I had the pleasure of meeting a ton of new, super fired up people this week in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. Geneva Kayak’s owner Ryan Rushton picked me up in Chicago on Wednesday night and I learned all about the new Yorkville Whitewater Park, his facility there for whitewater and sea kayaking instruction and his partnership with Paddle and Trail retail shop. It was the beginning of an incredible opportunity for paddlers in the Mid-West. I was dropped off at Kelly and Dave’s house, my very awesome hosts for the week, who are accomplished local whitewater paddlers and future instructors here as well. The whitewater park was built around a low head dam that was drowning people over the years and what an improvement. In an industrial area, a brand new park was created with trails, whitewater kayaking, a kayak center for teaching, and an beautiful place to hang out in town.
My first run down the course was in a Fun Runner, which was the perfect learning tool for this course, but it was clear that play boating was the ticket for anyone who is going to hang out at the park after they learn to paddle. There are 4 main drops each with surfing, crisp eddy lines, and rocks to spin on as well. I was there at 1400 cfs and the right channels second drop made for good surfing, cartwheels, loops, blunts, etc..
In the three days I was there, we did about 8 hours of paddling each day, followed by a trip to Kendall Pub, a short walk into town center. Kendall Pub had a sweet party for the kayakers on Friday night, showing “FaceTime” video as well as providing incredible food, and beer. I had the racer 5 something/something IPA and it is recommended if you go there. The place was packed and they had “Bean bag Toss” which caught my attention right away and kept it until somebody told me that my kind hostess was passed out (asleep ) on the table and perhaps I should tell her that I am ready to go… (not sure what time that was, but…)
Anyone looking for whitewater action that lives in the mid-west, or just passing through, should check out this whitewater park. What is awesome is that two other towns locally are looking to do the same thing! Whitewater Mecca- Illinois… coming up, believe it or not!
THe kayak school here is a Jackson Kayak super school, meaning they teach out of JK boats and while they just got their first boats in and still don’t have everything, like Rock Stars (they have 2010 All-Stars now) they will be getting the rest of the boats soon. Lightning paddles, JK boats, river front property, warm water… perfect!
Yorkville, Illinois- mark it on your map!
Thanks to Walter, the owner of paddle and trail, to Ryan of Geneva Kayak Center, and my hosts!
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