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We all have those little local waves and holes that we tend to take for granted. Only a lucky few are fortunate enough to have a world class playspots accessible for after work sessions. Most of us work during the week and have to save the good spots for the weekends, but it never ceases to amaze me how resourceful paddlers are when they look for some sort of paddling entertainment. If we don’t have those spots, we tend to build them.

When I lived in Memphis, a fairly flat city on the banks of the Mississippi river, we found waves on the Mississippi levees, waves in drainage ditches, small local waterfalls, and even short local runs with rapids built up from bridge debris. I’ll never forget the perfect 5-10 ft glassy peaked wave we found behind putt-putt in the middle of the city, but I’ll also never forget the raw sewage overflow in the eddy. That was the day I decided that my dedication had possibly turned into madness. We even built a small wave & eddyline in the middle of some farm fields with a pile of riprap, plywood, and concrete. Sure, it wasn’t environmentally friendly or ideal, but even the most environmentally conscious of kayakers were out there surfing and playing with everyone else.

Now that I’ve fully settled into Nashville, I decided it was finally time to check out one of our local spots, Harker’s Hole. The truth is, I don’t really playboat near enough. I love river running and creeking and will tend to pick a waterfall or boulder garden over a wave/hole almost every time, but any moment you can get on the water is a moment not wasted. Some very dedicated locals stood in the river while it was low, carefully placing each boulder or rock in hopes that a wave or hole would form for everyone to enjoy. No, it isn’t Rock Island or Salida. It isn’t world class and there’s a rock perfectly placed immediately below the sweet spot for cartwheels. I’m even willing to guess that moving that rock would cause the whole structure to collapse, but it’s fun. Even in the cold, the puzzle of trying to get good cartwheels in the one deep spot and landing my splits made it a little bit exciting and whole lot of fun. I didn’t expect much when I went to check it out, but what I found was much better than I thought, endless spins, a few good ends, splits, and careful enders. A little more water would probably be perfect.

I underestimated the amount of fun I would really have. These “homemade” holes are just the thing we need to relight the flame & passion for paddling during the week, regardless of where it is. They are perfect for motivating us to be better paddlers. They get us through those long days by letting you show up for dinner just a little late, and probably just the right amount of wet. It’s easy to take these little spots for granted, but never underestimate the value of these places. I can’t wait to go back again! Harker’s was fun… not bad for our local hole!