The point series tour has come to a close and I can’t say we aren’t a little sad, but we have so much to look forward to and so much to look back on with incredible memories. First and foremost, we have spent the past 6 weeks traveling as a family and every single one of us can take something amazing away from each and every experience. Dan, is to be commended for surviving my crazy emotional pregnancy which came out in spades this week!! Seriously, I’ve never ever had such a roller coaster pregnancy in my life, so I’m completely at a loss when I go from happy to beyond livid to sad to happy again. So, not only is Dan the open Men’s National Kayaking Champion (yes, yes he is), but he is also the most amazing husband, best friend, confidant and father! We are growing so much closer as a family, (which I didn’t think was even possible), we are learning so much about real life, we are meeting new people, seeing new places, growing in so many different ways … we are living life to it’s fullest and never ever plan on quitting this life.
But, of course, the kids biggest focus is kayaking, they don’t really realize how lucky they are and what an alternative lifestyle they are living. They know they are having the time of their lives, living in the river, growing their arsenal of tricks and progressing each and every day! For having only begun kayaking 2 years ago, this being their 1st year competing, even be remotely competitive is a huge feat, but to be placing and taking home medals, that is another thing entirely. Can you imagine where they will be next year or even next week, next month? The rate they are learning is beyond me, and how they are learning is so varied.
Grady, just 16, wins the award for most time spent in the river, that’s for sure. He has such drive to learn and nothing is more important to him in this point of his life — to say he is obsessed would not be an overstatement. He is trying every trick in the book, Orbits, Helix’s, Space Godzillas, McNasty’s and Phonix Monkeys … when he nails them ALL consistently, he’ll be unstoppable. This approach has been unpredictable, but he placed 3rd in the National Point Series, Junior Men’s — next year, he’ll be a force.
Brody, 15 in May, is more methodical … 1 trick at a time, perfects and moves on, this competition was the air blunt — it served him well, he placed 3rd in Junior Mens today! Brody can be found 50% in the river and 50% running around looking for kids to hang out with and places to go.
Kady, 13, showed her competitive side in this competition, making it into the finals and placing a respectable 4th in finals!! This is her very first year really paddling! She is no longer fighting fear, she’s much more comfortable and confident and she wants to learn…badly! She was probably in the river only 2nd to Grady. She has progressed so far, she landed a loop after the competition! That is huge! She was upset with herself because she struggled on this very flushy wave, simply because of her inexperience. Having another girl on the tour, only one year younger than her, Sage Donnelly and another only 1 year older, Anna Scherer was huge for her. I’ve heard from so many families in the past few weeks that we have single handedly inspired them to get out and try kayaking with their kids … when you see others doing it, something clicks. It’s awesome!
Kenny, just 12, like Brody, likes the showmanship of competing. He loves the accolades he gets, the emails, the crowds, and he wants to strut his skills. He has been working diligently on a Phonix Monkey, and nailed one in the hole feature, however, had to quickly revert to learning wave tricks as the water level dropped and the hole completely disappeared. He learned the blunt and managed to land 2nd this weekend!
Dally, 10, like Grady is only interested in bettering himself for himself. He worked all week on a Donkey Flip, but due to the flushiness of the wave, decided to play it safe during the first two rides of the competition and went for it on the third ride, only to flush! He has since nailed his Donkey Flip 6 times on the wave here in Missoula.
Cardy, 8, while not competing, has managed to launch his boat in every spot we’ve been and, drum roll please, got his roll!! Maddy, 7, can’t wait to get in the river again, though she has to fight Cardy for his boat — we need more boats for sure as they both are determined to join their siblings in competition next year!
I have received countless emails and it has been said time and again that we are single handedly reviving the sport of kayaking. I can believe it, we have 3 cadet kayakers and 2 juniors. Next year we will have 4 cadet kayakers and 3 juniors! That’s equivalent to almost 4 families! Crazy!! LOL. I can’t tell you how many people I spoke to this past week that said, “I can’t believe kids can do this.” or “How old is that kid out there?” and when they hear he is 8 they say, “I have an 10 year old. She/he could do this.” Yes, yes! Get out there, demo some boats, try it out, it’s a sport you can do with your kids, not just spectate. You can experience all the same emotions, the fear, the excitement, the adrenaline, the accomplishment. It’s incredible! It has completely changed our lives … it could do the same for you!!
We are now on the way to Cascade, ID … Kelly’s Whitewater Park … for the USA Freestyle Kayaking National Championships. Then it’s home for 1 week and then we make our trek out East, stopping along the way to hit up some great rivers with some great friends, hit the beach and then onto the World Cup in TN and NC!!! After that, it’ll be early September and I think we may venture home to welcome the newest Kellogg baby due Oct 24th!!! But we won’t be stationary for long as we’ve caught wind that their is World Team Trials Training somewhere in TN in November and seeing this is Grady’s number 1 goal (and possibly Brody’s as well) we very well may be camping out in TN for the month!! Who knows, the glory of living in an RV is you are completely mobile and you can go anywhere and do anything at a moments notice!!!
God Bless, Stay safe!