Playboating the Upper Gauley


The Upper Gauley is unlike any river I have ever kayaked on. It is big, fast, pushy and steep. Most of the major rapids have specific make-or-break lines.

I paddled the Upper last year twice, both times scared to death all the way down.
This year, I paddled the Upper 4 times in a Pyranha Ammo, and decided today to give it a try in my playboat. Playboating the Upper Gauley would definately be a step up for me. Jeremy also decided that I was going to remember the lines and lead through every rapid. The lines don’t change in a playboat, but you have to muscle your way through each rapid a bit more than in a creekboat or river runner.

All in all, things went well. My lines were a little off; I found the hole in Insignificant, I busted my knuckles hitting VW Rock through Pillow, had a good line all down Lost Paddle, and a fine line through Iron Ring even though it was upside down half of the way. It’s one thing to follow someone else’s lines, but a completely other thing to pick them out yourself. I was pretty proud that I remembered the lines down the rapids. I can’t wait until Friday to do it again!


I also brought my brand new camera with me on this run and got some playboating shots. At Hungry Mother, I pulled a pretty big loop, but Jeremy was helping someone with their backband and didn’t get it on film. I’ll have to go back and do it again on Friday.

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