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By Brian Jennings

Well, there’s been lots going on in the Dubya-Vee. I wasextremely disappointed that due to some work responsibilities, I was unable togo to Reno this year. Jim Litchfield and crew always do an amazing job runninga top-notch event. It’s also the first "BIG" event of the year, so I missedcatching up with all my friends and hearing about their winter travels. BUT,when one door closes, another one opens, and I was fortunate enough to attendCheat Fest for the first time in about 5 years!

The 2008 edition of Cheat Fest was GREAT! We had fantasticwater levels on the Cheat and surrounding streams. Two runs on the Cheat onFri-Sat, combined with a natural flow run of the Upper Yough on Sunday wasgreat fun on the water, but so was catching up with friends from all over theEast Coast, and dancing to local favorites The Hillbilly Gypsies and StewedMulligan. My Hero was a big hit with everyone who demoed it, including myfriend Joelle, who paddled it on the Yough after not being in a boat for 6months. She was admittedly rusty, and a bit apprehensive, but at the end of theday, she was all smiles. She kept telling me after every rapid that she shouldhave flipped, but the Hero saved her with it’s unreal primary and secondarystability.

After a great weekend at the Festival, I was really bummedabout Reno, until I saw the forecast for WV.rain, rain, and more rain! Saturdaythe New came up from about 3 feet (6000 cfs) to 10 feet (20,000 cfs) in only afew hours! The local creeks were huge too.Mann’s Creek was 14 inches and theReal Manns Gauge was under water! We rode the water into Sunday with a fun runon the Dries of the New and was able to work on Phonics Monkeys, McNastys, andHUGE stern clearing Macho Moves. On Monday, I got a call from my buddy Chris Harjes saying that he, ChanJones and Eli Smith were on the way up from Asheville, and they wanted to boat.I had them meet me (and my brand new Rocker) at work, and showed them down MillCreek at about 2 ft. (big and stompy fun!) After a first lap, we went up andbombed a second run with David Hughes. I am still in shock about how EASY theRocker is to paddle, and how easy it makes big rapids feel. My bow rode overeverything, it boofs like it’s on auto pilot, and landed VERY soft off the 20footer. It almost makes things feel a class easier, which is a nice feeling ona juicy local run!

Now. I’m sitting at Cathedral Café looking at nothing butoptions.New, Dries, HUGE Gauley, Manns, much to do, so little time!More from southern WV very soon..(with photos, now that I got a new batterycharger for my camera!)

Live from Cathedral Café,

Brian J