The BC paddling season has been an interesting one this year. It started with amazing news that the snowpack was 150% of average, which had everyone super stoked for a long and plentiful paddling season. Spring run off was a bit delayed and showed up the 3rd week of May and created some epic high water paddling for a few weeks. Unfortunately with super hot weather, the water did a straight decline from there and we were at unseasonably low water by early August.
Rather than packing our gear up early, we’ve adapted our mindset to keep paddling fun while we wait for some of the fall park and play to show up:
1) This is the perfect time to practice stern squirts and bow plows on eddy lines - the water is warm, the eddy lines are strong enough but not super strong and this can keep you amused for hours, coming and going into eddies up and down the rivers. To up the skill level, make sure you practice on both the left and the right sides of the river as your offside stern squirt can be just as challenging as your offside roll.
2) Flat water tricks make the river into an outdoor pool session - offside rolls, back-deck rolls, bow stalls, stern stalls and flat water loops are all things that you can practice over and over again on relatively flat sections of moving water. With the sunshine and friends around, the time flies by and you are building solid skills.
3) Macho moves - try to find any small wave sections and build on your flat water loop and turn it into a macho move by looping over the wave. Way easier to learn in slower moving water and it’s sure to impress your friends!
4) Building fundamental skills - eddy hop your way down, being sure to catch all the eddies behind the rocks that you normally cruise by. Be on the look out for small rocks you can boof and practice catching all those little catch on the fly surf waves so that you have that skill ready for higher water levels.
5) Drag friends out and teach them to paddle or help them learn flatwater skills - consider this an investment in your paddling community and it gives you more people to play with as well. This is the perfect time to help get others onto the water or upping their paddling skills. We almost have one of our creeking friends convinced that play boating can be fun now that he is learning to stern squirt and bow stall.
Funnily enough we actually get wetter and spend more time underwater during low water play sessions than at any other time of the year. Flatwater is actually a great workout and has you upside down a lot! Love how our Level Six gear keeps us water tight so we can be out on the water for hours at a time! We hope this helps you find ways to have fun as the water declines this fall.
The Vincent Family