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Behind-the-Scenes at Jackson Kayak

By Thomas 'Riv' Lyons  Diamonds are formed from pressure, steel is formed in the furnace, and Jackson Kayaks are formed from a blend of cross-linked HDPE plastic material. Of course, it's not so simple, Jackson Kayak sales representative Rob Yager told Zoar recently. How Jackson Kayaks are Made Yager, who's toured the Tennessee factory site, s...

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Guides Reflect on Five, Ten, Thirty Years at Zoar

By Thomas 'Riv' Lyons  Some 30 years ago, before Ted Johnson led Zoar white water trips and shared rafting advice on the company's Slack channels (#GUIDEing light), he sat in a Louisiana State University study carrel, cramming for veterinary school exams. Surrounding his textbooks, he had printed photos of his previous summer job guiding on th...

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Unpopular Opinion: There Is More To Life Than Paddling

By Shira Lander When I first started kayaking, it was all I wanted to do and all I thought about. When I was with other paddlers, all we talked about was paddling and whenever I was with non-paddlers, I would drift off in thought about paddling. I spent a lot of time on American Whitewater checking out water levels and release times, even if I coul...

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Thoughts About Fear from a Scared Kayaker

by Shira Lander Recently I participated in a whitewater kayak instructor training for returning guides. We were all assigned topics to teach and I was given combat rolling. When I saw my name listed for that topic, first I felt my stomach roll, then a small weight in my chest, and then a little bit of sweat in my armpits. Irrational thoughts floode...

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Take our Swiftwater Rescue Quiz Before Heading to the River!

 Take the Swiftwater Rescue Quiz and answer Yes or No to the following statements. Track how many Yes and No responses you have. See where you land in the Swiftwater Rescue mindset below. You always/most often paddle with other people.You know the most common factors at play in water related incidents.You have a throw rope in your boat that is...

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Norm Sims Tribute from Rick Hudson

This August, we celebrated our cherished Deerfield River paddling community during the annual American Whitewater Deerfield River Festival held at Berkshire East Mountain Resort. During the Festival, Rick Hudson gave a poignant and moving tribute to Norm Sims, a beloved, influential, and passionate Deerfield River community member. Norm Sims passed...

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American Whitewater’s Deerfield River Festival 2022

After a two-year hiatus, we are thrilled that American Whitewater's Deerfield River Festival is back. The paddling community will come together August 6-7, 2022 for a weekend full of celebration, outdoor activities, and community connections. Saturday evening activities, including food, live music, and vendors, will take place at Berkshire East. Th...

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Current Connections #4 – The Boat to the Water

When you really think about it and boil it down, kayaking is all about connections. They may come in big picture form as well as technical skills. Connections between you and the forces of nature. You and your stoke for the sport. You and your paddling buddy. You and the present moment. Your connection between your body and your boat. You and your ...

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Current Connections #3 – You and the Boat

Over the past few weeks, we have been exploring the sport of kayaking by looking at how forces are transferred to and from the water. These forces travel through a chain that includes our bodies and equipment. We have discussed the connection between the water and paddle and between the paddle and paddler. Check out those previous posts One and Two...

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Diversify Whitewater Community River Float 2022

Join us for a Diversify Whitewater Community River Float on the Deerfield River in Charlemont, MA on Sunday, July 24 from 2:30pm – 6:00pm ET. Participants will learn the basics of water safety and paddling techniques for rafting and enjoy a day floating down the Deerfield River. No experience or equipment is necessary to participate. We will meet a...

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Women’s Whitewater Weekend Getaway 2022

The 2022 Deerfield River Women's Whitewater Weekend Getaway is going to be an event you will be reminiscing about for the rest of the summer. The opportunity to bask in the brilliance and joy of the Deerfield River women's paddling community is reason enough to attend this event. There will be everything from kayak instruction and community paddles...

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Current Connections #2 – Water and Paddle

When you really boil it down, kayaking is all about connections. They may come in big picture form as well as technical skills. Connections between you and the forces of nature. You and your stoke for the sport. You and your paddling buddy. You and the present moment. Your connection between your body and your boat. You and your paddle. Your paddle...

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Current Connections #1 – Paddle and You

When you really boil it down, kayaking is all about connections. They may come in big picture form as well as technical skills. Connections between you and the forces of nature. You and your stoke for the sport. You and your paddling buddy. You and the present moment. Your connection between your body and your boat. You and your paddle. Your paddle...

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Coming Soon: Reliable Whitewater Paddling at Turners Falls (MA)

Regular summertime whitewater releases will finally be coming to the Connecticut River in Massachusetts, thanks to years of negotiations during the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission's relicensing of the Turners Falls hydropower dam. By: Robert Nasdor This Spring, American Whitewater, Appalachian Mountain Club, New England FLOW and rafting outfit...

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Fly Into Spring On New England's Premier Zipline!

Winter hibernation is behind us and spring is upon us! The birds are chirping and the forest is waking up from a long winter's nap. The Crocuses and Mountain Laurel are blooming, the ferns are unfurling and the forest is coming alive. We have all been waiting for these warm days to get outside and embark on new adventures. Springtime Zip-lining in ...

