I'm Susan, although "dance" and "dancewater" are becoming more common as nicknames....I am 43 (this is middle-age, folks, not old), single, living in Asheville, NC, USA. I love this area.
I am a down-river runner, and I never did get a lot out of playing holes, waves, etc. I love running a clean line, however... I run Class 2 to 4. I cannot imagine why folks would pay money to see videos of boaters messing up on WW rivers. You can see that for free on the Ocoee every weekend....
I started boating in 84, and I am now on my third boat (had a dancer for 12 years!) and fourth paddle. I paddle a Noah SQ, which I am pretty happy with, although I wish it was shorter and tracked better. I bent up one paddle running Tablesaw (yes, I remember the tablesaw, and the bull's eye at Hell Hole), lost one paddle at Tablesaw when a raft guide threw me a rope and said "let go of your paddle" and gave one paddle away. I have a Silver Creek now, which is a work of art. I do have my name on my paddle, but I don't think I will be losing any gear anytime soon. I am prone, lately, to leaving it behind inadvertently, however....
Never had an injury beyond a bruise. (well, I got Giardia twice...) Seen lots of other folks have really bad days on a river, I could count on one hand the times I had a bad day... always due to unforeseeable bad weather or equipment problems or other folk's having a really bad day..
I have boated (this year): the Nolichucky, Ocoee, Chattooga, Tellico, Pigeon, French Broad, James, Maury, Shannadoah, Rappahanock, Nantahala....Tried to get on: Big South Fork, Citico, Clear Creek, upper Green, Laurel Fork, Obed-Emory rivers....... but weather or water levels were not right. (It doesn't matter... I will get a chance again later.) My three favorite rivers (right now) are: Tellico, Tellico, Tellico. It is just so beautiful.
The best part of boating has been all the wonderful, wonderful, wacky, wacky, friends I have made over the years.... I am still friends with folks I boated with in 1984. (Hi Bud!) And have made many more. I started reading RBP in 95... thanks for all the laughs!!
I have seen the squirt boats come and mostly go... all the while thinking, "those are way dangerous for down-river running". I think the playboats now seen on the river are also way-dangerous for down-river running.....
There has been a significant increase in the number of WW boaters out
there, and an even more significant increase in the number of deaths. I
would never have believed this back in 84-85...... I think boating can
be done safely, and nearly all of these deaths are avoidable..... I am,
quite frankly, having a hard time with this....
I also think safety mostly happens, or does not happen, before you put on the river.
boat safely please,