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May 15, 2009


By Devon Barker

Spring boating in the west cannot be beat. I left school on Thursday to paddle the Little Salmon in route to the Lochsa River. From the Lochsa I spent two days at the play park in Missoula, Brendan’s Wave, for the Best in the West competition. Team NRS/JK had a great showing with everyone going really big in the wave hole. This park is worth the visit! Luke and KB have a JK Super Store, Strong Water, right across the bridge from the river. The shop is awesome and these two encourage loads of people to get into kayaking!

The emphasis this year for the festival was “Going Green.” There were vendors, kayaking, and live music. World Class and Jackson Hole Kayak Club both had their juniors paddling. On Saturday night I camped on the Lochsa with Jackson Hole Kayak Club. We got an early start so we could paddle the Lochsa before the long drives home. Dan, Elliot, Hudson, Teague, Ty, and Risto all had a blast surfing and weaving past huge holes. The run ended with surfing at the take out on Pipeline. The river was rising so this wave was hard to catch every time in our short boats. Some locals were saying we needed RPMs but I said, “We need a Dynamic Duo!” I cannot wait to come back in my Duo to surf this wave.

We parted ways to head home with my drive following the South Fork of the Clearwater River and the Salmon River. I was surprised to find Race Creek hole in just outside of Riggins. I stopped to work on my new loop technique. KB, Eddy, and Judd helped me in Missoula change my loop. After 30 loops focusing only on the new technique I started to understand how to get more air and use my loop stroke correctly.

I am teaching today and Tuesday, my last two days for the year, before staring my drive to Glenwood for USA Team Trials. My students are presenting their 6th grade Final Projects this morning. I cannot wait to see their projects and cannot believe how fast the school year has gone.

See you on the river.


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