wildwildwes

How to Vertical Seal Launch

wildwildwes wrote 231 days ago:


Do you have this skill in your tool bag?

Often on creek style runs we find the most efficient and safest way to launch into the river is off a vertical ledge into a deep pool.  This act can seem really scary at first if you have never tried it, so make sure you find a safe place to practice it.  The Sinks on the Little River in the Smokies is great place to learn this skill.  The cliff is a solid 12 feet drop to a nice deep and calm pool.

Photo by: Ryan Horn

I had a couple of first timers with me on recent trip on the Little River, so we took some time to practice this skill after a lap on the Meanies and the Sinks.  It was a reminder to me from the tourist watching us in amazement, who thought we were crazy, that this is an important skill to have if you want to be a well-rounded creeker.

Knowing how to perform this maneuver will help eliminate the spookiness of dropping off a cliff in your kayak and ultimately be a safer way to enter than river than trying to scurry down a step river bank while trying to handle your kayak.  Here’s my step by step suggestions on how to do a vertical launch with success:

  1. Checking your landing zone.
    • Look for obstructions and flow conditions of the surrounding area.  Is the flow going into an undercut wall?  Is there a rapid right below the drop you need to be prepared to run?  Make sure it deep enough for a plug based on the height of the drop (good rule of thumb is pool needs to be half as deep as the height of the drop).
  2. Find a safe staging area.
    • Make sure you launch place has a stable place to get in you kayak without worry of sliding off the cliff without having your backband set and your spray skirt on.
  3. Set your launch point.
    • Wiggle down to the edge of the cliff with your bow overhanging the drop and find the balancing point of the edge of the drop in your boat (This is typically about the point where your thighs are crossing the precipice).
  4. Prepare Propulsion.
    • Hold your paddle in one hand vertically on one side of your boat chocked against a rock on the lip of the drop.  Use your other hand to find a good grip at the edge of the cliff to help push off of at launch.
  5. Bomb Away!
    •  Give a quick push off the lip with your bare hand and paddle on each side of you simultaneously while letting your bow start to drop.
  6. Control Flight.
    • This is the hardest part of controlling fear while in freefall.  Concentrate on trying to lift your legs to your chest by crunching your chest forward in the cockpit.  This will angle the boat to land at more of a 75 degree angle to the water and activate your creek boat’s rocker to land upright.
    • Don’t lean back on your stern at this moment or you will fall over on your head, because this action drops your bow even more.
  7. Style the Landing.
    • Gain control of your paddle in low neutral paddle position below your chest at landing to help with bracing if you need it at landing.  Make sure to keep the paddle low below your shoulder line, so it doesn’t happen to hit you in the face when you first impact the water.  Your PFD will take the hit and you want even notice it when you keep it low.

Find you a safe place to give this skill a go or two.  Some future day on a new creek run you’ll be happy you have this maneuver in your tool kit. ;-)



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What Jackson Kayak would you like to paddle in 2018?

wildwildwes wrote 259 days ago:


The Jackson Action Wagon’s is starting its 12th year of spreading kayaking fun by providing FREE JK demos on the traveling showcase trailer. :-) I am now taking suggestions for what JK whitewater, fishing/hunting , recreation/touring or kids kayaks you would like to see stocked in the 2018 J.A.W. Fleet.  Take a look at all the current products we are offering this year with the link below and let me know your thoughts by 2/23/2018:

http://jacksonkayak.com/jk-kayaks/

 

 

 

I’m already planning stocking all sizes of the Antix (S,M&L), Nirvana (M&L), and Mixmaster (7.0&7.5).  This leaves me with about 3-5 more spots for boats on the JAW, so let me hear your suggestions to help stock the fleet!  I plan to pick-up the new fleet at the factory toward the end of March, so stay tuned for new JK demos coming to the Tri-Cities soon!
~
Click on this link to send me a comment for JK suggestions on the J.A.W. Facebook pole: https://www.facebook.com/JacksonActionWagon/posts/1562466453832413
~
You can also contact me direct at http://worldkayakblogs.com/wildwildwes/contact-me/.  Thanks for any input you give!



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JAW Demo at the Paddle In Pink Confidence Series: Dirty Bird

wildwildwes wrote 554 days ago:


When: June 24, 2017 @ 10:30 A.M.

Where: NOC Outpost on the Pigeon River

Who: Presented by Paddle in Pink for the ladies!

 

Ladies get out your playboats and your slicey boats, Paddle in Pink is putting on its 3rd annual Dirty Bird Confidence Series.  Come on out and join Crystal Gustin, Nikki Winkler Malatin and Katie Dean for this fun day on the Pigeon River Gorge!!  They will be guiding you down the river and showing you how to play your way down the river.

Last year was a big success with over 20 women learning how to get vertical and throw about in a playboat. This year the format will be very similar to last year; we will divide into two groups: short  playboats and slicey get vertical boats. If we have the interest, we will send a group directly down to the hole at NOC and work on park-n-play moves. Team members from Dagger, Pyranha and Jackson will lead the groups down the pigeon and instruct rock splats, eddie line squirts, surfing, loops and any request you want to throw at them.

