Video | The Rugged Side of River SUP | Nolichucky Gorge

We’re usually exposed to only the prettiest pictures of whitewater SUP on social media--snapshots of stunningly stuck runs or beautifully boofed drops picturing paddlers standing strong and glorious amid ferocious rapids. We’re here to tell you that those pretty pictures are a lie. The reality of the river is messy--tons of swimming, struggling to stay afloat, bruises from boulders and awkward approaches. Stuck runs are a rare anomaly in most cases and everyone ends up swimming at some point. That’s why we’re stoked to share this indiscriminate look at the whitewater SUP experience, a true view of the glory and grit involved in running rapids on the Nolichucky Gorge.

We’ll also take this opportunity to remind the community that while everyone has a different idea of safety on the river, it all comes down to common sense. The great debate on river SUP safety gear aside, staying safe is a result of skill, comfort and preparation. Just as in the surf zone, know before you go, and don’t go unless you’re 100% certain you can hang.

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