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"These Aren't Little, Lazy, Flat Rivers"

"These Aren't Little, Lazy, Flat Rivers": As Summit County's Rivers Roar, The Right Gear and Training Are Necessary

Brandon Ciullo had just joined the Summit County’s Water Rescue Team when he noticed a couple with what he described as “Walmart duckies” — cheap plastic river tubes — getting into the Upper Blue River. The spring runoff had the river rushing, and Ciullo, who was about to set out on his boogie board with some friends, warned the couple that the rapids ahead could pop their tubes. Wearing a helmet, dry suit, pads and a personal flotation device, Ciullo said he looked like, “an army guy,” compared to the plain-clothed couple who set out on the river despite his warnings. “Every person that I have pulled out of the Blue River is someone who had a Walmart kayak,” Ciullo said. “These rivers are not for novice people. They are dangerous and meant to be rafted by experienced rafters only. None of these rivers are tube-able. None of these rivers are raftable on anything other than commercial-grade river equipment.” Read more ...