What a summer! It goes by so fast, those hot days when the river is so inviting… But it lingers in the heart and soul forever.
We had a rip roaring good time this year, with old friends and new ones, hammering whitewater in the back yard for the individual dirtbag but around the world in this community. In August we at Dirt Bag Paddlers celebrated our collective second birthday by launching the #ULTIMATEDIRTBAGSUMMER, asking our friends from across the globe to join in the party by sending summer paddling video clips to us, and our partners in the adventure business to help by sending us some swag to make an epic prize package. We got a panel of DBP Admins together to act as judges, and took submissions for the entire month.
Now as we begin the last holiday weekend of summer here in The States, Labor Day Weekend, we are stoked to announce the winner, and also to introduce the videos and stories of ALL of the finalists. Thanks to Cascade Outfitters, teamscum, Maravia, Small World Adventures, NRS, Kelty, Kavu, Teva, YETI, Astral, RESTOP, WRSI, and Gnar Fairies for some dope stickers, our homie Val Jean Marcoe for the wiggly Alien Kayaker, and SPECIAL THANKS to Cascade Outfitters for the awesome prizes! We asked all of the finalists to send us a short bio about “you and your local paddling scene, some about the trip in the video, how your summer has gone, and what it means to you to be DIRTBAG.” Here are the results of our collective endeavor.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Cody Adams with some WV Lovin!
“I’m 23 years old, born and live in Fayetteville, West Virginia. The paddling scene around here can be pretty low key, but that’s alright.There is a pretty small group of core paddlers that live here and you can pretty much always find at least one other person who wants to paddle when there is water. It makes for a really awesome dynamic when you know everyone you paddle with so well.
The video was pretty much all GroPro from Paul Griffin (Red Boat) and I (Blue Boat) on a lap down Manns Creek at about 6″, which is a solid medium-high flow for the creek. We had an unbelievable early summer here in Fayetteville, where it rained almost every day of the month of June. I got like 8 laps on Manns, which in a normal summer rarely runs if ever. So needless to say this summer has been EPIC; from Mann’s Creek to high water Lower Meadow laps it was one of the best summers to be living in Fayetteville, WV.
And finally, being a DIRTBAG is becoming a way of life for me, living cheaply and traveling and kayaking as much as possible is what I want out life right now. Who the FUCK wants to sit at a desk for 40+ hours a week and never see anything but your backyard? Living the dirtbag lifestyle allows me to do what I love, and live the life that I want to live. That’s what being a DIRTBAG means to me. Peace!” Word UP!! We will be presenting Cody his bevy of goods at Gauley Fest Friday night at the DIRTBAG DJ DANCEPARTY!!
It was a close run thing… Jesse Delamotte from the PNW entered this clip.
“My name is Jesse Delamotte. I live in Boise, ID. I am originally from Ohio (Go Buckeyes) but moved out west about a year and a half ago. Since my brother and I arrived in Boise, we have been privileged to learn from and raft with a group of amazing boaters, ranging from kayakers to cat boaters, all with varying skill levels. We have amazing rivers that run all year so close to Boise. The Payette River system is about 45 minutes from town. Class 2 to Class 5, it is all there. It has been an amazing place to learn about whitewater.
My summer has been hectic at best. Trips to run the White Salmon with (DBP Admin Greg) Babikoff, 8 runs on the Lochsa, Hells Canyon, and countless trips down every section of the Payette!
The video I submitted was an R2 run on the Lower 5 of the North Fork of the Payette. For those that do not know about this river, it is a stout Class 5 with unnatural rock features created from blasting stone for the railroad. This adds to the danger factor. With only a year and a half of rafting under our belt, Dylan and I felt that the NF was the next step for us. We met a couple guys, (DBP Admin) Dan McCain and Jeff Compton, who were impressed with our boating and wanted to show us the way on the Lower. We couldn’t pass this opportunity up. We loaded our 12ft Tributary up, headed for the river, and waited for Jeff and Dan to finish on the upper 10 miles. Here they come and off we go. The first section, The Warmup, was exhilarating and a really fun Class 4 stretch. Big holes and waves and plenty of fun moves to make. Clean run, no issues. Next up is Otter Slide. Again a big Class 4+/5 rapid with even bigger features. Clean run, no problems. Juicer is just around the corner. This 200 yard rapid is just plain nasty. Huge holes. Must make moves and ocean waves from all directions. We approach the top and hit the first big right lateral wave. End over end. We are out of the boat and swimming a rapid that chances of survival are not that great. We get help from Jeff and Dan in the middle of the rapid and we make it back into the boat. Beat to shit and feeling weak, we hike the boat out and skip the last rapid, Crunch. A lot of people were not happy with us running this section, but this is what it means to me to be a Dirtbag Paddler. We set a goal and went out and tried it. We did something that people who have boated for years never have attempted. We swam the Gnar and made it out to turn around and do it again. We have made amazing friends being Dirtbag Paddlers. What else do you need ??” That’s for REAL.
