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I missed out on sinking in a squirt boat last year when I moved to Virginia from Maine but didn’t miss out on kayaking. The James River was pumping last summer so I was OK but really missed going underwater until this summer I found a happy place in West Virginia.

River running and sinking in a fiberglass boat or just destination sinking is probably my favorite type of paddling to do besides freestyle, river running and creeking and canoeing. Actually it is all equally fun but this spot I’ve been going to in West Virginia has been incredible.

My very first time there was not so good as water was pouring through my short sleeve top and skirt combo and I was filling up quick. I had a five minute window to get a taste of the goods but I didn’t want to run flooded as I’ve experienced tense moments underwater in a flooded squirt boat. I went back home and worked on my boat to make sure it wasn’t cracked or worn through and got a dry top from Kokatat to go along with my skirt. I patched my combo but haven’t used it yet as I found the dry top and skirt I have works really good. and pretty dry.

My trips to the Cheat River have gotten better and better and I’m ready to just move to this spot, mostly because it is really fun to see everyone in the area on the river. There is alot of people learning to kayak here, swimming and just hanging out. Family’s out on the river. Lots of dogs and really skilled squirtboaters roaming around for extended periods underwater. I’ve met so many skilled sinkers and swimmers here that they make me feel like I am just starting. I can learn so much from one conversation with these folks.


I also experienced some practiced swiftwater helicopter rescues with local armed forces members getting ready to lend a helping hand if needed. We weighted down our boats with rocks so they wouldn’t fly off with the rotor wash and used our earplugs and goggles and got quite the show. We watched 3 different UH 60 Blackhawks pluck 9 different swimmers out of the river. Wild Wet and Wonderful West Virginia!