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2020 has certainly been a unique year! Due to covid, the events I had planned to attend and host were canceled. Based on the unprecedented ongoing pandemic I remained closer to home even more this year. Luckily, Mother Nature graced us with spectacular flows at my local whitewater park. So I focused on my freestyle playboating skills.

I got my first Phonics Monkey. I got my first McNasty that actually looks closer to an actual Mcnasty. I got my first split wheel also. Lots of loops, continuing to work on cartwheels, and surfed many hours on my sup and shortboard as well.

Playboating was awesome this season…until July that is. Then Mother Nature had other plans. The rain shut off and levels dropped to drought levels. In August, for the first time in my lifetime, a Derecho ravaged a 100 mile wide, 770 mile long swath through the heartland. A swath that could be seen from space! Clean up is still ongoing today in my community. Then the Antix 2.0 came out. This kayak has been so much fun! Learning to stern squirt and splat has been a much needed respite from chainsaws and mangled trees.

I also slipped away a few times to the Northwoods for some downriver action on the Peshtigo. Even got to enjoy a gorgeous fall weekend on the wolf river for my birthday!

While this year certainly didn’t go as planned. My nature is that of perpetual positivity. I know I can grab an eddy, regroup and find the line through. Capitalize on the opportunities presented and make the most of what I have. I’m grateful to have family, close friends, a good dog, a job, surfing and kayaking! Thank you for the continued support!

Check out the highlights video, with special cameo appearances by my paddling partner, Marty, and river bro, Carl.

-Hannah Ray J