We put an add in the Washington Post for “house sale” everything in house will go. We didn’t even pack. We just had hordes of people come and literally fight over our stuff. Kids toys, kitchen stuff, beds, furniture, books, TV’s, videos, clothes, all but a few boxes that we had already packed into our new 1997 Coachmen Mirada 31 foot RV.
We hit the road and went to Rock Island for six weeks of playboating with my new X prototype that David Knight and I designed. I was in heaven. My family was with me all day, everyday. Kristine began home schooling the kids then in 2nd grade and pre-school.
After Rock Island we went straight to California for river running. We filmed Dashboard Burrito with Chris Emerick and the rest of team Wave Sport. It was incredible. I would get on the water in the morning and the RV would me us at the take out in the afternoon with 7 layer dip and cold beer being served by Kristine. We had people sleeping in the RV often and made new friends constantly.
I still went to US Slalom Team trials and made the team in both 1997 and 1998 without training. I learned something about slalom by just kayaking and taking a break from it. Slalom racers get very narrow in their focus and turn training from something that could be 10 times as varied and fun into a daily grind. I proved to myself at least that I could be just as good in 1998 as 1996 with 20 workouts instead of 500 for the year, as long as I was paddling all of the time in good whitewater to maintain conditioning.
In 1998 I dominated the freestyle scene and won 27 events in freestyle, slalom, and extreme racing. It was a great year. I also average about double the scores of the other freestyle boaters, even in the Pre-Worlds in New Zealand. However, I had a bad ride in the head to head finals and finished fourth. The following year, 1999, I was focused primarily on winning the worlds in New Zealand. I won team trials in both C-1 and Kayak and came out with my design specifically for New Zealand the “ForPlay”. My career as a boat designer was blossoming with sales growing dramatically for Wave Sport starting with my X boat and continuing with the Y, Z, and XXX.