The groups will progress to the NOC play hole where music and SweetWater beer will be enjoyed. A friendly competition will be in store to show off any move you would like to showcase. Pretty or otherwise.

The day will conclude with a raffle of prizes by various sponsors. This year the top prize will be an Orion cooler loaded with SweetWater Brewing Beer that is in Paddle in Pink colors, hot pink and black! All proceeds will go to a local animal shelter in memory of Jennifer Watson (our inspiration behind Paddle In Pink).

Please invite your friends!

Facebook event website for all the latest 411: https://www.facebook.com/events/772239839602140/

Don’t have a playboat or a slicey boat?  The Jackson Action Wagon is looking forward to supporting the event with FREE Jackson Kayak demos on-site!

Sponsors: Jackson Kayak, Orion Coolers, SweetWater Brewing Company and Kokatat



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What Jackson Kayak would you like to paddle in 2017?

wildwildwes wrote 609 days ago:


The Jackson Action Wagon’s is in its 11th year of spreading kayaking fun by providing FREE JK demos on the traveling showcase trailer. :-)

I am now taking suggestions for what JK whitewater, fishing/hunting , recreation/touring, kids kayaks or SUP’s you would like to see stocked in the 2017 J.A.W. Fleet.  Take a look at all the current products we are offering this year with the link below and let me know your thoughts by 3/1/2017:

http://jacksonkayak.com/jk-kayaks/

I already have a Antix M, Antix L, Karma Md and Karma Unlimited (UL) in stock.  This leaves me with about 6-8 more spots for boats on the JAW, so let me hear your suggestions to help stock the fleet!  I plan to pick-up the new fleet at the factory toward the end of March, so stay tuned for new JK demos coming to the Tri-Cities soon!

Click on this link http://worldkayakblogs.com/wildwildwes/contact-me/ to send me JK suggestions.  Thanks for any input you give!



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JAW Demo at the Dirty Bird Confidence Series

wildwildwes wrote 848 days ago:


When: July 9, 2016 @ 11:00 A.M.

Where: NOC Outpost on the Pigeon River

Who: Presented by Paddle in Pink for the ladies!

 

Ladies get out your playboats and your slicey boats, Paddle in Pink is putting on its 2nd annual Dirty Bird Confidence Series.  Come on out and join Crystal Gustin, Nikki Winkler Malatin and Katie Dean for this fun day on the Pigeon River Gorge!!  They will be guiding you down the river and showing you how to play your way down the river.

Don’t have a playboat or a slicey boat?  The Jackson Action Wagon is looking forward to supporting the ladies with free Jackson Kayak demos on-site!

At the end, we will have a fun “competition” at the NOC hole with music and free beer (given by SweetWater Brewing).  There will be give aways for anyone that enters the fun competition and at the end a Jackson Kayak ROCKSTAR will be given away!!

Sponsors: Jackson Kayak, Pyranha, Dagger, SweetWater Brewing Company



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NoliFest 2016

wildwildwes wrote 907 days ago:


The 2nd annual NoliFest was organized and hosted by USA RAFT this year on April 1-3.  The festival was billed “For all who paddle” and the event was true to its roots.  There was something for every paddler to enjoy.  Plus we were blessed with rain the day before the festival started and it bumped up the river level to a near perfect 1,600-1,700 CFS flow.  The festival activities included: whitewater rafting, kayaking, canoeing, Bellyak, Stand Up Paddleboarding, river races, SUP yoga, bonfire, live music, great food, vendor fair with sales/demos, used gear sale & swap.  This festival truly brought the local paddling community together in every way!

All these activities were staged from the USA Raft Outpost on the river bank of the mighty Nolichucky River.  Paddling trips on both the Lower Nolichucky River (Class I-II) and Nolichucky Gorge (Class III-IV) were of course the main highlight of the festival.  USA Raft provided shuttles on Saturday as part of the festival and probable carried out one of the largest shuttles to the Gorge put-in ever in history using multiple buses and SUV/vans with trailers to haul paddlers and boats up to Poplar, NC.

There were a huge number of vendors on-site this year for folks to check out: Hala, Bellyak, Pyranha, Southern Raft Supply, Shaboomee, Star Inflatables, Rocky Mountain Rafts, Boardworks, LiquidLogic, Uncle Johnny’s, Overmountain Outdoors, Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts, Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, French Broad Outfitters, Eryn Chair Massage and Thrifty Adventures

The Jackson Action Wagon was on site during the day on Saturday with free Jackson Kayak demos, giving away JK swag and showcase foe folks to check out some of the latest whitewater models in the JK line-up.

Our local Johnson City Chapter of Team River Runneralso participated in the festival by taking serval of their veterans on rafting trips in the Gorge.

