Tom, an ambassador for World Kayak, puts on about 4 Hometown Throwdowns for kayakers every year. He tries to rotate these to different locations to appeal to different types of boaters by sometimes offering a rodeo, other times a race, and sometimes a race with obstacles. Ian’s favorite Throwdown event of the year takes place at the Boils, where Tom sets up a kayak slide for boaters to fly down and skip across the boiling water.
Affectionately known as “The Boils” to local boaters and swimmers, this geological phenomenon has baffled professors and students alike from TTU’s geology department. The water literally boils up out of the ground and forms a creek that runs into Roaring River, but where does the water come from? Up on Spring Creek, near Tom’s house, the water disappears into holes on the sides of the creek bed. So it stands to reason that the water boiling up at the Boils comes from Spring Creek, right? But Tom shared with us that dye and even ping-pong balls have been poured down into the holes, yet never come out again.
Despite where the water comes from for the Boils, we have a really fun time playing in them. Tom obtained permission from TWRA to set his slide up against the steep roadside bank so that boaters can slide down right onto the boiling water. He constructed the slide out of overlapping old kayak hulls, with a tire kicker at the bottom to soften the impact and help direct the boats up and out across the water. The rails on the sides of the slide prevent boats from falling off or turning. Basically, Tom has designed and built a fool-proof way to safely fly down 20 feet into a body of water without crashing or flipping.
The first year that we participated in this event, I had major hesitations about letting Ian go down the slide. Heck, I hesitated to go down it myself! But after Brinn pushed me down the first time, I realized that as exhilarating as the ride was, it was pretty easy. Ian went down with Brinn a few times, with me a couple of times, and then declared that he was ready to go by himself. And he did. About a million times.
2016 brought even more fun to this event as Wes and Rachel were able to participate this year! It wouldn’t feel like a true paddling adventure without them there. Ian happily showed everyone how to go down the slide, and made some new friends as well. Most notably of these new friends is Jeremy. Anyone who has observed Brinn and Wes in action will heartily agree that they must be brothers from another mother. They completely act as partners in crime, and managed to goad each other into attempting more and more crazy stunts, yet somehow they’re safer when they’re together, and neither one have managed to get hurt together yet. Jeremy showed up quietly at the boils, and for quite some time kept a low profile and seemed to blend in with the rocks and trees around us. Then he started to come out of his shell, and we learned that Jeremy is brother number 3 in the Daredevil Trio. Have you ever seen two people take a kayak down a slide before? It’s a pretty exciting event. Now imagine three people taking the same kayak down a slide! But that wasn’t enough for the Daredevil Trio. The day ended with a quick paddle down Spring Creek for a descent over Waterloo Falls.
I type this as the rain drizzles outside, knocking more changing leaves off the trees, signaling the soon arrival of creeking season. As exciting as I am for Ian to experience his first season of running creeks with us, I look fondly back over the images and videos of our summertime paddling adventures. Thank you, Tom, for hosting our favorite paddling event yet!
In case you’re interested in viewing the video of our shenanigans, here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfSQ8ufjDug