The clicks are in. Google has crunched the numbers and now we reveal … drumroll please … CanoeKayak.com’s most popular stories from the past year. If nothing else, 2014 proved our readers’ interest in the superlative, with stories about the highest drops, the longest trips, and of course, the world’s largest cohesive paddling blob ruling the page-view counts. But still nothing generates interest quite like a good whale’s tale.
|#1 Kayakers Ride Whale|
|How close is too close? A video of a southern right whale surfacing beneath a tandem kayak elicited passionate responses from C&K readers. Editor Jeff Moag promoted it on Facebook with the tagline, “Here’s a real video we wish was fake.” A follow-up online story exploring the controversy was our most popular post of 2014.|
|#2 Canoe Waterfall Record|
|Canadian Jim Coffey shattered a 20-year-old waterfall record in 2013 when he launched his open-canoe off 60-foot Cascada Trunchas in Mexico. His record only stood for 16 weeks, before Brad McMillan hucked the 70-foot Desoto Falls in northern Alabama on April 8, 2014—CanoeKayak.com’s second-most popular story of the year.|
|#3 Doba Arrives|
|Once again, the trans-Atlantic exploits of Polish super-sea kayaker Aleksander Doba captured readers’ imaginations. Three stories were amongst your favorites: Doba’s rejection of assistance from a tanker ship on the mid-Atlantic; the countdown to the completion of his 6,000-mile expedition; exclusive photos from his landfall in New Smyrna Beach, Fla.; and the video of Doba’s victory speech after winning the Expedition of the Year Award at the 2014 Canoe & Kayak Awards.|
|#4 Raft-palooza versus Floatzilla|
|In August, paddlers prepared to crowd New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee in an attempt to break the Guinness World Record for the most canoes and kayaks ever gathered into a single cohesive floating blob. Our story about the push to bring together over 2,100 paddlecraft—and educate the public about the threats of invasive species on waterways—received a Godzilla-size share of Web traffic.|
|#5 Wilderness Leave No Trace|
|Readers loved perusing our top picks for leave-no-trace camping essentials on the heels of C&K ’s July issue, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Wilderness Act—landmark legislation that issued unprecedented protection to millions of acres of wild America. We polled seven young, well-traveled paddlers to hear their definitions of wilderness and why it’s relevant in the 21st century.
|#6 Grand Canyon Alone|
|The Southwest’s most famous landform never fails to garner lots of page-views online. Three stories captured your attention in 2014: John Nestler’s account of his 27-day solo journey on the Colorado; Charli Kerns’ women’s-only review of Grand Canyon gear; and our story of Google’s new “virtual tour” of the canyon.|
|#7 Sarah Outen’s Crossing|
|Our feature story about round-the-world adventurer Sarah Outen and British sea kayaker Justine Curgenven’s journey across the Aleutian Islands chain grabbed lots of attention—in print and online.|
|#8 Canoeing the Rio Roosevelt|
|Early last summer, Minnesota paddlers Dave Freeman and Paul Schurke traveled to the Amazon to retrace Theodore Roosevelt’s 1914 expedition on the “River of Doubt”—now known as the Rio Roosevelt. In the wake of the 2014 World Cup, this popular story proved that Brazil was still on many readers’ minds.|
|#9 Daniel Fox’s Close Call|
|In September, French-Canadian adventure photographer Daniel Fox’s sea kayak journey from British Columbia to San Francisco ended with a shattered kayak on an Oregon surf beach. Readers were fascinated by our online Q&A.
|#10 Tales From the Trail|
|We’re calling it a tie for the final slot in our Top Ten of 2014 list between two similar distant, well-documented expeditions: the first from the Nobody’s River journey of four women tackling the unknown rivers of Mongolia and China; and the second, our exclusive debut of Nine Rivers, a video documenting four friends’ 700-mile canoe journey across northern Ontario.|