New Site Address

December 4, 2008

We have moved our website from this location ( over to It’s the same content and all of the old posts are there, just a new layout. Be sure to update your RSS readers and bookmarks. Let us know what you think.
Whitewaterinstruction crew


November 21, 2008

No matter how you cut it, slides are tons of fun. There are all types of slides, and while some are big and scary, many are not. Regardless of whether you are having a blast on some mellow slides or trying to set a world speed record on something large there are a few techniques which will help you ensure success. Watch below as Shane helps us out with some basic slide technique:

Keep your hips loose and your weight centered over your boat. Just like riding a snowboard or any other board sport for that matter, the last thing you want to do is get sideways and catch an edge. Just focus on looking where you want to go and setting your angle at the top. Lots of times there are curlers and other features you may have to deal with on the way down, so be sure to plan ahead for those. Typically, if the curler is parallel to your boat, you want to give a slight lean into it so you don’t get flipped. Don’t lean too much though to keep your balance.  Sometimes you are more perpendicular to the curler or at an oblique angle to it.  To make sure you punch through it, take a stroke on the side opposite to the curler’s direction so you don’t get tossed to the side.  picture-2

Notice the paddler (who has a broken right paddle blade!) doesn’t take a stroke to counteract this little curler coming from left to right.

picture-3You can see in this photo where he wound up.  If he had taken that right stroke to counteract the curler’s rightward momentum he would have gone straight through it instead of being pushed right.

Kayaking, Back Pain, and Outfitting

November 13, 2008

We caught up with Doctor David Lorczak to discuss the benefits of proper outfitting and posture to promote a long and healthy kayaking career. In Dr. Lorczak’s opinion the advancements in the Bad-Ass outfitting allows the kayaker to maintain better posture while allowing slight movement of the lower torso. This movement is key to maintaining a healthy spine in a sport that is brutal to that area of the body. Have a listen to Dr.Lorczak as he explains the relationship between proper posture, good outfitting, and a healthy spine.

The Big One

October 10, 2008

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are paddling, there will always be those rapids with the power to make you shutter at the mere thought of running them.  Some of them will remain that way, but as your experience and talent progress you will slowly start tickin’ em off the checklist.  Fear is often what keeps you from running the rapid in the first place, and eventually what can guide you down safely to the bottom.  Check it out as Shane gives a few pointers on how to conquer your nemesis.  



Will so scared he nearly pissed himself.  Unfortunately he decided to run it anyways and wound up with bloody knuckles and a broken paddle.  He should have listened better to his fear!

Fear probably has your back more than anything else on the river.  It is often the voice of reason and can prevent you from getting hurt and making lots of bad decisions.  However, one of the greatest things about our sport is that it gives you excellent practice in dealing with fear and learning how to control it.  It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner sitting above Grumpy’s on the Ocoee for the first time or a seasoned veteran about to put on the Linville Gorge at high water, fear will be there.  The key to using it to your advantage is to be confident in your skills and decision making abilities, so when you’re skeered you can tell your brain “It’s cool, shut up, I’ve got this.”

First things first, be safe.  Make sure your buddies have your back and you have strategically placed ropes and rescuers where they need to be.  You can never be too safe on the river.  Along with this, know your skill level and don’t run something just because you saw someone else do it!  Too many people get in over their heads, and while they may make it most of the time this technique isn’t very sustainable.

Another tip is to have a solid routine you go through above a big rapid.  We are creatures of habit.  Just like you wake up, drink coffee, brush your teeth, etc. every morning, employ that tactic in your river running adventures too.  This will help make you more comfortable, gar-on-teed.  

Be sure to visualize what you want to do.  Run the rapid in your mind over and over, concentrating on good lines (not bad ones!).  You may have to do this for months or years before you actually run the rapid, but the point is familiarize yourself as much as possible so that when you are in the midst of it you can remain calm.  I get cold sweats and quite an adrenaline rush thinking about running Gorilla at 200% just about any time I think about it.  

So, get out there, get scared, and learn how to get over it!  Not to say everyone enjoys pushing their limits, but it doesn’t hurt to push just a little bit every once in a while.  Have fun, be smart, and as always, be safe.

The Seal Launch

September 3, 2008

The seal launch is one of those skills that you probably never practice but is essential to know.  

Don’t be affraid to use your hand to push off the rock. Some times you are launching from a standstill and it is good to incorporate a little rotation into your launch so you don’t drop on your head. You’ll notice in the video that this is one such launch.  When you do push off the lip, pick up with your knees and keep your weight centered.  Leaning onto the back deck almost always results in a faceplant.



