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A team of three young paddlers from the southeast are stepping up and on a very steep learning curve doing some awesome things already. With an 12 year old paddling class 5 already, this small group of paddlers that are part of the Jackson Kayak Local Hero Team are ones to watch for the future. Here is a quick write up from the Local Hero’s Themselves:

On the Weekend Joey, my dad and I went to the Charlotte Whitewater Center.

We started by doing the class 3 left loop some, and we soon decided to try the class 4 right loop. We got down the first few rapids unscathed but as we approached the class 4, things got harder. From the tops of the waves we began to see the outline of the rapid, but as we got closer we realized just how big it was. Joey decided to go first, so my dad and I watched him go down, from one of the few good eddies. As Joey rounded the corner my dad started paddling out of the eddy, and I saw him get slightly off course before he rounded the corner. I paddled out and got into the powerful water, and started the descent down the rapid; I made it down unflipped but then saw that my dad had wet-exited after doing the class 4 upside down. I quickly paddled out to help him get his boat up the ladder, and told him we would meet him at the bottom. Joey and I paddled down to wait for my dad, but when he came around the corner we saw he had a few large scrapes on his back, so we decided not to do the right loop again. On a good note, the scars look like an exclamation point!! We did the left loop a couple more times then called it a day. On the drive back, we stopped for dinner at the same CiCi’s pizza we went to on Huck, so that added to the excitement of the day, after another chundering, destroying, wonderful day, at The Charlotte Whitewater Center.

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My name is Joey Brown, I am 15 years old, and have a love for paddling. I have been in a boat since I was 3, paddling my dad’s old perception dancer around the lake, and at 4 years old, paddling it down the last section of the Catawba River, before it empties out into Lake James, where we have a house. When I was about 9 years old, my dad was encouraging me to follow in his footsteps, put on a skirt, and get in a boat. Eventually I did, and my life has not been the same since. Through the years, and especially the last two summers, I have been paddling some awesome rivers, doing some awesome playboating, all of which has lead to me being the paddler I am today. I have had the opportunity to learn from world class kayakers, who are passionate about the sport. In doing all of this, it has lead to my being passionate about it as well. I see myself getting better and better, and want nothing more than to keep doing so, in my hopes to compete in the 2013 worlds freestyle competition at NOC. It has been a goal of mine since my instructor, Jez, had mentioned to me. When trying to achieve such a goal, what better place to live than Asheville, NC. I have been part of Jez’s HUCK SOUTHEAST program for two years, and like I said, have been able to do some sick playboating, and river running/creeking, up to class V.

Since hearing about the opportunity to train for this competition, I have been on the river every weekend, and sometimes even on school days. Being 15, getting to the river has not always been an easy task, but the people around me understand, and have made it possible to be on the water as much as possible. With my friends Matt and Ben, I have been to places such as the poop shoot hole on section 6 of the French broad, the Charlotte WW Center, and of course, the NOC wave. In a matter of weeks, I have already noticed better control while surfing, which makes it easier to expand the amount of tricks I can do. I have a limited time to get where I need to be as far as my skill level goes, which means nothing but more boating whenever I can.

Since the summer, Matt, Ben and I have been boating a substantial amount of boating (considering our lack of licenses). Being our age does not at all hold us back from getting out on the river. Even the training I have done so far, has payed off. Before learning more advanced tricks, you must first be 100 percent comfortable, and in control. I can now go in a wave or hole such as the M Wave at the WW center in charlotte, and the NOC wave, and be completely comfortable while doing spins, and just surfing. I have a great flatwater cartwheel, and have managed to pull it off in whitewater. Soon, I am getting the boat I plan to stay in, which is the Jackson All-star. I have not been able to play in one but only once, so I hope that being in one will help with my training. I love the way it plays, and can’t wait to be back inside of one. Right now, my plans are to train like I’ve been training, and to experience more and more of the lifestyle that kayakers live today. Based on that, I will see how far I will take kayaking in my life. It is true, that even a very long time ago, back when I was just learning the basics, I had the same feelings for boating as I do now. I can easily say that it is the biggest part of my life, and I plan for it to stay that way for a good while.

Joey and I went out to the whitewater center today and had an awesome time. We ran the left channel too many times to count and The right channel a couple times. I got out on M wave for the first time today and that was super awesome, and we did a ton of surfing. Joey did really well in the waves and did lots of spins and stuff. At one point I demo-ed a dagger axiom and ran the slalom course on the left channel. I almost entered into a cometition, but decided not to when I found out the participants were all little kids.