By Chris Bidwell
The day I won the Jackson Fun was the morning on the last day of 2016 Spring Training Camp. I bought two $10 tickets for the raffle, and when they called my name, I went over and picked the boat up over my head because I couldn’t believe it.
Before going on the day’s trip, I quickly pulled all the gear out of my old kayak and outfitted the new Fun and immediately paddled it on our Cottonwood rapid Training Camp run. Since then, it has been my primary boat, and I have paddled it numerous times on the Foxton run, Waterton Canyon, laps on the Bridges run, laps on Shoshone, Royal Gorge, Clear Creek... Several of these are runs I’ve led for the former CWWA.
Every run I did this year was with my daughter, who totally has the kayaking bug. She was wanting to improve her class III skills and is working to get into class IV this upcoming season. My boating posse is mostly gone, so my new posse is my daughter’s boating friends, now my friends. I am known as “Corinne’s dad, the boater.” Once after a long day of paddling with them on the NFSP, we were pulling our boats out of the river. The other paddlers were dragging their boats back to the truck, but I told them that I’d be damned if I was going to drag my $20 boat.
At this point in my paddling career, which has spanned since I was twelve, I am still enjoying paddling and passing my skills to the younger generation.
In a nutshell, my personal rules for paddling are four-fold:
· Paddle with a good crew (you never know when they may have to save you).
· Be in good shape (you do not want to get fatigued or pull a muscle).
· Be a skilled paddler (have a strong roll, constantly improve, paddle often, do not move up a grade until you can comfortably play in your current grade).
· Have good gear (including safety gear--f it is worn out replace it, especially old lifejackets).
At the end of last season, I upgraded to a Party Braaap, and the “raffle Fun” has been handed down to my daughter, so it will continue its life as her primary boat.
Thank you CW for giving back!