Play Day, Improving your Creeking Skills

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Usually, my favorite type of kayaking is creekboating, Specifically, personal first descents in a remote location with beautiful scenery. However, with the persistent lack of rain, options in the Southeast have been growing slim. With a rare weekend off work and no rain in the forecast, the Ocoee River was the place to be.

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Even though playboating isn’t my ultimate favorite boating style, there are still many aspects of it that I love. For example, I love how it prepares you for creekboating. Catching challenging eddies and practicing difficult ferries are a huge part of running the Ocoee. I like to challenge myself on these in my playboat, knowing that if I can maneuver them successfully in my Rockstar, my Karma will have no trouble. 

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I also enjoy the roll practice. In my creekboat, I’m often trying not to roll. Especially in the middle of a challenging, shallow rapid. However, in the safe environment of playboating, I can flip and flop while attempting playboating moves such as wave wheels and bow stalls, knowing that each time I fail, I am really just strengthening my roll, brace, and reaction time.

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The other skill that playboating strengthens is edge control and all around boat control. Learning how to carve on a wave and really, just knowing where your boat is on the water in order to catch a wave, are hugely important skills in creekboating. Being able to know how you will react to the waves and holes in the water are irreplaceable skills. Even though you’re practicing in a different boat, the skills will still translate over.

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And then of course, the final reason I enjoy playboating, is just to playboat. I love throwing myself off waves while attempting to kick flip and surfing waves while trying to master possibly simple moves such as a blunt. I get a great feeling of success when I actually stick a move and know that I’m only strengthening my other skills when I fail.

Next time you’re looking to improve your creekboating skills, think outside the creekboat and jump in a playboat! Hope to see you out there

~Diane Brasuell (Gaydos)

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