Do the R-2: Tiny rafts, steep creeks, big fun

first_imgLinc Stallings running Class IV+ dueling waterfalls. See the full gallery. Photo: Jeremy Rogers“I’ve got a 50/50 success rate with that drop. About half the time, I swim,” Linc Stallings tells me after he negotiates our boat over a 10-foot waterfall into a deep pool flanked by massive boulders. We’re running the North Fork of the French Broad, a small stream that drops off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Western North Carolina. It’s a rain-dependent creek with class IV+ vertical drops, deep pools, and technical boulder gardens scattered throughout a two-mile stretch that’s popular with creek boaters. We’re running it in a small two-person raft called an R-2. Across the Southern Appalachians, a handful of boaters are beginning to take these small, 10-foot rafts down narrow, class IV-V creeks that have previously only been run in kayaks and the occasional canoe. It’s a niche sport that even some creek boaters think is a little crazy.“People freak out when they see rubber coming down a creek,” Stallings says. “There are only a few people who would take a raft down these narrow rivers, so people still think it’s wild.”Of those few R-2 boaters, Linc Stallings is easily one of the most experienced. The 36 year old has been guiding rafts down class V rivers for 15 years, working the biggest rivers in the South and Colorado depending on the year. He’s a rare breed: a professional raft guide, someone who’s committed to this as a career, not just something to do between college and “the real world.”“I always thought I’d do it and move on. But I just kept doing it,” Stallings says. “I love it. I love taking people out on the river. I love hanging out with other boaters. I love the water.”R-2 creeking is essentially what raft guides do on their day off. They borrow a small two-person raft from their bosses and push it, scrape it, and paddle like hell through tight rain-dependent creeks in the mountains. The North Fork of the French Broad is one of Stallings’ favorites. He first learned to creek boat here while attending Brevard College’s wilderness immersion program. He knows the nuances of every significant rapid the way a tween girl knows the lyrics to a Justin Bieber song.“A ton of people have run this creek in a kayak,” he tells me as we begin to paddle toward the first class III rapid, just 50 yards from the put-in. “But running it in a raft has a completely different dynamic. Running tight drops in this big boat is fun, but there are some logistical things you have to work out. It’s like doing a math problem.” 1 2last_img read more

Continue reading

Police: Teenage Girl Shot in Riviera Beach, Suspect Not in Custody

first_imgA 13-year-old girl was shot on West 16th Street Wednesday afternoon, according to Riviera Beach Police.They say she was shot inside a house and sustained non life-threatening injuries.The circumstances that may have led up to the shooting are unknown at this time.Police spokeswoman Rose Anne Brown says they do not yet have a suspect in custody.This is a developing story.last_img

Continue reading

New photo feature could allow positive evolution for Yik Yak

first_imgPopular anonymous messaging app Yik Yak has been called many things — chief among them “inflammatory,” “disgusting” and “downright racist.” Certainly, the anonymity of the app has created an odd mixture of humorous-meets-hurtful that can isolate communities, marginalize minorities and enable cyberbullying across campuses. But Yik Yak’s latest update, complete with the addition of photos and a phone number verification system, strips back a layer of the incognito nature of the app in a laudable effort to make it less abhorrent and more newsworthy — and if it works, it could pave the way for the evolution of our interactions with news.Some have expressed skepticism that Yik Yak will actually be used for serious news. This is, after all, the same social media app that regularly posts gems like “If you think about it poop is just the sparknotes of everything you ate” and “Just realized that beef jerky is cow raisin.”But consider that few believed that Snapchat could provide an avenue for constant selfie-snapping while simultaneously presenting stories from CNN, the Daily Mail and National Geographic. And few believed that BuzzFeed could offer both clickbait content about the fingernails of Disney princesses and intensely thought-provoking news and opinion articles.Perhaps Yik Yak, too, will use photos to legitimize a dual use to meld humorous everyday happenings with newsworthy campus issues, such as safety alerts and construction on campus. Given the mission to package social media and news that social networks such as Facebook attempt to create, Yik Yak developers might be thinking along similar lines to create a one-stop shop to combine campus news and life.A shift to news for Yik Yak would also increase students’ awareness of campus happenings in real time. And due to Yik Yak’s popularity, posts will reach a large audience immediately. When a user posts about a car accident on a local street, a secret concert about to occur or free food at an event (possibly the most important type of news story for the hungry undergraduate), students can actually respond immediately. It’s Twitter, but for college.The beauty of community-created content is that there’s no guesswork about catering to the college audience; the community gives immediate, and sometimes brutal, feedback. No one cares about that lecture you posted about? You’ll be downvoted to oblivion. Post the menu at Parkside, however, and you may be awarded with a high Yakarma score.Skeptics point out that Yik Yak’s anonymity — the heart of its ability to cause real harm to students — poses a significant problem in attempting to report news. If Yik Yak became a substantial provider of community-created news, any post could be taken at face value as true. Such a lack of verification does, indeed, hinder the legitimacy of Yik Yak; however, the design of Yik Yak’s rating system allows peers to downvote inaccurate posts and sort out low-rated posts. This requires a community to act collectively to affirm or deny statements, but considering that the campus community is the lifeblood of Yik Yak, such action is not impossible. Millennials may not care as much about the accuracy of information as they do the community aspect of responding to crises in real time; perhaps the trade-off between credibility and immediacy is worth it.Despite the potentially game-changing effect of Yik Yak’s update, it’s important to consider Yik Yak in context; we should take care that Yik Yak’s new update, at the very least, does not worsen the offense that many associate with the app. Yik Yak’s move to incorporate pictures into posts could have ruined the app (nude photos, anyone?), but by banning pictures with faces of people, Yik Yak provides some sort of protection against cyberbullying. Though such a measure is not foolproof, app developers have realized the effects of their app design on students’ lives.Maybe Yik Yak will remain an outlet where entitlement and ignorance reign and insensitive comments overshadow positive ones. But maybe, if we are willing, it can change.Sonali Seth is a sophomore majoring in political science and policy, planning, development. She is also the editorial director of the Daily Trojan. “Point/Counterpoint” will run Tuesdays.last_img read more

Continue reading