Mother’s Day Q&A Session with Emily Jackson (by Sarah Leith Bahn)

We were lucky to have the Jackson-Troutman clan in the Gorge for a few weeks recently and, after seeing Emily juggle a preschooler, a baby, a moving home, business commitments and still getting time on the water, we couldn’t think of anyone better for a Mother’s Day Q&A. A professional paddler for most of her life, Emily is (literally) traveling a less-traditional road with her family, paddling wherever the water is good and taking her kids along for the adventure.

And who better to interview her than one of our other favorite moms, Sarah Leith Bahn? Sarah is a former US National whitewater slalom team member who still finds time to get out on the water while juggling two boys, starting a business with her husband, vlogging about healthy eating… oh, and writing a book along the way!

Enjoy!

 

Sarah:

How do you get your life jacket on over your engorged milk boobs? This was a problem for me! I got to the put-in the first time to paddle and couldn’t fit in my life jacket!

Emily:
Did the same thing in my DrySuit after having my Daughter Parker- it was my boobs and hips- I may have cried a little, I loosened all the straps and fed her as much as I could right before paddling!

Sarah:
How do you deal with the fact that you pee a little every time you take a hard stroke?

Emily:
Haha- I was pretty lucky this only happened when doing jumping jacks- or at least, I didn’t notice it while kayaking… Wear board shorts I guess and try to not wear a drysuit for the first little bit… You can get rid of board shorts pretty easy but once a dry suit smells like pee- there is no going back

Sarah:
I had my babies in my mid-30s. I gained 60 pounds in both pregnancies. And it was really hard for me to trust my shoulders, my back and abs again – I was worried when I first went paddling that I’d get injured. It took a lot longer than I would have thought to trust my body again and know it was strong enough to handle paddling. Do you have any advice for women to learn how to trust their bodies again after growing babies? (My pregnancies were like an injury and it took time to have faith that my injury was healed)

Emily:
I was younger with both kids, but I don’t feel this changed that feeling of doubt I had with my body. With Tucker I competed 3 weeks before I had him – weighing 198 pounds in a small Star (max weight of that boat is supposed to be 140 lol) and then I actually competed 3 weeks afterwards at US nationals and won. I decided I was happiest if I got my time in the water, and this meant baby was happy, daddy was happy and most importantly I was happy. I felt if I held myself back in fear of my body getting hurt, then I was already hurting myself. I focused on play boating and easier river runs and literally told myself, it’s like riding a bike, you just need to do it, and while paddling, convincing myself that I had all the confidence in the world (even though it was at an all time low). I laughed when stuff didn’t feel right, but my confidence stemmed from the fact that hey- I am a MOM now- things are different and different is totally okay.

Sarah:
I was never a Nicole Mansfield that ran multiple class V rapids daily, but I did love technical class 4. However after I had kids, I really had a hard time with rapids that had consequences. I found myself scared instead of nervously excited. It was like something flipped inside me and honestly it made me turn my back on the sport for a little while. I was bored on class III and too scared on class 4. It took a new slalom boat, and multiple laps down the Lower White Salmon to realize, I do love simply being on the river and feeling my hull react to the water regardless of how small the whitewater is. Do you have any advice for Moms that come back to the sport after having kids that find themselves scared of a sport they once loved?

Emily:
This is totally normal is so many different ways- Any major change in your life will have you looking at things a little differently. There are so many ways to add spice to kayaking without upping the consequences. For starters- take a playboat down an easier river run, try splatting, squirting, and harder lines on rapids. The combination of trying things plus being in a smaller boat will make the river feel different. Much like taking a SUP on flatwater and all of sudden the flatwater at times can get difficult and exciting. My favorite feeling is when water simply splashes me in the face. So I feel like my day was an accomplishment if I had that one moment of bliss. The absolute hardest part about getting back into kayaking- is choosing to go kayaking over taking care of other responsibilities, as mom we get accustomed to taking care of everyone else and not ourselves, so by simply choosing to put yourself first for that quick kayaking lap, or river run, you should already gain confidence and be proud of yourself regardless of what you are doing on the water.

