5 Reasons to paddle a small craft
Choose your own adventure
Mornings on the Middle Fork and the Main Salmon Rivers come with some tough decisions; pancakes or homemade coffee cake; SPF 15 or 30; inflatable kayak, stand up paddle board or the inflatable whale pool toy? Whether you are an experienced kayaker or a first-time river goer, there are a variety of different options for how to experience a day of whitewater. While the inflatable whale (or alligator, or puppy), is generally best enjoyed in the gentlest of flatwater, the inflatable kayaks, hard shell kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddle boards are an exciting, engaging and splashy way to experience the river, under your own power.
1- Something for Everyone
With more small craft offerings than any other Salmon River outfitter, we have an option for every river goer. Never done a river trip before? No problem, we encourage you to try an inflatable kayak, also referred to as a “Ducky”. Not sure you want to paddle through the rapids? Each morning we will let you know what type of whitewater we’ll be paddling that day so that you can know exactly what to expect and when. For the adventurous duo, try the double ducky, a two-seater adventure craft that never fails to bring a little extra excitement!
We also bring along an inflatable stand up paddleboard (SUP), a versatile vessel that is as equally enjoyable in flat water as it is in whitewater! Whether you are working on your headstand in the big eddies of the Main Salmon, tackling the biggest rapid of the day, or just starting to explore what it feels like to literally walk on water, the SUP is an endlessly entertaining craft that is fun for all abilities. Typically, we only provide SUP’s on the Main Salmon due to the nature of the river and the depth of the water.
2- Variety is the Spice of Life
Not sure you want to commit to a small craft for the whole day? Well, you don’t have to. The beauty of the small craft is just that – it’s small, and swapping out your vessel is always an option. Our guide team makes a point to touch base with everyone throughout the day, checking to make sure you are comfortable and happy in your craft. If at any time you want out, just say the word and we’ll find you a new ride.
Some people paddle their craft for the entire trip, while others sample a variety of crafts, for a morning here and an afternoon there. Try something new. See the river from an alternate perspective. Revel in the excitement of captaining your own ship, or paddleboard, or whale. Choose your own adventure, in the comfort of our guidance!
3-Whatever Floats Your Boat
Looking for an option that we don’t already have? Bring your own! Though our arsenal of small crafts is pretty darn robust, we are all about BYOB (as in boat). Bring that new playboat you’ve been wanting to try out or your comfy new river runner. Not a kayaker? Bring your favorite cataraft, raft, canoe or Shredder. Is traveling with your kayak too expensive? Or perhaps you really want to paddle something new? Then paddle one of ours. Check out our Kayak Fleet, (also available on our website). Use of our kayaks is complimentary for our guests. We do however ask that you bring all of your own paddling gear.
4-We’ve Got Your Back
We will give you all of the tools you need to succeed in your small craft, no prior experience necessary (except for hard shell kayakers and canoeists). At the start of each trip, we give a detailed (and entertaining), step-by-step demonstration on how to rock your time in the ducky, paddle raft, oar rig, or SUP. And throughout the whole trip, our stoked and supportive guide team is here to offer encouragement, pointers, advice, positive reinforcement and safety. We know trying something new can be intimidating. That is why we create a safe, fun and educational space in which you can try something new, that you might not otherwise feel comfortable trying. From kayak roll practice to detailed ducky beta, our guides are masters of many crafts and ready to help you make the most of the vessel of your choosing.
Whether for a chill afternoon of calm water, or an exciting rapid, paddling your own craft means you experience the river in the most personal, hands-on way possible. In a fun, safe, and exciting environment, learn the basics of whitewater as you navigate the river and pilot your own vessel down the Middle Fork or Main Salmon Rivers. Expand your whitewater skill set with the expertise of our guides. Push your boundaries! And the best part? Share your small craft stories with your river family at the end of the day!
Want a little more information on all of the possible boat options? Our Boat Choices page gives a great overview of everything we offer from the oar rigs to our kayak fleet. We can’t wait to get on the river with you, in whatever vessel you choose!