In no particular order, here are our other finalists. We’d like to thank them all for sharing their love of whitewater, paddling, and the community! One Love, One River, WORLD WIDE WALLACE!!
Jason Carpenter with a solid high water Wallacing on the Cattaraugus Creek in Gowanda NY!
“My name is Jason Carpenter. I’m 37 years old and hail from Cheektowaga, New York. I own a Liquid Logic Remix, I am a member of Zoar Valley Paddling Club, and have been paddling for about 14 months. Here in western New York, we don’t have many whitewater options. However, we do have a little gem called Cattaraugus Creek in Gowanda, New York. This is about a six to eight mile Class 2/3 stretch that runs through old growth forest in Canyon-like gorge walls as high as 300 feet carved out by glacial melt. The prime time for this creek is early spring during snow melt, but it can be run almost year round at low levels.
This video takes place on the Upper South Branch of Cattaraugus Creek on a pretty high volume day. As we approached the lip everything seemed standard. I took my boof and turned around to see Jim W. piton into the hole and get side surfed for a few seconds before getting sucked back into the hole where he vanished. As we started to think the worst, Jim pops up like a rocket 20 feet from the falls. Jim unfortunately swam the next rapid, Corkscrew (which we usually portage due to strainers) before catching an eddy to self rescue.
And I guess this video is a part of what it means to be a Dirtbag Paddler. People coming together for one love, on the river, part of an ever-expanding family. Much love to all my friends at ZVPC.” Cheers bud! Look for more from Jason aka Moonshine Kayaker on Facebook, reporting from Moose Fest later this Autumn in DBP MAGAZINE ONLINE!
Chris Bartlett on the Dart
“At the moment I don’t really have a local paddling scene. I’m a student in Liverpool studying outdoor ed, so when up there I paddle with the Moist Crew, a bunch of crazy welsh locals.
Born and bred Somerset rivers like the Lyn and the Dart are my home runs, but I don’t get to paddle them nearly as much as I would like, so I couldn’t call myself a local down here either!
Beyond white water, I race K1 slalom in Division 1. This season has been pretty mediocre, getting results I’m not happy with due to not training over the last winter, due to a lack of money for boat storing! But hopefully this winter that will change.
Massive thanks are owed to Heatree Activity Centre, Devon. As they sponser me for my racing, the biggest support comes through my professional development; with their help I’m now a level 2 paddlesports coach and an SPA holder.
My current river kit is a Fluid Bazooka and VE paddles, carbon shaft and glass blades. In an ideal world I’d upgrade to a 9r and full carbon VE’s. My slalom boat is a carbon Vajda Matrix and Carbon Double Dutch Blades.
Summer Spate on the Dart; the story – Rain was forecast and we were super keen, so Joe came down and met at Newbridge. Others said there wouldn’t be enough rain, but we were naively optimistic. Around 1830 the level was a good foot below the slab, which left us less than hopeful for a dawn run before work. But we figured we’d get up early and… Lo and behold! At 4 the following morning the gauge showed it had just peaked at 1.9ish and when we got there it was at the second or third step.
Now Joe, known to many as Ray, (it should be noted that he is 6 foot something stupid tall), had until the day before been boat-less; he had picked up a Mamba 8.1 to see him over till when his Waka arrives. At this point some of you may be thinking that an 8.1 is surely too small for a guy this tall? And you would be correct.
At the put-in we’re both getting ready when Joe suddenly realises he’s too tall for his boat… Long and short of it after faffing with a few screw drivers and knives it came down to my much smaller legs getting into the boat and kicking the footplate as far as it could go into the nose! Joe fit, but seemed to think this was some sort of rodeo trip and pulled some lovely back loops. Beyond Joe’s back loops, I had a minor Wallace due to paddling in to that big stopper on the left we said we should avoid.
I’ve a small website with more videos and things (chrisbartlett123.wix.com/chrisbartlettslalom) as well as been on Facebook (Facebook.com/ChrisBartlettAthlete) and twitter (@ChrisBSlalom)” Quality stuff, homie! World wide!!
