Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Boof

We get a lot of questions regarding boofing in our upper-level clinics. I often have a difficult time concisely explaining the boof stroke for the simple reason that there are multiple kinds of boofs, each one requiring a slightly different technique. There are sideways boofs (Cave Rapid, Linville), driving boofs (Sunshine, Green or Seven Foot, Chattooga), rock boofs (Tablesaw, Ocoee or Boof or Consequence, Green), lip boofs (Horns of God, Nantahala Cascades or Tanner’s Launch, Tallulah) or water boofs (Hydro, Watagua or Bear Creek Falls, Cheoah). While each of these boofs is executed slightly different, the underlying principle is the same – the boater is trying to land the boat flat, or somewhat flat, to carry as much of their speed from their approach to their landing, avoid holes or piton rocks, or set up an ensuing move.

Of these boofs, I have always found the water boof to be the most challenging for the fact that the boater doesn’t have a solid rock or lip to help him/her raise the bow. The boater must elevate the bow “unaided” so-to-speak, relying solely on his/her edges, body position, and paddle strokes to accomplish this feat. I define a water boof as any boof that is done without the aid of a rock or well-defined lip. Hence a water boof could be any boof that is done on a sloping rapid before hitting a hole (even Nanthala Falls) or something that looks like a waterfall but has too much water going over it to create a lip that the boater could “grab” onto. The following is one techinque that can be used to execute a successful water boof.

1. Realize that you don’t need a lot of speed on your approach. Many people paddle as fast as possible towards the horizon line only to miss the actual boof stroke because either a) they were going to fast, or b) their stroke timing is off because they’re finishing a forward stroke when the time comes to put in a boof stroke. Some speed is good but concentrate less on speed and more on “waiting” on the boof stroke.
2. As you approach the lip, edge and angle your boat slightly towards the side you will be taking the boof stroke on. For example, if you’re going to take a boof stroke on the left, point your boat slightly to the left and also slightly weight the left edge by pushing down on your left butt-cheek.

3. Sticking with the above example, with the boat edged an angled reach forward to the lip and do a slow forward stroke on the left. The boof stroke is not a choppy, quick stroke – it’s controlled, slow, and deep. (Often times, the forward stroke is just the beginning of the boof stroke. Link a forward stroke into a stern draw for extra power or more precise angling. This is particularly applicable to rock boofs or driving boofs such as Seven Foot on the Chattooga, as shown in the picture)

4. Drive up on the left knee shortly after you plant the stroke and continue to lift the knees as you fall.
5. The boof stroke often causes the paddler to lean back. Be sure to adjust your weight forward again as you’re falling, so as to not land with your weight back in an unstable (and backender-prone) position.

Couple Extra Thoughts
- Lip boofs and water boofs often use this similar technique
- All boofs are different; this techinique doesn’t apply to all of them – it doesn’t even apply to all water boofs
- On sloping rapids with small to medium sized holes I’ve found that taking a slow, verticle stroke earlier than you think and “holding” that stroke throughout the entire move works well.

1 comment:

Shane Benedict said...

Nice One. Very cool to see you all putting these web lessons together.