Sarah:
One of the things I loved about the sport of kayaking – especially on the Potomac River, I could paddle whenever I wanted and was not dependent on anyone. My boat was always on my car and I could literally in 5 minutes go from eating breakfast to taking a lap down little falls on the Potomac. Then I had a kid and felt trapped! I couldn’t just go paddling whenever I wanted. And it made me sad. How do you deal with feeling trapped?

Emily:
This day and age I feel like being a Mom alone isn’t enough, we all need to be supermom and take care of everything on our own, asking questions makes us look weak right? I feel trapped when I want everything to be perfect and an exact way. When I am not flexible or allow people to help me, the walls around me get tighter and tighter until I eventually crack. My kids have been watched on the river banks by people who I would never expect to watch them, people have run my shuttle with the kids in the car, by giving up a little control, and taking people up on acts of kindness my freedom has come back! By being flexible and saying yes to the chaos, accepting the challenges, and knowing that when I get home, the house will be messy, the kids might be a touch tired, by my soul is refreshed, makes me feel like I can accomplish anything.

Here is my Ted Talk on Prioritizing to give you a little more insight on how I try to balance my lifestyle:

 

Thanks again, Emily & Sarah, and Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms that paddle!

Jackson Kayak & the Kayak Shed take on the John Day

We were thrilled to have the pros at Jackson Kayak join us for our second annual kayak fishing trip down the John Day river. We were almost as thrilled to receive this edit from them the other day so we could reminisce on what a great trip it was! Enjoy the amazing scenery and fishing of the John Day and stay tuned for details on next year’s trip!

 

For The Love Film Coming to Hood River!

World Premiere of “For The Love” Kayaking and adventure film by Mountain Mind Collective in Hood River, OR  April 19th!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016
6:00pm 11:59pm
Where: Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River, OR

Mountain Mind Collective – AKA Brothers Todd Wells and Brendan Wells of Trout Lake, Wa- has come up with an amazing collection of kayaking footage from around the globe and put into an awesome film “For The Love“.

Great title considering its a sport so closely held to the hearts of whom ever has fallen for the addictive fun and beauty a river has to offer.

From Mountain Mind Collectives site :
“For the Love is an approximately one hour film, telling the story of two brothers who grew up in a small town with a huge love for rivers and whitewater kayaking. Their quest begins at home in the pacific northwest, where they learned how to paddle, met their tight-knit community of kayakers, and began to push themselves and the sport of kayaking. The film also documents their travels around the world to magical destinations like Iceland, where they highlight some of the most creative and innovative athletes in the sport.

At the core of the Wells brother’s passion as paddlers is their love for exploring never-before-paddled rivers. The film follows the brothers and friends on their journeys to explore these uncharted rivers from Alaska to Ecuador. The brothers and their team met both failures and success on these missions to explore the unknown, getting rained out and stuck in the middle of the jungle to discovering a new classic Alaskan big-water river.

The film concludes with a creative story of the brother’s goal to show the world of kayaking in a whole new light. The film is told through the voices of Brendan and Todd, and the many friends who joined them along the way.”

The World Premiere of “For The Love” is coming to the Columbia Center for the Arts in Hood River, OR on April 19th, 2016. Mountain Mind Collective is delighted to share their first feature-length whitewater kayaking documentary with residents of and visitors to the Columbia River Gorge.

Join us for an amazing show, drink delishious Ninkasi Brewing beer (1 free with purchase of ticket for 21+ guests), and meet the filmmakers behind the movie. At 10 P.M. the festivities will migrate to the River City Saloon, where The Barnburners will be rocking out all night!

Purchase tickets: HERE
Need more info click here

2015 Gorge Paddling Film Festival : Young Gun Division Winners

When we created an under 21 division, we knew the Young Guns would come in, barrels blazing, and set the bar for creativity. They did not disappoint! Remember these names, we’re sure you’ll be hearing more from all of them soon!

Fourth place – Cooper Fitch

Kayaking is Fun from Cooper Fitch on Vimeo.

Third Place – Matias Meneses (password: meneses)
West Coast 2015 (Meneses Productions) from menesesMatias Meneses on Vimeo.

