Friday, June 1, 2007

Nantahala Falls: 6 Ways To Skin A Cat

The new instructors have been trickling in over the past month and today seemed like a good day to get the old and new together for a little fun at Nantahala Falls. For being such a short rapid, there’s actually quite a few different lines and moves that can be tried.

The standard line, or A route, as it’s called in the rafting business, is to paddle down the left side of the falls, catch Truckstop Eddy, and then run left to right out the back of the eddy. Undoubtedly you have run this line at some point in your paddling career. Here’s a few more lines for you to try next time. (in order from easiest to hardest)

Creek line: Catch the last eddy above the falls on river right. Paddle right of the triangle rock (which is river right of top hole) and make the right turn into the slot between the big rocks. You can actually boof the right side of the triangle rock for an added degree of difficulty and land in macro eddy (see right picture). The creek line (sans boof) is the easiest line to run at the Falls. If you’ve never run the Falls, have a beginner with you, or are still a little nervous at the Falls, the creek line is a great option. You miss both the holes…which is nice. Be careful about flipping in this line though - it's very shallow. EASIEST

Race line: No eddies, run just right of top hole but left of the triangle rock. It’s a fast line because if done properly you will miss both holes. EASIER

Standard line: Truckstop eddy on the left, then left of top hole, right of bottom hole. MODERATE

Left-ledge line: Catch the last eddy above the falls on river right. Run just to the right of top hole and cut across the current, driving left in the backwash of top hole. (see left picture) Boof chicken ledge on the far left into the eddy on the left. MODERATELY HARD

Micro/Macro: Catch the last eddy above the falls on river right. Ferry above top hole and catch micro eddy on river left above chicken-ledge. From there, ferry across the backwash of top hole and into macro eddy on river right. HARD

Big Boy Move: Catch micro eddy on the left. Ferry across top hole. (see left picture) Make the attainment upstream (river left of triangle rock, right of top hole). Eddy out river right above the creek line. (see right picture) You’re basically ferrying over from micro eddy and attaining up the race line. If you mess this one up you get to practice your side-surfing skills. VERY HARD

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