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Young Ripper Spotlight - West Nolen

Posted: 03.10.2013

Young Ripper Spotlight - West Nolen


I get to spend a lot of time working with younger paddlers coaching them on freestyle, creeking etc. It blows me away when I see really young paddlers out on the water getting after it. Kids are great at letting us know when they are scared or don't really want to do something, but once that fear subsides, hold on because it's going to be hard to keep up.

My job in particular is to make sure that we still keep a reverence for the power of the water and how we are literally just harnessing in to the currents power. Ultimately, the river decides at the end of the day what it will allow us to get away with. With that in mind, we need to keep a respectful tone.

I can think of no better way to do this than by throwing people in hole son the river. I mean, in areas of low consequence, but still throwing people into holes so they can feel the raw energy of the current. It's a great way to train ourselves and helps us to prevent a "avoidance mentality" on the river.

But I digress. This post is highlighting one of our local rippers in Charlotte, NC who I see having a bright future with the sport. He hasn't been in a play boat all that much, this was his 4th time in fact, but he is really digging surfing and throwing enders. He gets a great amount of joy out of playing the river.

What are some of your favorite ways to play the river that help you increase a calm demeanor for your river running/creeking?