A duck is a one-person inflatable kayak. It provides the chance to paddle your own boat while on a guided whitewater rafting trip on the French Broad River. There is no extra charge to paddle a duck. Blue Heron Whitewater believes in providing the right gear to match what the French Broad River gives us, so you can have a great trip every time! Ducks are available for both our whitewater rafting trips and our calm water float trips whenever water levels are appropriate.
If you decide to paddle duck on your whitewater rafting trip on the French Broad River you are in the boat by yourself, but you aren't on the river by yourself! Before heading downstream you will get helpful instruction, and then adopt one of our professional guides to follow. In the more challenging whitewater rapids, guides will show you the best routes for maximum fun, and remind you when to show off for the photographer. Ducks are a great option for family whitewater rafting trips and group whitewater rafting trips. You can choose to combine both ducks and rafts within your family or group. That way if some folks want to try a duck and some are a bit apprehensive you trade out boats within your family or group while on the river.
This is how the duck thing works: Since the use of ducks is dependent on the level of the river we do not take reservations for ducks. When you arrive at our location we will discuss the water level and the boat options available for that day. The higher the water, the bigger the boats we use. Typical summer river levels on the French Broad River are moderate and well within the acceptable range for ducks. That can change quickly though if it rains a lot, so we just have to check the river level daily. Water level permitting, ducks will be availble on a first come first served basis.
Assuming the river level is appropriate, you get to decide what boat type or combination of boat types best suits your or your groups desires. If some members of your party would prefer to go down the river in a raft that is your option. A combination of rafts and ducks often works well and gives all members of a party the option of paddling a duck for a portion of the river if they so choose.
Sometimes folks who are on a family whitewater rafting trip or a group rafting trip want to stay together in the same boat. As a family, or as a group. That is completely your choice. Ducks are never the only option and a boat with a guide is always available. Even after you are on the river and you decide you don't want to be in a duck anymore there is almost always someone in a raft willing to switch boats. If not, then there is always room in a guided boat for you and the duck can be towed. It is your trip and we want you and your group or family to have the most available options to ensure an exceptional day on the river.
So what kind of person makes a good duck paddler? Size, age,and athletic ability do not seem to matter as much as having a sense of fun and adventure, a desire to try something new, and a relaxed, go with the flow attitude. So if you are on a family whitewater rafting trip, or a group rafting trip with folks that have a variety of comfort levels with whitewater rafting, you can use the duck option to satisfy those in your family or group who want a little more adventure. It is our experienc that once folks in the rafts see how much fun folks in ducks are having, they want to give it a try. And that is another one of your options. If you can talk them out of their duck that is. If everyone who wants to give paddling a duck a try has that opportunity, it can add to fun and the feeling of accomplishment for those in your family or group.