Yakdaddy’s River Ramblings

My journal of river runs and repository for the various water related thoughts of my oft distracted mind…whitewater from my perspective.

Get your Christmas lists ready!!! The Dynamic Duo is coming…

Posted by yakdaddy on September 1st, 2008

Just saw this on the Jackson Website – this may be my next boat!

The new Dynamic Duo

Read all about it at:  http://www.jacksonkayak.com/kayaks/product.cfm?product=dynamicduo


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Pride goeth before the swim…

Posted by yakdaddy on May 23rd, 2008

Nolichuky – April 6, 2008 – 1900 cfs

It was a beautiful Sunday in early April and I’d finally arranged to demo Wesley’s new Jackson SuperHero. The sun was shining, temps were in the low 70′s, and the Noli was running 1800-2000 cfs of yoohoo colored fun – the most water I’d seen in the Nolichucky in over a year! I commented on the nice flow and Shane mentioned how nice it was. He said he’d even had some excitement at Jaws… “watch out for that pocket on surfer’s left, it gets really sticky at these levels…”

Later, as I was adjusting the seat position and hip pads in the demo boat, Dan Thomas strolls up and asks:

“You gonna put your float bags in that boat?”

“Dan,” I replied as I shrugged off his question, “it’s only the Nolichucky…”

An hour later, we’d had nice runs of Entrance and On the Rocks and were sitting in line at Jaws. In due time, I paddled over the boil and enjoyed 2 or 3 quick surf-flip-flush-roll combos (my signature playboating combo). My third time eventually found me locked into a stubborn side surf that typewritered me over to that river-right pocket Shane had mentioned. Sure enough, it was really sticky at these levels and absolutely refused to let me go. I tried to force the bow down into the oncoming water to blast out but ended up just powerflipping. Plan B was to hang out upside down for a bit so that I’d flush out but, much to my dissappointment, I rolled up right where I’d started and the rodeo continued. I surfed some more and paddled hard for river left but flipped again – rolled up in the hole, AGAIN. At this point, I’m getting winded and a bit worried about hurting my shoulder if this goes on much longer. I looked over said shoulder at the eddy crowd hoping somebody would offer some advice or maybe even a rope. The carnage vultures just sat there grinning because they knew what was coming, and the fist pumpers kept on cheering cause… I don’t know what they were thinking… maybe they thought I still had a chance? Eventually, I flipped for the last time and held my breath for a few seconds and actually flushed out without realizing it – whiffed a couple of half hearted roll attempts and punched out in the outflow… only to be greeted at the shore by Mr. Thomas grinning from ear to ear and commenting – “that boat seems to be floating kinda low… ”

Posted in 2008 Trip Reports | 1 Comment »

Good times at the pool…

Posted by yakdaddy on April 17th, 2008

Took Josh and Abby to the pool session in Johnson City Tuesday and a good time was had by all.  Josh had been many times in the past, but this was Abby’s first time.  Since my 7-year old daughter seems to be my best bet at raising a boater, I was really hoping the evening would go well.

 As she wedged into her brother’s green Fun1, I was a bit concerned that she might have some difficulty wet-exiting but my fears were unfounded.  I launched her into the pool and before I even got in the water, she’d paddled across the shallow end, chased her brother (who was swimming), flipped over and wet exited without even getting the top of her head wet.  Best of all – she was grinning and trying to get back in before we’d even gotten the boat to the side.

Josh tried out Wesley’s demo Sidekick and really liked it.  He was moving much faster, sitting more comfortably, and appeared to be less ‘tippy’ than in the Fun1.  I guess he and Abby have both outgrown the good ole Fun1.  Josh asked if we could get the Sidekick and I told him we’d have to see about selling the Fun1 first.  Luckily, he didn’t bring up the fact that I’ve got more than one boat!

Later, Abby tried the Fun 1 1/2 and really liked it.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that the boat was pink!  The boat was a bit big on her, but it wouldn’t take her long to grow into it.  She scooted all around the pool and I never once saw her look like she might flip (can’t say the same of her time in the Fun1).

 Looks like our good ole fun1 may soon be replaced with a sidekick!

