Swim to Victory

Saturday, April 29. It’s sunny but cold in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, and the Peshtigo River is raging from recent rains. I’m standing at the check-in table for the Pesh Fest 2017 downriver race, agonizing over whether I should sign up. I’ve been in a sort of kayaking slump for the past month or so—really the past year, since returning from the Southeast. Working towards graduating college and transitioning into graduate school has sapped much of the mental, physical, and emotional energy that I usually pour into kayaking. Less time in my boat has diminished my confidence, and memories of the 

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Hammer Factor, Fear Factor: What’s in a Story?

“The past and future are in the mind only – I am now.” – Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj Last month I accompanied Girls at Play on the last five rapids of the Green Narrows on the final day of Creek Week. This was my fifth trip down this section. I had an arch nemesis on this river and it was called Hammer Factor. The previous several times I ran this rapid, I managed to do it every way except plastic side down. I’ve ran the whole thing upside down, had a brief out-of-boat experience stuck in the pocket, and bow stalled face first 

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Sharks Teeth!

  I went camping on the North Carolina coast recently where I found my first shark tooth on Shark Tooth Island! I was so excited. At 30 you would think I would have had better luck over the years, but I guess I’m not good at just staring at the ground when I’m at the beach. 🙂 Paddling to Shark Tooth Island is a very simple 1.2 mile loop on the Cape Fear River that can be longer or shorter if you wish. It is dependent on tides and the weather can change very quickly so it’s important to pay 

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SUP in the Mountains: Rivers of Life

Rivers are fickle yet predictable. Teasing you with their perfect eddies and beautiful ripples. You are standing above a rapid, floating at the edge of the drop calculating your next move. The feeling of knowing that you possess the skill to continue standing as you move down the rapid is empowering.  Then, sometimes, you hit a rock with your fin and go flying over the nose into the water! These things are what motivate me to keep going back to the river. I want to try again and again and again. I love reaching the bottom of a rapid and 

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Making it: the must-make move

“Must-make moves” exist on every river, everywhere. In a class V scenario, they may constitute the only physical options we have to safely run a rapid. On a class II river, they more often represent the choices we have made about how we want to paddle a rapid: hit this eddy. Complete this ferry. Surf this wave. Boof this rock. Once we’ve set our goals for a given rapid, they become, in a sense, must-make moves. Not necessarily because we will fail if we don’t make them, or because plan B is unacceptable, but because we’ve dedicated ourselves to trying. What 

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Ecuador Womens Trip Recap by Tracy Welch

Tracy won the trip to Ecuador at the Ladies Southeast Paddling Series party and raffle in October. Here, she tells her experience in her own words: I wasn’t sure what to expect when I stepped off the plane in Ecuador, but I knew it was going to be awesome. I met my other trip mates when we waited for luggage, and I knew we were in for a wild ride. Everywhere you looked in Ecuador was jaw-dropping, especially when we crossed over a 14k foot pass in the Andes to get to the EcoLodge. The rainforest was stunning – I 

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Yoga for Paddling: Side Plank Variations

Side Plank Variations for Greater Balance and Power Our side body muscles are mainly used for lateral flexion of the spine and hiking the hip. This means their strength AND flexibility are key for a successful hip snap and roll in whitewater kayaking.  As well as carrying our kayaks on one shoulder for portages. In stand up paddleboarding these muscles engage as we bend slightly to one side in the final stage of our forward stroke and help us balance when we’re rotated over to the side for other strokes. They also contract and release as we alternate pressure in 

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Shuttling, Schlepping and Savoring the Journey

  Many of us have driven or ridden along on those white-knuckle shuttle rides, where gnarly dirt roads, steep inclines, and zero-inch-margin-of-error switchbacks leave our engines wheezing, our kayak racks and straps straining, and our hearts pumping out half the day’s supply of adrenaline before we even get to the put-in. At the road’s end, we might embark on a sweaty, grueling hike in that exacts a parallel toll on our feet, shoulders and lungs. Somehow, we regard these harrowing escapades as normal and necessary parts of the kayaking process. Most kayakers would agree that when the river calls, they do whatever 

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Self-Care and Listening To Your Body: What I Learned From a Year of Setbacks

This article is contributed by Rachel Roman, Swiftwater Rescue Instructor and GAP Client. I started kayaking two summers ago and progressed quickly throughout the first season. As time passed, however, a roll that had once been very reliable became less so, even as other skills progressed.  I started having to work harder to come up, lying further and further on my back deck to compensate.  High braces were similarly performed lying on the back deck, arms high and far beyond the safety of the paddler’s box.  I had an offside roll that quickly became better than the “on” side, but muscle 

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Self Care: Meditation

This article is contributed by Tara Scarborough, yoga instructor, meditator and GAP client. February is one of those “in between” months.  Cold and dark and full of potential.  Perhaps you are ready for spring to push through the ground or perhaps you are missing the lights and festivities of December.  February, although the shortest month, can tend to drag on in our psyches for whatever reason.  However, the spaces “in between” are those that yield the greatest potential.  That quiet, dark space, dripping with potential is the perfect time to go inward and take some time for yourself through meditation. 

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Meet Anna Levesque

Anna Levesque is the leading expert on kayak instruction for women and yoga and wellness for paddling, including SUP Yoga. Named one of the most inspirational paddlers alive by Canoe and Kayak Magazine, Anna’s twenty-plus years of experience as an accomplished international competitor and instructor has landed her in mainstream publications such as TIME, SHAPE and SELF magazine.

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