The first time my wife and I paddled together, in the same boat, was in the New River Gorge, WV. We took a borrowed Jackson Kayak Dynamic Duo down the Lower New with a bunch of friends. I wrote a short piece about it years ago. Hope you enjoy it:
1. Classic Run: Paddling the Lower New
Deep in the New River Gorge careening down the chute above the big hole at Hook 99 rapid, my wife yelled: “Paddle hard!” Her frantic tone caught my attention. We had agreed early on in our relationship to never scream at each other. But it was too late. “Uh oh,” was the only response I could muster. Our tandem kayak skirted a large boulder on the downstream side pausing on a watery precipice. The boat began to lean into the hole. I thrust my paddle in and arched back, trying to avoid the spray. But like the bar patron trapped by a spit-spraying local drunk, we were going to get wet!
Photo courtesy of Jackson Kayak
We dropped into the hole, flipped, and swam after a futile attempt to roll up. I sat back into my PFD with my feet up, laughing and enjoying the scenery as I floated through the next rapid following as our boat took off down river. The driver of the Wednesday night free shuttle had called our craft a marriage breaker, but we had been confident in our ability to keep it laid back, upright and fun. After all, it is hard to embrace trite relationship battles when immersed in such grandeur. My wife and I met in the eddy after Greyhound hole, got back in our boat and kissed before the river’s cascading green backdrop. A prehistoric canyon, the gorge is a steep, forested guardian to a more primitive time. It is wild, runs fast, and is the perfect place to get wet. So get out there. Float the river with your significant other or just grab a friend. I’ve seen more relationships forged in this beautiful gorge than not and that is part of the magic.
HOW TO GET THERE: The Lower New River is wild whitewater. Seek experience, either learned or bought (guide) before embarking on a river run. A number of area outfitters offer kayak clinics and Lower New rafting trips. The New River Gorge Convention and Visitors Bureau (800-927-0263)
Product Spotlight :
The Dynamic Duo turns kayaking into a Team sport! Have you ever wanted to take a less experienced friend on the river with you? The Duo gives you the opportunity to share the fun and exhilaration of whitewater kayaking with friends and family members before they can roll or read water. The Duo is also great for two good boaters looking share a day making a run more exciting. Based off the Hero series but with 12 feet of stable hull and high sidewalls, staying right side up is a breeze! The Duo gives you a whole new perspective on kayaking and is equipped with our top of the line outfitting so you and your paddling partner can comfortably and safely have fun all day long