According to Jeff Stanley, founder of Wahoo’s, Swift Water Rescue, now widely acclaimed, got started by accident right here in the high country. It seems that on one of their rafting trips the raft got stuck on a large rock in the middle of the river and while trying to rectify that situation they created a method to rescue individuals trapped in fast rising waters. This effort now has national and world wide acceptance as the standard for swift water rescuing efforts. A flood in 1988 on the Guadalupe River in New Brunsfield, Texas, where people drowned, prompting the fire department to contact Jeff to learn proper technique for any future requirements Jeff trained the staff of departments as far away as Costa Rico and California. Closer to home one of the top swift water rescue teams in America is located in Charlotte, NC and was initially trained by Jeff. They now are dispatched all over the country where rescue efforts are needed. A few years ago Wahoo’s Adventures was featured on ABC Television’s Rescue Call series, highlighting their rescue on Wilson Creek. The half-hour nationally broadcast program featured the dramatic rescue of several campers, including a woman and her 18 month child, from the flood ravaged waters of the Wilson Creek Gorge. It goes without saying this program is quite a big deal for his organization and for river safety all over the world.
Jeff graduated from Appalachian State University and jokingly refers to himself as Dr. of Water Science. In its 39th year, Wahoo was first know as www (White Water Wrafting). Computers and certainly not the internet had not yet been developed and little did Jeff know that his company would have the same designation as the World Wide Web (www).Wahoo’s is number one on Trip Advisor and is the only outfitter to garner top honors two times as Outfitter of the Year by Professional Paddle Sports Association. His experienced staff, some of whom have been with him for more than 25 years, regularly conduct tours for 400 to 600 persons a day during season. Clients can choose to canoe, inner tube or stand up paddle board to float down the river, mostly on the New River, which originates right hear in Blowing Rock. The floats are easy and many senior citizens regularly join the float. They have constructed a 2500 two story out post building that is equipped with an indoor dining/meeting area, expansive decking overlooking the river, clean bathrooms, and hot showers.
One of the more interesting trips is down the Nolichucky River in Tennessee where the elevation changes sixty six feet per mile and takes about 5-5½ hours round trip.