Saturday, October 27, 2012

The Perfect Wave

Fayetteville home of kayaking WV

Despite the perfect levels mystery move master and squirt boat specialist Steve O'Keefes not at Last Chance with us and instead is downstream stand up paddle (SUP) boarding 'the perfect wave'. As the water levels drop we head down to join him and as the sunsets over the Gauley we have one of my most enjoyable surf sessions of the trip. SUP'ing is a new discipline of paddle sport that is getting really popular but that have never tried up until today. Its a really simple concept, standing up on a specially designed river surf board and using a paddle to help balance and control the board whilst you surf around.

Sup'ers in West Virginia

Steve O's got a few boards and brings them down to teach me and Clay how its done. I start off on the beginner long board and have a crash / splash course on how to paddle, as I try to paddle up the eddy to the wave and ferry glide across the main river flow. Paddling the board was actually relatively easy to pick up but it was balancing that was causing a few issues. Not because the board wobbles (its really stable) or because I haven't got much balance stood on a board (several years windsurfing as a kid helped that) but mainly because Black Dog had jumped aboard and joined me for the start of the trip. So my first SUP experience was made super challenging by a 20kg dog perched or should I say moving around on the front of the board :o)

Randy Fisher on the perfect wave at low water levels

Once I eventually made the ferry glide and black dog jumped back to the safety of land it was time to play. After a couple of practice wipeouts. I caught the wave and the fun really began. Its a really enjoyable experience standing up, surfing a stationary wave midway down a beautiful gorge. A chilled out relaxing experience only broken by the massive face full of crisp cool whitewater each time I accidentally caught an edge and flipped. The locals call it the 'Perfect Wave' and that it is. Steve O spends hours here each day and its no suprise, its great.

Suping in West Virginia

Relaxing fun on the water, in a beautiful valley, with some great friends. Its the perfect end to my West Virginia trip.

The end of another great trip to WV