There were a couple of Special Features during the festival that were big booming fun:

WORLDKAYAK Hometown Throwdown Downriver Boatercross

Check out complete results, photos and report of the event at http://worldkayakblogs.com/throwdown/2016/04/08/2016-nolichucky-hometown-throwdown-1/  

APE’s Downriver Freestyle Jam Session with Pat Keller

We had 17 participants join us in this paddling session with Pat on the Noli Gorge.  Needless to say, but we all learned many great freestyle tips & tricks and had a blast shredding with Pat all afternoon long!

Check out this video edit by Clay Landrum of the freestyle fun we had with Pat.

YouTube Preview Image



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APEs Whitewater Long Boat Racing Clinic with Chris Hipgrave = Incredible Success!

wildwildwes wrote 935 days ago:


Photo by: USA Raft

What happens when Team Nantahala Outdoor Center, Team Dagger and Team Jackson Kayak combine forces to instruct a clinic together?  110% pure golden good times and this is exactly what happened on February 20, 2016 in the Nolichucky Gorge, NC/TN!

Chris Hipgrave initially envisioned this long boat racing clinic with me late in 2015 for the two of us to host this clinic for my local Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts club.  Chris and I began organizing and promoting the clinic and the community really responded with overwhelming support!  Chris Gragtmans from Team Dagger heard the news about the clinic and he rallied his team of Adrienne Levknecht, Mark “Snowy” Robertson, Wade Harrison and Hunter Cooper to help with instruction during the clinic.  Soon after news of the clinic reached Emily Jackson and she rallied Eric “EJ” Jackson, Dane Jackson and Nick Troutman to support me with Team JK.  Now that we had a Plethora of Pros to help instruct at the clinic Hipgrave and I decided we wanted a better representation from Team NOC also, so he brought along Tosh Arwood from the NOC paddling School for more instruction support! 

Photo by: USA Raft

The level of paddling talent was off the chart that had come together to make this clinic happen and our 19 clinic participates had an amazing day on the water learning all sorts of long boat racing tips and tricks.  The day was made even better with superb shuttle support from USA Raft to expedite us all getting to the put-in together with 30 long boats!  

Check out this compilation of footage clips including instructional segments of the clinic that Shaun Mullins captured with his GoPro while on the river trip.

YouTube Preview Image

Photo by: Sarah Ruhlen

After the clinic Chris Hipgrave followed up with this great post on his blog with some of the tips that were covered in the clinic at http://chrishipgrave.com/2016/03/06/top-5-ways-to-improve-your-longboating/

Chris and I decided that since the clinic was so well received by all in attendance that we want to make this an annual event and coin it as “Long Boat Camp”!  Stay tuned for details for the 2017 Long Boat Racing Clinic in late winter/early spring if you want to join us next year…



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What Jackson Kayak would you like to paddle in 2016?

wildwildwes wrote 987 days ago:


It is the Jackson Action Wagon’s 10 year anniversary in 2016!  The JAW is happy to celebrate a decade of providing FREE JK demos on our traveling showcase trailer. :-)

I am now taking suggestions for what JK whitewater, fishing/hunting , recreation/touring, kids kayaks or SUP’s you would like to see stocked in the 2016 J.A.W. Fleet.  Take a look at all the current products we are offering this year with the link below and let me know your thoughts by 2/19/2016:

http://jacksonkayak.com/jk-kayaks/

I already have a Karma Md and Karma Unlimited (UL) in stock.  This leaves me with about 7-8 more spots for boats on the JAW, so let me hear your suggestions to help stock the fleet!  I plan to pick-up the new fleet at the factory toward the end of March, so stay tuned for new JK demos coming to the Tri-Cities soon!

Click on this link http://worldkayakblogs.com/wildwildwes/contact-me/ to send me JK suggestions.  Thanks for any input you give!



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How to Pack a Throwbag

wildwildwes wrote 1231 days ago:


Here’s some tips I shared with Canoe & Kayak Magazine on packing your throwbag:

http://www.canoekayak.com/skills/how-to-pack-a-throwbag/

If you don’t know how to use a throwbag sign up for the Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts Basic SWR course that Scott Fisher, Tommy Clapp and I will be instruction at the end of this month.

Event website: http://regions.worldkayak.com/…/ape-basic-swift-water-resc…/



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APE’s & TEHCC Beginner Whitewater Kayak Course

wildwildwes wrote 1286 days ago:


APE's LogoCALLING ALL KAYAKERS: Help us share this by telling all your non-paddling friends and family who would want to learn to kayak. This is the best introduction to the sport the APEs offer! :-)

APEs will be holding its Spring Beginner Whitewater Clinic on May 30-31. This clinic is a great introduction for those thinking about getting into the sport or for beginners and novices looking to improve their fundamentals, strokes and river running technique. Cost is $75, or $65 for current APEs members. For more information and to register go to http://regions.worldkayak.com/tri-cities/2015/04/14/beginner-kayak-clinic/.

The Jackson Action Wagon – JAW is a proud sponsor of this Appalachian Paddling Enthusiasts Beginner Whitewater Kayak Course.  Contact the me if you need the hook up for a kayak and/or gear to take this course.



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