Ken Hoeve 27/09/2012 | Posted in SUPerCHARGER, Whitewater
The past few weeks have been amazing on the river. Not only here in Colorado but on the east coast as well. The NOC played host to the finals of the World Cup freestyle final and I was invited to announce. A perfect opportunity to “work” and get to paddle all over the southeast for 10 days. Both in a kayak and on the new SUPerCharger.
The trip started off at the NOC. Not only was this a chance to witness and announce one of the greatest freestyle finals I have ever seen, but also the chance to SUP the Nantahala River and fish it. On top of it all was the opportunity to let people not only try SUP for the first time but also the Supercharger. It was a huge success. From top pro paddlers like Stephen Wright and Erin Clancy to local boaters and visitors at the event. Everyone loved it! The response was “this thing is so stable” and “I had no idea SUP was this much fun, I want one!” The highlight was watching Stephen run the competition rapid after only being on the board for a few minutes. And style it. The crowd was hooting at the sight. Awesome to see one of the nation’s top kayakers get on it and send er’ right away.
From there we packed it up and headed to the Green river. I was fired up as not only was this a chance to run this classic and rowdy river but to do it at 200% along with the World’s top paddlers Like Dane Jackson, Nick Troutman and Adrienne Levknecht. So sick. The locals that lap this daily are lucky, and brave. Its right at my outer limits of creeking so paddling it that day with that group is a memory I won’t soon forget.
Next up was an invite to paddle at the US National Whitewater Center in Charlotte. This is a one hundred percent man made “river” that I have paddled many times in a kayak and once on an SUP the first year they were open. Back then I attempted it on an inflatable (less stable, flexible, etc.) and had limited success. This time around, on a properly designed river running SUP, it was so much better. Punched holes, surfed, boofed and played down every channel. Even the “comp” channel got run! I fell a few times on the eddies in that channel but managed to run every drop in three runs down it. The USNWWC is the PERFECT place to SUP and rumor has it they will officially allow it soon. While a select few have been running it over the last few seasons, the general consensus is that they want to let the public do it pretty soon. Don’t quote me and call them up saying “I’m coming with my board!” but to my understanding you will see SUPers there soon. I was honored to be invited there to give it a go before its official and to see how well the new Jackson board works.
From Charlotte it was north to West Virginia and the New and Gauley rivers. Thursday was a race held on the New river at Fayette station. Part one was an attainment race and then part two, a 2 mile down river race. Melanie, a local guide/SUPer/icon along with fellow river guru Brian Goode put it on. It was a blast! A remarkable setting. Racing right under the New River Bridge on a perfect sunny day on warm clear water. I was able to take 2nd place overall to one of the nation’s best whitewater paddlers, Michael Tavares. While there I pulled out my fishing rod to see if there was truth to the rumors of the small mouth bass that lurk where we raced. And man was it accurate. They are everywhere and the SUP is the weapon of choice to access them. Spot them cast and catch. So fun to hook a few while paddling.
Then we kept heading north to the Gauley and all the paddling options there. It was a full three days. On day one we lapped the Upper G with a big group. Just cruising, surfing and boofing for four hours straight. I had forgotten what a great time it is there but was quickly reminded as I ran into friends from all over the globe. But the best run was the Lower G on Saturday on the SUPerCharger as I tagged along with Jackson kayaks Colin Kemp for their World Kayak day on the lower. At first people said “you’re going to paddle that down here?” referring to my board but by the end of the 2nd rapid it was “I want to try that!” The board worked flawlessly. The advantage with the SUPerCharger over everything else is its shedding deck, bow and stern rocker, width, thickness and the fact that being rotomolded it punches waves with no flex and can run over any rocks without damage. And surfing diagonal ledges was awesome. Standing in the middle of the Gauley riding a standing wave is a feeling that can’t be described unless you try it yourself. Which you can now. Get one of these boards and watch how much easier it makes river running and surfing.
Before flying back to Colorado on Sunday I woke up early and did a straight shot lap in the new Jackson Karma with EJ and Dane. 1 hour 22 minutes from parking lot to take out so that I could catch my 4pm flight home and they could fly to Germany. It was a sweet way to finish a truly unbelievable trip. I still can’t believe all that went on in such a short time. I hate the word “epic” but it’s the only one I can find to describe how sweet it was. And now I’m back to reality already dreaming up another trip. This time I think I will head west to the coast to surf and slay some big saltwater fish. Seems like an ideal way to “work” again and show what the SUPerCharger and the SUPerFishal are capable of. I’ll keep you posted!