Posts by ccwalbridge

Hand of God Rescue with Charlie Walbridge

Hand of God Rescue with Charlie Walbridge

Hand of God Rescue is an important rescue for kayakers to learn. This technique will allow a fellow kayaker to rescue another kayaker that is upside down in their kayak asking for assistance. The kayaker that is upright helping the upside down kayaker will pull along side the upside down boat and right it. The
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Live Bait Rescue with the Rescue PFD

Live Bait Rescue Using a Rescue PFD

This is a great example of how to use a Rescue PFD during a first person rescue scenario. This technique take practice and isn’t always the first course of action but is effective and quick.

Tubers on Clear Creek River in Colorado

A Rescue Arrested – How It Happened and What We Can Learn

A Rescue Arrested – How It Happened and What We Can Learn Although outfitters know how to deal with anything from a routine swims to a life-threatening pins, few are prepared to work with Emergency Responders. When police, fire, and rescue personnel arrive, the dynamics of a situation change. Search and rescue (SAR) professionals are
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Kick Back in a Failed Z-drag

Catastrophic Failure of a Z-drag Z-drag haul systems create a tremendous amount of force and can put a major strain on your equipment. You always count on it going right but what happens when it goes wrong? Here is an example I do with my students to get them to understand kick back.  

Racing Through the 70’s

During the late 60’s and early 70’s whitewater kayaks were hard to find and kayak schools didn’t exist. You learned to boat from the guys at the local paddling club if you were lucky, or by trial and error if you weren’t. If you were serious about running hard whitewater, you raced. My buddies and
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Charlie Walbridge using throw bag.

Near Miss in the Watauga Gorge

The Watauga River west of Boone, North Carolina is one of the best technical river runs in the Southeast. I’d been down it a few times before, and except for a rather eventful first run with Jack Wright in the mid-70’s, had always found it enjoyable. The two previous trips had been in the company
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Charlie Walbridge raft guide

Working for NOC in ’74 – A Yankee Paddler Goes South

In the winter of 1973 I found a help-wanted ad for river guides and kayak instructors in the American Whitewater Journal. I sent my application to a place called the Nantahala Outdoor Center in North Carolina and in due course was offered a job. Being a Northern boy, I remember being apprehensive as I drove south the
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Cheat River

The Glory Days of Cheat River Rafting

In the 1970’s, long before anyone was a sponsored paddler, the only way to make money by paddling was to be a river guide. Unlike the west, where commercial and private paddlers formed very separate groups, back east, we were all part of the same community. Since there were very few skilled whitewater paddlers around,
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Gauley Season- The First Ten Years

I’ve always enjoyed other people’s stories of their first runs of the Gauley River, but they’re very different from the early days I knew. John Berry tried to run the river in open canoes sometime before the dam during the mid 60’s and Sayre Rodman made the first successful run in rafts in 1966. The
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Charlie Walbridge Swifwater Rescue Instruction Whitewater Consultant Ohiopyle, Youghiogheny, Cheat Big Sandy, NRS Salesman

Getting Started Paddling (True Confessions of an Old-Time Boater)

Nowadays it’s easy to run down to a store, buy a kayak, or take classes at a local kayak school. But years ago starting out was different. This is my story. It’s the summer of 1962, I’m a 14 year-old at Mowglis, a boy’s camp in New Hampshire. We’ve been floating down the Saco River for a day and
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