Ian O’Shaughnessy and The Bachelor Party
“Biology and Earth Science Student at UNCC. Reformed meat cutter, Former Vet assistant, current raft guide for the Whitewater Center. Passionate about animals and conservation. I paddle around on USNWC, French broad, New and Gauley. Just learning to kayak so hopefully I can broaden my horizons.
This summer hasn’t been too allowing for adventures with two physics courses and taking rafters out at the USNWC. I am going to be in WV three weekends over the next month.
Bachelor party- They were seven friends I’ve known for a long time. The first thing I did was to make sure everyone fell out. Then we took a few clean laps and proceeded to rock spin out people. Jarrod was the best because you could see the smile on his face before he swam Big Drop.
What it means to be a Dirtbag:
Spend more time doing what I love and enjoying nature.
Being part of one of the best group of people in the world.
Learning how to teach and share the sport I enjoy with people is why I like to push rubber.” Feelin’ ya, bro!
Jake Bouchelle in the PNW
“I am 25 years old and I am from Buena Vista, Virginia. I recently moved to Washington State for the epic whitewater scene in and around the White Salmon drainages. My home run is Goshen Pass in God’s Country of Virginia. My current paddling scene consists of living at the take out of the lower lower White Salmon River and working at the Kayak Shed in Hood River, Oregon. I also live within a 15 minute drive of the Green Truss, L-Dub, and Wind River. I’m currently trying to style the waterfall and downriver freestyle game. I love bendering, boofing, and going to church…in that order. Church.
Summer Update- This summer has been the best of my life. I can count the days on 1 hand that I didn’t stick my Mamba into some crystal clear glacial melt whitewater. Paddling consumed my life, so I moved to a place that would accommodate my needs year-round, and this summer has just proven that even with the worst drought in ages, the water in the PNW is still dreamy creamy with the cleanest drops I have ever run. Working for a paddling shop and paddling daily has made this summer a dirtbag summer for the books. I lived out of the back of my truck for 2 months and week before I found a place to live and I wouldn’t take it back for a second. The PNW is what dreams are made of. Go to CHURCH!
Dirtbaggage- To be a dirtbag is to keep the best of times rolling. Love the people and experiences that come to you. Take chances, take risk, even beater every now and again, but know that you are LIVIN’! I might not have a back window in my truck (busted out by a kayak), I might not have the fanciest clothes, or even an iPhone without a cracked screen, but I live my life to the absolute fullest every day and I get to paddle to some of the most magical places on earth in a plastic mold called a kayak. Being a dirtbag is choice…. a choice to choose adventure and the things that keep you true. Go to Church daily. Be out to Lunch every now and again. And as always…..WALLACE!!!” That made the tiny hairs stand on end! Cheers homie!
Kevin Tollison on an upper Green play day
“My name is Kevin Tollison. I’ve been paddling a little over 5 years now. I have the Green 40 minutes down the road, so my friends and I spend most of the summer there when there’s no water anywhere else. I made this video with a friend who hadn’t paddled in 6 months while recovering due to a shoulder injury, and we had a great fun trip on the upper Green. Me and all my paddling buddies love being the beater Dirtbags and wouldn’t change that for nothing!” Keep on keepin’ on buddy! And rockin’ that original WALLACE sticker on your RPM!
Abraham Lentz kayaking the Dirty Bird
“My name is Abraham Lentz. I live in the Southeastern US and this area is home to loads of exciting river opportunities, many within a few hours drive. I’ve been canoeing most of my life but am also an avid kayaker and rubber pusher.
I own a small fleet of boats and I love to take friends and family down some of the most beautiful waterways in the world. We do day and overnight trips with small and large groups. Oftentimes we bring our kids who will hopefully grow up to be the next generation of adventurers.
This video, The Dirty Bird, was filmed on the Pigeon River in Tennessee. My river buddy in the film, Clay, paddles with me a good number of trips a year. Our main prioritiy is safety. It’s a big part of being a Dirtbag. We know our limitations, scout rapids, read guide books and beta, monitor river levels, any try our best to provide as many exciting adventures to as many folks as will join us each year.
This year’s trips have included overnight runs on the Cumberland River in KY and the Rio Grande River through the Santa Elena Canyon in Big Bend National Park. We also try to get in lots of trips on the Ocoee, Nantahala, Nolichucky, Little, Obed, Pigeon, and Hiwassee Rivers here in Tennessee. In the winter, we paddle many of the creeks in the area and try new ones every year.
Another big part of being a Dirtbag is being and teaching others to be a good river steward. Taking care of and respecting our river resources is the responsibility that comes with the enjoyment of any natural environment. The privilege to experience places that so many people never get to see as you wind down twisted waterways, through canyons, and over rapids is afforded to us by our willingness to maintain these places in as pristine a condition as we find them. Thanks for watching my videos.” You’re welcome! Love the final message bro. And, we love us some Dirty Bird here at DBP!!
