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Washington, DC is an incredible place to go paddling for any skill level. Easy access to the river, a canal for paddling your own shuttles, and the proximity to Bethesda, Potomac, and Washington is incredible. My partner Tony Lunt came into town right after the Potomac Festival (which was awesome), and paddled with me for 4 days while we planned the future of Jackson Kayak. Great Falls was at a prime level for doing both the Virginia and the Maryland sides. Dane and Jason were with my while Emily was on the Ottawa.

We paddled the falls every day, mostly running the Maryland Side, which is another way to say River Left. Pummel, Pencil Sharpener, and Horseshoe are the three rapids.

On Monday and Tuesday Dane Jason, and Jay Kincaid and I did laps on the falls, and found that the best hole on the river was a hole I named, S.O.S. (Stick or surf/ Stick or Swim) depending on who you are. The hole is on the lip of Horseshoe and not at a good place to run it, so if you were to flush out of the hole upside down it could be ugly, or at least uncomfortable. Jay, Dane, and I had already done some cartwheels and loops there on Monday, and by Wednesday we were starting to get a little more confident and were linking ends (I think I got 21 on my best one, as well as Dane comfortably throwing big air loops). After surfing the hole you ferry into a little eddy and then run the drop. It is something to keep us on our toes on each run, sweet!

Tony arrived and we had one on one meetings (with Kristine too), and finished up with some great paddling where I had Tony walk down the falls and surf below. He was getting some good surfs and having fun. His shoulder was still a little messed up from getting bucked off his horse at the ranch, but you would never know it to see him in action.

On Thursday my chief financial officer, Dave Olson, Tony, Kristine and I accomplished and incredible amount of administrative work, and some planning for as well. Thursday afternoon John Shepherd came into town and we started putting our plans into action for 2008 and beyond for the company. It was a great session and we work together like a well tuned engine firing on all cylinders. Everyone has the same vision and we really have fun, even when we are making tough decisions. We didn’t paddle on Thursday but had a great dinner compliments of Tony, and a wonderful bottle of wine to celebrate. John Shepherd is a new name in the Jackson Kayak organization and is best known in the industry as one of the founders of Wilderness Systems and partner to Andy Zimmerman in the creation of Confluence when they bought Wavesport and Mad River Canoe. I know him as one of my favorite people to work with there when I was at Wavesport and as someone who can really get things done in production. He is assisting us as we take Jackson Kayak to the next level in producing boats. People seemed to want to buy more boats than we were making this year, and we don’t want that to happen. One thing I can promise you from now on is that if you need a boat, we can provide it! We addressed everything important to me as a paddler and business owner. Quality, efficiency, a happy group of paddlers making the boats, and getting the quantity needed to prevent having to wait for your boats.

Friday was the end of our meetings. We went to Valley Mill Camp to do a “meet and greet” with 400 kids from 4-16 years old. All of them paddle or are learning to paddle! Dane and Jason taught and showed off for the kids in their Shooting Stars, and got to go off of the ramp too! We signed about 200 posters each and then it was time to take Tony to RUN the falls this time! Yes, he did it like a champ! Here is a video of him running Pummel, his first real waterfall! We saw Tony off after that, as he went back to AZ.

Over the weekend I taught four clinics, each about 4 hours long. Three customer clinics and one instructor trainer clinic for Valley Mill Kayak School. Sunday night at 9:40 I flew to Canada and started teaching today on the Ottawa at 8am! Whew! It is 8:30pm and I am going to bed!

Enjoy the photos off of Tony’s camera, and video!

Video 1 (AVI, 4.9 MB)

Video 2 (AVI, 5.9 MB)




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Dane and Jason teaching their peers at Valley Mill Camp

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EJ signing posters for Valley Mill Camp kids

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Jason EJ and Dane signing posters

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Monique and Dane at Valley Mill

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Roxie and the Fun Guy

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Tony Surfing at Horseshoe Wave

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Tony in a magical place on the Potomac