Saturday, July 25, 2009

2009 Whitewater Symposium

Join some of NOC's top instructors at the next Whitewater Symposium October 2-4, 2009, at Zoar Outdoor, near Charlemont, Massachusetts.

NOC's Paddling School has been involved with the Whitewater Symposium from the start and we highly recommend participation by all paddlers but especially for paddling program leaders and instructors.

There is something for everyone...especially club leaders!

The 2009 Whitewater Symposium has something for everyone, well not everyone, just everyone that has a true love for whitewater. For those of us that call in sick when it rains or plan our vacations around release schedules, this is one whitewater event that you will not want to miss.

The symposium is an opportunity for paddlers from across the world to get together with manufacturers, instructors, and club leaders to put their collective heads together and think outside the box and on the river.

The 2009 Symposium will help you:

* Learn How to Generate More Members
* Get the latest Safety Tips and Tricks
* Update your ACA Instructor Certification
* Network with other Club leaders and share ideas
* Learn how your club can help protect the rivers you love
* Pick up the latest instruction techniques from the best instructors in the country.

Check out this brief video intro from the folks at ZOAR.

Find out more at the Whitewater Symposium website.

We hope to see you on the Deerfield this fall!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Paddling School Video

No tips here, just a video of our our kayak instruction clinics. The video includes scenes of beginner to intermediate paddling instruction, starting with stroke mechanics and rolling on the flatwater of Fontana Lake to running Class III Nantahala Falls. While not all clinics or paddlers will tackle the Falls, most do follow a flatwater to beginner-friendly river section progression.

Two-day clinics are available on weeekends and five-day clinics during the work week, and both include the best kayak instruction available, cabin lodging, hearty meals, transportation to and from rivers/lakes and top-notch, model-year gear. Click here for more details and pricing.

We have weekly clinics all summer long. Call 888.905.7238 to sign up!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Sticking to the Basics by Andrew Holcombe

Have you ever heard of the book All I Really Need to Know I learned in Kindergarten? The title alone is a great reminder, in my opinion, that we learn a lot of the most important life lessons at a pretty early age. Then we spend the rest of our lives trying to figure out how to apply them to the myriad of circumstances put in front of us. How does this apply to kayaking? Well I’m a firm believer that you learn most of the skills necessary to be a great kayaker in the first year (or maybe if you want to get really crazy in the first month). The trick, and this is what we spend the rest of our kayaking careers on, is figuring out how to use and apply the basics in lots of different and sometimes quite intense situations. The following sequence of photos of Big Boy on the Ravens Fork illustrates this quite well. At first glance Big Boy is a pretty intimidating rapid. However, if you look closer the most important skills sets being used are made up of things we learn on our first couple trips in whitewater: Maintaining an aggressive forward body position and how to punch a diagonal wave or hole.

The key to a successful line here is to punch the left to right diagonal at the top of the picture. To do this I set up angled towards that diagonal with an aggressive (slightly forward) body position.

As I approach the diagonal I keep my body position forward while adjusting my boat angle to hit the diagonal at 90 degrees. This, as we learned early on, will allow me to punch across the diagonal without turning.

Notice that my right paddle blade is in the water to help hold my angle as my boat begins to cross the diagonal.

Completing the right paddle stroke my boat crosses the diagonal with my body weight still forward and angle still at 90 degrees relative to the diagonal.

Success! I’ve crossed the diagonal thus continuing my path from right to left and my body weight is still forward and aggressive.

It’s important to remember that the decision to run a large or difficult rapid is not one to be taken lightly. But, once you do make it its good to remember that you use the same skills you learned early in your kayaking career. The rapids are just bigger, taller, and scarier. So get out there and remember the basics.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Got Protection?

No, not that kind of protection ... this kind

Foot protection!

It’s that time of year when winter has faded away and the rivers are filling up with excited kayak, canoe and raft paddlers again. It’s time for you to enjoy the thrill of the whitewater rapids. Hopefully you have been schooled on the importance of the essentials for paddling: boat, paddle, helmet, personal floatation device and sprayskirt (for kayakers). I would like to add another river essential, for your own personal safety and comfort, proper footwear.

Studies and river stories have shown that the place where many injuries occur is on shore while either scouting or running down the river back to help rescue someone or something. It is also essential to have proper footwear when you encounter an “out of the boat experience” yourself and have to perform your own rescue. One of the best ways you can prevent injuries in these situations is to wear sturdy but comfortable booties or other supportive footwear designed for watersports.

To help you better protect yourself from injury and provide for a more comfortable trip down the river, we looked at several good options for your feet. We have chosen the best models for kayakers, canoeists and rafters. The footwear was tested in various boats on the Nantahala Outdoor Center’s local rivers such as the Nantahala River, Ocoee River, Chattooga River, Cheoah River, Pigeon River, Nolichucky River and French Broad River. Because there is footwear for a broad range of paddlers, I will give my overall impression of each one then include information about their best specific use(s).

To read the full review, Click Here to go to the Outfitter's Store blog.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

One of My Favorite Places, NOC Summer Camp

By Palmer Miller - a former NOC Teen Leader and camper.

As part of a photo-journalism assignment for New River Academy Palmer chose to write about one of her favorite places, the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

Tucked away in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina is the Nantahala Outdoor Center. Sitting on the bank of the Nantahala River, the NOC has been working with paddlers and rafters for the past 30 years, through its outdoor programs and camps. Its excellent service is world-renowned and people continuously return. Many expert paddlers are born at the kid, teen, and adult kayak camps and programs.

Sam Fulbright, a New River Academy alumnus, professional photographer, and an avid playboater, attended two of the NOC teen kayak camps. The beginner camp gave him more confidence that backed up what he already knew. The intermediate camp helped him delve more into the sport of freestyle kayaking, and by the end he was hitting stern squirts and cartwheels. He believes the “NOC was [really big in] solidifying my boating skills.

I found that their programs gave me a lot of confidence in my kayaking and they worked really hard to get all the fundamentals of kayaking built up, and built up well.” For the experienced paddlers to the rookies who are scared to run Nantahala Falls, the Nantahala Outdoor Center is the perfect place to have a good time and life-changing experience.

Click on the following links to find out more about:
NOC Kids and Teens Camps
The Exploits of Palmer Miller
NOC's Summer Photo Course with New River Academy
New River Academy

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Rob Barham does a presentation for AWC

Rob recently headed down to Hotlanta to give a talk about proper creeking techniques to the Atlanta Whitewater Club members. He met up with a fun and excited crowd and gave his presentation with a lively discussion challenging paddling dogmas. Some say his presentation was in revival style, and told the members of AWC
"It is time to free yourself from paddling dogmas!"

As always, Rob can find a way to make instruction fun! At the end of the presentation, Rob gave away shirts and DVD's to excited participants. According to the Vice President of AWC Chuck Spornick,
"A good time was had by all."

To see more photos and info from Rob's presentation, check out Chuck's photo site.