Got Boof – World Kayak

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Hometown Throwdowns

The World Kayak Hometown Throwdown series is coming to our region and I (Jason Hilton) have been given the great distinction of hosting these four events. These events are designed to appeal to all boaters rather than the elite paddlers of our realm, and are designed to show off just how fun white water kayaking really is, and remind us all why we first entered this sport.

As such, while we will recognize winners for events, our prizes will be handed out randomly amongst all participants. That’s right, you can win the top prizes just for showing up to play, and you could get first place and simply take home bragging rights!

The best part is that most of these events are free, with a few of them requiring only small insurance fees to participate in event in a state park (cost $5.00 ACA insurance through TRPC)

Events include:
1) Stonycreek Rendezvous Playboating – Saturday 4/25
2) Slippery Rock Giant Slalom – Friday Evening 6/5
3) Turkey Bash Mass Start Downriver – Friday Evening 7/31
4) Ramcat Old School Slalom – Saturday 8/22 – Sunday 8/23

Sponsors include:

Jackson Kayak
Immersion Research
Shred Ready
Smith Optics
Mountain Khakis
NuuN: Active Hydration
Rapid Transit
Kayak Session
Salus Marine
Kayak Habit
Redwood Creek Wine
Stonyboater Paddlerwax

You can find out more about these events here

See ya out there with a full load of prizes

A Break from the Cold

This weekend’s warm temperatures have broken the cold spell and spilled a LARGE quantity of water into our region of the world. Sunday turned out to be a day of choices in the local creeks and ours was Daugherty.


The last time I was on this run it was pretty low and full of wood, which left me with a less than excited feeling about the creek. Looking back this is likely the reason for my not returning in the last three years. Sunday was a different story. John Rudland and I (Jason Hilton) met up with Art, Sam and John from the Chambersburg crew, as well as Nori and Adam from the Morgantown area to give the dog another chance. The flow was probably double the flow of my previous run, which allowed us to bag an additional action-packed mile above the traditional put-in. I really have to thank John Giorgini for this stretch as it was the steepest and most exciting part of the run.

John Rudland

The mile above the normal putin gave us a long wood free series of slides and boulders drops that had to be in the upper 200 or lower 300 fpm range. From here the added water really padded out the many bedrock slides that characterize this run. Having Sam Burke along for the ride meant that the pace for the run was somewhere between fast and hyper drive making for an excited flurry of rapid after rapid linked together.


The run turned into a continuous stream of slides and smaller ledges, nestled amongst the mountain laurel, that left all of us smiling when we paused in the few eddies around. While there was wood, it wasn’t nearly the problem it used to be, thanks largely to the work of some mystery creek cleaners from the area.

All in all it was a great day and a needed break from my current graduate school misery. Let us hope it forecasts the nature of the spring to come!

Glade Run

Sam Burke @ Glade Run

As many of you brave or crazy enough to face the cold weather know, the water has returned to our part of the country. For two weekends the boating in our region has presented a multitude of choices and we amongst the Got Boof Crew have taken advantage of the opportunity to bag some new water.

Time To Hike In

This last Saturday, seven paddlers set out for our first run down Glade Run, an obscure micro creek that drains into Dunbar Creek near Ohiopyle. We went in prepared for the type of run you usually get when you are off the beaten paddling path in our neck of the woods, meaning good shoes for portaging, plenty of time for portaging, lots of rest for portaging, and some buddies to talk to while portaging. We weren’t disappointed.

The run started off with its best action, some nice technical and challenging drops that had all of us smiling from ear to ear. The oddest point for me (Jason Hilton) must have been at one point dropping off a shelf and into a small cave before emerging to paddle downstream. Had it stayed this way, we would have some solid gold on our hands.

Matt Pascal

Jason Hilton

Jeff Macklin

Matt Pascal

Art Barket in the Steeps

But alas, as time went on the gradient eased off and the trees picked up. I stopped counting the portages after the tenth, and at one point remember remarking to my comrades that this seemed like the whitewater equivalent of a horribly planned 6 hour cyclo-cross race. I knew we were starting to border on insanity when the challenge of portaging actually began to be fun, like an obstacle course of sorts. In the end we finished the run before the sunset and were able to laugh about the time we had just had. Without the trees this run would be a diamond, with the trees it is just plain old coal.

Not to be without some superior paddling for the weekend, I met up with John Rudland and Mike Whaley for a couple laps on Paint Creek near Johnstown, on Sunday. This is one of my favorite runs so it was good to get back on an old favorite and slide the day away. Both runs were low but tons of fun, putting a good end to an exhausting weekend.


