Local paddlers

Over the coming months we will be interviewing local paddlers to find out why they choose the Wenatchee Valley as their home base for paddling.

4/17/2011

Name:  Kelly Gillespie

Kelly Gillespie

Kelly Gillespie

Years boating: started in ‘93

Why did you choose the Wenatchee river drainage as your home river? With 2 awesome class V creeks feeding into a world class play river it’s hard to beat the Wenatchee river drainage. Within 10-15 minutes I can be at either creek or at the put-in to the main play run. As long as you don’t mind seasonal paddling this place is hard to match, and if you like to ski it’s amazing!

Have you ever had a love affair with a boat?  If so what boat and why? Dagger RPM. That was my first ‘little boat’ and it was a revelation. I remember running the Gauley for the very first time and had such an amazing time, playing the whole way down. That boat was my transition from a rec boater to a kayaker.

What is your favorite local run or play spot?  Tell us a little bit about it. It’s the one I live on and one of the main reasons I moved to Leavenworth – the Wenatchee. So many great features, big waves and holes, never too crowded, and it’s always sunny. As for play spot, that would have to be Trinity, the main wave in Drunkards drop. When it is at the right level it is amazing. Powerful, explosive with the perfect retentive pile and an easy access eddy. Throw in rodeo hole a ½ mile upstream and the combination is hard to beat.

Kelly is always one of the top contenders at the Wenatchee River Fest freestyle competition.

Kelly is always one of the top contenders at the Wenatchee River Fest freestyle competition.

What are your top two destinations that you have traveled to boat? Norway – summertime boating there is amazing. I remember one day we ran 2 small creeks, and then finished the day with playboating at 10 at night and it was still sunny. Crazy.

The other would have to be California. I don’t know if it gets any better then warm, sunny Cali granite…besides the Wenatchee.

What is you single favorite piece of boating gear?  Igloo cooler. Carries all the safety beer.

What’s your favorite after boating activity? Hard to beat a cold beer after good day of boating.

What’s your favorite move in a kayak? My buddy Colin giving a drop his Big O face while pulling a massive cross bow grab.  Seriously though, if it’s playboating I’d go with the air-screw. Getting fully airborne and laying it out upside down over a powerful feature is an incredible feeling. Especially hitting the full rotation. Awesome. Creeking – hard to beat a smooth, clean boof.

3/29/2011

Name:  Judith Dwyer

Years boating:  15

Why did you choose the Wenatchee river drainage as your home river?

Paddling was in addition to the rest of the benefits.  Ie:  hiking/back packing, biking, fishing, skiing, etc.

Have you ever had a love affair with a boat?

Yes.

If so what boat and why?

Necky Jive.  She did everything.  She also helped me progress from a shitty class III paddler to a mediocre class IV paddler.

What is your favorite local run or play spot?

Leavenworth to cashmere.  It’s friendly, lots of surf spots.  Safe spot to drag along my newbie friends.

What are your top two destinations that you have traveled to boat?

Costa Rica, Grand Canyon

What is you single favorite piece of boating gear?

My Kokatat dry suit.  And my Werner paddle.  And my two boats.  And my nose plug.  And my “beam bag”.  And my thule rack.  And cam straps.  Can a person have just one?

What’s your favorite after boating activity?

Um, boating.  ?

What’s your favorite move in a kayak?

Haven’t taken my kayak to a movie yet.  That’d be kind of fun though.  A Paddle In movie instead of a Drive In movie.  Maybe Jean Luc can arrange this at some spot in Cashmere.

3/25/2011

Goofball

Goofball

Name:  Jean-Luc Robichaux

Years boating: 12 years

Have you ever had a love affair with a boat?

If so what boat and why?

Yeah, I had a Carbon Fiber Necky Orbit Fish that change my perspective on how a boat should perform.  The blend of speed, pop, edge to edge responsiveness, and volume was unmatched by any boat I had before or since.  If you haven’t paddled a composite play boat yet then you really don’t know what you are missing.  To say it another way; it’s like trying to explain sex to a virgin.  ;-)

What is your favorite local run or play spot?  Tell us a little bit about it.

My favorite local play spot on the Wenatchee would have to be the river right side of Drunkard between 5600 – 6400 cfs with a really nice left shoulder.  This wave feels a bite like surfing an ocean wave due to the fact that you always have to pump your left edge or you will get kicked off.  If you have a good feel for how to really generate speed with you rails then you can throw some really nice carving air blunts, back stabs, clean spins and my favorite the green grind.

What are your top two destinations that you have traveled to boat?

My two favorites would have to be the Thompson River in BC just because I love the feel of run big volume rivers and the Tuolumne River in California.   I was fortunate to float this section with a few really good friends and my wife.  The best part was exploring the side canyons while we camping.

What is you single favorite piece of boating gear?

Not sure, when I started thinking about it I couldn’t see having a favorite.  They are all parts of a necessary whole to achieving bliss.

What’s your favorite after boating activity?

Grilling a steak, enjoying the sunshine and hanging out with kids in the backyard.

Favorite move in a kayak the bottom turn.

Favorite move in a kayak the bottom turn.

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