Rec boating alive and well

I went to a local paddling event in Boone County WV, Kevin’s Lazy River Float. I had attended about 7 or 8 years ago and there were somewhere around 50-75 participants. So I was expecting a similar sized event. There were 494 registered paddlers when I went this time. My hats off to organizers (Coal River Group) for running a smooth, free event, that even featured hot dogs when you got finished with the float. I believe the event shows how much rec boating has grown in southern wv in just a few years.

Boats were better made than the earliest rec boats I had encountered. Most now feature at least a small hatch- thus providing some built in flotation in the stern of the boat. All had drain plugs. What was a bit disappointing was the construction of the hatch. Instead of making a stern bulkhead completely sealed, the boxstores provide just a small hatch area. Some had pieces of closed cell foam for support in key areas and some didn’t.

In terms of posture, most of the seat backs did not look very supportive, more for lounging. Although a few paddlers did manage to sit upright. I Saw a number of SOTs, many designed for fishing- and I helped carry a few of the fishing SOTs. They were extremely heavy. All in all, everyone was well behaved, lots of families floating together. A positive experience for lots of folks. I managed to get out in front of the crowds and enjoy a little small wave/hole surfing in a couple of spots despite all the river traffic.

That’s great - good to have people out on the water.

I agree that it’s great, especially if they are younger folks. Most of the old farts you see who have good-quality canoes or kayaks started out in pretty crappy boats, but learned to love being on the water anyway. Surely some of the younger folks paddling plastic tubs will stick with it for the rest of their lives, maybe keeping a few of the better boat builders in business along the way.

short video of the event

I help it stay alive as often as possible.

When our weather in the South clears up I will be joining up with a rather large crowd for a nice long river run. I am sure that 95% of the Kayakers out there will be in rec Kayaks but I’ll be bringing my beloved light touring Jackson Journey 14.
I am just excited at the thought of Kayaking amongst many other Kayakers. I do not think I will upset anyone not having a true rec Kayak I hope…it is just that so far I have only kayaked all alone and would love some company other than 80 mph jet ski’s and huge yachts…and you would think they would see me in my neon orange shirt and bright neon green hat and have had some close calls!!!..but I do enjoy their faces when I blow my loud freaking whistle at them…it is a loud “JetLogic” Safety Whistle and I am glad I decided to buy one even though at first I laughed at the idea of needing a whistle. Even if I think they are going to head in my direction I blow that sucker and scare the you know what out of them…cheap whistle and a very important investment…never Kayak without one. Weekends are not safe for the Lake as a Kayaker.

You are required to have a signaling device.

@string said:
You are required to have a signaling device.

Yeah but most of the people on the water are drunk and just nuts. That is why I usually wait until a good Week day to go out as there is far less idiots out there…and the coast guards just ignore all the amazingly stupid stunts like flying by the dock at full speed then turning real fast to wet and knock over the people standing on the docks who are fishing etc. and also go really close to where the little kids are swimming in the shallower areas full speed and all the coast guards just turn away like it never happened amazingly. Well it is not my job and again at least I have my whistle.

Again…it will be real nice to do a nice relaxing river adventure and I am excited about it.

@SilentWaters said:
Yeah but most of the people on the water are drunk and just nuts.

I won’t argue this point.

As for the rest, once my skills and knowledge reached a certain point, the only thing that could make for a bad day around power boats is if one hit me. I stay out of active boating channels, crossing only when clear and at right angles. I avoid busy marina areas in season. I don’t care about huge wake when I’m in deep water; it’s actually fun.

I took the rec boats to the beach today to play in the surf with. The air bags worked, the hatches leaked and we had fun. Some days you just leave the high tech seakayaks at home. I do have my eyes on a play boat design that may be coming from my shop in the future.

I’m glad we have enough water to avoid the party boaters. There are places they just don’t go.
As far as " rec boats" , that encompasses a wide range from pool toys to some fairly efficient craft.
In my younger days, I could hang with sea kayaks on flat water with my Tarpon 160 or Pungo 140. I no longer try.