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Paddleing Safety, Trip Preparation and General Info

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Many of you have ask about how to best prepare for the Paddle Days Event. Hopefully this blog will provide some useful advice. SAFETY FIRST - The Kerr Dam Tailrace section of the Roanoke River is just below the dam and the water stays about 10 degrees cooler than in the lakes at any time of the year. During water releases from the dam the current will increase to 3-4 mph and rise about 5' over a 15- 20 min. time period. Plenty of time to get to higher ground and there is nothing to fear ....unless you have waded out to a rock for a picnic (not adviseable). This current makes for a plesant float downriver. LIFE JACKETS ARE A MUST! We will have safety boats nearby for the event but if you were to capsize ....everything can be funny and memorable.... unless you are not wearing a life jacket. Life jackets or PFD's (personal floatation devices) are included with every canoe or kayak rental. If you capzie STAY WITH YOUR BOAT...heck with the paddle, it will float.We can get you back in to the boat but have you ever tried to mount a paddle? There are many good YouTube videos on what to do and how to renenter a kayak or canoe in the event of a capsize. This event is not a teaching session and it is up to each paddler to know the sport, the associated dangers and have a basic understanding of the techniques and skills. That said it is really very easy to master the basic skills.... a few links to some of the better videos are included in our LINKS on this website but there are literally hundreds more. Please watch some of them or sign up for a class with Frog Hollow or one of our other providers. WHAT TO WEAR - As we mentioned the water is cool and the air may be even cooler. Oct 15th was selceted because it is not so darn hot but remeber that a cold front can make it become quite chilly overnight. Synthetic clothing is best and our many outfitters offer the best paddling attire. Although you will surely look snappy for the camera it is not essential to go "gear-up" for your first enjoyable day on the river. Running gear, snythetic long johns or quick dry clothing along with a nylon windbreaker, cap and sunglasses are usually all that are needed. Wet shoes ...the kind that dry quickly are cool but that old pair of Vans or Converse will also work...and can be equally snappy. One of your first purchases that you will never regret is a "dry-bag". Its kinda like a big zip-loc baggie on steroids. We'll give you a small zip-loc with your map and breakfast snacks at the registration but having one large enough to hold a pair of dry shorts and a tee shirt to change in to at the take-out can mean a much more comfortable shuttle ride back to the top. if you are totally soaking wet we'll vote to either let you ride with the kayaks, ride as a hood ornament or simply let eveyone else grab you and wring you out before climbing in to the van. Its also a good idea to bring along a towel or something to sit on. Although a kneeling or semi-knelling position is most stable a 5 mile paddle will find you shifting among positions and having somehting to coushin the knees or the seat is handy. Oh well, I'm sure I'll think of some other stuff to blog before the 15th but DO COME ON OUT AND HAVE FUN PADDLING!
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