The moment was finally right, and the water levels cooperated too. Emily age 13 and Dane age 9 have finally gotten their nerve up to paddle where they will be flipping over. First off Dane and I went to the river but it was off and there was only 100 cfs going down. We found some nice little spots for his cut down Ace 2.5. He kept things under control like he always does, bracing but never flipping until we found a little pop up hole. He did his first intentional ender and rolled immediately. I thought I was going to cry right there. My mind was racing thinking about the possibility that he may finally be able to paddle with me on the reasonable runs and playspots. A few enders later and he was hooked. When we got home I asked Emily if she wanted to try it tomorrow and she was pretty excited but still quite nervous. Her roll and skills are quite strong too but she likes to avoid the unexpected. I woke both kids up this morning at 6:30 when I found out the water was running at 1800 cfs which is a nice level for the hole at Rock Island. We jumped in the car and got to the hole at 7. I paddled up to the eddy and called them over seeing that both were quite hesitant. Emily went as far as to go off to the woods for a 10 minute bathroom break. Dane jumped on the corner of the hole and front surfed in perfect control avoiding the foampile two or three times and got some great support and cheering from the girls of Huge Experiences. Emily finally emerged and I got her to drop in. I was certain that she would abort mission at the last second and “accidentally” miss the hole, which most people do. But instead, she dropped in turned into the hole and surfed right out the other side. After a few more times, both Emily and Dane got endered, barrel rolled, back endered, and surfed in the hole. Emily had 6 combat rolls and Dane had 5 by the end of the session which lasted 3 hours. Somewhere in the middle of it all Dane and Emily let me know that they were “tired” and really wanted to leave. I am assuming they meant on a good note. I did like any good father would and said, no way, it is 70 degrees the water is perfect and you are having a breakthrough day. When it was time to leave, I found my son giving me my own favorite two words to use at the end of any good day- “one more Dad, please, just one more.” He followed it up with, “I want to work on my side kick.”

Both kids are considering trying out for the U.S.Junior Team this fall. Why not, it is right here at Rock Island! If that happens I will be all grins that day.

I will bring my camera down next time and put some photos up.

See you on the river,
EJ