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CK Vault: Gauley According to Nealy

CK Vault: Gauley According to Nealy

In 1984, the one and only William Nealy inked this visual guide to the original and best river party, Gauley Fest. Nealy left us in 2001, but his art—and Gauley Fest—live on.

Trials at Sea

Trials at Sea

I’ve been in similar situations and quit. That’s how I know that regret lasts longer than hardship and cold.

The Fun Brothers, Jim and Jeff Snyder

The Fun Brothers, Jim and Jeff Snyder

Their Holy Grail was the “mystery move”—using river currents to pull their low-volume boats completely underwater. Jim pushed the design and technique until he and his fellow squirtists were swi[...]

Paddling Provocateur Corran Addison

Paddling Provocateur Corran Addison

“I used to make the joke that the industry was filled with gray-haired, bearded, tree-hugging forest fairies. There was a sort of status quo about what a boat should do, and what kayaking was. And I[...]

Tom Johnson, the Prophet of Polyethylene

Tom Johnson, the Prophet of Polyethylene

“I knew it was going to change the entire world of paddling.” —Plastic kayak pioneer Tom Johnson.

Guerilla Warriors of the Self-Bailing Revolution

Guerilla Warriors of the Self-Bailing Revolution

“The novelty of building boats wears off after about the fifth one,” he says, “Besides, I wanted to be a user, not a builder.” —Self-bailing pioneer Marty McDonnell.

Aluminum Canoe Guru Bill Hoffman

Aluminum Canoe Guru Bill Hoffman

War-weary Americans couldn’t get enough aluminum canoes. in 1946 Grumman had orders for 10,000 on the books.

Sit-on-Top Visionary Tim Niemier

Sit-on-Top Visionary Tim Niemier

"I’ve come to peace with the fact that my addiction is designing new boats,” says the creative mastermind behind the sit-on-top kayak.

Open-boat Bomber Nolan Whitesell

Open-boat Bomber Nolan Whitesell

To get a permit to run the Niagara Gorge, Whitesell had to post bond against the cost of a potential rescue. He put up his home as collateral.

Sea Kayak Savant Frank Goodman

Sea Kayak Savant Frank Goodman

“They called it the ‘the archetypical sea kayak. I thought they were joking. The Nordkapp was simply a way to do bigger and better trips.” —Sea kayak designer Frank Goodman.

The Bublik

The Bublik

While the craft is truly impossible to flip, its shortcomings include an inability to hold a line, and the fact that paddlers can’t help but feel a bit like gerbils.

Mike Yee’s Airbag Revolution

Mike Yee’s Airbag Revolution

Early whitewater canoeists stuffed their oversized, creased and mangled Blue Holes and Mad Rivers with salvaged tractor-trailer inner tubes and the like. Then Mike Yee came along.

The Miracle Material, Royalex

The Miracle Material, Royalex

Paddlers called the tire-makers generic canoes “Warsaw Rockets,” after the Indiana town where they were produced. They praised their durability but not their performance.

Video Visionary Wayne Gentry

Video Visionary Wayne Gentry

“We just wanted to shoot the stuff we were running to show people the special places we get to see,” says the Godfather of whitewater videography.