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As a kayaker who has paddled for over 10 years, it can be easy to forget about the times when we were first figuring this sport out. Recently, one of my spring break days were spent taking one of my basketball players out to experience her first whitewater trip. I was reminded of my own struggles of first learning to roll, the mindset I had when I continually missed my combat roll and the fears I had when first learning the power the river had over me.

With a friend of mine taking over the camera and adding some humor to the video, I am reminded of how great of a sport this is. It is not about the brown claw or always running the “gnar” but rather paying it forward, seeing the empowerment of navigating the river for the first time and seeing a child smile even though they are anxious about the unknowns of the river.