DIRT BAG PADDLERS PRESENTS Captain Gage Laughton & THE 2016 ALL-WALLACE TEAM! by Editor-in-Chief Mike Toughill

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK: The year 2016 has been an amazing journey, both on the rivers around the world for me personally and our many friends and readers, and for Dirt Bag Paddlers as an entire community. One way we love giving back is to name a team of paddlers, some who are top rank in their given discipline(s) and some who are everyday Joe’s and Jo’s but who truly love the life. We look all over the world for nominees who truly live the #OneLoveOneRiver Philosophy, and then we get out of the way and let You the Community decide who gets the honor of representing us all.

This year marks the 2nd Annual ALL-WALLACE TEAM, and it’s been bigger and better than ever. We got six amazing sponsors to put up a boat load of swag for the winners, and selected a field of 52 nominees from around the world that were eventually narrowed down to the Lucky 7. We had hundreds of shares of the posts over the last three weeks, leading to thousands of likes and comments on both Facebook (at Dirt Bag Paddlers) and Instagram (@dbp_4_life). The ALL-WALLACE TEAM selection process was by far the most popular contest we have ever hosted! THANK YOU ALL FOR THAT!!


Gage Laughton aka Gump (NZ)

DISCIPLINE: Kayak, Slalom

CREDENTIALS: GFL is ripping up the scene! With his Dad Lee and sister Darcy in tow, the Family paddles all over New Zealand, truly living the Lifestyle. Gage has been recognized by the local government, by big name athletes, he even got an invite to help open the new whitewater park in NZ! He’s even a DBP Admin (along w Dad), our youngest at age 10. TEN!!?? Can’t wait to see where he ends up if he continues pursuing his passion. Truly a TOP RANK DB! @nz.paddler

GFL not only gets the prizes for being selected to the Team, which include a DBP PFD patch and Wallace stickers; 5 nites free room and kayak at Boof Sessions Ecuador; a performance T-shirt from the 2017 Ganga Kayak Festival hosted in India this February; $20 off a custom helmet from Madcap Helmets; 10% off any purchase from Casper Kayaks; and $20 off any purchase at Cascade River Gear… He ALSO gets an awesome prize package from Cascade River Gear of a 64 oz growler, an Explorer roll top dry bag, and two coozies (for Dad and sister Darcie’s root beers…); a new WSRI Helmet from Casper Kayaks; a giant mesh gear bag (made from recycled materials and perfect for wet river gear!), stylie sunglasses, coozie (this one’s for Gage’s root beer!) and wallet from Gili Bags; and a t-shirt from Madcap Helmets! Oh, and EVERYONE on the team gets a bunch of stickers from MARAVIA Rafts featuring their new logo!

This young fella capped off an amazing year with a landslide victory! We Dirt Bags are really stoked to see where you end up in life, little buddy! KEEP CHARGING HARD! Look for an interview with GFL and Dad Lee in next month’s mag. How fitting that we are dedicating January to #DBFamily stories from around the globe What an awesome representative of the #OneLoveOneRiver Philosophy! Congrats to New Zealand and to GFL!!

Gage had a warm thank you for all the love he received from around the world: “Hi everyone, I would like to thank everyone for all your help and support this year and for making me captain. To my sister and dad who put this out there to all their friends and to their friends who sent it even further again. Omg I still can’t believe I won. Thanks to Mr Travis Overstreet and Mr Tom Clare (who rounded out the Top 3); I thought either of them would have had this. I would like to thank all the sponsors: Cascade River Gear, Casper Kayaks, Gili Bags, Madcap Helmets, Rishikesh India’s Ganga Kayak Fest, and Boof Sessions of Ecuador for all your support. To Mr Mike Joseph, Dale #danewho Guarniere, Paul Teasdale, Paul Carrico, and DBP, who have believed in me from the start 3 years ago. Thank you and thank you everyone out there doing it. (PS- Dad said we will not be seeking a recount in Nevada…!)”


Travis Overstreet II (VA)


CREDENTIALS: Travis is among the most talented single blade paddlers out there, sending all sorts of canoes and contraptions downriver, from classic boats to new whitewater models to ones he created or the boat in these pictures concocted by artist Shawn Alexander of Fall Line Canoes. He also paddles for custom wood ZapPaddles, and swears by Vince Zappia’s creations for quality and durability. Travis learned from his father and has passed the love down to his children. He’s comfortable on big class V but his true passion is creeking the little run gems in the mountains of Virginia. He also runs a great event introducing more people to our sport called SINGLE BLADERS GETAWAY, happening in July. Travis is TOP RANK. @cboater

