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By: Ben Coleman JUMPING THE MENTAL HURDLE Learning the Eskimo roll can be more of a mental challenge than a physical one, because it involves staying calm while performing a maneuver below the surface of the water–an environment in which we humans can’t breathe...

By: Ben Coleman BEGINNER’S BEST BETS REGIONALLY WEST COAST: SKYKOMISH RIVER, WASH. An hour’s drive northeast of downtown Seattle gets you to this classic 2.5-mile stretch from Railroad Bridge to Big Eddy, which is considered Class II, but like most runs, varies...

By: Ben Coleman Turning Stroke The turning stroke is used to point your boat in the direction you want to go. The main difference between the turning stroke and the forward stroke is the position of the paddle shaft. The paddle shaft is positioned vertically for...

By: Ben Coleman Catching Eddies Catching eddies makes you a better paddler. If you want to refine your skills, challenge yourself to catch as many eddies as possible the next time you paddle one of your favorite rapids. Catching eddies is where all your strokes...

By: Ben Coleman Connection Paddling is about relationships. Every paddler has to begin somewhere, and though these early days can be fraught with challenge, obstacles, and failures, they often create the conditions for some of the most significant and formative...

By: Ben Coleman Safety Having a good safety plan is paramount to a successful day on the water. This not an instructional on how to learn how to create a safety plan, or on specific safety skills like setting up a z-drag. Safety is a big topic, and there is a lot...

By: Ben Coleman Forward Stroke The forward stroke might not seem complicated, after all, there are plenty of people that are able to hop in a kayak and paddle it forward on their very first try. This is true, but whitewater kayaks in particular, can have a bit of a...

By: Ben Coleman Guide to Getting Started Hitting the river for the first time can be an exciting and daunting experience. It may be a new environment, and the gear is often, at first glance, imposing and unfamiliar. Spending some time thinking about, and...

By: Ben Coleman Rolling the Kayak Rolling the kayak intimidates many people. If you stop to consider, the endeavor is a considerable challenge, and unique in sports. Learning the skill requires dealing with not being able to see or hear clearly, not to mention...

By: Chris Loomis By Regina Nicolardi Like many paddlers today, I am just as often scouting a rapid for photo opportunities as I am to run it. Capturing a moment on the river can provide that same feeling of accomplishment as when you stick a line. But it can also...

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