TAKE OUT : DECEMBER 2016 ~ DB of the Year AARON ERDRICH & Photos from DBP Admins Around the World!

FROM THE EDITOR’S DESK: Most of the humans on this planet will never go paddling. Of the ones who do, an even smaller percentage will dare the risk of death that is known as whitewater paddling. For these poor souls, December is a time to be cooped up and done with the outside. Good riddance, they think…

Not so for me and my friends. We know the joys of paddling in December. And hey, it’s not winter EVERYWHERE anyway! So we gather photos for our regular end of month spread to help educate the masses. But it’s ok if they leave the rivers to us for awhile…

And it’s not only the end of the month here at the Take-Out… It’s also the end of the Year! 2016 was amazing! So we start our journey around the globe by crowning the Dirt Bag of the Year!

AARON ERDRICH just got off his personal first descent of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado! He may have fallen just short of being elected to the ALL-WALLACE TEAM, but the title of DB of the Year isn’t up for popular vote. AE won this by merit alone! After paddling the Southeast all spring; racing in Colorado in the USA championship with Rage Cage; getting a round of action in at his old stomping grounds on the Kern in California; spending the fall running the right side of Oceanah on the Tallullah, racing in the Green Race, and in West Virginia winning the Animal Race; and making trips back home to the UP of Michigan and Wisconsin for Black River laps and first descents on the Yellow Dog and the Class VI river left channel of Big Smokey Falls on the Wolf River… AE still found time to take beginning boaters down the river, participate in a cleanup on the Wolf, help raise money for American Whitewater, and even make helmets at Madcap! Now that’s he’s rowed the Canyon, AE is looking for an oar rig for his 12 footer – is this the beginning of a new era for the undisputed best R1 tube grabber in the world? He’s headed to the PNW for L Dub and Canyon Creek laps to find out… Cheers to AE!!

Already at home in the PNW, PRISCILLA MACY might’ve been stopped in exploring some new treats in the State of Jefferson with Jacob Cruser and Zach Collier due to high water, but that didn’t stop her from shooting this awesome shot!

DAN McCAIN has been enjoying some very juicy levels on the Little White Salmon River in Washington, waiting on AE to return.

JASON FLANNERY is also waiting on AE… Meanwhile, he captured GREG BABIKOFF in mid extraction in the PNW, where December is synonymous not with winter and “put the boats away”, but “rains return, let’s play!” But you’ve got to get TO the put in first…

KELLY GLADEN got a high water lap in West By God Virginia on Powerhouse of the middle Meadow River. Keep that rain coming!

In Pennsylvania, the wet weather in early December allowed GRINK ASHMAN to score a surf session at Scudders Falls on the Delaware River… Or is that New Jersey?

JAKE RING took advantage of a break in the polar vortex that froze Wisconsin to get some flatwater in before the ice returned.

DALE #danewho GUARNIERE fled that ice pack, heading down to spend New Year’s in the Southeast. Here’s his selfie at Baby Falls on the Tellico River.

Associate Editor LAURALYN CHRISLEY hates cold weather boating, and she’s in Tennessee! So she headed to beautiful Costa Rica to score laps – and also a Wallace pic – on the Rio Pacuare for the Holidays.

Further south – say, South America – December isn’t winter at all! TROY LAFAYETTE is enjoying his standard, above 90 degree temperature day, SUPing with his river side kick on the Sorocaba River, Cerquilho SP, Brasil. He also captured 3 new guides surfing on the last rapid of the Upper Juquia River out of Juquitiba Brasil: “It is my favorite named surf hole called ‘Thank You God’ or in Portuguese ‘Gracias O Deus’”.

Speaking of SUP, it is the new passion of CHRIS MACDONALD, who didn’t let winter slow him or his mates down in the UK, where they got out on the River Dart for some fun.

TOM CLARE made the most of a rainy December in the UK as well, capturing this party surf on a swell that only comes in at flood stage.

AARON KENDALL wasn’t going to miss out on the fun to be had in Wales either! He took out the canoes for a quiet day on Llyn Tegid (Bala Lake), then when Rhaeadr Y Bedol (Horseshoe Falls) on the River Dee came in, even cold weather wasn’t going to stop him.

Across the Sea, KAJA ZINJA HALVORSEN couldn’t get out to paddle her river in Norway, the Uvdalselvi… But her and the pups could still enjoy it’s beauty!

Down to Africa and Zimbabwe we go, where it looks like December is treating PAUL TEASDALE rather well! He’s guiding trips down the Mighty Zambezi for Adventure Zone at the moment – let’s hope that lasts, as construction is set to start on the Batoka Dam in 2017. We will be reporting on this quite a bit in the coming months in an attempt to stop this ill-conceived project…

In the Philippines it’s also not very cold or snowy in December; rather it’s warm and rainy and perfect for running rivers! Just ask LECREF ANAPIM and his customers!

And it’s definitely NOT Winter in New Zealand! That’s why MIKE McVEY packed up his gear and split Maine for some ear dips!

AMY VAN EERDEN loves it in New Zealand as well! She met up with Darcie, LEE, and ALL-WALLACE Team Captain GAGE LAUGHTON for some summer fun. And OLLIE EL-GAMEL returned home for the Holidays too, to pose with GFL.

HANNAH RAY J finished the year with frosty laps at the Chucktown whitewater park in Iowa. But she began the month trekking to northern Wisconsin to paddle the Peshtigo before the cold snap that chased out Dale hit. Even before that arctic blast arrived, it was snowy and cold…

But look at the Peshtigo River NOW!! Locked up tight till Spring… Two great photos from me!

I would like to take a moment to wish you all a Happy Healthy New Year! Thanks again for all the support you’ve given us here at Dirt Bag Paddlers: 17,000 members on Facebook to close out the year; 7000 followers on Instagram; and 100,000 reads of DBP MAGAZINE ONLINE .COM on our new website opened for business on September 1st of this year for a total of 280,000 reads since our inception on Thanksgiving 2014.

We have a brand new Logo rolling out tomorrow for the New Year, designed by DBP Admin RJ DOWELL. He also put this image together to embody the #OneLoveOneRiver Philosophy that guides our every move at Dirt Bag Paddlers. We do it all for the love! Thanks for being a part of that!



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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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