New Sport: Boatocross -- Obstacle Boating!

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Sep 16, 2013
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Cyclocross biking is a big deal these days. People love maneuvering their toys around. I'm finding that I love to handle my canoe a lot, too! Now, whitewater seems to have the corner on the handling market with its slalom sport. But why limit turny fun to whitewater? Why not have flatwater slalom? All slalom is is an obstacle course. Flatwater slalom can be easily set up most anywhere there's flat water. It could be set up with buoys on a lake. But it seems like it might be best in a narrow, twisty stream. Have your course go over and under logs. Narrow squeezes. Have it do various kinds of portages (including over a hill). Have it go thru really shallow sections where you have to get out and run your boat by the painter. A great boat for this would be kinda short, kinda narrow, very light. And you really might want to be standing. You might want to bring 3 tools along: paddle, pole and SUP-paddle -- but I could see that they might bang around -- install quick-clips to hold 'em?

Our local river is all these things: narrow, twisty, shallow and full of jams. Few people try to paddle it. They're missing out!!! I just love "flowing" my way through all the challenges. I use an old Advantage. It weighs about 28 lbs. I mostly do poling. It's so easy to get in and out of the boat for logjams and portages. I do "teeter-totter" over low logs. I do "scootering" through "almost-too-shallows." It's a blast. I'm starting to miss the logjams after we do our annual cleanouts!

Boatocross is a sport that would reward skill more than power and would reward an allround sort of hull more than extreme, exotic or overly-fragile race hull. I think that anything that might widen interest or increase access to paddling and paddlesport would be a good thing. ...Altho boatocross does require all-body fitness and agility.

It would also show the benefits of a canoe over the way-too-common kayak.

My goal is to learn the full speed remount like the cyclocrossers do. I want to learn to toss my boat back in the water and just jump in, landing on one foot in the bottom and with the boat gliding the right direction. I'm not fast enough with that yet. My hull is a bit tippy but I can tell it would be fun to hit it flying. Someday!

-- Jeff Potter
http://outyourbackdoor.com -- HQ for indie outdoor adventure and culture -- 2000+ articles
 
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Joined
Sep 2, 2011
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Raymond, ME
FreeStyle clinics often have sort of boatocross. If we can find a twisty creek with limbo logs that is tidal, there is a clinic for that. Usually in Florida. Last year there was a surprise alligator as an obstacle.

The clinic is called Creekin" Freestyle. Also in all our events we have a canoe slalom course composed of a number of buoys that test your ability to make a sharp u turn but yet accelerate quickly and in a straight line to the next buoy. Its much like barrel racing.
 
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Nov 23, 2012
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Western Adirondacks
The clinic is called Creekin" Freestyle. Also in all our events we have a canoe slalom course composed of a number of buoys that test your ability to make a sharp u turn but yet accelerate quickly and in a straight line to the next buoy. Its much like barrel racing.
Sounds like Brown's Tract during the Adirondack 90-miler - 2.5 miles of twisty 180+ degree turns, with thick lily pads, muddy inside turns, beaver dams, and other boats to strategically pass. Its my favorite section of the 90.
 
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But there are no alligators ( yet. We are trying to get one to Lower Saranac for a frequent houseguest there).. Haven't been to Browns Tract..does it have limbo logs to go under?
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2013
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I found a video for Brown's Tract Adirondack 90 and, yeah, it's a bit winding compared to big rivers, but Boatocross is a lot different.

It's "not so much" like Freestyle Canoeing. It's much splashier, with dyno hustle. Like cyclocross.

It's important that you're moving around a lot in the boat. Also, it helps if the river is shallow enough for poling, which makes the whole process a lot more graceful and fun.

Here's a little video we made of the basics:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syxXTSsOpkk
 
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Sep 13, 2013
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Location
Long Island, NY
I found a video for Brown's Tract Adirondack 90 and, yeah, it's a bit winding compared to big rivers, but Boatocross is a lot different.

It's "not so much" like Freestyle Canoeing. It's much splashier, with dyno hustle. Like cyclocross.

It's important that you're moving around a lot in the boat. Also, it helps if the river is shallow enough for poling, which makes the whole process a lot more graceful and fun.

Here's a little video we made of the basics:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syxXTSsOpkk

Great video! I can dig it. Last time I was out on the Peconic River (here on Long Island, NY which has had alligators http://longisland.news12.com/3-foot-long-alligator-killed-in-peconic-river-by-dec-officer-1.5511290 ) it was too shallow to paddle in spots and the bottom is so thick and muddy I didn't want to hop out and try to wade through the knee to thigh deep slop so I tried paddling standing up. I was able to paddle more efficiently that way by just using the tip of the paddle. I came home and ordered a book on poling.
 
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Boatocross/slalom sounds like fun. The McGuffins' book "Paddle Your Own Canoe" shows a couple of layouts that they intend for practice but could be fun as slalom courses.
 
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