From rigging and de-rigging, to leading side-hikes at camp, to throwing a line at a fish or two, Emerald LaFortune put the Crush through the ringer. In her typical candid fashion, she offers her full opinion of this river-to-pub shoe.
The Crush shoe arrived on my doorstep this spring and happened to be the best shade of bright blue. I put them on and they make my pasty, Montana-white legs look almost like summer. Along with the NRS H2Core Lightweight pants, I can literally be one turquoise blob from head to toe. Having no fashion sense, this is my go-to move. Now my shoes match my nose piercing! Perfect.
Emerald LaFortune hauled off one of our Freestone Drifters to see how it handled weeks of fishing and debauchery. From flatwater to whitewater, gearless day trips to fully loaded multi-days, Emerald offers her most candid opinions on the drifter’s performance.
Let’s just say what everyone is thinking: an inflatable drift boat just looks weird. I mean, what is that boat anyway? A mutilated SUP board? A boxy raft? The strange redheaded-stepchild of a fiberglass drift boat?
I’ll explain it this way: if the Freestone Drifter is a fisherman, it’s that guy who shows up to the boat ramp in a Carharrt jacket and ditch boots. He isn’t flashing you a Headhunters trucker hat and only has one (ONE!) fly rod. The rest of the fishermen roll their eyes and go back to stringing their four Sage rods and clipping into their fancy waders. Behind the boat ramp, the Freestone-Drifter-ditch-boot man rips a twenty-inch brown out of the eddy on his thirteen-year-old Le Croix his dad gave him. The Freestone Drifter sure as hell isn’t a dory, a driftboat, or even a raft. It’s a big gray gaper-mobile. But, in certain situations, the Freestone out performs all three of its traditional stepsiblings.
The inaugural Gauley Festival celebrated the derailment of a proposed hydro-electric project. Today, the festival brings to mind images of carnage and rowdy boaters. NRS Field Rep, Jean Slade, checks in from her van down by the river with these pro tips to maximize your Gauley Fest experience this fall.
The Gauley River is a 105-mile river in West Virginia that merges with the New River. It’s one of the most popular whitewater runs on the East Coast. The Gauley can be run year around, but the flows fluctuate depending on rainfall and the water level of Summersville Lake, a reservoir formed by the Summersville Dam. However, in late summer, early fall, a set of scheduled dam releases creates Gauley Season. At the start of Gauley Season, paddlers around the country flock to West Virginia, throw tents on a baseball diamond and celebrate Gauley Fest.
In 2015 we wanted to feature the good, the bad, the ugly and the hilarious (mis)adventures of the river guide’s lifestyle. We weren’t sure we could create a campaign that inspired us quite as much as #Guidevibes, but (we think) we pulled it off.
For over forty years NRS has been drawn to all types of water. From rivers and lakes, to oceans and streams, man-made and natural we’ve found ourselves recreating, relaxing, making new friends and reuniting with old ones, mastering new skills and teaching old ones, working hard and hardly working in the waters around the world. We’ve even managed to make a few pay checks because of water.
Whether you have a long weekend or a week, Lydia Cardinal lets you in on a little Southeast secret: Columbus, Georgia. Once only known for its historical footprint, Columbus now boasts a whitewater park, running trail, local brews and restaurants highlighting its southern cuisine. The best part? It’s all in the heart of downtown.
A kayaker charges The Good Wave in downtown Columbus.
In paddling terms, the Southeast isn’t often heralded for its big water surfing apart from the New River Dries. Boaters seeking high-volume, huge-action whitewater usually head north to the Ottawa, west to the Rockies, or wait patiently for West Virginia’s recreational releases or heavy rain—until now. Adventure seekers of every vein can now head south of Atlanta and, in less than two hours, find themselves in an unprecedented whitewater playground, smack in the middle of Columbus, Georgia. Continue reading
Winding through the rocky desert of southwest Texas, the Lower Pecos River is home to vast landscapes, unique wildlife and infamous flash flooding. Forced to abandon their first attempt down the river, the father-and-son duo return with Robert Field to finish a trip they began two years ago.
Bert points to various spots along the cliff where waterfalls had formed all around them that fateful morning. I struggle to keep the camera pointed at him. I’ve read about and heard the story a dozen times, most recently during the seven-hour car ride to the Texas desert five days ago, but I realize I haven’t truly grasped the enormity of what happened. Now, looking up at the sheer 200-foot cliff face that forms the Lower Pecos River’s eastern bank, the terrifying reality of what my two companions had experienced comes to life.
I snap out of my thoughts when I hear Daniel ask through the satellite phone: “When is the system going to hit?
“The constant sound of moving water was complemented at night by the sight of the Northern Lights sizzling above the treetops and the howl of wolves.” – Aaron Hitchins
A film by Rockhouse Motion and Outdoor Life Continue reading
The Illinois River has always been on Ian’s list. When handed the opportunity to run the Illinois earlier this year, Ian jumped. In a mere 50 hours, the Illinois River captivated and inspired him, challenged and humbled him, and reminded him of the basic reasons he’s drawn to water.
Working in the outdoor industry offers me the opportunity to get on the water with friends and customers often. In full disclosure, I probably get the opportunity more frequently than I should. Better yet, I jump at the opportunities more frequently than I should. Either way, through the years I’ve constructed two lists: my backyard favorites (the ones I return to when the levels are up and the to-do list is short) and my wish list.