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3 Weeks Non-Stop Boating

In July 2015 I attend the OKS Keener program on the Ottawa River. It was 3 weeks of kayaking every single day. I flew up there by myself and my parents came and picked me up. We drove back home. Even though I had done so much kayaking I still wanted to kayak. On the way home we stopped at Hole Brothers in Upstate New York to get one more run in before driving the rest of the way home as school was starting the day we got back. I also wanted to compete but had missed competing due to being at camp. The only problem was there was no competition. Then I found out about the Columbus Hometown Throwdown taking place in October in Columbus GA. I had been there back in May, but the water level was different this time, so it was like completely different water, to me at least.  It’s a four and a half hour drive from where I live. The water doesn’t turn on until about 4 PM so I can leave the same day. It stays on until midnight and the city is all lit up.



So when I got there I jumped out of the truck and into my gear and I literally ran to the water as the sirens were going off. When the sirens go off that means the water is rising. Once the water was up I got in the water, did my basic warm up, and then went to enter the wave. My first thought was let’s just do a basic warm up ride, couple of spins, right and left round houses, right blunt, and then go for a right back pan-am. Of course I did not do all of those tricks on my first ride but I got a couple. So for the next hour or two I just kept working on my blunts. Then my dad said to take a break from blunts and work on something else. I did, it was back pan-ams. I did that for about two more hours and then I was really tired, so I decide to call it a night and go back to the hotel with my dad. There were a  couple of competitions the next day, so I wanted to rest up.



I signed up for all of the competitions except for slalom and king of the wave. The first competition was the watermelon race. That is where you chase a watermelon down a rapid and the one who finishes holding the melon is declared the winner. In my round everyone paddled as hard and fast as they could to get the watermelon. The guy who got it ended up getting corned by three people including me. So for a couple of minutes we all tried to get the watermelon. None of us got it. One of the guys next to me got out of his boat to get it. Unfortunately, the announcer said the race is over and the one holding the watermelon wins. So I lost that competition but it was so much fun, and then there was more competitions.

The next competition was boatercross mixed with eight ball. Eight ball is when about eight people try to hit you and make you have to stop and get around them during a race. The eight balls are scattered across the course.  When you race you are required to hit curtain points on the course. The only catch is, the eight balls are waiting for you at the points and they are trying to stop you from finishing. The eight ballers can hit you with their boat, paddle, etc., anywhere on you or your boat.


The next competition was the SUP race (stand-up-paddle board) and that was fun.  This race was different than boatercross, in my opinion it was a whole lot harder. The starting point was to put the board on the sand and back up ten feet. When the horn blows you take of running towards the board, jump on and start paddling. For me that’s hard because I rarely paddle a SUP.  I came in last, but my run was the funniest, I think because I swam at least half of the rapid. Though just because you never do something doesn’t mean you don’t try, because you’ll never know if you like. Like me I like to SUP. I used to think I hated it, but that was because I never tried.



The next competition for me was freestyle, I competed against three other women. It was fun, but really hard because we got put on a small wave-hole. None of us really knew what to do or how to surf and throw tricks since we did not practice on that wave.  Since we had no idea of what we were doing that made the competition fun. Katie Jackson was first up in the heat. She did really well. Then up next was Rowan Stuart. She did awesome too. Next up in the heat was me. I paddled out into the current and dropped into the feature. I did two spins, then on my third going the opposite way I somehow dropped my edge and went into a bowstall. Then I threw a loop. So that was counted as a McNasty. When I landed the trick I fell out of the wave but I did a fist pump and was super pumped about my first run. I was super excited about my McNasty. Up next in the heat was Kady Kellogg. She dropped into the wave and did really good. She got pushed out but she paddled back up the wave and did some spins. Then the second round of the heat came. We got two runs and the judges take the highest score. Again everybody did their turn. Then I went to go take mine. I dropped in the wave again and did an entry move. It failed and I got pushed out of the wave. Then I paddled back pack up. I got in and tried to loop, but I just flipped and then again, I had to paddle back up. With only about ten seconds left I threw a couple of cartwheels as the buzzer rang. My ride was over. We only got 45 seconds to do our ride and do as many tricks as possible.

After all of the main competitions all of the women went in for a party surf and it was amazing and very funny.



That was the last competition of the year for me so I went to go get food and waited for the award ceremony. Once the award ceremony started I just stood there and congratulated all the winners. Then the announcer called for the women’s division. I came in third, then in second place was Kady Kellogg and in first place was Rowan Stuart. We all got our picture taken. I was fine getting third, but I was really proud of myself for getting tricks that I can’t normally do. I wanted to to stay in Columbus, GA, but I had to go back to school the next day. I will always remember that weekend.


Cat on the left in red, Rowan in the middle and Kady on the right.

Hope to paddle with you on the water,

Cat H.