Select Page

After returning from the Niagara Gorge and then Newfoundland to Rock Island, we were BONE dry here with zero CFS inflow into the lake upstream of Great Falls Dam. This was bad news for me since I was committed to being home to work on Jackson Kayak at the factory and ranch. Well, we got 2 inches of rain a couple of weeks ago and then last week we got .5” and it pushed us over the edge!! For the past 10 days I have been kayaking every day again! Have I told you lately that I LOVE ROCK ISLAND! It isn’t for everyone, I admit, but for me it is paddling heaven. The river has been running at about 2,900 cfs every morning from 5-9 or 6-10am, and some days from 5-7pm. Yes, it is dark from 5-7 pm, but we have a great little generator and the floodlights we use for the RV for Gauley Fest. We put up two flood lights. One that shines on the waterfalls coming in from River left over the hole, and one on the hole. It is an awesome set up and we even finally figured out how to carry our boats and the equipment back through the dark rocks and woods to the car (by leaving the generator running and one person follow with the lights!).

Clay, Stephen, Pikey, Emily, Nick, and the Murphreesboro crowd have been there many of the days. This morning Clay is still recovering from ear surgery, Stephen and Pikey went to the Chattahoochee where there is supposed to be a really cool wave/hole, while Nick and Emily are visiting Nick’s parents in Beachburg, Canada. This morning it was just Dane and I. We had an incredible session just messing around trying everything! We paddled above the hole and did upside down entries, just for fun, did hand paddling, cartwheels where you keep your head in the water the whole time and see how many you can do. We played games like “who can do the most…” or a few rodeo rides that we scored each other, etc. The hole is so fun. We did lots of clean blunts, pan ams, and backstabs, as well as back pan ams, entry moves, entry loops, entry backloops, McNasties, lunar Orbits, phonix monkeys, even helixes on the side of the wave. The water fluxuated a lot where they turned one generator off then back on again, providing a great looping hole for periods of time and we took full advantage of that!

What a great workout when you can paddle in and throw yourself around in the hole until you are going lactic and then sprint back up the eddy to do it again for only a short break. I am wearing my Patagonia drytop, Mountain Surf spray skirt, NRS booties, and mittens, mountain surf skull cap, Happy 2-B helmet, my AT paddle, my Patagonia semi-dry pants, and some warm fleece to top it off and I am totally warm. My new 2008 All-Star is rocking the house for me, with my Happy Seat/Thruster combo (they keep your REALLY warm), and my new fuzzy Sweet Cheeks (also very warm) Yes, the Jackson Kayak outfitting is much warmer than standard outfitting (more foam coverage on the knees/thighs, more foam that perfectly covers 100% of your rear end with the Sweet cheeks, and with the happy Seat, your 98.6 degree air is blown into it to tighten up and you have full insulation under your legs/thighs/calves, and then of course the biggest thing is the fact that our boats don’t leak! There are zero holes drilled into the kayak, making it bone dry with a good skirt and drytop.

We’ll tomorrow is another big paddling day! The river won’t run over the weekend and we need another rain to keep the daily releases. I expect that it will run again all next week, however. SWEET!!!!

Did I mention that Rock Island is the most beautiful place to paddle? 100 yards of waterfalls dropping into the river from the massive cliffs above right into the eddy by the hole!

Here are a couple of photos…




Click to view larger image

Click to view larger image