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In the summers, I work and paddle on the Yough River. Since I only live 10-15 minutes from the Lower Yough put-in and I’m usually too busy with work on the weekends, I spend a lot of time paddling that section. It can sometimes get a bit boring running the same few rapids every day, especially since they aren’t all too challenging for me anymore. Since it’s so close by and runs every day of the year, I’ve spent a lot of time on that section, making it all the less exciting. I’m always searching to find new lines and new moves to keep it fun, but recently I realized that I’ve begun to unintentionally avoid the Lower Yough, usually to paddle something else instead. Sometimes I even find myself paddling this section just because I have nothing else to do that day or I couldn’t get to a better river. It seems like this mindset towards the Lower Yough seems to be pretty consistent among a lot of the kayakers in the area, but it doesn’t mean that it should be.

There are a lot of really good paddlers from this area, most of which got their start on the Lower Yough. The problem seems to be that there is just so much other whitewater in the area that is better and more challenging, so they usually aren’t going to choose the Lower Yough instead of the Upper Yough or something like that. Just because this is the case, doesn’t mean that the Lower Yough isn’t a super fun section in its own right.

The thing about the Lower Yough is that you kind of need to make it fun. If you just paddle down the river, it isn’t too fun, even if you’re surfing some waves or hitting stern squirts and boofs. To really get the most out of this river, and honestly, any other river that might be easy for you, the key is to play every single feature and be as creative as possible.

Towards the end of the summer, we had a bit of a rainstorm come through, but unfortunately, I pretty much missed out on everything and just wasn’t really able to paddle the things that I had hoped for. Feeling slightly defeated, my friend and I decided to go paddle the Lower Yough since it was higher than it had been all summer. That being said, it still wasn’t high water by any means, but we figured, at least we’d get to paddle something and we have nothing better to do. We ended up having an insanely fun day, throwing kickflips and hitting good boofs all day long. It just kind of reminded me that oftentimes, the most important thing determining how much fun we have out on the water, is our mindset. It’s up to you to make the river fun, not the other way around.