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American Whitewater, friends, the Gauley River, a great party, more friends, new friends, and people you’ll never see again, until next year, is what the Gauley is all about.

Here is how you properly prepare for the Gauley River weekend.

1. Make sure you have a current AW membership (go to here) and join or renew if you haven’t already. Do this today while you are still at home! Then you can say, “oh yea, I am a member, I care”, and mean it.

2. Know what rivers you can run during the weekend and have a plan. Don’t come up and not plan on paddling. There is something for everyone.
a. Upper Gauley- class 3-5- Runs Friday-Monday
b. Lower Gauley- class 3-4 Runs Friday-Monday
c. New River Gorge- class 2-4- Runs every day natural flow
d. Upper New- class 2-3 – Runs every day natural flow
e. Upper Yough- Runs today-Friday, and then again on Monday.
f. Adventure Sports Center International (new artificial Whitewater Park in Western Maryland)- Runs Saturday for sure click here for more info
g. Lower Yough- Confluence, PA class 2-3- natural flow

3. Take at least Friday off from Work- Jackson Kayak employees get off tonight for the weekend and return on Monday so they can paddle on Thursday and Friday before the festival on Saturday.

4. Know the weather and water temps
a. Weather- high of 86F low of 58F each day and SUNNY!!!! Awesome!
b. Water temps- bring both a shorty and long sleeve paddle jackets. Water temp can be cool on the Gauley for a long day with a shorty.

5. Shuttle plans-
a. AW does shuttles for $5 for your boat only out of the upper take-out. I give them the $5 and walk it myself for the exercise.
b. Be a good paddling buddy and plan on helping to run shuttle for everyone. Have Straps, and be prepared to offer rides to others.
c. Get drinks, and snacks before the paddling day and have ready in the vehicle. Nothing is more fun than a great day of paddling and then just hanging out at the take out on a beautiful day with food and drinks. Forget the goodies and you’ll be in a rush to go to Shoneys, bummer.

6. Festival Night-
a. Vendors, like Jackson Kayak will have fun things to do and often give some stuff away. Each vendor usually has a different feel to it. Dagger is having a dancing pole and giving a kayak away for your best dancing skills, while Jackson Kayak is having a family atmosphere, especially in the earlier evening, because, well, I have a family there, etc. Make your rounds early to see what is going on and then hang out where you want.
b. Get some free food, but do it early! Jackson Kayak will be cooking burgers and dogs for anyone who needs some good American comfort/festival food. We’ll have kegs running as well, manned by our trusty team and staff!
c. Meet Kayaking Celebrities- many of the top paddlers will be there, either walking around randomly or helping out at a sponsor’s booth. Team JK will be there in force with Jay Kincaid , Dane, Emily, Stephen Wright, Clay Wright, Jason Craig, Lauren Burress, and more! Bring something for these paddlers to autograph and you’ll be good to go!
d. Get fitted into your new kayak- come check out the boat you have been hoping to own one day and get fitted by the best into it, so you know what it should feel like. If you are lucky enough to reserve it early, maybe even get to paddle it on Sunday!

7. Sunday Morning- Breakfast at the Cathedral in Fayettville is the ticket, but it only seats about 50 people so it could be a big wait. Shoney’s buffet will get you through the day if you simply want to fuel up and go in Summersville.

I hope this helps you get ready!




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