Trevor Spik getting some upper petting!
“My name is Trevor Spik and I’m 22 years old from Mississauga, ON. Ive been paddling for 3 years now, and I was fortunate enough to be introduced to whitewater just as I landed a wicked job opportunity in Ottawa.
The Ottawa boating scene is incredible; the thing that strikes me about it is the diversity in the paddling. For instance, within a 10 minute drive from downtown, depending on the season, we have everything from amazing play boating (Chaplains and Ruins Wave) to a beautiful park and huck (Hogs Back). We’ve also got other world class runs like the Rouge and the Ottawa rivers easily within reach.
This has been an amazing summer so far, lots of personal firsts! My first time down the Upper Pet and Upper Blacks early on in the year, two that I have wanted for a while now; my first surfs on Garb; my first blunt; things have been progressing in a major way this year! Unfortunately its been cut short due to injury, but I’m optimistic about getting back on the water before the big freeze!
To me, being a dirtbag is all about community. Good people helping good people. A shining example of that community is the 100+people who have come together over the last few days to raise over $7000 to help get every last competitor here from Uganda. There will be a lot of good river karma and positive vibes floating around Labor day weekend on the Ottawa.” Man, we couldn’t agree more with you! An awesome job with Uganda, and an Ulimate Dirtbag Summer!
Tommy Percival and Pear Cottage Paddling
“Yo! We are Pear Cottage Paddling, a crew from Christchurch NZ currently studying outdoor education and sustainability at CPIT. Our local scene isn’t a whitewater paradise; there’s only really 3 rivers within 3 hours drive, unless we head over to the West Coast. The name of the crew comes from the awesome flat we live in named Pear Cottage… it is flood damaged, earthquake damaged, and un-insulated. Rent is a mere $62.50 though so who’s complaining!
Our North Island trip was in the middle of summer your time but winter ours; we managed to head up and got some sunshine. We hit the famous Kaituna River more than anything else whilst getting on Bideford Gorge, Waiari Gorge and the Mokau River as well as hitting Waikato, Pokawhenua and Tawhai falls. We freedom camped the entire time and live the dirtbag lifestyle hard – can’t imagine any other way to paddle or live!! DIRTBAG4LIFE” Indeed bro! A visit for me to your land is definitely on the bucket list…
And last but not least, Aaron Smith Cheoah riverboarding
“I am Aaron Smith from Johnson City, TN. I am a perpetually broke graduate student working on my Masters in Public Administration with a nonprofit concentration. My plans include working in the environmental protection and clean water areas. I converted to riverboarding from paddling six years ago; I was always swimming the best rapids so I figured that I might as well enjoy it.
Eastern Tennessee and Western North Carolina has a diverse and amazing paddling and riverboarding community. Our common love of whitewater brings us all together. The riverboarding community, though sparse in numbers, includes members from Charlotte, Atlanta, Asheville and Chattanooga, making regular runs on the Pigeon, Cheoah, Ocoee, and trips to the US Whitewater Center. We’re always eager to introduce newbies to our sport and normally get them started on the Pigeon. Fellow riverboarders Josh Galt and Jusbyn Lockard recently took on the Green Narrows with great success.
The video is a great friend, Kevin Yount, and I doing a Cheoah run. Typically, we put in at the forest service bridge and run the bottom 2 miles which provides almost continuous action. Eddies are few and far between in this section so it’s bomber runs for us. The raft line appears to be the only makeable line at Bear Creek Falls, so we stick that line. Similarly, we run the West Prong and avoid the main channel which appears to have a lot of maytag potential.
Dirtbagging to me means being a positive representative of all whitewater paddling and board sports. Taking the time to answer onlooker questions and introducing newbies to the thrills of whitewater are all part of being a dirtbag. Running rivers responsibly and packing out the trash we encounter, keeping the rivers clean and enjoyable for all. And always smiling!” Amen to all that, homie! Thanks for all you do both on and off The River; you sir are a true DBKING.
SO THERE YOU HAVE IT, FOLKS! Real people doing what we all love, sharing their stories, doing positive things, providing love and hope for the tiny yet GREAT community of Dirt Bag Paddlers all over the world! I never knew what joy I’d find when I first set out on this silly project two summers ago… The rewards have been overwhelmingly immense. DBP isn’t me, it’s WE. Flow Together, Grow Together. No borders, One Language, ONE LOVE, ONE RIVER. #DBP4LIFE!