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Open Boats at Zoar Gap

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Oct 9, 2016
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Woonsocket, RI
Don’t know how many of you folks are in the northeast, but if you are you have probably been to a dam release on the Deerfield River. You can do the big stuff on the Dryway, or easier stuff below the Fife Brook Dam. We went Saturday and did the run from the Fife Brook Dam down to the Shunpike Rest Area. The biggest rapid on this section is Zoar Gap. I had heard that last year’s floods had changed the Gap, and things definitely got moved around a little. Cutting from the center to the left was easier, and there was a nice shoot down the left side. Here are some open boaters going through - I’m at the end.


The downriver race was Sunday, so there will probably be some videos of tandem boats going through. I haven’t seen them yet.
 
You don't have a pump?
Nope - I don't have a pump. I've thought about it, but never pulled the trigger. For most of the stuff that I do it is easy to get to shore to empty the boat. Also a nice excuse to get out and stretch. For that run I don't need one - I got to the bottom dry (very unlike me). Not like the second guy who went through the two big drops in the middle and made it look easy, and then switched on the pump.
 
Just curious. I'm anti-pump simply because I'm old and pumps have no part in my paddling history. But I sense that a significant portion of the current generation of open canoeists is pumped by pumps.
 
Just curious. I'm anti-pump simply because I'm old and pumps have no part in my paddling history. But I sense that a significant portion of the current generation of open canoeists is pumped by pumps.
Could be that the current generation in interested in running continuous stuff where a pump is helpful, if not essential. There are times when I wish I had a pump, but I don't run a lot of continuous stuff where I can't get to shore or where a swim would be dangerous.
 
Erik, I watched your collage video of various runs of Zoar Gap over the years, and see that you used to paddle an Encore, which I own. I don't recall whether your Outrage is regular or XL, but I'd be interested how you would you compare it to the Encore in terms of stability, turnability, accleratability, dryness, and anything else.
 
Mine is a regular Outrage, not an XL. I am 240 lbs, and back in the day people would have said that I am too big for an Outrage. Now people bigger than me are paddling 8' boats. I do have to be really careful to lean going into turns or the boat will come out from under me. Not sure if that is the boat, or me in the boat. Other than that it has been great. Even at my weight it is very dry. Spins on a dime. Paddles easy - what's not to like.

I still have my Encore - paddled it for years and loved it. It is a foot longer than the Outrage, but it also has a lot of rocker. Kind of tough to compare, but if something happened to the Outrage and I needed to go back to paddling the Encore, I'd be OK with it.
 
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