2014 Season Recap

2014 Season Recap

by Ben Natusch

2014 was a pretty different year for me.  I moved on from the seasonal lifestyle and stepped down as an Assistant Instruction Manager at Zoar Outdoor to take a full time position at NEMO Equipment.  I still taught for Zoar on many weekends and now that I have weekends off, I was actually able to enjoy the Dryway and the many other weekend releases that I often missed while teaching full time.  I think I actually boated the Dryway more days this year than any of the years when I was living in the area and working full time for Zoar.  While I miss teaching full time and being able to connect with new students everyday, I guess having weekends off does have its perks.   I also became an ambassador for Dagger Kayaks, AT Paddles, and Bomber Gear this year.  I have been using AT Paddles almost exclusively for many years and I couldn’t be happier with the Mamba Creeker and the Jitsu.  I really like what these companies are doing and I am really excited to be representing them in a professional capacity.

I was able to attend many events in 2014.  I started the year off right by attending the Merrimack Valley Paddlers’ New Year’s Day on the Winni celebration.  Then in April, I taught a steep creek clinic for Zoar and got to work with some pretty talented paddlers.  I’ve never been much of a city person but I got to experience New York City for the first time this year when I went down to teach a SUP course on the Hudson River in Manhattan.  It was a really different paddling experience paddling in the constant wakes from all the ferries and dealing with all the distractions New York City has to offer.  I really like local events and Lozer Cup in no exception.  I was glad to get to race a few times this year.  It was a great opportunity to catch up with friends and have some friendly competition.  Demofest and Deerfield Riverfest are two more events that I’m glad to be involved with each year.  During the fall, I was able to make it out to Beaverfest and Fall Creek.  Unfortunately water levels didn’t cooperate and I didn’t get to run Fall Creek this year but hopefully it will work out next year.

For 2015, I’m hoping for a lot more excitement.  I have already signed up to teach another Steep Creeking Clinic at Zoar.  I am also planning on making it out for some of the Lozer Cup events in addition to Demofest and Deerfield Riverfest.  This was the first year in a long time that I didn’t get to run the West Branch of the Deerfield.  It is one of my favorite rivers and I’m really hoping to get in a few laps for 2015.  I also haven’t run the Moose in a year or two so hopefully I’ll be able to make it out for spring and/or fall Moosefest.  Fall Creek remains on the list of rivers that I haven’t run yet so hopefully I won’t get skunked by water levels on that run again in 2015.  I am also pretty excited to get back to Beaverfest and can’t wait to explore more of the New Hampshire creeks.

Hopefully I’ll see some of you at the New Year’s Day Winni paddle.  It is a spectacular event that is always well attended both by paddlers and spectators.  See you out there!

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