Forward motion, headfirst & horizontal to gravity!
Driving home from mountains in North Carolina we took the scenic highway 64 down past the Ocoee River where I saw a parade of rafts at the put in for the Middle. The water was lit by the sun as if it was filled with floating diamonds. I knew at that precise moment I was going to be getting in that river!
I used to boogie board in California and figured there had to be a way to do that in a river ... I was not interested in kayaking or rafting. That evening I began researching online, found "riverboarding" along with various equipment and, within a week, had ordered all the gear online I needed to get started. I also found Kevin Yount on FB who (with his trusty water horse "Aquianna") soon became my mentor.
I rock climbed for many, many years before finally burning out on the sport. I never thought I would find anything as exciting, challenging and fulfilling as climbing was. So I am extremely lucky to have found a new wilderness experience that I am as psyched about as riverboarding.
I love this "sport" (which, for me, borders at times on being on an almost quasi-religious mystical experience) because the goal is to become 'one with the river' in a way that you simply cannot do in a kayak, raft or anything else. With riverboarding, you are IN the water .... not ON it. You are not avoiding being in the water ... you are immersed in it. (Kayakers laugh about "having to take a swim.") You are becoming intimate with the river in a way that you can never experience if you approach the river "at arm's length" -- i.e. with a paddle. Riverboarding is a way of falling in love, if you will, with the spirit of a river which you cannot do in any other way. Maybe "love" isn't quite the right word however I do think all of you on this board in fact love the rivers ... you have a tremendous passion for the river. Maybe you would want to simply call it a passion.
Riverboarding strikes me as having an almost Eastern/Zen organic feel to it vs. kayaking et. al. which seems to me to be a very Westernized and technological approach to a wilderness encounter. This is not to say one is better than the other ... it's just what you like or are looking for. I like being wet.
This is a relatively "new" sport in the U.S., with huge potential to grow in the coming years. And I believe it will.
@Jay & Kevin: I see this thread is ready to ... fork. LOL
Kevin that's an awesome story to share ... it shows you are not just a great boarder but also a grand innovator, and improvisor, when it comes to picking up hot river chicks. You just have to remember to ask them out! ;)
I grew up in Minnesota (aka the land of ten-thousand lakes; the Minnesota state bird also happens to be the Mosquito!) As a little girl my family and I spent many, many summers on various lakes either swimming and rowing.
I learned about river boarding while residing in western Montana (aka God's country). I fell in love with white water rafting and eventually learned about river boarding through two river guides. River boarding looked like wicked, wild fun, and something I would really love doing. It was insta-LOVE the first time my board hit white water, and I've never looked back. As I jumped out of Round-Up (a section of white water on the Blackfoot river), a passerby said, "Sh*t, you're crazy!" I just flashed a bright smile and said, "Yeah...isn't it great?" : )
A Fellow Crazy (of the girlie persuasion)