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By Stephen Wright

In between teaching D.C. clinics and private lessons this weekend I got
out to enjoy paddling Portage Hole on the Potomac. I was joined by lots of
friends including Team JK paddler Rob Terry, who was rocking-out an 07 Fun.
I haven’t had the chance to paddle with Rob for a long time, so I was
PSYCHED. Also there was little C1-er Jordan and his dad, who was still in
his Fun 1, but waiting for his newly-ordered Shooting Star to arrive so he
can get back in a kayak. I was also excited to watch Mike Mathwin go off
almost every ride and paddle with Luke Hopkins (who’s landscaping business
is flourishing).

I haven’t been in Portage Hole for a few years and never realized how
incredible it can be until yesterday. To put it simply: THIS HOLE ROCKS.
It’s small and easy to control, but allows for endless cartwheels, huge
loops, phonix monkeys, and just about anything else you can do in a small
hole. It’s located on the main flow of the Potomac on river left just above
where the Fishladder comes in (so above S-turn, but below O-Deck). There’s
great eddy service and you can access this place from either Great Falls VA,
or GFMD. From GFMD, you can put-in at sandy beach, then make the intense
ferry below the 5th slide of the fishladder back up into the eddy below
Portage Hole. This spot has an extremely narrow window for good fun, but
it’s worth heading here whenever the levels cooperate. Check this gauge:

Look for levels to be between 3.9 and 4.05 feet for good fun. On the low
side, you’ll hit the rock a lot and on the high side it’s a flushy wave.
3.95 was about PERFECT.

Enjoy the video of Rob Terry and I (QuickTime 3.1 MB). He’s still LOVING his new Fun, and
the new All Star is the best playboat I’ve ever paddled. It’s equally happy
on a big wave or small hole and everything in between. It’s nice to have
bigger loops AND smoother cartwheels that I’ve enjoyed since my old
Delirious. I’m still uncool enough to be enjoying those heli-wheels (clean
cartwheels with a paddle twirl). I’ve definitely continued my trend towards
loser-dom in this video with lots more cartwheels, clean cartwheels, and
heli-wheel-thingies (I’m in a downward spiral, I know…I may need an

It’s back to Richmond tonight for a few days of truck repairs, then off to
Fayetteville. I’ll pick-up my good friend-the dirty irishman Moe
Kelleher-and head north to Canada sometime later this week. Hopefully we’ll
get to enjoy a few days on the New River Dries waves before we go! Keep
your eyes on for updates on those incredible waves.
Live from Bethesda, MD,
Stephen Wright