EBB & FLOW ~ Looking back at 2015 with Dirt Bag Paddlers. by MikeToughill

As we approach the takeout to the amazing trip that was the year 2015, let’s take a look back at the highs and lows of the journey. 
Dirt Bag Paddlers put together a top rank river festival schedule across the globe this year. We covered Gore Fest, Canoecopia, Ganga Kayak Festival, Russell Fork Rendezvous, Dagali River Festival, Jondachi Fest, SAS Hurley Classic, TVCC Ocoee Race, Feather Fest, Midwest Freestyle Championships, Paddlemania 2015, Tree Top Walk Whitewater Festival, Ohiopyle Falls Race, National Paddling Film Festival,Illinois  Whitewater Festival, Ain’t Louie Fest, Top Yough Race, and Stonycreek Rendezvous; had a booth at Cheat Fest, FIBArk, Muddy Rivers Festival, and Royal Gorge Whitewater Festival; hosted the Dirtbag DJ Danceparty on the Main Stage featuring The Role Models at Gauley Fest; and pulled off our very own event, Frank Fest. You might say we were pretty busy paddling and partying! 
We threw some great contests too, with help from our friends at Cascade Outfitters, Liquidlogic, Hyside, Werner, NRS, Maravia, Gnar Fairies, Whitewater Wood Art, Ruffwear, International Rivers, Astral, YETI, Teamscum, Alpacka, WRSI, and many more. TOP WALLACE went to Jack Orr, WHITE WINTER WHITEWATER was won by Andy Lockey, TOP DOG winner was Kassi and her best friend Tye Dudley, #ULTIMATEDIRTBAGSUMMER went to Cody Adams, DBQ of WV was awarded to Kelly Gladen, and Aaron Erdrich was crowned Dirtbag Of The Year. We hosted an arts show, mARTch, to highlight the International Day of Action for Rivers. We were also able to donate money to various charities through our WHO DAT GUIDE contests, and DBP swag to various non-profits and festivals for use in their silent auctions. It felt good to do good in 2015. 
DBP MAGAZINE ONLINE had a most wonderful year as well! We brought you our readers down some of our favorite rivers around the world, such as going with Peter Ely down the Grand Canyon of the Colorado, the Ottawa River with Jean-Nicholas Cyr, one of the first descents of the upper Merced with Jacob Cruser and Priscilla Macy, and more.  We brought you an overview of the Rivière Rouge by Rob Gravelle, Chris Preperato’s Upper Yough history, the story of Black Saturday on the Cheat River by Jay Young, and a look at the Davao River by yours truly. We were especially stoked to bring Preperato and Young together with myself and Associate Editor Taz Riggs to write a major piece about the Gauley River. 
We also delivered personal interviews of paddlers from all over the world, like top athletes Jared Seiler (3/15), Adriene Levknecht (11/4), LP the Wolf (1/25), Marcelo Galizio (12/18), Tom Paterson (10/18), Bhupi Singh Rana (10/8), the Red Ladies Rafting Team (2/18), Hunter Connolly (8/28), and Andrew Morrissey (12/28). We interviewed pioneers and thinkers like William McGinnis (10/2), Doug Ammons (12/12&18), and Jim Michaud (11/10); and industry artists and creators Shawn Alexander of Fall Line Canoes (7/3), Vince Zappia of Zap Paddles (5/13), Ben Fraser of Feather Weight carbon kayaks (5/1), and Mika Kobs of Whitewater Wood Art (3/18), among others. Hopefully these stories inspired you the reader to go out and make your own adventurous life story. 
We also lost some lovely people and wonderful river friends who passed in 2015. Carter, Elliot, Lu, Beth, Taylor, Zac, Logan, Doug, Ian, Billy… And many others… You will be sorely missed, but never forgotten. We pledge to keep your flames alive in our hearts as we tackle the next rapid and river, honoring your memories by doing what you, and we, all love to do- paddling. 
We are very stoked and extremely humbled to end the year with 10,000 fans on Facebook, 4,000 followers on Instagram, and nearly 90,000 reads here, from folks who hail from across the globe. We pledge to continue firing it up every day to entertain and educate. And yes, we FINALLY put together our personal footage from DBP Admins around the world, THE DBP CHRISTMAS SPECIAL!
Dreamed of since we started in the summer of 2013, and now come to fruition… Well, I guess you could say that about pretty much everything listed above. Dreams come true! 

We have MUCH MORE in store for 2016, including a new contest which kicks off with the New Year… So stay tuned for more details! We thank you from our hearts for your support and participation. We love the Community and do not exist separate from you; rather, we believe that YOU are the soul of Dirt Bag Paddlers. We wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year, and adventures aplenty to come. You know you’ll find friends here! Cheers! 
“Chicago” Mike Toughill

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