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This year’s Gauley was 86 degrees and sunny, with lots
of perfectly cooled water (3,000 cfs and about 65 degrees), and a great
atmosphere. Friday was a Team JK paddle on the Upper Gauley with Jay,
Clay, Emily, Nick, Stephen, Dane, Jason, Mario, etc.. I felt rusty and
wasn’t on my "A" game in terms of nailing moves, etc. but had a great time
and was "detoxing" from a lot of work over the past few weeks and no
paddling. We had a team dinner in Summersville on Friday night, late, and
we were all super hungry and tired at the same time, and desert was hard to
stay awake for at 11pm.

On Saturday, Colin Kemp, Special Projects director organized a paddle for
World Kayak members ( ) Over 100 members registered for
the raffle to be lead down the Gauley River for their first time. Clay,
Jay, Nick, Emily, Dane, Pikey, Colin, and myself were the guides. I had
two father/son groups as well as another guy who was keen. It was fun to
take these eager paddlers down the lower Gauley for their virgin run and I
am sure they enjoyed the comfort of a very skilled group to lead them . (We
had Jason, Dane, Nick, and I for 5 people)

We arrived back at the festival grounds at 5pm and it was just starting.
Don and his wife, Andrea, and his kids, were hard at work, with Kristine at
the helm. Don fired up the grill and got the dogs and burgers cooking and
I got in on a burger early (missed lunch). Don cooked 500 burgers and 500
dogs. Meanwhile, I tapped the first keg of Magic Hat #9 Beer, that Colin
picked up for us. We got voted best beer of the festival, sweet!

At the same time Nick, Emily, and Kristine were organizing a scavenger hunt
for kids under 13 that would ultimately end in a young person going home
with a kids paddle, fleece, and another with the boat of their choice.
The hunt went something like this: "Find the 2003 World Freestyle Kayak
Champion and get the next clue" (that would be Jay, of course). Then it
was find the 2007 Reno River Festival Champion (that would be Jason, etc.
etc.) Finally it was find the 4 Time World Kayak champion and get your
time, that was me on the watch. I would give Krsitine the time and she
kept score. The winning time was just under 9 minutes. Kristine did
the awards and the kids were awesome, starting at 2 years old and going up
to 13. Every so often, myself and some staff or team members would get on
the RV and throw out fun stuff. This year we gave away four kayaks and lots
of gear.

I stopped talking about boats at midnight and tried to go to bed. A carbon
monoxide alarm made sleeping a little difficult and it took me an hour to
get it to stop going off. Yes, we had the windows open and turned the
generator off. Having the RV in the middle of the madness is great until
you try to sleep with the band playing until 2:30am.

We hit the water this morning for an upper Gauley run, where Clay took his
girlfriend Tara down in a Nyami Nyami. They did great. I was getting back
to good paddling and did some fun stuff. I tried a full spin to "kick flip"
off the Sweet’s boof move, but landed upside down. Everyone one paddled
like they were fresh, even though we were all a little tired.

Meanwhile, I am now a little tired and ready for bed!

Good night!




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Crowd ready for action!

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EJ hucking goodies

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Jason Craig playing santa

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Kids at the Scavenger Hunt awards

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Pikey and his friend Adrienne

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Top of the RV getting the goodies ready

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Winner of a new Jackson Kayak kids boat for her 1st place in the scavenger hunt