Soulo boating: Why or Why Not

Solo boating is widly known and can be determined from common sence more dangerous in almost any scenario. Almost no one recommendeds it on a regular basis yet you see so many great athletes and figures doing solo runs and often really stout ones to say the least. So where is the disconnect between the known and spoken dangers of solo boating and the number of people doing it and even pushing limits at the same time? 

I think this is a bit more noticeable in recent times due to the levels being pushed so much and the growth in media but I’ve witnessed this for almost my whole life as a paddler and have become comfortable with how I personally decide for or against solo kayaking. First things first I call solo boating “soulo” boating because your only doing it to just have a fun time, get that connection with the earth to soul and all in all continue your day better than it was. 95% of soulo boating for me personally is intended to be relaxed and chill, but every now and again if something really good is in and you have no one to do it with but you’re really feeling it, you have a decision that needs to be thought out very rationally and carefully. I like to honestly question myself with questions like: is this a smart idea? Is the risk worth reward?, have I been doing this or stuff like this often? Whats the absolute worst that can happen? Now get creative, whats the worst that could happen? Whats not the worst but still bad and possible? How likely is any of that of happening? How have I been paddling recently? Am I comfortable with this? Again, do I want to risk it? : there are more times than not that after this thought process I realize it is not a good idea and walk away with no shame at all, excited for next time with the crew. But then again… sometimes… you just feel it. You’ve thought of every possible scenario of it going wrong, what that will lead to, how you can make sure to avoid that, step by step plan of exactly what your going to do and how. It all seems good and you have that gut feeling of “I got this”. If your comfortable with every single possible outcome and with what you have to do, the only thing holding you back is you. Soulo boating should be taken very seriously and if it is it can be very rewarding…if not, it can be scary, less fun and dangerous. Ive had only one almost, close-call soulo boating that I can remember that really made me think about these things and take it more seriously. Since then I have had some of my greatest sessions alone with the river, and I’m sure others can agree. As always, only you know your limits, saftey should be a definite #1 with a fun time for the memory books as a close 2nd and up-most respect for the river as a cardinal rule. Be safe, huck smarter not harder and see you on the river!!

Photos: Black River falls (hometown drop) soulo session

Video: glorious high water Yough River soulo session: 

High water Lower Yough! ALL SUMMER LONG!!! from Tommy Piros on Vimeo.

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