Deerfield Riverfest is one of my favorite events each year. It is always a great time and a great chance to reconnect with friends and get some great laps on one of my favorite rivers. Unfortunately this year I wasn’t able to make it out to boat the Dryway on Friday before all the crowds showed up. I arrived early Saturday morning and headed up to the Dryway where I met up with a large group of friends. We did several laps boofing, playing the river and trying many of the fun moves. After getting off the river, we headed back to Zoar to catch up with the rest of the staff and get ready to head up to the festival site. At the festival site, there were squirt guns at the Zoar booth so we promptly got into trouble with that. Then we watched the Raft Guide Olympics and danced to some of Jeff Campbell’s music. It was a great night.
The following morning, we headed back up to the Dryway to race in the Loser Cup race. We got a quick warm up lap in prior to the race. For the race, I was paddling a Perception Wavehopper, a plastic wildwater boat. While these boats are pretty fast, they are also paddle very differently from most other whitewater boats. You edge to the outside of your turns for steering but to the inside when crossing eddylines. When paddling downstream, if the tiniest bit of your bow crosses the eddyline, you quickly find yourself backwards. This was only the second time I had paddled a wildwater boat so it was definitely a learning experience. For some reason (mostly I was off line), I decided that plugging rodeo hole was the line I should take through the tooth. Luckily I was able to punch through the hole but while pulling the boat out, my bow crossed one of the eddylines on river left and the boat started to spin. After fighting it for a stroke or two, I realized that it wasn’t going to happen and committed to running the rest of the rapid backwards so I didn’t have to go sideways through the ledge holes. Fortunately I was able to keep the boat upright and get it turned back around above Lab. It was definitely a fun way to make the Dryway more challenging and something I’m looking forward to doing again. It was a great weekend with lots of really fun boating with great friends.