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The annual CKS Paddlefest in Buena Vista saw an amazing turn out of women of all ages and crafts for the women’s group paddle. Though high water meant a change of location on the river, almost 30 ladies still came out to bask in the sunshine and share in a beautiful Arkansas river experience together.
Ladies showed up from all over the country and the world in playboats, creek boats, open canoes, stand up paddleboards, duckies, rafts, the list goes on. All with the common goal to get on the water and be inspired by other rad women around them.
It is just an incredible experience to see soo much diversity in our community of whitewater paddlers. The youngest of this years event being only 10years old and completing her second ever combat roll during the trip. It is encouraging to see herself and our other up and coming white water adventurists have so many amazing female mentors to look up to (including her own mother!).
We met up at Wilderness Aware Rafting and organised a fast shuttle. In no time all the ladies were back and we had an efficient safety meeting at the top of the Milk Run on the Arkansas before we buddied up based on skill level and began our adventure down the river. The milk run is a fun filled, continuous class 2 cold water run. After about an hour we made it down to RMOC, our first take out where most our beginner paddlers took out and a few of the more intermediate to advanced paddlers carried on to run browns canyon and finish off with some bigger water thrills.
I was fortunate to be chosen as a buddy for a young woman with an amazing attitude who had just been down to the CKS store and gear swap where she had invested in a full set of kit  for a really good deal and then showed up at the river keen to learn. Though she didn’t have a roll or much experience, her attitude was on point and reminded me of the beauty of kayaking, how much joy it can bring and how it can create the most beautiful relationships to complete strangers. Even those who didn’t know each other until moments earlier would be considered friends by the end of the river run.
There are not many sports where you can say this, but kayaking is more of a community and recreation than anything. Which is a huge part of the appeal, ontop of the fact that it involves exploring and remaining humble to the elements of nature.
I highly recommend if any ladies get the chance to get involved in an all girls paddle that you take advantage, as you will create many friends, learn different styles of paddling more suited to your body type and feel extra proud to be yourself!
Hope to see all you ladies on a river soon!