NYC SUP, First Descents, and Lozer Cup

NYC SUP, First Descents, and Lozer Cup

by Ben Natusch

This week has been pretty exciting for me.  Tuesday night I drove down to New York City to help Steve Busch teach a SUP Instructor Course for Manhattan Kayak Company.  I had never been to NYC so it was a pretty interesting experience for me.  My GPS seemed to think that driving through the Bronx at midnight was quicker than taking the highway so I quickly learned that my Silverado wasn’t built for city streets.  Everyone in the course was a really strong paddler and a lot of fun to work with.  It was one of the most challenging locations I have taught SUP both from a paddling and from an instruction perspective.  Since we were teaching on the Hudson River right in Manhattan there was a whole lot going on.  There were helicopters constantly taking off and landing right next to us.  There were all kinds of ferries, navy ships and other boats frequently passing our teaching location.  In addition to the distraction, all of the boat traffic also created large waves that would bounce off the walls of the river and get bigger.  The constant waves from all directions made paddling and teaching a little challenging and also exciting.  Everyone fell in a few times and I know I definitely walked away from the course a better paddler than I went in.  It was a new experience, very different from anywhere else I had taught but also really fun.  Everyone at Manhattan Kayak Company was great and I am definitely hoping to get back down to paddle with them sometime soon.

After we finished up the course in Manhattan, I headed up to Zoar to paddle with some friends for the weekend.  It was the first weekend of Dryway Releases and there was a large kickoff party raising money for First Descents, a program for young adults with cancer.  I had the opportunity to work with two First Descents programs run on the Deerfield.  It is really amazing what happens in the programs and the connections that are formed between participants, staff, and volunteers.  On Saturday night, a documentary about first descents was shown that gave a pretty accurate representation of many of the things that take place during their programs.  Through the course of the event over $1800 was raised to support First Descents.  It costs about $1000 to put a single participant through a program so we raised almost enough to provide an incredible life changing experience for two cancer survivors/fighers.

On Sunday, the first Lozer Cup of the year was held.  This is a really fun head to head race from the putin to the takeout of the Dryway.  There were about 25-30 people racing making for a pretty exciting race.  At the start, Jimmy was able to spin me sideways in front of many of the racers.  While it provided a great block for him, it made for a rough start to the race for me.  Eventually I was able to get straightened out and untangled from the rest of the racers.  I really like the energy found in this race.  It is pretty informal but everyone always has a great time.  After the race we hung out at the takeout for a few hours enjoying the sun and catching up with all of the paddlers that we hadn’t seen since last year.  It was a really fun week of paddling and it was great to meet some new paddlers and catch up with a lot of old friends.

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