When I first started kayaking no one ever told me about ‘the boof’ and I just plugged my merry way down anything. It was a few months before I realised that everyone else seemed to stay drier than I did and they never had as much fun with unexpected down-river freestlye. After consulting Dr Google and watching numerous Youtube videos, I was confident that the boof was my answer to stylish kayaking and that I would be paddling with the pros in no time.
Sadly, the reality of learning to boof was somewhat harder than my optimistic imagination was suggesting. Many experiments with misguided advice and numerous back-loops later, I thought it might be useful to share some of the tips that I have picked up along the way.
Read the Water
Boofing is all about raising your bow to keep your boat flat so look for river features that might help you. Perhaps there are obvious rocks or large-scale features which you can ride up to carry you across the back of the hole, but often it might be just a subtle curling wave which helps to raise the bow.
Point the Wrong Way
Edge and Reach
As you approach the hole, spot the piece of water that you plan to plant your blade into, reach for it and edge. You should have your blade nice and far forwards at this point. By edging your boat towards the side that your blade is on, you effectively have a smaller surface area of boat in contact with the water, which will make it less sticky when you come to launch your boof.
Execution and Posture
I should probably also share my realisation that boofing is not the key to Pandora’s kayaking box that I had imagined. Yes, it helps you to look good in photos, but you can still take an absolute kicking when you boof into a bad place!
Anyway, get out there and find your boof. If at first you don’t succeed try, try and take a kicking again!