Hand Paddling the steeps!

  • Posted on
  • By Willy C
  • Posted in whitewater
Hand Paddling the steeps!

Riveraholic Hand Paddles can bring your kayaking to the next level or spice up your local runs!

Video Credit: Dustin Caza shot with the DJI Mavic Pro


It has been a wet spring and summer here in the Adirondack Park. Locals might tell you this is normal, visitors looking to venture outside might not be keen, but let's get one thing straight, the whitewater season has been PLENTIFUL!


The Mighty Moose River in Old Forge as of late has been great for paddling flatwater. With higher river levels lately folks are met with very few rocks making for little boat abuse. However those, like myself, seeking more of a rush have been blessed with good flows on the downstream whitewater sections of the Moose.


I have been paddling the "Bottom Section" of the Moose River (south and west just 30 min from Old Forge, NY) since 2009. I could go on and on about all the reasons I paddle it, but long story short, it's just home. I moved here to live, work, and play all in the same area and the Bottom Moose (Class IV/V) does not dissapoint. Many folks do not realize it's actually running/runnable much of the year (the top four rapids Fowlersville through Double Drop at least).


This last week after I had a few laps already paddling the Bottom in my Pyranha Machno using a Werner Sho-gun paddle, a close friend and fellow paddler suggested I give his hand paddles a try. I first hesitated and didn't want to "waste a lap" using hand paddles...but after more thought I figured why not give something different a go.


Hand paddling has its inherent dangers. The paddler has their hand strapped to the hand paddles and uses them just like the blades of a kayak paddle. That means you lose the mechanical advantage (power) of a normal paddle, finger dexterity (you have to pull them off your hands to get to your grab loop when in a tight spot), and one risks shoulder injury (again they are strapped to your hands). The beautiful thing is it requires the user to rely more on overall boat control. By boat control I mean using ones body positioning, use of the edges, knowing currents, and allowing/predicting how the boat will react in the turbulent waters to navigate their way down the river.


In just the first few minutes of dawning the Riveraholic Large (Creek) hand paddles I was reminded how unique of an experience they offer. You have more articulation in your stroke. Your hands (your body) are submerged in the soft buttery currents of the river. All in all, I argue you feel more one with the river...at least I do. Would I hand paddle a new more challenging stretch of whitewater with them, not very likely (though I'm sure some do), but given the right experience and water levels, I'll be sure to bring them in my gear bag more often! Oh and they make for some easy combat rolls, back deck rolls, etc and quite fun!


At any rate, I'd recommend giving Hand Paddles a try some time, you'll get a great shoulder, arm, and core workout! If anything I bet you'll have a big grin on your face because I know I did!






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