It was May of 2015. I was the guy fishing from the bank with no boat and too big to even think about getting in a canoe or kayak. I was talking to my good friend Jim Flowers about my frustration of limited fishing opportunities due to fishing from the overgrown bank. Jim said let’s get in the kayaks and get you out there, “fat guys don’t get in a kayak” was my immediate reply. Jim was persistent he had a kayak I could get in and I hesitantly told him I would give it a try.I was nervous! Here I wread more
I love my paddling buddies more than – well, just about anything. Paddlers in general warm my heart, even if they’re just strangers passing by with boats on their car on the way to the river. They’re wonderful in so many ways – generous, free-spirited, courageous, irreverent, hilarious – much like Mary Poppins … “practically perfect in every way.”And then I read the stuff they write. Eh, paddlers. Elegant on a wave; fierce in a hole; beautifully, surgically precise in a boulder garden – tooread more
The setup: After getting my pool roll fairly solid, one of the people who had helped me get it that way, Samantha Ruppelt, posted on Facebook that she was doing a beginning creeking clinic. She didn’t specify which river. I contacted her and told her I was interested in joining, if she thought I was ready. We talked a bit about my previous experience, and she said … no. I wasn’t upset. She had told me that the clinic was on the Ledges – a series of drops on the beautiful Tellico River: 5-foread more
Here’s a fun video I put together of my efforts to run a couple of different lines on Alien Boof on the upper Ocoee. (Obviously, I haven’t mastered the drop yet.) It’s a great run, but if you haven’t done it before, it’s a good idea to go with someone experienced who knows this rapid. There are some dangerous sieve spots in the flat water at the top.
“It’s the rule.”That’s what she said. Samantha Ruppelt, Class V kayaker pro for Jackson Kayak, twenty-seven – confidence and competence, personified.“Dude. It’s January. It’s, like, 30 degrees out there.”“It’s the rule.”“What if I miss it? My confidence will be blown for the entire run. I don’t need that in my head.”“It’s the rule.”Samantha had been working with me on fine-tuning my pool roll at Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association’s roll school. It needed work. I had expected to pick up rollingread more