So i’ve never been over any type of “drop” bigger than probably 1 ft. While hiking the other day, I found a nice drop with plenty of water that was about 4 ft. tall. Curiosity killed the cat right? Well, I couldn’t help but wonder how fun, or not fun it would be in my 11 6’ dagger, but thought i should wait until i wasn’t alone. Any suggestions before i go back? or stories?
Watch out for the drowning machines
I assume you know about these, but drops, as cool as they are to run, can have very serious consequences. Just this past weekend, myself and Paddle Lupe were scouting river sections for her ACA Whitewater Class on the Mulberry River in NW AR. We came up to a horizon line of a low water bridge. We got out to scout. The center section had a hydraulic that was strong enough to hold an unassuming paddler if they were to flip or linger to close to long. The boil line was at least four to six feet out. I placed my paddle in the hydraulic and it sucked it hard to the abutment. Very scary. This drop was no more then a couple of feet.
Scout the drop. Access for hazards. Then paddle like crazy :-) Your rec boat will probably submarine pretty deep on a four foot drop. Be prepared.
I had a friend
who went over one of these in a canoe, flipped, got sucked down and hung up on rebar. A really lovely guy, he drowned two weeks after the birth of his first child. Great question–glad you asked rather than show up on PNet as another kayaking fatality.
Maybe I shall just leave this as a nice thought in my head and forgo actually trying this…I’ll just go with baby steps for now…thanks for the replies.
Paddle it first
With someone who knows the river and can show you the ropes. Scout. Watch them take the drop. Then decide if you are up for it. Any trip in which you arrive at the take-out with boat and body intact is a good trip. No shame in being cautious – and in returning hungry to paddle the river again tomorrow.
I paddled the Wonlaloncet in NH Sunday. Moderate class III whitewater with a few 3’ to 4’ drops.
It can be lots of fun if you have some sense of what you are doing. The last drop ~ 4’ we scouted first. About half of us carried around but my friend Norm pointed out a good line so we ran it. He had a bit of trouble getting lined up and took a little water in his 15’ canoe. I managed to line up pretty well and dropped in bone dry in my 13’ canoe. It was a nice end to a nice day!
All the warning folks have posted above are not to be ignored. Spend some time with experienced folks. Get the skills. Learn the dangers.
Have a ball!
Low Head Dams
You have to work up to this…
Go for it!
If I were you I would swim the hole to see ho deep it was. This is a good way to get a good look also of how the water run over.
Personally,I take a look and go for broke. I paddle as fast as I can over drops and 8’ is the highest I’ve done. The speed gets me beyond the hydraulics and I controlthe angle of the kayak with my body but this is not my advice to you but my way of doing it…
Be safe and best of luck.
usually, a drop that size will be just fine. even if you screw it up and swim, you’ll just swim out of it. there is a big difference between man-made obstacles and natural drops. low-head dams are bad because of their uniform nature, but almost all natural drops have irregularities that allow the water to flow out and away from it. i’ve been trashed in many big holes, but on only two occasions did i get recirculated for any amount of time after swimming. depending on what’s below (pool vs cave/sieve/strainer), if you would be comfortable swimming away from it, give it a shot, but have a friend nearby with a rope just in case. paddle hard, maintain some speed, and you’ll likely just skip through.