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A boof is the method by which kayakers "jump" hydraulic backwash, known as holes or hydraulic jumps, in high-gradient mountain rivers. The term derives from the onomatopoetic sound that a kayak makes when it lands on the water after "ski jumping" the waterfall forming the backwash. The action is analogous to a skier jumping a cliff.
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A term whose origin is generally attributed to whitewater kayaking in the eastern United States in the mid- to late-1970s. The boof developed from an evolution of longer, slalom-style kayaks constructed of fiberglass to shorter, creek-style kayaks constructed of polyethylene. This development was significant since whitewater kayaks could now hit rocks and boulders with a much smaller likelihood of breaking. Subsequently, techniques were developed to "jump" or "ski jump" hydraulic backwash at the base of a waterfall. The boof significantly advanced passage in Class IV and V rapids that previously considered unnavigable, and was brought to public attention by William Nealy"s
Kayak: The Animated Manual of Intermediate and Advanced Whitewater
(Menasha Ridge Press, 1986). The term enjoys widespread use today.
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