Wednesday, June 30, 2010

First Descent of the Loop on the Youghiogheny River...on an SUP

The last time I was standing at Cucumber on the Youghiogheny River

I know I know, I used the oldest trick in the book to peak the interest.  A typical Youtube attempt to lure you in with the title of the article.  But I can promise you photos and videos of Andy and I crashing through the Loop section of the Youghiogheny.  We did manage to stand up through most of it but there was a little action for sure.  I just plain chickened out at Cucumber.  I had a bad line going so I just knelt down so I wouldn't land on a rock from standing cause that would hurt.  In fact I braced up off a rock at the bottom of the rapid while kneeling.  Theres a pretty good shot of it in the video.  Andy on the other hand tried to stick it standing and it looked like he had a shot at it... and then... he fell down.

When things go bad

Andy Hanging Tough at Cucumber

Andy had been trying to get out on the Loop on SUP this summer but was getting rejected by the State Park, because the river is restricted for inflatable craft.  They must have at least 3 air chambers in case one fails and the only boards people were trying to take down were single chamber inflatables.  So that left Andy one option to Stand Up, other than Striding of course, The Versa Board.  So we went for it.

The Lower Yough is a classic class 2-3 stretch that has some technical rapids at the level we were paddling.  Its amazing the difference paddling boards in class 2, and class 3.  When you add that extra level of manuevering and diagonal waves and holes it makes stand up paddling much harder.   I do think that anyone can paddle class 1 and even easy class 2 on an SUP but when you have to start reading the river and dealing with more complex currents it gets really really hard.  Which is a great challenge for experienced paddlers but could leave newer paddlers very wet.

It was a great day and weekend visiting Andy and Erica at Riversport and enjoying the community that is hanging out at the Lucky Dog Cafe in Confluence Pa.

Big Thanks to Erica, Andy, and the crew at Riversport and the Lucky Dog Cafe

Here is the video I promised.  Later Shane

plus a few more photos

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