A few days before we left Asheville for the Holidays and headed up to the snow we got a great day of paddling in on the Green. It started out with just a few people and grew into a group of 12 that was split 50/50 — 6 men to 6 women. This doesn’t happen often on Class V rivers and it was really fun.
As I was paddling through the first few class III rapids I noticed that there was a lot of water coming into my boat. I had someone check my drain plug and it was fine so I continued on. As I started paddling through the class V section I felt more water pouring in and my boat getting more difficult to maneuver. I pulled over to empty my boat and checked for a crack, but didn’t see one. I kept paddling and soon found my boat full of water again. As I entered Zwix my boat subbed out in the hole and I found myself paddling like crazy to get through. When I pulled over above Gorilla and pulled my skirt to take a look and there was water up to my legs inside my boat! I checked my boat for a crack and sure enough, there was one on the chine of my boat. I’ve been paddling for Dagger since 1999 and I’ve never broken a boat — I suppose there’s a first time for everything!
After I saw the crack it seemed as though the water started flowing in much faster. From then on I had to pull over every third or fourth rapid to empty. Once I had drained the water out of my boat I would make sure that my kayak was on dry land before getting in and putting on my skirt. Then I’d launch into the water and paddle like crazy until the water was up to my legs again. It was a workout! I made sure that I emptied my kayak above Toilet Bowl and Hammer Factor because I knew that I wanted the least amount of water possible in my boat going through those last two rapids. When I hit the hole in Hammer Factor my kayak subbed out big time and I did a huge back ender as all of the water in my kayak flowed into my stern. I flipped over and got caught in a pocket against the wall on the left. That’s when I felt a lot more water coming into my boat and realized that my skirt had blown! I tried rolling twice and got to the point where my head was just out of the water. My boat was too heavy for me to roll up. I stepped out of my boat and proceeded to swim down the last little hump. Bummer! It was pretty funny and I got lots of cheers and jeering from the group. The other women in the group assured me that it didn’t count as a swim because it was due to equipment failure…
It was a really fun day even with the sinking boat and my little swim!