The sun was bright at 10:30am. 23 women milled around the Ocoee public takeout in clusters. I kept going around introducing myself with so many new faces. More were not even part of our group, but saw us and commented “I wish I was paddling with you all today! That looks SO fun!”
After a setting shuttle and choosing our lines through Grumpy’s, we gathered in an eddy just below, lining up for stern squirts and turning heads in a way that only 23 women laughing and playing on the water can do. We broke up into groups for the day, making sure everyone was comfortable with a beta buddy to make their way down.
I had never run the Ocoee. I had heard of it as an all time classic. All summer people talked about what an amazing spot it was and getting my PFD on it with these ladies sealed that in for me! With so many surf spots and sweet attainment challenges, I get why it has a reputation for being a great river for playboats and long boats alike! Broken nose, Double Suck, Double Trouble and Tablesaw saw ladies guiding, grouping and going, meeting in eddies, getting beta, parking in play spots, surfing and stern squirting and smiling! Everyone had the opportunity to challenge themselves with a fun line, or show someone a good boof spot! Toward the end we all took turns surfing at Hell hole, cheering and dodging rafts.
At the take out, Laura Farrell initiated a trust game in handrolling: everyone flips over and tries to handroll up! Those that get up, have to T-rescue those that are still under water. It was great practice in patience, holding our breathe under water and trust in one another! After, we pulled our boats out of the water, quickly drying off the in summer sun and found some shade to set up our raffle.
This event set a record for the most significant donation to the Shannon Christy Memorial yet! A very generous participant (who wants to remain anonymous) matched the $843 that we raised together! Wow! Ladies that is such a huge contribution! Not only does this signify a huge step toward reaching our goal of $10k so that the fund can gain longevity, but it also shows the power of community involvement, the goals we can accomplish by working together. I cannot say enough how touched Anna, Laura, myself and everyone involved is to see such a large step toward this goal!
The goal of raising 10K is to honor Shannon’s memory with a fund that will donate to women’s empowerment groups. We hope that we can continue to build on her legacy of light and love through these contributions. Attaining longevity for the fund will allow it to be a lasting legacy and we can’t say Thank you enough to all of the amazing ladies present who donated generously and continue to throughout these events!
We appreciate our sponsors for supplying us with the incredible prizes for each event and for the final raffle’s BIG prizes! Dagger, Kokatat, Werner, Endless River Adventures, Girls at Play, Jennifer Whitlock and Becca Day, these events would not be possible without you! Winners will be drawn and prizes claimed at the last event of the series on October 1st with a finale celebration at Endless River Adventures. Also huge shout out and Thank you to Emily Shanblatt, Laura Farrell, Erin Savage and Anne Sontheimer for coming out and helping with lines and bringing all your stoke!
Ladies continue to sport the cute 2016 Girls at Play “You are Beautiful” T-shirts at our events! These are available sizes S-XL at all of the Ladies Southeast Paddling series events and also online off our webstore. $5 from each t-shirt sale goes directly to the Shannon Christy Memorial Fund!
If you’d like to make a tax deductible contribution to the Shannon Christy Memorial Fund through mail or online, please send checks made out to the Community Foundation of Western North Carolina with ‘Shannon Christy Memorial Fund’ written in the memo to:
4 Vanderbilt Park Drive, Suite 300
Asheville, NC 28803
You can also Donate online – Please indicate Shannon Christy Memorial Fund Under “OR Is your gift for a fund not listed above?”
Please come join us for our FINAL event of the series on the Lower Gauley during Gauley Fest Friday September 16th!!
Saturday Oct 1st will be the BIG Raffle at Endless River Adventures!!
For a listing of all events, please visit our main website for the Ladies Southeast Paddling Series!