The boof is my favorite river running move. It’s usually considered a must-make move in some class IV and V rapids, but it’s a move you can easily practice in class II and III. It’s really fun! The name comes from the sound that your kayak makes when it lands flat on the water after launching off of the rock or drop. The purpose of the boof is to lift the bow of your kayak as you land off of a drop or rock or as you enter a hole. When your bow is lifted your kayak stays free of the water, continues to accelerate and remains stable. It’s also a good way to enter eddies high when the downstream current is noticeably higher than the eddie current. Here are some tips on how to boof.
Photo 1: The first step to a good boof is your approach to the rock or drop that you want to boof. In this photo Anne is boofing off the right side of the rock. As she paddles toward the rock she’s keeping her eyes on the spot she wants to hit on the rock. She doesn’t want to go too high or she’ll get stuck on dry rock, but she doesn’t want to go loo low because she’ll miss the rock entirely. Practicing your boof is a good exercise in reading the current and boat control.
Photo 2: When you’re boofing off the side of a rock or drop you always take your boof stroke on the downstream side or on the outside edge of the rock. Notice how vertical Anne’s boof stroke is. She’s reaching forward to plant her paddle at the edge of the rock.
Photo 3: Once she plants her paddle she thrusts her hips and feet up and forward.
Photo 3: Her boat is accelerating across the rock and her bow is lifted as she smiles to the camera! Notice her body position — it’s preparing to lift her right edge for the landing even though her right edge is dropped due to the angle of the rock.
Photo 4: As she lands her boat makes the boof sound, her upper body weight is centered, her right edge is lifted for stability and she’s ready to take a stroke and keep moving.
There are different ways to boof a rock. You can boof straight over the middle if there’s enough water going over the rock, you can boof straight off of either side of a rock (pictured above) or you can book off the side of a rock into the eddy behind the rock. Boofing into eddies is a skill that will take your paddling up a notch. To do this you would do everything the same as pictured above except you would come at the rock with more right to left angle (the same angle you would use to do an eddy turn, but you cut higher on the side of the rock).