Usually you are seal launching into flat, green water. It’s a good idea to try and drop your bow a little bit so you hit the water at more of a 45 degree angle instead of dead flat. Dead flat often results in sore body parts.  This isn’t really an issue with launching from a standstill.

There are hundreds of different seal launches out there and each one really requires its own special technique. Some are into flat water, some are into rapids, some are fast, and some are really slow. It’s a great skill to have and you can almost always find somewhere on your local run to practice.  Practice and experience are the best way to figure out how to consistently stick a seal launch, so get out there and launch yourself, but be safe!

The Boof, pt. 3.5 – The Straight and Fader Boofs

August 19, 2008

We are continuing from previous posts on boofing technique, adding the basic straight boof and the stylin’ fader boof.  With the addition of these two, your boofing arsenal should be nearly complete.  The most important thing to remember about boofing is that each location requires some adjustment to these basic techniques.  Just remember, keep your weight centered over your boat.  Go ahead and check out the video and discussion below.

The Straight Boof:

 The Approach: So you want to approach the lip of the drop as straight on as possible.  You may not necessarily always be perpendicular, but close enough.  The main thing is to have your momentum moving straight away from the drop when landing so you make it to where you want to go.  Speed is good, just don’t get so much you miss your stroke timing.  A well timed boof stroke will help you out much more than speed.   


The Stroke:  A vertical paddle stroke is crucial.  This will help direct all your momentum forward instead of turning your boat off the lip.  Plant your paddle blade on the lip of the drop and be sure to pull through.  Your boof stroke will be longer than a typical paddle stroke, so be sure to keep pulling past your hips.  Because it’s such a long stroke, you want to make sure to be pulling your paddle straight so that you don’t turn at the last minute.



The Body:  A combination of slight edging and a vertical paddle will help you accelerate straight off of the drop without danger of spinning out.  The less water on the lip, the more important is to focus on keeping your boat flat and driving straight.  Often, if the lip is shallow the boat will catch on rock and can easily rotate, landing you sideways in a nasty pourover or on rock.


The Fader Boof:

The Approach: The Fader is probably the most “technical” of the boofs we’ve talked about so far.  You want to approach the drop with angle, sometimes almost parallel to the lip.  Once at the lip, be sure to be looking where you want to land, which should be off to one side of your bow.  You can think of it kind of like hitting a berm on a bike; before entering the berm you want to be looking straight into it, but once you are in it you want to be looking at your exit point.  


The Stroke: Think of your paddle as the pivot point of your boof.  You’re stroke should start off as a bow draw to pull your boat around the pivot point, and end with a strong pull.  Keep your paddle vertical to get the most effective pivot, a sweep stroke or low paddle won’t help you out at all.  Once you’ve drawn your bow around to the desired angle, you will close your paddle blade and pull straight through like a normal boof stroke.  For the last time, keep that paddle vertical!  

The Body:  Don’t be afraid to lean out over your stroke and really pull yourself around.  For the fader to be effective, you have to be aggressive and lean into it.  Be sure to be looking at where you want to land.  As you are finishing your stroke, flatten the boat back out and land with the boat flat.  This edge transition happens in the last part of your stroke, as you are pulling the paddle past your hips.  




The Boof, pt. 2 – The Eddy Boof

July 23, 2008

This post continues where Shane left off, going into more detail on the boof. Today we will cover boofing into an eddy. It’s a pretty basic skill, but is slightly modified from the regular straight boof. The approach and stroke are the main differences. Watch and learn…


The Approach – The main difference when boofing straight off a drop and boofing into an eddy is the angle of approach.  The eddy boof has a more angled approach across the lip of the drop so that your momentum is carried in the direction of the eddy.  

The Stroke – The eddy boof requires a longer boof stroke, often finished with a slight stern draw, that creates the momentum necessary to carve into the eddy.  In the above photo of Frankenstein, the paddler is taking a long boof stroke which helps turn the boat into the targeted eddy.  

The Body – The final difference is edge transition.  A regular boof requires a fairly flat hull and no edge transition, whereas an eddy boof requires an edge transition in order to catch the eddy.  Keeping your body weight centered over the boat and landing on a stroke to pull you into the eddy will keep you upright and happy.  The above picture of Sunshine shows the padder weighting the left edge, while the one below shows the same paddler having transitioned more to weighting the right edge so that he can catch the eddy.  

Stay tuned for Shane’s update and even more awesome boof instruction to come…