Mike Whaley Boof

John Rudland Boof

Jason Hilton @ Big Sluice

John Rudland @ Big Sluice

Mike Whaley @ Big Sluice

Stay warm and see ya out there…

Got Boof Cross Training

While some rivers are just beginning to pick up water again in our region, myself (Jason Hilton) and many members of the Got Boof Crew have had to turn to other sports in the last four months in order to get our adventure thrills. It turns out that a host of these sports are great cross training workouts for skills that later can be applied to kayaking, so here is a quick thought on two sports that I have engaged in and how I see them as relating to kayaking.

This idea stems from a recent adventure to a local bouldering gym in the Pittsburgh Area. Here you can see us working our way through a series of challenging (for us non-climbers) problems.

Bouldering provides an excellent upper body workout that plays itself out well in kayaking. The increased upper-body strength will lead to more forceful strokes and more power to lift in the portaging realm of kayaking. Those of you in the DC area utilize some climbing skills every time you hike back up the “flake” to take another run on the Great Falls. Additionally, when you are in need of rescue, it is the climber amongst you who is going to be ale to get into the precarious position that best suits your rescue needs.

Mountain biking is another common cross training in our region, especially as it seems to be best when the boating is at its worst. The cardio and leg workout helps to boost your endurance for both all day paddling and long drawn out hike with your boat, such as the one found in the Blackwater canyon. Additionally, the technical nature of some trails can require just as much courage to ride as many of the rapids in our region, complimenting the head game involved in kayaking.

Additionally, fellow crewmembers have involved themselves in road biking and running as cross training activities, providing an even better aerobic cardio workout. Perhaps it comes as no surprise then that members who partake in these particular activities are the paddlers amongst us who can sustain the highest rate of speed for the longest duration of time when paddling through that whitewater we have all been dreaming about.

So when the paddling becomes thin, be aware that there is a host of other activities that are quite enjoyable while still boosting your paddling prowess. But try not to stay away too long… the rivers will run again.

Got Boof Expansion

Hello World Kayak Massive,

As part of our ever expanding desire to connect and network with paddlers from across the world, we have expanded the Got Boof blog to become included in the World Kayak Bloggosphere. Big thanks to Colin for all of the assistance and the opportunity to spread our love for the steeps of PA, WV and MD. 

While we are surely lacking in water at the current point in time, stay tuned for future updates encompassing the best the local steeps of our region have to offer.


Until next time,

Jason Hilton

Dry around here

Well folks, it is pretty dry in these parts. We have been able to make it out to a few dam releases like Gauley Fest and the Upper Yough, but there hasn’t been much of import to report to you. I guess in one part of my mind I am somewhat thankful for the dryness, as I don’t feel as bad that I have given up a large portion of my free time to continue my graduate studies, and more than likely would not have been able to boat as much as I normally would have had the rain kept falling. Additionally, I like everyone else I know, suffers as a kayaker beholden to the price of gasoline. Thankfully the price is dropping steadily as we speak (it is funny how it does that just before every election), so perhaps this barrier t boating will shrink further as time goes on. Just to let you know that we still get a few chances to paddle, I decided to give you this shot taken in September at one of our favorite local runs, the Lower Big Sandy.

Rest In Peace Isaac Ludwig

You Will Be Missed

2nd Annual Got Boof & TRPC Intro To Creeking Clinic

Matt Gets It Done

Sunday July 27th saw the second iteration of the Got Boof and Three Rivers Paddling Club Creeking Clinic, held at Valley Falls State Park in West Virgina. This year’s class included over thirty students and safety boaters making it the largest one yet. The class began with an introduction between the students and the instructors/safety boaters, and an overview of design specifics relating to creek kayaks. This discussion progressed into a discussion of both general safety and some safety specifics relating to the creeking end of kayaking. Then it was off to the drops.

Classroom Instruction

Pretend Boating

Boof Demonstration

Jason Hilton Leads By Example

Each drop was broken down individually and at each drop a specific technique was assigned to work on for each drop. Then the drops were run by the instructors to physically demonstrate the technique a few times for the visual learners among the group, then it was time for the fun. Students each took turns firing up the drops, which for many were definitely were the largest drops they had seen (judging from the size of their eyes). After each run, they were able to discuss the run with an instructor and off the went for another lap.

Good Posture

Practicing a Tuck

Post Run Discussion

Good Boof Stroke

Technique Discussion

More Instruction

Rolling Boof Demonstration

Lookin Good!

Twist and Shout

While we definitely had some carnage on this years trip, the number of excellent lines far outweighed the bad and many students, after having a less than perfect line, took great pride in walking back up to run the drop again and fix errors in their technique. This confidence to rerun drops is best placed upon the tireless efforts of a number of the safety boaters who joined me to put on this event. Of specific mention are John Giorgini, Art Barket, Matt Bernstein, John Rudland and Tom Dubois, who made sure to watch after every boater and free me (Jason Hilton) up to focus on instruction.


