Play Day, Improving your Creeking Skills


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.


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. 


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.


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.


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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