Learning to Open My Eyes

Canyon Creek Lewis. 3.2 miles of glorious, scenic, pool drop whitewater, the site of the Northwest Creeking Competition, mentioned on American Whitewater as:  “…one of the best sections in the country for a creeking race.” A year ago it was the upper limits of what I felt comfortable running and moving back to the Pacific Northwest, I knew I was at least better prepared to tackle it. So I made a project. Run it until I got comfortable. My 4th time down ~650cfs I got stuck in a pocket near the bottom of the right wall of the largest drop 

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Getting Intentional: Putting Play into Practice

In early March, I sent Anna Levesque a cold call e-mail asking to get involved in Girls at Play. I had been traveling in New Zealand and my letter of inquiry included a line that summed up my latest truth: “I think that there is a cultural stereotype that women are held back by fear [in whitewater kayaking], but in my experience it is simply that they want to be intentional.” I still think this is true, but I was missing something. In the last year, I have intentionally expanded my boating experience both in variety and challenge. I did 

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Ladies Southeast Paddling Series – Ocoee

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, 

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Ladies Southeast Paddling Series – Lower Green

This past Saturday, 9 women gathered at Fishtop to paddle the Lower Green and celebrate Shannon by sharing time on the water. Our four year old friend Mei helped us with the warm-up in a newly debuted game of “Mei-tag”, you gotta catch Mei because she’s always it! She made sure to help us carry our boats down and she also had her PFD of the river in a duckie with her Mama Wendy! Way to go Mei! It was a special group! Camaraderie was high and we paddled, party surfed, stern squirted, and even found a few good swimming spots to 

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Ladies Southeast Paddling Series – Pigeon

Saturday on the Pigeon River 19 women gathered in the sunshine to celebrate Shannon’s memory. With paddle games, surf stops, stern squirts and splashes, we whisked around the water way. Dropping down eddy by eddy, surf stop by surf stop, everyone had a buddy to cheer and congratulate as after each surf, squirt, ender or roll, ladies came up smiling.   A huge Thank you to Dave Crawford and Rapid Expeditions for donating time to run our shuttle on a busy weekend morning! Arriving back at our cars, we found a pocket of shade for our raffle. Ladies walked away 

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When you want something you've never had…

This past weekend I had three ladies come out to an Intro to Whitewater Clinic. We experienced both sunshine and a thunderstorm together, worked with wet exits, strokes, ferries and eddies. What really struck me was that in the face of something new, these ladies inner strength, light and laughter shone through. Approaching things from a place of “I can” has such a strong impact on our ability to follow through. When we set our minds to something, it then shifts not to a question of our ability, but a focus on the logistics, the execution, the real work that needs to be 

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Intermediate Whitewater Clinic

  Our final intermediate clinic of the season was serenaded with summer sunshine, sweet smiles and so much Torso Rotation! Our ladies traveled from Kentucky, Georgia and South Carolina to convene on the French Broad where we worked the rivers current and got intimate with her many eddies! Saturday we reviewed strokes, emphasizing using torso rotation in each of them. We had fun with a number of drills (or should I say sweet river dance moves??) that left us all feeling like we’d done the robot (Torso rotation in boat maintaining paddlers box), the lawn mower (Cross tap front of 

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Ladies Novice Clinic CCC WOR

Last Tuesday during the Carolina Canoe Club Week of Rivers, Girls at Play held a novice clinic on the Tuckaseegee Gorge. This run was complete with a downpour, bald eagle sighting and a successful run by everyone through double drop! We practiced strokes, ferries, eddy catching and had no trouble having a great time! What I loved about teaching a ladies Novice clinic at the Carolina Canoe Club event is how it’s such a family affair, the whole boating tribe shows up! The spectrum of women who came out for our clinic spanned an age range of 50 years and 

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Ladies Southeast Paddling Series – Nantahala

Wednesday on waters of the Nantahala, 18 Ladies gathered together to honor Shannon and the river with their laughter, smiles and festive merriment! Anytime you bring a group of ladies on the water together, support, attention and general silliness ensues! From Ferebee through Nantahala falls we eddy hopped, ferried, boofed and bonded. With lunch at the surf stop, we got a chance to catch a bite and the wave across the way. After a scout of Nantahala falls, everyone got to choose a line through with plenty of buddies at the bottom to back them up. Endless River Adventures generously 

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The Power of Practice

Each night for the last week, as the sun begins to color the sky and the temperatures finally drop down from the heat of the day, I’ve found my way out to Woodfin Park. In this daily routine, I go over basic strokes, rolls and maneuvers. I notice how the grip of my paddle in my hand at different angles adjusts, ever so minorly (or majorly) the way the boat and water and my body move in relationship with one another. I pay attention to my torso rotation and try to notice the differences it establishes in each of my 

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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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Testimonials

"Anna was a knowledgeable and professional Instructor Trainer and connected well with the group." - Mark, MA

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