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Wind Surfing the Nolichucky – Feb 2008

Posted by yakdaddy on February 17th, 2008

Feb. 10, 2008 -
Nolichucky Wind Surfing

Met up with Dan, Hugh, and Lou at Rushing Waters Outfitters to get in a Sunday afternoon Noli Gorge run.  With the river running about 900 cfs and the sun playing hide and seek on the overcast low 40′s day, we threw the boats in/on Hugh’s truck and headed up to Poplar with Hannah along to shuttle the truck back down.  We unloaded Lou’s IK (Lynx), Dan and Hugh’s Rockers, and my 4Fun and headed down to the riverbank. 

The time was 1:40 pm as we slid into the water and worked our way down to Entrance/Last Chance.  About halfway down the rapid (right where things start to get exciting) we get our first taste of the crazy wind that was to become our semi-constant companion throughout the afternoon.  As I crested the wave to cut left toward the bottom of the rapid, the wind blew more than a mouthful of water right into my face.  Everyone was paddling great and good lines or rolls were had by all at On the Rocks.  I caught about 5 seconds worth of surfing at Jaws and was just happy to flush off right side up. 

Things got interesting at Quarter Mile when Lou swam at second drop.  He made a good effort, but missed the RL eddy and ended up flushing/swimming right into Hungry Jack rock.  It looked really painful but he insisted it wasn’t too bad.  I was right behind him trying to make sure he was OK and ended up nearly dropping in on him.  He climbed up onto a midstream rock.  Dan roped him into the next RL eddy and I wrangled his IK into the next eddy, but his paddle was nowhere to be seen.  We probably spent about 30 minutes looking up and down that huge rapid trying to find Lou’s paddle with zero luck.  Eventually Dan broke out his breakdown while I headed downstream to see if the missing paddle was floating off toward Erwin without us.  This was my first experience finishing out a class III/IV rapid solo.  Once I got past Murphy’s ledge even the flatwater seemed different without any paddling partners along – I don’t know if I’d want to try that style of boating anytime soon.  Then again, it was incredibly serene.  I stopped upstream of Rooster Tail to wait for the guys and then we dropped in to the last wind-free rapid of the day. 

From there on out we experienced roughly 20+ mph headwinds intermittently all the way down to just before Lost Cove / Railroad Wall.  As we came into the last bend before Lost Cove, the wind easily doubled – to the point that it felt like it might blow us back under the ledge if we got a good boof.  Ridiculous.  In the pool between Lost Cove and Sousehole, Dan mentioned something about how hardcore our bunch was to head to the river with the wind advisories in effect as they were.  (I made a mental note to always check for wind advisories before heading to the
Nolichucky again.)

After a great little creek line to the right of Maggie’s rock we began fighting a newly revitalized air opponent.  It was a bit of a struggle down to Twin Eddies but dropping into the crease at the bottom and getting flipped in the hole made it all worth while – good times! 

The crazy wind continued to push us to the river right bank and/or upstream all the way down to the Chestoa takeout.  Finally, as we came around the final bend and laid eyes on the Rushing Waters takeout.  I found myself chuckling because the wind had finally stopped and the sun had come out.  We were looking at a beautiful last ¼ mile to finish out a tiring afternoon.  As I prepared to voice my thoughts, our group was buffeted by what must have been a near-60 mph gust blasting across the river from right to left!  The wind was so strong that Hugh was completely blown over and had to roll up.  I heard this second hand because I was busy bracing off the river bottom and trying to hip snap my planing hull down out of the wind and back onto the water. 

We all hurriedly paddled down to the take out and loaded up our boats to head for home.  I cranked up my pickup so that it would be warm as I started for home.  As I looked for my dry clothes, I realized I’d left them in the garage when I was loading everything up – bummer.  Fortunately, I’d stayed dry and didn’t mind heading home in my boating layers.  As I hopped out of the truck to shake hands with the guys before taking off, another gust of wind blew my truck door closed.  My spirits sank as I looked at the locked and running truck but I put on a happy face and confessed my dilemma to the guys.  I borrowed Dan’s cellphone to call Tonya and have her o call AAA for me (my card was locked in the truck with my keys and everything else). 

