Sunday, February 24, 2008

Kevin Ratliff

I started kayaking back in October of 2006. Little did I know that paddling small plastic boats would become one of the most rewarding parts of my life. I had my humble beginnings......swimming, and somtimes paddling, my Wavesport Stubby down runs like Big Reed Island and Elk Creek in Southwestern Virginia. However, my love of the outdoors and a re-found passion to challenge myself motivated me to spend hours upon end on the river. By the spring of 2007, outfitted with my new Wavesport Habitat and EZG, I was paddling runs like the Tellico, Ocoee, and New River Gorge.

Boofing Baby

Dropping the Diaper

I spent a good deal of the summer at the USNWC in Charlotte, learning to playboat and getting comfortable in turbulent water. The practice paid off in the fall when I hit up runs like the Cheoah and Upper Russell Fork.

Kevin surfing at the Upper Russell Fork

With the onset of the new year and some much needed rainfall, the creeking season began and I was ready to hit it up. Since New Year's Day, Pete and I have ran Wilson's Creek mulitple times, did an excruciatingly long day trip to the Tellico, and even did a low water run on the Russell Fork Gorge.

Kevin boofing The Wall

Heading down 10 Foot

Threading the needle at Bounce Off Boulder

Kayaking has many rewards: traveling to new and scenic rivers, meeting a community of friendly people, constantly challenging yourself to improve, and having an excuse to buy some new gear every other month. I have only been a part of this sport for a little while now, but I hope to continue paddling down the river for many years to come.

Heading Down the River

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