Travis had this to say about his successful return to the Team: “I was asked to write an acceptance letter and thank those who have helped me to this point. Of course I think of my parents and friends but it goes so much further than just this. I want to thank everyone out there that has given a positive word of encouragement to another boater, given a class, taken someone under their wing or just downright been that guy or gal that always smiles and helps out however. This is why I love our lifestyle. It’s all of us that make it so kickass. This past year was a whirlwind of Family, work and of course boating. I guess you could say this past year I’ve been surfing the wave of life and it’s been a kicKass surf so far because of those we surround ourselves with. Next year in the way of boating I’m putting a lot of energy into ‘Single Bladers Getaway’ in July, such an awesome way for us all to give back to our lifestyle. For me the best of all is every now and then gear comes my way and it’s great to let others try out new stuff, kind of like test driving gear. Shawn Alexander with Fall Line Canoes and Vince Zappia over at ZapPaddles are always pushing the limits on new gear, paddles, outfitting and even wild ass creations. Getting to paddle and use all these homegrown goodies is a dream come true. So to end it all I want to thank every last one of you that are reading this because without all of us then our lifestyle couldn’t be as phenomenal as it truly is. Last of all I want to thank DBP and the history we share together. We all grow into something beautiful and what this group has become is amazing, from dams getting removed to helping our Native Ancestors fight for their land. Until next we see each other boofing or sharing an eddy and a smile I say to you, In The Middle Of A Rapid Nothing Else Exists.”

Maya-ray Cross (UK)


CREDENTIALS: This young lady has overcome SOOO much that would turn most any other person back in her personal pursuit of the #OneLoveOneRiver Philosophy. She battles through many physical ailments that a person would NEVER guess at when looking at this awesome photo of a happy cheerful beautiful young person. She inspires everyone who knows her to be a better person because if Mayo can make it happen, well it can’t be so bad for any of the rest of us. She’s a terrific paddler to boot, and enjoys competing and playboating as well as downriver. A real inspiration! (Her mum and dad are pretty amazing too, sacrificing lots to make her trips to the river happen, and they aren’t even paddlers themselves! But they’ve seen what it can do for a person!) @mayo00712

On hearing she had made the Team, Mayo said this: “This year has been a whirlwind, so much has happened over the paddling season. I have many people to thank, they have all made this year lots of fun! A massive thank you to everyone who has helped me out this year, my sponsors/ supporters Go Kayaking Northwest, Mitchell Blades, Lowri Davies/ Flow Free, all the guys from Nottingham, especially James Ibbotson who organised the Nottingham Freestlye League! Lots of love goes out to the followers of Can U Kayak? as well! I’ve had many highlights throughout the year, from placing 2nd in my first freestyle competition to meeting new people who have made a huge impact on our lives! 2017 is going to be amazing, with more paddling, freestyling, river running and hopefully getting some of my coaching awards! I just want to say one last thank you to everyone who has voted for me; it really does mean a lot and the comments were very humbling! One Love, One River! Happy New Year everyone!!!”

Gabriel Crawford (TN)

DISCIPLINE: Raft, Raft Race

CREDENTIALS: Gabe, founder of Bizkits Deep Rafting, has guided some of the best whitewater from CA to WA, WV to TN and GA. He’s as comfortable running R1 as he is captaining a crew thru the hardest Class V. He medaled in a few raft races this year, most notably a coveted belt buckle from the Animal Race, and won the party at Gauley Fest. He also beat out AE in the sexiest Head-to-Head finals of the contest, the natural continuation of the friendly rivalry sparked around the campfire at the Upper Yough. Ain’t nobody more Dirtbag than Gabe! @gdbc8179

Gabe had this to say after winning: “I’ve got to say that I feel blessed to have experienced all that I have so far in life… Some sucked horribly and some have been priceless. Whitewater saved my life, the best people I’ve ever met are because of whitewater. My family has been my biggest fans my whole life, they rock. This year has had some unforgettable memories that I will never get tired of thinking of, racing in the Animal Gauley race and the Ocoee race and placing in both of them.. but the best part of all is being a part of this huge family that we call Dirt Bag Paddlers. My goal for 2017 is to keep living the dream one rapid at a time!!”

Deepak Rana (India)

DISCIPLINE: Kayak, Raft Guide

CREDENTIALS: Deepak started as a raft guide in his native Rishikesh, India, and boated there this year, and lives in Dubai working at Wadi Adventures. He took part in this year’s World Rafting Champs, and has also become a talented playboater on the Dubai man-made course. Deepak had the highest score in the first round of voting, a testament to how much his community is cheering for this young man! @deepak941057

Deepak had the following to say after making the team: “Hi everyone it is a very memorable moment for me to be a part of this competition, and I want to thank all my relatives and friends for supporting and helping me to make the Lucky 7. I would also like to thank to DBP for nominating me for this competition. I would also like to move on with DBP in the future. Thanks again for all support and HAPPY NEW YEAR 2017.”

