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.
I’ve been in similar situations and quit. That’s how I know that regret lasts longer than hardship and cold.
“I knew it was going to change the entire world of paddling.” —Plastic kayak pioneer Tom Johnson.
“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.
War-weary Americans couldn’t get enough aluminum canoes. in 1946 Grumman had orders for 10,000 on the books.
"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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.