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35 Little Pine Rd, Marshall, NC 28753

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WHAT OUR GUESTS SAY

Hello all,
 
What an excellent little company this is. Beautiful facility, clean spacious bathrooms, caring funny and low key staff. We spent the afternoon there yesterday, August 2nd. We took out three duckies, one of which our ten year old used and two others were in the raft. Ian was our talented guide.  But honestly,every guide was terrific and engaged.  They behaved as if we were the first guests they ever had.  Amazing.  Patient!  I can imagine it is less than ideal to have newbies out in kayaks on the river, yet your guides are amazingly patient and encouraging. Thank you for a wonderful experience. Last but not least, the pictures you took were incredible! So glad we invested in that take home momento.
We will be back, God willing.

It is Ducky Time on the French Broad

August 04, 2015

It is Ducky Time on the French Broad!

What are these ducks you speak of?
Ducks are inflatable kayaks. Also known as IKs, sport yaks, fun yaks and who knows what else. What they are is FUN! FUN! FUN!

It is Ducky Time on the French Broad!

What are these ducks you speak of? Rafting on the French Broad River
Ducks are inflatable kayaks. Also known as IKs, sport yaks, fun yaks and who knows what else. What they are is FUN! FUN! FUN!
The French Broad River is a free-flowing river and when the water level drops, which is not unusual in the summer months, we try to use smaller boats. Smaller rafts and ducks mean more splash from the rapids and less time spent stuck on rocks. Ducks are great fun but they are not necessarily for everyone. They do take a bit more work, and the chances of falling out of the boat is slightly higher. No experience is necessary, just a sense of adventure and a willingness to try it. GoPro Duck
How does it work?
Well, when folks arrive for their trip there will be a discussion with the trip leader about the type of boats available for that trip. If the water is too high, we all go in guided rafts. And for that matter, a guided raft is always available as an option. If the water level is right for ducks the trip leader will discuss that option with your group. The whole group does not have to do the same thing. It’s not unusual for a group to try different boat options, with part of the group going in ducks and some going in rafts. The ducks typically follow the raft containing the rest of their party. This is why we call them ducks. Ideally they look like a line of ducklings following the mama duck (aka a raft) The nice thing about this scenario is it provides the option of trading boats. Part way down the trip those in the raft have the potential option of switching with one of the rafters and giving the duck a try. I say potential option because it is not uncommon for the ducker to be unwilling to trade and suddenly become hard of hearing and unable to approach the raft containing the potential duck usurper. Duck and Heron
How to paddle a duck is part of the pre-trip orientation video and more instruction will be given once the trip reaches the put-in beach. Once on the river the guides will continue to offer advice and suggestions on not only the routes, but also on paddling technique. Often there is a guide along who is also paddling a duck giving encouraging advice and route suggestions. There are certain “tricky” spots on the river were a guide will be stationed as sort of a beacon. The guide will be giving advice to each duck as they approach, such as: “come this way”, “move left”, “paddle hard”, “hold your breath”. It’s a great game of connecting the guides and getting through the tight spots.
Ducks are appropriate for all ages and skill levels, though little kids can tire after a while. Which brings me to our many back-up plans. The most common plan in case things just are not working out for a ducker is to just switch out with somebody in a raft. This works 99% of the time. On rare occasions we have been known to tow a duck or even deflate one and put it in the raft. We make sure there are a few empty spaces in the rafts in case of this eventuality. But it’s very rare. Happy Duck
So why do we even bother with ducks?
Because we think it makes for a better experience on the river for some people. It’s more work for us, and more expense for us, but we love being on the river and teaching folks how to paddle. When you’re in a duck by yourself you learn a lot about currents and how the boat works, and, on occasion, you learn a lot about how you work.  Almost always good stuff. And the reason we don’t us double ducks? Well, after a while we started calling them divorce boats. Having two people in the boat creates two turning points for the boat. Managing that takes a lot more skill, practice and communication then the single boats. Our experience is that it just works out better for everyone to use the single ducks.
So the next time you’re on the French Broad River with us give the ducks a try. You might never want to go back to a raft.

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