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submitted by Adam Swett 

I recently moved to northeast Tennessee from Virginia where I was close to the James river in Richmond which was awesome and a favorite of mine the Maury River, specifically Goshen Pass where I had way too much fun downriver free styling full or half slice.

In Virginia, when I was jonesing for squirt boating I would make the 5 hour trip up to the Cheat Narrows to park and sink at a legendary spot called Fascination Alley. I would usually have my creek boat for some Upper Yok/Top Yok shenanigans but almost every time would wear myself out sinking. The Alley is easily one of the coolest places to sink or even just sit and watch the show as family, friends, dogs, snorkelers, instructional kayaking trips, rafting trips, swimmers and even full on helicopter live bait river rescues go down, but make sure to weight your gear down with rocks during the heli rescues because it may get flung by the rotor wash! I can’t wait to go back to the Alley.

After we picked up and moved I drove up to where I figured Cowbell on the Nolichucky was and drove around with some good beta on Got lost, parked, put on my gear and walked down to the spot where I thought it was. I paddled over to the eddy and could definitely feel some pull but needed more info. I found some old videos on YouTube and went back to sink more and more, eventually becoming addicted. After a little over a year here once the water warms up, somewhere around March, this is the only place I want to go. It’s that good.

Before Virginia and Tennessee my wife and I and our Labrador kids lived in Maine, which is where I originally started squirt boating. I started with larger volume squirt boats and then slowly became more interested in getting under and staying under water. The first boats I saw live in action were the Bigfoot and a Blaster on the East Outlet of Moosehead Lake and in Ripogenus gorge on the Penobscot. This was around 1992 or 1993 and I remember seeing this paddler with hand paddles at high water in the Staircase below Exterminator. I was guiding rafts and the paddler was so submerged I grabbed my rope and blew my whistle but quickly figured out the paddler was just out shredding up the Class IV with a big smile. It is wild to go from not being able to kayak, to barely able to guide a raft, to only wanting to sink. I was so lucky to move close to Cowbell on the Nolichucky.

In Maine some of the best places to sink in my opinion are on the Seeboomook River and the Penobscot River, which is where I started to learn to sink. I bought and sold many squirt boats until Ed at Murky Water kayaks built me a Whirld. This boat really got down to business, but a couple of years ago I paddled a Blender at the Alley which led me to a Stealth and after a few volume adjustments I’m kinda loving this boat.

More to the point I am very pumped to still be paddling squirt boats of any size and having the best time doing it. Last year I finally switched to hand paddles and dive masks which really opened up opportunities, as did living so close to Cowbell and the group of paddlers that regularly sink there which I think is key. Watching these paddlers technique, listening to their advice and going back over and over is really working well giving longish, swirly, crazy rides where I come up out of breath. I also caught the worlds squirting competition this summer in Nottingham England and it was so fun to watch!

If you ever get a chance to jump in an old New Wave Projet or a new Murky Water kayaks Ninja give it a shot, but remember to start with hard moves in easy whitewater. Try to find mapped spots, deep spots or common squirting realms. It will be much safer and way more FUN!