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August 28, 2009

By Jeremy Adkins

Saturday morning started early with a 6:30 am departure for our ride to North Carolina’s Nantahala River where I was to compete in the NOC/Dagger Shootout. On the way, as we traveled through Ducktown, TN we noticed some very strange weather. Suddenly lightening began to strike all over, but in an upward motion accompanied by deep rattling thunder that even seemed to shake the car as we drove. As we continued on, however, the sporadic storm drifted away and we arrived at the river to beautiful clear skies. I was excited to find that the NOC staff had not only put alot of work into building a good hole, but had also improved the atmosphere throughout.

For those of you who have not been there in a while, NOC now offers alcohol on the concessions porch and have created a sweet play feature right beside the beer stand. While a bit flushy and dynamic, the hole will give up almost any freestyle move. Noon kicked off the competition which consisted of 3 rides, 1 minute and 30 seconds each. Even for Pro Men’s, this is a long time spent in a flushy hole. I would be lying if I said I didn’t spend quite a bit of time winded in between runs. Though my rides were not to my satisfaction, it turned out to be a great event. The experience was alot of fun and gave me the opportunity to see the community push for change. The 2010 All Star was a dream to paddle on the wave being that it was very fast, loose and has a lot of pop. Excitement rings through me thinking of next year and pushes me to put in more practice for the event. Though I was pleased to learn I had made finals, I was unable to compete in them due to a prior Sunday engagement. Next year, I plan to secure the full weekend for the competition and hopefully will go all the way through. Special thanks for all the people that helped put it together, the hospitality was fantastic and your work toward change at NOC is much appreciated. On Monday, I stayed and played at the Ocoee. It was so fun to have a day to just throw it down in the new boat and to look up and see my wife on the bank cheering me on.

Jeremy Adkins

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