With the calendar about to turn over into 2017, it's time to track down the most popular stories of the past 12 months. A holiday deep dive into our analytics reveals the viral click-bait and the stories and photo features you couldn't get enough of.
(And if there’s something missing, please let us know! Click HERE to tell us what kind of stories you want to see more of in 2017.)


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#10 Life After Royalex

As canoeists still ponder the end of Royalex, a plastic laminate used to construct ultra-tough canoes, single-blade evangelist Darren Bush explored the options in this six-boat canoe review rundown.


#9 Russian Boaters Claim a First Descent in China

Russian rafters are known for their quirky equipment and nerves of steel. In this nail-biter video, a team of cataraft paddlers ventured into the gnarly Cherchen River gorge in far northwest China.


#8 Digital Features: The Confluence and Land of Ice and Bears

We're proud to share rich, sensory-stimulating digital features that combine great writing with photos and video that jumps off the screen. The adventure by C&K‘s Zak Podmore down the Little Colorado River and Tara Mulvany and Jaime Sharp's report from sea kayaking Svalbard were your two favorites.

Wingman Outfitter ready for action

#7 Top Gear: Wingman Outfitter System

In August, C&K editor-at-large Alan Kesselheim reviewed the Wingman, a "Huck Finn rig" that uses two coolers to turn a canoe into a tri-hull. Sound strange? Maybe that's why it was our most popular gear piece of the year.

Photo by Thomas Briley.

Photo by Thomas Briley.

#6 Platform Paddle Camping in North Carolina

Eastern North Carolina is a watery landscape of coastal plains and wetlands. That reality is great for canoeing and kayaking, but not so suitable for camping. Last January, we reported on a network of 40 elevated campsites for overnight paddling trips, and highlighted our top six.

A backfire burns near a Nantahala Outdoor Center Building Nov. 12, 2016. Photo courtesy NOC.

Photo courtesy NOC.

#5 Nantahala Wildfire

November wildfires ripped through hills surrounding some of North Carolina's most popular whitewater rivers, and nearly claimed the legendary Nantahala Outdoor Center.

The new Riversports Rapids whitewater center in Oklahoma City.

#4 Oklahoma Whitewater Center Opens

Oklahoma City's new $45 million artificial whitewater course was big news when it opened in May 2016.

Note the towel that's being used to keep the elbow slightly away from the body.

#3 Get Your Shoulders in Shape

A skills piece from paddling exercise specialist Kim Russell posted in February was your third-favorite story of the year.

Ben Orkin at the completion of his record-setting run. Photo by Pam Wolfson.

Photo by Pam Wolfson.

#2 Grand Canyon Speed Record Falls Again

With a decades-old record for the fastest-ever descent of the Grand Canyon falling twice in a week in January 2016, our in-depth coverage of Ben Orkin's 34-hour run was a wildly popular read.

#1 Sticky Superlatives Triple Tie: Shark Chases Kayak, Grand Canyon Flash Flood, and Canoeist Runs Slave River

Shark chases kayaker; flash-flood on the Grand Canyon; and a tiny boat tackles a giant wave: We know viral videos when we see them. Once again, you-won't-believe-this videos took the cake in a three-way tie for our most popular post(s) of 2016.

Compare the Top Stories of 2015

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