Monday, September 01, 2008
Anyone know a non-paddler that wants to take some pictures? I took all of 11 photos at the release yesterday because the paddling there has just been too much fun to bother with the cameras. Yesterday's release was a blast! It was pretty much the usual suspects out there, plus a ton of newer paddlers who were practicing on the lower portions of the course. Aside from the course regulars (team pabst, Wagonwheel, etc), there weren't a lot of advanced paddlers present, so hole time was abundant and you had your pick of the upper features. It was pretty much just having fun in great, uncrowded features with a bunch of friends. Tough to beat that.
Nora and Laura were both present and looking like rockstars. Both are on the verge of loops, Nora's got cartwheels now and Laura's starting to work on them. Its fun to watch and see them hit these new moves! Nora had some bad luck, breaking her new paddle when she got washed into some rocks. Though that was really disappointing, she made lemons into lemonade the way that only Nora can. She used it as an opportunity to try some different paddles and different offsets and wound up having a great day! To help offset the loss of the paddle, she got her new helmet so she was stylin' as she sampled the different paddles.
It was great catching up with the Team Pabst guys again. I don't think there's a better group of guys anywhere in the sport and it's always a blast paddling with them. I just found out that Matt's now a Bliss Stick rep, so it should be fun to see them showing off the boats this fall!
As for me, I had a great day and finally figured out why I was never coming out of the water straight on my loop attempts. Once that was fixed, it was tons of fun. I even hand paddled for a while and discovered that I can do both cartwheels and backdeck rolls without a paddle. Definitely a fun surprise.
As this was the last Wausau release of the season for me, I've really gotta say thanks to everyone out there that makes it such a great place to be. While there are many people behind these events, my hat is off to Julie for putting her personal and professional life on hold so that the rest of us can enjoy the course and all of the fun things that go along with it. In addition to organizing and staffing the events, Julie writes grants and recruits sponsors to make these releases possible, and is trying to get a new instructional program in place for next season. If you make it to either of the remaining releases, make sure you stop the registration tent and let her know how much we appreciate all the hard work!
Now everyone needs to wish, hope, pray, and whatever else you can think of for some big fall rains!