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1997 Southeastern Races

I once told part of this story in a "Can you tell if he's lying?" icebreaker at a board of directors retreat. It was the board of our local Georgia Canoeing Association, and more than half of them didn't believe me. The alternative story that they did believe was about my fictitious, although dreamt of, sports car racing career. But I assure you that everything you read here will be true.

I did a little canoeing at Scout camp, but nothing serious. About 20 years ago I wanted a little boat to fish out of in the Santee Cooper lakes, so I went to Charleston and bought a kit to build a rigid Folboat. It took about 2 months, and for most of that time it lived in our living room. I paddled that for a couple of years, patched it several times, and sold it for the price of the kit.

I didn't do any boating for a long time after that. One Saturday, I went with my son's Cub pack rafting on the Nantahala. We bumbled along in that giant gray tub and had a nice time. At the takeout, I was fascinated watching the kayakers surf the waves near the Center. We had spent the day more or less at the whim if the river currents, and here were these guys in little brightly colored boats *sitting still* in the middle of the roaring flow. Now, I know about eddies and surfing waves. Then, I thought it was magic.

A couple of months later, I was at a cocktail party given by some of my wife's fellow med students. "And what do you do with your time?" I was asked. "Oh, I work at the Department of Education, and do some research and statistical consulting, and teach a class at Emory Medical, and advise MPH and MSN students." "No, I mean what do you do for fun?"

For fun? This was a novel concept to me right then. It hit me like a brick that I wasn't doing anything for fun, except for the time I spent with my family. Fun. I need some fun. What would be fun? Those guys in the little brightly colored boats on the Nantahala. That looked like fun.

So together with my 10 year old son, I bought a couple of white water kayaks, and started boating seriously at the age of 40. I was in a very high-pressure job then, and I was thrilled to discover that I could spend the day on the river and not think about the office once. As Jim Harrison said "The river is as far as you can get from the world of numbers."

Evan of course far exceeded my skills by the time he was 13. He has a shelf of Juniors slalom trophies he won. Unfortunately, his buddies seduced him into soccer and football in high school, so he never became the great paddler he could have. Now, he's merely good enough to run the Gauley with a grin on his face and play in the Maury at high water. He also likes surf kayaking at the beach with cartwheels, endos, and all of that. He has a great job lined up for the summer: teaching kayak in Jackson Hole.

After a few years, I wanted to try solo open WW canoeing, and got one of those, and a couple of years later became certified as an ACA OC instructor in WW. The next year, I became Training Director for GCA, a post I've only just been about to get out of after 3+ years.

For the last 10 years, I've been paddling Class II-III (occasionally IV) white water in either kayak, C-1, or OC-1, depending on the temperature, intensity of the water, and my whim of the day. Current WW kayak is a Godzilla. My open boats are a Viper 12 and a glass Edge 13. I don't do hair boating. The Ocoee is about the biggest thing I do.

About 4 years ago, I was going up to Carlton, MN to officiate a Champion International WW Series slalom race (did I mention I've also got an International Canoe Federation Official's ticket?) and my son was racing, so the whole family came along. After the race we needed something to do, so we drove over to the Apostle Islands and did a 4 day trip with Trek & Trail in double SKs with Balogh sail rigs.

I had been wanting to get my wife, Meg, involved in paddling so I didn't have to leave her at home when we went off for the day, but she didn't like white water. She really took to sea kayaking, though, and we've since done a good bit of it on the east coast of Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, and in Tomales Bay, CA. We also spend some time on some of the mountain lakes north of here, like Calderwood Reservoir in NC. In November, 1999 I completed my Coastal Kayak Instructor certificate, and I'm doing some low key clinics and PI.

I'm also interested in quietwater canoe freestyle, which is the purest form of messing about in boats. I've taken courses with the DeBerrys and Phil Siggelkow, and attended La Louisiane, paddling a Bell Wildfire. That Black Gold carbon/kevar is simply gorgeous.

For touring, I paddle a Sea Lion that I'm very fond of. I'm just starting to demo glass boats; the Sea Lion is getting some age on it and it's heavy. As it is, our boat census is 3 WW OC-1s (one Kevlar), the Bell, 3 WW kayaks (1 with my son at college), 1 plastic C-1 (also with Evan), 1 glass slalom C-1, the Sea Lion and Meg's Shadow, and a 1972 Munich Olympic slalom kayak that is for display only. I'm also providing space for a friend's Narpa. Thank god for the 3-car garage.

Steve --
Test Scoring & Reporting Services Sometimes, you never can University of Georgia always tell what you Athens, GA 30602-5593 least expect the most.