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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Share the Love Challenge this February!

This February, we at Girls At Play have decided to expand our vision from the romantic relationship focus of Valentine’s Day to something a bit bigger. We are launching our Share the Love Challenge! With so much going on in our personal lives and in the world, we think it’s time we reach out and connect to those in our lives who could use a little more love. The living of our lives is in the relationships and connection with people. It’s time to give of ourselves so that others may be empowered, lifted up and know human compassion and connectedness. Here’s 

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Look where you want to go!

It’s winter in Wisconsin, and I’ve been playing a bit with my new toys from Santa: a secondhand pair of cross-country skate skis. I’ve been a trail runner my whole life, and paddling long enough that my boat feels like another limb, but skis are an unfamiliar tool. As I flail and careen up and down the trails, I sometimes get frustrated with my inefficiency and lack of control. Exhausted and exasperated, I once admitted to Daniel—him all calm, balance and smiles—that I’m just not used to doing things I’m not good at. Then I smiled, realizing that it has 

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The Off Season: Cross Training for Kayaking

During the long winter months, many of us aren’t out there kayaking nearly as much, if at all. So what are you doing to keep engaged and keep your body and mind in the sport? While it may be too cold for some of us to venture out, there is plenty out there that can provide cross training for kayaking and help us be ready when the season starts again this spring. Being mindful in all aspects of our health not only can help us perform better when it’s time to get back on the water, but can also improve 

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The Art of Self-Care

Self-care seems to be a ‘new’ buzzword in the realm of health and wellness and I’m so glad that it is gaining traction and popularity. Self-care has tended to be associated with selfishness, especially for women who have been, and continue to be, expected to focus on taking care of and nurturing others. In today’s world women are not only expected to take care of family, social engagements and household (traditional societal expectations), but also be successful career women in their field. We want all of the ambition and success, and what studies are showing is that ‘having it all’ 

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

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