Second Place – Trent McCrerey

Browner Daze from Bad Productions Kayaking on Vimeo.

First Place – Liam Field

Liam and Knox Liquidlogic Highlight reel from Liam Field on Vimeo.

Kayak Shed . http://www.kayakshed.com/blog/ . http://www.kayakshed.com

2015 Gorge Paddling Film Festival : NRS Package

We have saved one of the very best packages for last! When NRS heard we were throwing a party to raise money for First Descents, they stepped up in a big way! The winner of this package is getting a brand spankin’ new kit, from helmet to kicks: an NRS Flux Drytop, a WRSI Current Pro helmet, an NRS Zen Rescue PFD AND NRS Velocity Water shoes! Many thanks to the folks at NRS for donating an amazing prize package and congratulations in advance for the lucky winner of all this booty!

Kayak Shed . http://kayakshed.blogspot.com . http://www.kayakshed.com

2015 Gorge Paddling Film Festival : Sweet Helmets Package

What’s Sweet-er (hah!) than a new Sweet Wanderer Helmet? How about a new Sweet Wanderer helmet, a new Sweet sweatshirt AND a new pair of Sweet shorts! Any way you cut it, that is a SWEET deal for one of the lucky winners of the Gorge Paddling Film Festival!
Kayak Shed . http://kayakshed.blogspot.com . http://www.kayakshed.com

2015 Gorge Paddling Film Festival : Chaco prize

What paddler does not love their Chacos? Loyal, trustworthy, throw them in the river to wash them… kind of like your dog. With less fur (hopefully). The Chaco package has a little something for you and a little something for your best friend: a new pair of Z1 or Z2 Chacos, a new Chaco belt to keep the sag at bay and to help you open those apres paddle root beers AND a leash and collar for your four legged BFF. You and your best fuzzy bud will no doubt be a hit with all of the objects-of-your-affection at every take out!
Kayak Shed . http://kayakshed.blogspot.com . http://www.kayakshed.com

2015 Gorge Paddling Film Festival : Dolla Bills for the Pros

We’ve been posting some great prize packages for our winning Young Gun & Amateur division film entries – (with two more to come from Sweet & Chaco) but what about the pros? It’s like your grandma at Christmas – what do you get the person who has everything? Well, we’re hoping the pros will appreciate the same thing Grandma does: cold, hard cash! With $750 for the winner, $300 for 2nd place and $200 for 3rd, we’re looking forward to hearing about the spa trips and other splurges that will no doubt be happening in the ranks of the Gorge’s professional paddling/film making elite after payday at the Gorge Paddling Film Festival!

 

 

 

Kayak Shed . http://kayakshed.blogspot.com . http://www.kayakshed.com

2015 Gorge Paddling Film Festival : Important Update!

We are incredibly excited to announce that we are partnering with World Class Kayak Academy to move the date of the film fest to correspond with the Little White Salmon race! The new date for the film festival is May 1st, the new deadline for submissions is April 24th – giving you all an extra week to put together fresh footage!

Doors will open at River City at 6:30pm and we’ll start rolling film at 7pm to make sure there is plenty of time for the Young Guns to have their footage shown and to vote! We’re excited to have the kids from WCKA participating on the Film Fest and know having them involved will raise the bar in all of the categories!

Questions? Feel free to see additional details and hit us up with any questions on our event page: gorgepaddlingfilmfestival.com.

 

Kayak Shed . http://kayakshed.blogspot.com . http://www.kayakshed.com

2015 Gorge Paddling Film Festival : Immersion Research Arch Rival Drysuit

We all know that very few companies walk the walk like they talk the talk like Immersion Research. Truly a “for paddlers by paddlers” company, they are stepping it up again to support the great work of First Descents and the Gorge Paddling Film Festival by pitching in for one of our best prizes yet, an Arch Rival Drysuit! Made with IR’s proprietary WhiteOut laminate to withstand years of abuse, the Arch Rival is bound to make one of our film fest winners a very happy (and dry) paddler!

Kayak Shed . http://kayakshed.blogspot.com . http://www.kayakshed.com