Shared by Todd McGinnis (aka: proud father)

Well while y’all were styl’n the Upper Ocoee and the Gauley I got to spend an awesome weekend with Olivia on the Nanty as she took part in the slalom Clinic with the Nantahala Racing Club. This is a great clinic and is the second one she has taken. The NRC has really put together a great program and the kids really seem to enjoy it and get alot out of it.

My role was to act as safety and while they do the river run later in the day give a few pointers here and there.

The first part of the day started with Slalom and the kids were all looking good. Olivia was making the gates and working hard. After the gates session we took a break and then made our way up river and began a trip of catching eddies and doing ferries. Olivia was having a great day with everyone and especially her friend Jenna. Something in the back of head was telling me this would be the day that Olivia would get the opportunity to try for a combat roll.

After stylin some of the rapids Olivia and Jenna were doing a great job selling thier instructor Scott on the benefits of launching thier bodies off of the jumping rock into 50 degree water. Scott looked at me and I quickly came up with a test that if they attempted then they could jump off the rock. See I know what you all are thinking, the dad comes up with the challenge and this is where she flips and the dad lets out an evil laugh! Well that is not what happened – all the kids styled it and the girls were thrilled at the thought of jumping off the rock. So a few hundred jumps later the shivering and slightly blue girls got back in thier boats.

After working our way through the next rapid I lead all the kids into an eddy behind a big old rock. And that is where it happened; the beast (Olivia) peeled out and dropped her up stream edge and the river present the opportunity – I knew it and by the look on Olivia’s face she knew it too! Quickly I paddled to her and as soon as I reached her she was up and all smiles! Her smile was met with cheers and a paddle 5 from Dad.

Olivia beamed all the way down river and then today while surfing the river gods put her to the test again and just damn she pulled it off again!

So I look back over this summer and think about the missed runs on the Ocoee or the new rivers left unexplored and I really am glad I missed all that! No river run could ever be better than time on the river with your kid and watching her grow into a strong paddler and confident person!