Dale #danewho Guarniere (WI)

DISCIPLINE:Kayak, Raft Guide, River Manager

CREDENTIALS: #Danewho followed up his 2015 ALL-WALLACE TEAM season with even more epic boating for Team Casper Kayaks and EXO, kayaking stouts in the UP of Michigan all spring, summer, and fall. He ran the Kosir’s Rafting operation every single day. Squeezed an extended trip to the SE creeks before the rafting season, and one to MD and West By God after for Gauley Season. Was on the 3rd place team in the Animal Race, wearing a Packers jersey, khaki slacks, and the DBP banner as a cape. Lives in a cabin without plumbing a one-minute walk from the takeout of the Peshtigo… DIRTBAG TO THE CORE. @danewhodbp

Dale took time out from dirtbaggin’ in the SE for the Holidays to thank everyone: “Thank all you #danewhooligans for the love and bringing me back. I couldn’t have done this without my sponsors, Allen at Casper Kayaks, EXO, and the fine folks at Watershed Drybags. And thanks to my family and friends at Kosir’s Rapid Rafts, especially my Dad Tony, who put me on this path and gave me my love for the river starting Day One. Last but really first, thank you Aaron Erdrich for propelling me to always push my limits and go big. You are always the Top Dirt Bag forever! #DIP4Life!”

Tom Clare (UK)

DISCIPLINE: Kayak- Downriver, Freestyle, Polo; Photography

CREDENTIALS: A member of the 2015 ALL-WALLACE TEAM, Tom travels all over England Scotland and Wales in search of the next whitewater thrill, be it natural flow, dam release, or man made park. He attends lots of festivals and events, and is known for his amazing action photography, capturing images like playboaters under the lights or sending Low Force. Tom is also Executive Editor at DBP MAGAZINE ONLINE, and put together our new look website !! @tclare95

Tom had some thoughts to share with everyone after a successful return to the Team: “ Thank you everyone for bringing me back on the team for the 2nd year running! I’ll keep aiming to get awesome pics and media to help bring the memories of this awesome sport and community we have to the front of peoples minds. Special shout out to my amazing best friend Adele, who always inspires me with her awesome love for paddling. Thanks also to Watershed for keeping my camera gear dry and safe (when I beater) and to River Legacy, an awesome UK charity who help to keep rivers open for us to use.”


Cascade River Gear of Idaho is our oldest supporter here at Dirt Bag Paddlers. They have contributed the lions share of our prizes in all of our contests since Day One, and we can’t thank them enough!! CRG is the one stop shop for all your paddling needs, from PFDs and helmets, to shoes and clothing, to paddles boats camping gear and everything else under the sun… GO TO CASCADE! Tell em DBP sent ya! They have contributed a $20 off coupon to all LUCKY 7 Teammates, and a package of goodies for the Captain. Website

Allen Griesemer of Casper Kayaks of Pennsylvania, dealers of EXO Kayaks, owns a kayak and gear shop and swap with a Mom & Pop approach and feel, and is a great friend of DBP- (we co hosted last year’s Dirtbag Raffle that contributed $275 to American Whitewater at Gauley Fest!) He has contributed a 10% discount coupon good for any purchase for all LUCKY 7 teammates, and a WRSI helmet for the Team Captain! Website

Ganga Kayak Festival of Rishikesh, India has been a longtime partner of DBP MAGAZINE ONLINE .COM, where we cover their event. 2017’s GKF begins February 17. They have contributed a Festival quick dry t-shirt to the LUCKY 7. Website

Boof Sessions Ecuador specializes in multi-day adventures and clinics for kayakers, especially experts looking to up their game and enjoy the world class rivers near Tena. They have offered free lodging and use of a kayak FOR 5 DAYS(!!!)and stickers for the entire LUCKY 7. AN AMAZING PACKAGE!!! Website

Madcap Helmets of Tennessee makes small batch helmets, including customized fit options, for the tasteful Dirtbag who sends it (like Aaron Erdrich!) They have contributed decals and a $20 discount on a custom helmet for the LUCKY 7, and in addition a t-shirt for the Team Captain. Read more about Doug and his awesome Dirtbag company in Wes Brietenbach’s article from earlier in December. Facebook

Gili Bags  of Colorado make sustainable products from recycled materials, like their super durable gear bags specially designed for dirtbags! They have contributed a big gear bag, sunglasses, coozie and wallet for the Team Captain, and decals for the top three vote getters. Website

NOW FOR A QUICK ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF ALL OUR NOMINEES! Congratulations for living the #OneLoveOneRiver Philosophy! You can read all their bios on the Dirt Bag Paddlers Instagram account.


THERE HAVE BEEN LOTS OF QUESTIONS from new friends on exactly what this annual award is all about. It’s NOT about carnage- Noah’s Ark Gauley Fiasco wins hands down. IT IS about recognizing dirtbags from around the globe who epitomize the #OneLoveOneRiver Philosophy and in a BIG Way! Why call it ALL-WALLACE? One, it’s a tongue in cheek reference to the old All Madden Teams of NFL Football.

But more importantly, it’s because the Dirt Bag Paddlers are (in)famous for our adoption of the term “WALLACE”. And as DBs who push our limits and test our skills on the sweetest whitewater the world has to offer, We All Wallace!

Thanks again everyone for making this contest, and the 2016 year overall, such a huge success!

Mike Toughill




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By Chicago Mike

Editor-in-Chief "Chicago" Mike Toughill is co-founder of Dirt Bag Paddlers and former Peshtigo River Manager at Kosir's Rapid Rafts in Wisconsin. He's been Wallacing since 2003.

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