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The 5 Essentials for Whitewater Kayaking

We've all been there. Cramming into your pal's vehicle with all of your paddling gear before you head to the river. You look over at your friend, and they are gently whispering words while counting to 5 on one hand. You smirk in recognition at the practice–you've already done this silent ritual several times on your way to meet them. What in the wo...

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Class III Whitewater Clinics – Taking Your Skills to the Next Level!

Hey there, you seasoned paddler, you! We see you there, pulling leaves out of the bottom of your boat. Or perhaps you've been braving the cold temps and icy waters to catch some winter river runs. Either way, we are keen on less layers, longer days, and more pals to smile at on the river, too. Welcome back to the world of spring and summertime whit...

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Dream Team: Janet and Katrina bring the stoke for Zoar Outdoor’s upcoming ACA Certification Course

You want to take an American Canoe Association course to start your journey becoming a whitewater instructor, but you're not sure who to take the course with. Fear not! The course that you need to register for is here. Zoar Outdoor's upcoming 5 day Level 3-4 Whitewater Kayak ACA Instructor Certification course includes a 3 day Instructor Developmen...

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Class II Clinics: Developing Your Whitewater Skills (and Thrills)

When asked about how he feels about teaching Class II whitewater kayaking clinics, Zoar Paddlesports instructor, Steve, claps his hands together and his face starts to glow: "Class II clinics are my favorite. I enjoy teaching Class II clinics because you get to show people many of the pearls of whitewater kayaking. It is also when I often see peopl...

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Everything You Want to Know About a Novice Kayaking Clinic at Zoar Outdoor

Whitewater Kayak Instruction – 101I walked through the shop doors, and immediately heard, "Welcome to Zoar Outdoor!" A staff member with a beaming smile welcomed me into the cozy Outfitters Shop located in the red building at Zoar Outdoor. I had plenty of time to settle into the day with some coffee, chats with staff, a bathroom break, and browsing...

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Staying Active in the Winter Season

Staying active in the winter can sometimes feel like a contradiction. When the days are short and temperatures are low, many of us have the inclination to get cozy and hibernate. We all need and deserve the rest and recovery time that winters can bring. Finding the motivation to establish a balance of activity and rest that works well for you in th...

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Wilderness First Responder Course

Imagine that you're paddling a remote river swollen by snow melt in early spring with a couple of friends. Your group has done the run in previous years and everyone is excited to get out there and shake off the winter rust.About half way through, someone misses their combat roll and is forced to wet exit and swim in the middle of the rapid. Y...

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Zipping With Zoar!

With summer coming to a close and school back in session, people generally fall into thinking that fun family outings might be coming to an end, especially as the temperature gets a bit chillier with each day, which may turn some away from water activities. But there is still an activity some forget, which is perfect for the fall months – Ziplining...

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Summer Fun: 9 Epic Things to Do around Charlemont

It's summertime, and the small adventure-filled town of Charlemont, Massachesetts is bursting with places to explore and things to do! Find out where to go to have some sweet summer fun here in the heart of the Deerfield River Valley. There is a summer activity for everyone in Charlemont!  Hiking If outdoor activities spark your interest,...

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6 Reasons to Try Fall Zip Lining

The days are getting shorter and cooler, the crisp smell of fall leaves is in the air. Autumn has officially landed. There's a world of ways to experience the great fall landscape this season, from mountain biking, to kayaking, and more, but zip lining is one that people might overlook. If you're looking for a new way to experience the thrill and s...

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Women, Water, and Art Virtual Showcase

Join us at Zoar Outdoor this month for our special new showcase. We will begin our Women, Water & Art Virtual Showcase this May! Join us on our social media pages every Monday to see a new artist weekly.We're showcasing the Women, Water, & Art is a collection of artistic expressions created by those who self-identify as a woman. This celebr...

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A Go-To Guide for Rafting Adventure Levels

Here at Zoar, we're excited for the new rafting season to get underway. There are few things as thrilling as rafting rivers and sharing the experience with family and friends.However, we know that for those new to rafting, the difficulty rating used by kayakers might be a little intimidating or hard to understand. That's why we put together this ha...

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How Challenging Is It to Learn How to Zip line?

What are you looking to do this summer when it comes to new adventures? We know that after taking the time to stay safe and stop the spread of COVID-19, we're all going to be eager to get outside and experience some new, fun excursions out in nature. This means it's the perfect opportunity to try out some outdoor activities you may not be too famil...

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The Best Way To Get Started Rafting

Whitewater rafting is a great way to connect with nature, friends and family. It's an unforgettable experience, peppered with laughs and great memories that you'll cherish for a lifetime. However, it can seem to be a daunting excursion to think about if you've never done it before. Trying to decide what trip is best for you, making sure you bring e...

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What to Prepare for a Ziplining Trip

How to Plan Out Your Clothes and Gear You Might NeedWhen planning a ziplining trip, what you decide to bring is going to be important, so you want to plan out ahead of time what to bring. We're going to go over the most important things that will keep you comfortable and a few things that it might be best to leave at home.The Best Clothes To WearWe...

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