I used to.
I would think one who has spent several hours on rivers and knows and understands their ablities with out getting to big of ego, also one who does not jeprodise thier own saftey or their passangers saftey. If you don't feel comfotable doing a particular strech or rapid then don't do it. Thier is no shame in not doing it but great shame and embarassment (at the very least)if you try somthing to difficult and have a mishap. Don't over judge your abilities or underestimate a rivers' power, stay safe.
It depends on what you want to experience. Whitehorse on the D is classic big somewhat technical water. One mistake and it would be bug eye time. The coast rivers offer a different challenge. They are tight and very technical, but not , for the most part, gonna fold your boat in half.
What are you trying to run? The worst piece of water that I run on a regular basis( for me getting to the bottom clean) is Russo on the JD. It is a short tight class 3. There are about 5 rocks on the middle that you need to swizzle around. Not "Big Time" water by most folks' definition. But for my runnings, a thorn in my side. But when we run it we are loaded up with probably 1000 pounds of gear, camp, food, dogs, and people. If you have ever run a heavy unresponsive boat, you understand the problem. A light boat is easy( and truth be told even Whitehorse is mostly my being overloaded that is the challenge. While I respect the water, I have the skills to make it to the bottom as long as I do my part. )to push thru. My boat is a flat bottomed plugging machine that backtrolls great but is very slow to respond when loaded down.
You do not have to run big or steep water to be experienced. As GranstP said, you can make it thru a thousand times only to get bit on 1001. But just because you don't run the Pipeline( or whatever big rapids) does not mean you are not capable of safely rowing thru your waters.
The closest I ever came to sinking a boat? The mighty Kilchis below the logger bridge.
Gotta respect all that has been said here, gotta be able to make assertive decisions on a seconds notice sometimes. I personally have been in a boat that folded........and sank. It wasnt the oarsmans fault we just wedged an oar that spun us into a brush pile. That can happen to anyone at anytime. I respect even the littlest and seemingly harmless water as much as pucker factor water. Be careful and not careless and you will be safe 99.9% of the time.
No one can be an expert on every stream. While I may be great on one stream, a lack of experience on another would make me a novice. Your ability has to be matched to the knowledge of the water you are drifting.
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