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There is something magical that happens when a large group of women get together to paddle. The energy is high, smiles are vast and the camaraderie is second to none. Every year, Paddle in Pink leads a few trips, one being an all girls paddle on the Pigeon River in Tennessee. With the recent passing of Maria Noakes, events like this seem that much more important to me and therefore, all proceeds are being donated to the Live Like Maria Foundation.

A total of 27 women showed for the playboating/slicey boat day. To help lead small groups down the pigeon and offer any tips along the way, Pyranha team members Rowan Stuart and Nikki Malatin along with myself and Team Jackson Kayak Kat Levitt circulated through the large number of females on the river. There were plenty of smiles, laughs, tips, tricks, flips and fun that took place within the group.

NOC has year-after-year provided us with a great setting to enjoy the SweetWater beer, raffle off the prizes and finish the day in the hole working on even more playboating moves. This year, Live Like Maria pint glasses were sold, girls were chit chatting in the parking lot enjoying the SweetWater Brewery beer and Karen Nicolai made a trip to the local gas station and brought back fried chicken to a group of very hungry females. It may have been the hit of the day!

An event like this couldn’t happen without amazing sponsors. Jackson Kayak donated a small Karma as the grand prize, SweetWater Brewing Company donated a keg of 420 beer, Colin Kemp of World Kayak donated a number of items, Astral graciously threw in some coupons, Pyranha Kayaks gave some swag, Oskar Blues donated a couple tank tops and a number of smaller items were raffled off. JAW was also at the event again this year to allow any female to demo any of the JK boats.

Big or small, most walked away with something. To conclude the raffle, the Jackson Kayak karma was given away to the grand prize winner Margaret Mlynarska. In accepting the boat, Margaret gave a speech that I thought was very appropriate; Maria would have been so proud and was looking down on us, smiling as she always did, grateful that a group of women could get together to help in the movement of living like Maria.

A huge thank you to all our sponsors, JAW for the demos, the trip leaders and to all the incredible ladies that made this day a day to remember. If you are interested in getting any Live Like Maria swag, please take a look at the various items available here. Of course, your money will go directly to the Live Like Maria Foundation. This event raised $800. This money will be directed into causes that were close to Maria’s heart, including paddling instruction and outdoor experiences for youth, river conservation and access, and empowering women in outdoor adventure pursuits.