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As I sit at my computer it is literally 14 degrees fahrenheit with a high today of 26! Is this too cold to paddle? My old cut-off used to be 45 but that was thrown out the window. I guess we will just have to wait and see as next week it will be a balmy 46 degrees and that is prime. But we will see what Ben wants to do. He is game to paddle whenever so….. At least there will be no icebergs like in the spring up here in central Maine.

We started of 2012 in February at Blue Hill Falls with Pete Latillie, his custom, hand made SUP and the Jackson Kayak Dynamic Duo. Pete has been paddling and designing since the early 90’s so getting out and paddling with him is a riot. The Blue Hill wave is a funky spot, pushy and hard to surf but we got into the Duo, swirled around in the eddy a bit and went for the wave. The thing was we just ferried right out onto the wave on our first try, no blown angles or missed surf, just right onto the wave! We just laughed it up. The Dynamic Duo opened my eye’s to tandem K1 this year. The Duo is wicked stable, easy to roll, fast and way too much fun.

April 2011 appears and winter looses it’s grip a tiny bit up here and Mike Dowell, Sarah and I with the Labs in tow head up to the West Branch of the Penobscot for an April Fools paddle. There were fun activities at the put-in, most notable was ” watch the fat guy try to jump a short distance over kayaks and fail”. There was a ninja present to show everyone how to really fly….This section of the Penobscot is exceptional. A paddler can bring their play boat, creeker and squirt-boat and hit a gold mine in half a day.

It is now May and Mike has been talking non-stop about getting into Gulf Hagas, our local creek run. Many people have tried to run this gorge too early in the year and have been met with ice dams, falling ice chunks and snowy, cold hikes out. I didn’t want to be one of those so he hikes in there to see and calls it good. This is the earliest I have ever been in there and in the future will wait even longer as we had an fantastic day but ice is just sketchy.

Jeremy Cass of and Taylor Walker, went above and beyond the call this past summer producing, promoting, directing and racing in the Send It Racing Series inaugural event. This was my first ever competitive paddling events. Racing is tiring, challenging and fun. 2013 will prove to be even better. Way up here when this many paddlers get together it is interesting to step back and watch the show as you never see this many boaters having so much fun.

We spent the summer months shedding the constrictive layers and tearing up whatever is in. Most notable this past summer was the East Branch of the Piscataquis and the Mattawamkeag River. I had never run the East Pis and had not been back to the Mattawamkeag in 15 years so these two trips I will not soon forget. The Pis is a steep creek with about 6 mini gorges and the Mkeag is a road-side big water run. Back to the Penobscot we usually go to Big Ambejackamockamus Falls and surf the 2nd and 3rd drops. The 3rd drop is fast, retentive wave that a paddler could surf for the summer and not want to leave. Quite a few paddlers have done this as it is a great wave for play-boats. Hitting the 3rd drop in my medium Rockstar is exhausting, never boring and an killer spot to spend the day lazing and surfing in the sun. It is also the place to be after working on the river, de-compress, chill and hang-out.

Fall comes and the wait is over. The Kennebec River in Madison, Maine rises and the Madison Wave comes in. This wave is unbelievable. A paddler can bounce into the air and unintentional things just happen, good things! Ben and I make it there at a perfect level for his first time at the wave and now he understands why everyone drops everything and drives to Madison when it runs. I was lucky to get my new, orange, 2013 Allstar and make it to Madison on a day off from work. I was really impressed and glad for the added volume and speed in this new Allstar. I don’t think I have had better sessions at this wave, ever. The added performance does not take away from the stability and ease in rolling back up. Really a win-win design.

This past season clears a path for me to more fun in the future with the friends I have up here in the great Northeast. By the time March 2013 rolls around we will be more than ready to get out and start the 2013 season. For now it is pool sessions and paddle when you can, if you can, or like most of the paddlers up here, be smart and just go ski!