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As a whitewater kayaker, the most important thing to have on the river isn’t a top of the line boat, or the best gear on the market, or even the best skills. Its to have friends on the river, people who you can have a great time boating with be it class I or class V, and who you can trust to rescue you in a pinch. Every one of us had someone who introduced us to this wickedly fun sport (for me it was my mom and dad), and people who taught us or just pushed us to be better (pretty much everyone I’ve paddled with, ever). So its always good to take some time to thank everyone who’s helped you along, and with the competition season starting I think now is a perfect time, since without these people I wouldn’t even be kayaking!

First of all, so so much credit goes to my parents… for getting me into the sport, along with one of my best friends, Katelyn Green, but also for pushing me and letting me grow in it and do what I want. Instead of laughing at my numerous swims starting out (hilarious though they were), they encouraged me to get better. My dad with his photography alone has helped my paddling career so much, taking amazing shots and videos which let me market myself, not to mention driving me to competitions, and most importantly being someone who I can still have a good time boating with. My mom, despite not being able to boat anymore (she used to, but bad shoulders won’t let her anymore), has hugely supported me. Instead of doing what most people would do when their kid decides he wants to kayak for a living and saying that really being a dentist pays quite well, she’s encouraged me to keep it up and work to do what I want. Without them, I never would’ve known what whitewater kayaking was!

Then theres all the people who I’ve met through the sport, from my local groups to people from around the world, who’ve taught me new things, and have pushed me to get better and try new things. From the person who taught me to roll (a good friend, Jahn Pearson), to the CT AMC, to the people now like Stevo Wright, the Jacksons, and Devyn Scott, to name a few, who work with me to improve tricks like airscews and phonics monkeys and my competition rides, I can’t begin to name all the people who made me improve and who I have to thank for not laughing at me every time I fell on my face (to be clear, it was alot of times).

Lastly, I want to thank all the people who just make boating a fun sport… and for that, I have to thank every single person I’ve ever boated with! The biggest part of kayaking is the kayakers, and you guys are all awesome… I have every paddler I know to thank for where I am now in the sport, they’re the people who make me keep coming back to the river every day (well, and the awesome waves), and one of my favorite parts of being a paddler. Thank yo all so much and I’m looking forward to another amazing year!

-David Silk