Safety Required (You The Man John)

Rudland Has Boof

More photos from this years event can be found in the following locations.

Jeff Macklin Photographer

Art Barket Photographer

Karolina and Tom Dubois Photographers

Swiftwater Rescue Class

Charlie Walbridge Instructing

A number of us recently had a fantastic opportunity to learn/refresh our swiftwater rescue skills. Got Boof member Matt “Math” Pascal contributes the following:

To promote and assure the safety of those joining us in whitewater fun, several regular Got Boof adventurers spent last weekend with AW Safety Guru and old school C1 boater, Charlie Walbridge. Despite the rain bringing up many of our favorite creeks, we were all glad that we resisted the temptation to paddle in lieu of Charlie’s exercises. After all, these exercises were designed to simulate many of the typical binds we all hope to never encounter, but probably will (or have).

It started with a rainy Saturday in Charlie’s century-old barn off of Little Sandy Creek Road in the “classroom” phase by setting up mock pins and entrapments and then self-rescues and victim and boat extractions. Dodging the rain inside the old barn, Charlie contrasted the technical knowledge of knots and mechanical advantage with social rescue issues like team structure, dealing with emergency personnel, and liability. When the skies cleared, we stepped outside to practice using ropes and life jackets.

In a belaying exercise, Charlie challenged an unnamed member of the group who responded by leveling the big man with a fierce heave on the rope he was holding. With that in mind, we practiced rescue the techniques we’d just learned about and then discussed how they can go wrong and what to do to minimize these dangers. Charlie demonstrated the danger of using the mechanical advantage of a Z-drag system, by applying the force to a small piece of cord. When it broke, the snap it made sounded like a revolver as the system sent ropes and caribiners flying in both directions. Charlie was a safe distance from the flying debris because he’d added a change in direction to the system.

Strangely exhausted despite little activity, our group traveled back to our weekend home at Teter’s campground on Saturday evening, split into groups, and spread out to most of the edible options available to us in Kingwood. A group of three secretly skipped dessert to run nearby Muddy Creek (Sneaky, guys) while the rest of us drank exactly $62.50 worth of lousy beer around a classic campfire.

Single Wading

Sunday was a long day on the river though most of us didn’t paddle more than a few yards. We rendezvoused at Rockville on Big Sandy Creek at 8:30 am and within an hour Charlie had us wading across the waist-deep rapids just below the bridge. For hours we found out that each and every one of the activities Charlie had in store for us was simple to understand and unpredictably difficult to initiate. Lessons abounded that day.

Macklin and Coop Pair Wading

Now that the weekend clinic is over and I’ve processed, I’m overcome with a general desire to never use the techniques I learned on the Sandy. I discovered that I wish to never have to wade out into whitewater to get to a victim, though I now know how to do it effectively. If I have to use the Hand of God rescue, I hope that it’s in flat water. With luck, my rescue vest will never find itself supporting me as I’m lowered in strong current to assist a friend in trouble. But, I’m now comfortable enough to do it, unless setting up a zipline or line-assisted wade seems more prudent. God forbid I ever find myself swimming toward a strainer because the seemingly easy technique of aggressively swimming up onto it is tremendously difficult. And, if I either experience or stumble upon a foot entrapment, then the severity of the situation and the critical role of timing will be on my mind as I decide how to resolve the situation.

Jason rescue swimming/surfing

Math Pascal on a rescue vest lower

By the end of the day Sunday, our minds were overloaded as we stumbled around on the rocky shore in exhaustion. A few participants found the energy to paddle off into the bright evening sun for the last run of the Sandy until the next rain. The rest of us slowly packed up for the ride home and thanked our instructor for the valuable lessons.

Old School Huckin’

Recently a local boater sent me this nice piece of Ohiopyle Falls history.

From Ted Proctor:
Billy Z and I were (are) long time river guides at LHRT so we were used to coming up with goofy ways of amusing ourselves.

You might remember (and you can see from the photo) that the Ohiopyle locals used to have “yes” and “no” painted on the rock shelf in between the viewing platform and the falls. This was so that kids knew where to jump off. One day Billy saw a local kid riding his bike around the park and got the idea ride a bike off the falls. He ended up doing this twice. I think Scott Patton may even have it on videotape.

Anyway, it’s such a goofy picture that one person who saw it thought we had photoshopped it. I can guarantee it’s the real deal.
You gotta love the shorts and Ace helmet – a nice 80s touch (the picture is from the early 80s).