BECOMING DIRTBAG: a young person’s story of finding whitewater and theIdaho Whitewater Association. By Dylan Delamotte

I’m underwater… Don’t breathe…..I’m Okay……. I am alive….
I was in awe when my eyes met the sun again. I took a deep and much appreciated breathe. For you see I’d just had my first swim. Not even in the great state of Idaho for 12 hrs and I’d felt the effects of failure in a rapid. From that moment on, the river was my mistress and she would prove to be a wet ride. Almost one month later I would paddle the Lochsa River in a 50+ year high, and I would also swim the Lochsa River at a 50+year high. The swim was strong and brutal, pushing and pulling with forces unknown to me. A respect for the power of moving water was forged that weekend. 
“Time and time again I throw myself into a boat to feel the rush of water crushing over top of me. I love it, every second of it. Put me right in the front and I will move this boat for you I swear. My body and mind align and I connect with grenades of water exploding around me. This is the life for me.” This was me then. 
I would soon aspire to guide and lead crews down the river, continually learning to read water. I would collect on a wealth of knowledge that surrounded me, a life time’s worth of river experience. Each person bring a piece of information or resources to help accomplish your goals. I was given a boat to run and a crew to paddle, and I must say it felt good. 
From that first swim to where I am now, I’ve had a large group of individuals to thank for their support of a mutual dream all river rats have in common ~ To be on a river. The guidance and support I’ve received in the past 12 months have proved to have a great effect on a young paddler such as myself. A community of friends I now call family and the support of the ldaho Whitewater Association have helped me accomplish so much in a mere 12 months. Now I’m hitting world class whitewater, running my own boat in waters well beyond anything I could’ve  ever imagined being capable of doing. 
I say these things because I am a true believer in the love and kindness we all share with one another. I have seen what several like minded individuals can accomplish in a world often unseen by the public. When we talk in numbers our voices are heard far more clearly. Our fight for the river rights and freedoms we all love so much become stronger, and the ability to connect and share knowledge and experience is enhanced dramatically.

I have great aspirations in the world of whitewater and I know there is a community behind each and everyone of us, pushing and guiding us to the next challenge, the next hole, the next wallace, and the next river. I would like to invite all paddlers to reach out to your local Whitewater Associations and organizations. Each and every one of us has a tool to bring to the table and together we may accomplish much more then we could have ever imagined.
I like to think I was born for this, but in reality I just met the right people at the right time, stuck my hand out and said, “Hello my name is Dylan”.

{Editor’s Note: Dylan and his brother are proud members of the Idaho Whitewater Association. They invite all like minded boaters, especially young people just getting into paddling or conservation, to join. If not in Idaho, then wherever is local! DBP salutes Dylan’s efforts, and warmly welcomes him to our community!}
All action shots on the river by Eric Evans Photography
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