The guys made sure I had help on the way and then headed out to the various states they called home.  I made my way over to Uncle Johnny’s AT hostel to ask if would be alright to wait for the locksmith there (in a heated space).  The young lady who invited me in to watch the hockey game with her and CB was named
Elizabeth and, as it turned out, was a bit of an expert on the topic of Lost Cove, NC.  They politely asked how the river trip was and as I recounted how hard the wind was blowing at Lost Cove, I paused and asked them if they’d ever been there.  Turns out, they’d not only been there, but
Elizabeth had put up a website recounting their trip there.  Check it out at: http://www.freewebs.com/lostcove/

After a nice discussion of the Lost Cove settlement/community, the locksmith arrived and opened up my little blue paid-for
Toyota pickup.  After a very sincere ”Thank You”, I hopped in a nice warm truck which had been warming up for about 45 minutes at that point.  All in all – a great and really unique day on the good ole Noli.


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January 2008 – the month of the SKUNK!

Posted by yakdaddy on January 24th, 2008

It’s a hard fact to face, but it looks like my training plan for the rapidly approaching fun of TVF 2008 is to paddle ZERO days during the month leading up to it!  I guess I’ll just keep posting old TR’s from last year to pass these last few dry days…

It can be tough be responsible but sometimes even a Sexy Kayaking Beast (I didn’t name the team, but I’ve come to enjoy being one – even if in name only) has to make those choices.

 If you haven’t signed up for TVF yet, it’s not too late – get together one to five of your regular paddling pals and sign up at www.steepcreeks.com/tvf.

If you’d rather watch the action from the safety of your computer screen, the keep an eye out for the TVF forum on Boatertalk as the trash talk and trip reports should be cranking up in about two to three more weeks.

Go Team SKB!


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Flashback – April & May 2007

Posted by yakdaddy on January 24th, 2008

April – shoulder rehab.  Not much to say here except that I really enjoyed talking paddling with my Phys. therapist Todd who had been a boater back on the Potomac in the good ole days of 13′ boats.  If you hurt your shoulder, do the rehab and take it easy as you get back into it.

 May 7th – New boats!

 I’d been saving up and paying off debt for more than a year and we had finally succeeded in paying of our household’s consumer debt.  To celebrate, I paid cash for 2 new boats and for a nice Canon SLR camera for Tonya.  I was so eager to get back out on the water that I could barely stand it.  Tonya somehow managed to disguise her excitement over the new whitewater sit-on-top I’d ordered for her, but I could tell that deep down inside she was almost thrilled.

New boats!

May 7 – New boats and clearance from the Doc to get back on the water!

May 12, 2007 – Lower Nolichucky – 900 cfs

Paddlers: Natalie Pickett, Wesley Bradley, Joshua Dalton, Matt Davis, Randy and JoAnne Pasqua, & Katie Prince

A great return to paddling after 6 weeks off with a busted shoulder!

Met the Pickett’s and Katie at Chestoa with the family and grilled a few hot dogs for dinner. After eating and everyone else showing up, we began gearing up around 7:00pm – putting on probably 20 minutes later.  Tried my offside roll – no problem.  Tried my on-side (extending my right arm – bad shoulder) and blew two attempts before switching over to my off side and rolling up.  The group began picking our way down with everybody hopping onto just about any wave that would hold a boat.and I’m sure my eyes were the size of saucers as I eased that planing hulled 2007 4Fun onto a wave for the first time.  I could not believe how easy it was to surf!  All I’d paddled up to that point were displacement hulled creekboats and/or inflatable kayaks – what a difference!


At the rock just below the Uncle Johnny’s Bridge you could surf the wave on RL or surf in the hole just the RR of the rock.  I tried both, starting with the wave.  Caught it on my first try and was pearling the bow a bit but staying on and feeling pretty stable.  Before I got off, I managed to spin around 180 degrees and back surf  (in a somewhat controlled fashion) much to the amusement of the rest of the group.  Tried the hole on RR next surfed OK in there but found it to be grabby enough that I thought I might windowshade unexpectedly which might not be good for the shoulder – so I backsurfed that one too and then moved on out. Smooth run of Radio tower but I couldn’t catch the wave at the bottom – kept flushing off.Surfed a few more spots on the way down and took out between the Jackson Love bridge and the interstate bridge just as it was getting dark.  We could see as we took out but needed headlights and such to load up.Tonya and the kids tossed rocks at the put in for a while and the kids swam around for a while longer – then they drove down to meet us at the takeout.  All in all a nice family evening.

