How to run Lost Paddle Rapid
The Meadow River enters the Gauley River on river left. Just downstream of this confluence is Lost Paddle Rapid. Lost Paddle is the longest rapid on the Gauley River, and consists of several drops, which we will break down into distinct sections below.
The first drop of Lost Paddle Rapid is pretty technical, requiring slow moves to avoid rocks and hazards. At the entrance of this rapid is a large triangle-shaped rock, which a lot of boaters enter left of. Go slow here, and watch out for the numerous boulders, before entering into the main flow and hitting (or avoiding) a wave on river right after the technical section. Just downstream of this first section is the second, much more difficult drop.
The Second Drop of Lost Paddle is a mix of blasting huge waves and technical whitewater. At the top of the second drop is a large wave that generally can be run with enough momentum and a good angle. After getting through this wave, look out below, as all of the current will be pushing you towards a large rock in the center of the channel that can be passed on the right or left.The ideal line is to get right of this rock, but if you get pushed left, there is an eddy you can catch which will keep you away from a very hazardous section of undercut rocks. Downstream of this section is the third drop of Lost Paddle Rapid, which is basically an enormous hole that you will want to avoid at all costs. This hole can be passed on either right or left, and the hole is in the center of the channel.
The Final Drop of Lost Paddle is another technical section of whitewater. You can go either right or left of the large boulder at the top of this section. Right is the more commonly run line, with just a bit more room to work with. The left line is quite technical and requires an almost immediate move to get back to the right. Staying left will put you in a pretty nasty rockpile.
The final section of this long rapid is a move around a large round rock, with channels both to the right or left that are good to go.