Featured in C&K’s 2011 Whitewater issue, available on newsstands now.
RUSH STURGES LIKES TO GO BIG WITH STYLE. That’s why the producer and star of Dynasty, Dream Result and Frontier makes the bow draw to boof stroke his go-to creekboating move. This technique (displayed at right by Rafa Ortiz) makes it simple and efficient to line your boat up before taking that big, game-breaking forward stroke-whether you’re trying to clear a boat-eating hydraulic or land a waterfall with precision.
PLACE THE STROKE. To move my boat to the right in a tight spot, I’ll do the draw on my right side. I usually take a big left stroke first, for momentum, and then plant my blade to the right of the bow with the paddle shaft vertical. Cock your wrist back so the blade is parallel to the boat-positioned for a draw, not a power stroke. Now engage your torso to pull the bow of your boat to the right, toward the blade. Hold your boat angle by keeping the paddle blade planted in the water.
TIME IT RIGHT. You’ll know this better after scouting, but the ideal boof depends on the size of the drop. Be patient when you’re holding that angle with the vertical paddle shaft. Let your boat glide through the water using the planted blade to fine-tune your angle right up to the lip. A lot of boofs fail when paddlers take the stroke too early. When you reach the lip, un-cock your wrist to engage the power face of the blade and take your boof stroke.
DON’T OVERDO IT. Generally, it’s good to keep your weight centered or slightly forward in your boat. But on larger drops, the 45-degree entry angle is best. So start a little back of center and bring your body forward with the stroke. Don’t pull too hard either. A little goes a long way. These days, I rarely try to land flat, even on big hydraulics because too big of a stroke brings my nose up and I loose all speed on landing. Plus it makes it easier to get endered.
MAKE IT LOOK GOOD. The bow draw to boof has developed in the modern paddling era. It’s a cleaner, more stylish way of running stuff than just charging in and ruddering. It’s more graceful, and it sets you up better. Visualize this technique, then practice it on easier runs. It’ll make your creeking experience safer-and more stylish.
– As told to Joe Carberry