May 20, 2007 – Swift Water Rescue Course

Helped Mike Morrow and Scott Fisher with the ‘at/on-the-water’ training portion of their SWR class.  The participants were top notch and I was tired enough by the end of the day that I opted out of trying out my new 4Fun in the hole at Big Rock.

Posted in 2007 Trip Reports | 2 Comments »

New Gear – will it ever see the water?

Posted by yakdaddy on January 16th, 2008

After losing my paddle during a river rescue on the Little, I began a search for a replacement.  Let me encourage you NOT to head back to the river until you’ve checked to see if your name has worn off or your phone number has changed from what’s on the paddle and corrected any potentially costly conditions.  Losing my trusty old paddle was painful for me because (1) I am cheap, (2) my paddle was fine, and (3) it had been a great deal when I acquired it – which to me, added a certain sense of satisfaction every time I used it.  Additionally, (4) I paid nearly as much for the pogies that floated away with it as I had for the paddle itself – bummer!  On the up-side though, I am thankful for the rescue situation turning out well and for the Lendal breakdown I had stashed in the stern.

So my search began and eventually turned up a great deal on Boatertalk’s GearSwap.  Somebody was liquidating (no pun intended) their gear IF the buyer was willing to purchase said gear, sight unseen, that day.  I had planned on spending my Christmas money on a new rescue pfd and maybe some drypants but the loss of the paddle had blown that plan right out of the water.  This opporunity, however, allowed me to get a rescue vest and paddle for less than I had been willing to fork over for the pfd alone!

Once the gear arrived, I was a bit surprised at the obvious ‘experience’ of the paddle but very pleased with the state of the pfd.  All in all, it looks like a win-win where the seller got the cash he needed when he needed it and I got the stick and vest I needed before needing either for a day on the water.  I pulled them out during a sunny moment this weekend to shoot this shot of the gear that I hope will actually see water again some day soon.

new gear 

On the left is my faded 3.5 year old B-22 hi-floatation vest that is beginning to unravel at the seams.  On the right is the new kid – my Astral 300R.  Hoping the paddle will last till I can afford a new one!

If you’ve got any suggestions on how to ‘mount’ a Gerber river shorty on an Astral rescue vest, please post in the comments.



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False alarm – Boatertalk isn’t gone, just upgraded!

Posted by yakdaddy on January 16th, 2008

Per Eric Princen:

OK, Boatertalk is now running on completely new software. It doesn’t look much different, but it is. :-) There are a few bugs I’ll fix when it’s not 4:30 in the morning. If you have items for sale in GearSwap, you may want to go in and edit them and pick an actual product. That change was made to help cross reference data in the future. Reviews and GearSwap are now tied to the same product list. If you find any bugs, please report them in the bugs forum and I’ll get to them as soon as I can. Good night.

 Good deal – new site looks great.

 See you on the river, wkb’s, or boatertalk,


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A world without Boatertalk?!?

Posted by yakdaddy on January 16th, 2008

I guess that most folks couldn’t care less about an on-line forum for whitewater enthusiasts, but I must admit that the dismal error message…

“www.boatertalk.com not found: /home/eprincen/boatertalk/production/sites/www.boatertalk.com is not a directory”

… I keep getting every time I type in www.boatertalk.com is really screwing up my day.  I wouldn’t have thought it would matter much, but I’ve come to realize that I depend on BT (and, to a lesser extent, Worldkayak) to supply connectedness to the boating community throughout the breaks in my day as I endure the dryness of the workweek!

Here’s hoping that BT is back online soon… if not, I sure hope Worldkayak can put up some similar kind of message board.

Yakdaddy out.

Posted in Ramblings | 2 Comments »

The Hero hits the water…

Posted by yakdaddy on January 14th, 2008

Hope everybody has saved some Christmas cash…



Posted in Gear, Ramblings | 2 Comments »