Chad Blotner Photography and Gallery | Taking on Gorilla!

Taking on Gorilla!

August 04, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Hello and welcome to my first blog post! A little bit about me I'm Chad and I live just outside of Spartanburg, SC. I am an I.B.E.W. Union member (local 379) also, on the Board of Directors for the Spartanburg Photography Guild and have a exceptional passion for photography. Though lately I've had a hankering for photographing Whitewater kayaking. Whitewater kayaking is an extreme and breathtaking sport to say the least. Over the last month I have been photographing and meeting kayakers on the Green river in beautiful Saluda NC.

The Green river is a well-known destination for whitewater kayakers in the southeast and luckily for me it's pretty much in my backyard. It has a lot to offer from easy class I to class IV  rapids for the adrenaline junkies. There are several large rapids on the upper Green but the most photogenic is Gorilla (flume). A couple weeks ago I captured Andrew Reed going over Gorilla for his first time and like a real gorilla it's a beast. Andrew actually caught up with me a little later after seeing me out there taking pictures and asked about getting a copy of the photos or where he could view them at. That's when I knew I needed a website so I can share these moments with these guys and girls. They are risking their lives at times for the rush of adrenaline while running the Green or any river for fun. 

Andrew is a 23 yr. old weekend warrior from Rome, GA. He kayaks on the weekends and sometimes during the week if he gets the chance. He started kayaking about 4 years ago and after taking many of lessons from other boaters and veterans in the kayak community he took to the upper Green. It took him 3.5 years to get ready to take on the upper Green as it's not for the faint of heart. He wanted to be prepared and have confidence in his abilities before risking his life for a couple hours of fun on the river. As Andrew paddled the upper Green for months he still spent many times bypassing several of the rapids as they are pretty massive until he had the mind set and the confidence in his abilities. Finally he had the confidence, mind set and feeling of being ready to conquer Gorilla. A few of his buddies gathered at the bottom with safety ropes and were ready to help him if he was to get into trouble. Off he goes and over he went not the best line but he made it. He had a little trouble at the bottom but was safe and made it out unharmed. It was amazing to watch all the other kayakers cheer him on, help him out and congratulate him on his accomplishment. This was a big deal for him. The following week I was able to photograph him going over it again this time a great line and nice landing with no issues at all. 

Talking with Andrew about his experience running the green his advice to anyone wanting to take on the Green is; know your limits, be confident in your skills and don't run anything you don't feel comfortable with. Don't let your buddies push or pressure you into running any big rapids you aren't comfortable with as it will only get you hurt or killed. Andrew is planning on doing the Green River Race which happens the first Saturday in November. He plans to continue practicing each rapid, working on getting the best lines, work on building more confidence and  making sure his stamina is up to par. I know the race is a ways off but best of luck to you Andrew and thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me and I'll see you on the Green!


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