by Craig Parks

What would get me out of the Nantahala Gorge on a beautiful late-winter weekend and up to the Bluegrass State?  How about the opportunity to be a part of the National Paddling Film Festival!

For 35 years the National Paddling Film Festival has been hosting an annual competition to determine the best in paddle sport videos and images and to support American Whitewater and river conservation.

The 2017 event was an uber good time, definitely worth going!  While the highlight was checking out Saturday’s round of films, it was great to catch up with a lot of old friends.  Having heard about the Elkhorn over the years, it was cool to be there for the Elkhorn Race – a super-fun event held the morning of the festival.  It was great to have the AW Field takeout for folks to have lunch and warm up. Thank you to the guy that brought 300 Subway sandwiches.  A special thanks to Mark Singleton and the others working for resources like this takeout, and for general river stewardship at American Whitewater.… Mark is about the most dedicated and consistently active paddler I’ve ever known, and I’m thrilled that he is the lead guy at AW.

Congratulations to Chief for winning the race for his club; his end-of-race pass put them seconds ahead. It was great to see the “legend” again, and to visit and meet the awesome Kentucky whitewater locals.  Must say Kentucky paddlers are one of the best bunches in the sport.

And what would a festival be in Kentucky without bourbon??  Thank you to Buffalo Trace for their hosting. They provided a great venue that is a beautiful historical site and, of course, nose-wrinkling good whiskey shots.

Knowing what it takes to put on such an event, I want to recognize and say thank you to the sponsors and all the volunteers that helped us enjoy such a fun event! I am proud that Endless River Adventures supports the NPFF.  And I hope to see y’all next year!