Kayaking is a sport that changes lives. Few people know where it will take them when the current first sweeps them away, but no one is ever the same. While every day on the river is special, there are certain experiences that stand out as unforgettable. Here is my list of 12 of these bucket list experiences.1. Nail your first combat roll.After many, many frustrating swims, the first time a paddler holds it together and rolls back up from chaos into sunlight is exhilarating beyond belief. Suddenly there is a self-sufficiency that wasn’t there before, many new rivers open up, and the learning curve skyrockets.Bonus tip: Create good habits in the beginning by seeking quality instruction. It’s much easier to create good habits than break bad ones.2. Run Nantahala Falls.Probably the most famous class III benchmark rapid in the world, Nantahala Falls is a huge stepping stone for beginner kayakers. It represents the first stride into the world of technical whitewater, and it can either be a great confidence booster or a sobering reminder of the river’s power. Fortunately it is a safe swim downstream, and your line will be immortalized by the paparazzi and crowd that forms on the shore during any summer weekend!Bonus tip: Whatever river features you encounter, square them up and hit them with speed.3. Surf Z-Dam.A premier playspot in the Southeast, Z-Dam is a symmetrical hole in Richmond, Va., that is perfect for every manner of trick. Paddlers spending some time there can perfect their spins, cartwheels, loops, phoenix monkeys, and every other hole trick imaginable. Couple this with several other excellent rapids under the Richmond skyline, and you have a great day on the river.Bonus tip: Try not to get shown up by 12-year-old local, Isaac Hull.4. Successfully execute a first descent.First descents represent the transition of theory into reality, one of the most special experiences a paddler can have. Many boaters think that First Ds are only for the top-level pros, but the reality is that new runs and rapids are always out there waiting to be discovered. All you need is the desire to explore.Bonus tip: Be wary of the legal ramifications of accessing and running stretches of river.5. Attend Gauley Fest.With over 5,000 kayakers in attendance, Gauley Fest is the biggest gathering of river people in the world. This event occurs every September, and it also happens to be the largest fundraiser for American Whitewater, a nonprofit that secures access and releases for hundreds of rivers throughout the nation.Bonus tip: Camp away from the center of the fairgrounds, and bring earplugs.6. Paddle in our nation’s capital.D.C. drips of legacy in this sport. The first waterfall ever run in a kayak was part of the Great Falls section of the Potomac, and that community has long been host to Olympic athletes and world-class extreme racers. Paddlers of all abilities can enjoy the waters of the Potomac, from paddling flatwater through some of the nation’s most iconic monuments to the peacefulness of class-III Mather Gorge and the maelstrom of class-V Great Falls.Bonus tip: If you have them, bring multiple different craft. There are creek lines, surf waves, and attainment eddies. The only limitation is your own energy.7. Compete in the Green Narrows Race.One of the most prestigious extreme races in the world, the Green Race now boasts over 150 competitors and over 1,000 spectators every year. The experience of paddling into the Green’s marquee rapid, Gorilla, is in my mind the closest that we can come to being a gladiator entering the Coliseum.Bonus tip: Spend equal time learning the lines of the river and honing your fitness. You’re going to need both.8. Squirtboat in the Halls of Karma on the New River Gorge.Squirtboating is a niche within a niche in the sport of kayaking. It involves paddling extremely low volume kayaks and using the currents of eddy interfaces to submerge both boat and paddler in the depths. Once underwater, the appeal becomes apparent, and real-world stresses wash away as you experience the river in a more intimate way than ever before.Bonus tip: Pop a few Ibuprofen beforehand; those boats hurt.9. Spend a day training with slalom gates.As far as improving the foundational skills that will be used in perpetuity as a kayaker, there are few things as effective as weaving in and out of slalom gates on whitewater. As paddlers push the limits of the sport further than ever before, the basics can sometimes be overlooked. Slalom gates allow a return to these skills by creating class-V moves in class-II water.Bonus tip: Try to get your hands on a fiberglass slalom boat or a snappy plastic equivalent like the Dagger RPM.10. Ride the USNWC conveyor belt.This is everyone’s dream: a whitewater playground that can be run a limitless number of times. The conveyor belt is a true luxury, and is worth experiencing by any paddler at least once. After you’ve worn yourself out with endless laps of the Comp and Wilderness channels, grab some food and a beer.Bonus tip: Bring multiple boats.11. Run a waterfall.This is the most aesthetic aspect of kayaking: paddling off a cascade and into the plunge pool below. Approaching a horizon line where the water falls out of sight is an experience only a paddler can have, and it is something that keeps us mesmerized for life. The thrill is the same no matter what the skill level or height of the drop- all that is needed is for your own limits to be pushed.Bonus tip: A few of the best beginner waterfalls in the Southeast are Valley Falls (Md.), Baby Falls (Tenn.), Hooker Falls (N.C.) and Second Ledge on the Chattooga in Georgia.12. Do a dawn patrol. There’s no better place than on the river to welcome the dawn of a new day. Follow blue herons into the mist as the sun rises. The possibilities are limitless when you are willing to get up early.Bonus tip: Try to wipe that perma-grin off your face in the office afterwards… no need to make your coworkers feel bad about their lives.SUP & Canoe Bucket List MentionsPaddle the French Broad Canoe TrailRecently developed by the French Broad Riverkeeper, the 140-mile French Broad Canoe Trail is an excellent opportunity to experience the North Carolina mountains from the water.Race in the Carolina CupThe Carolina Cup is the East Coast’s most competitive SUP event. It is a perfect place to get a feel for the sport, try out the latest products, and brush shoulders with the best athletes in the world. From beginners to pros, there is something for everyone.Go for a SUP paddle under the SupermoonThe longest day of the year coincides with the moon’s closest proximity to Earth. This results in an exceptionally bright full moon, and is the perfect opportunity to go for a night-time paddle. There’s nothing in the world like cutting through glass on a beautiful lake or river with the full moon overhead.
Rice: Sheriff turned representative Gary Blankenship Senior Editor Rep. Everett Rice, R-Indian Shores, is not your typical Florida Bar member, and not just because he’s also a member of the legislature.Rice came to his membership in the Bar halfway through a 33-year career with the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office. He gave his reason for going to law school as “self defense.”“I was chief of detectives at the sheriff’s office and I had finished my undergraduate degree and I had been to the FBI Academy,” Rice recalled. “It seemed like when a lot of final decisions were made in criminal cases, they were made by lawyers.”He graduated from Stetson with his law degree in 1984, and went into a private general practice with Jean Kwall (wife of former Bar Board of Governors member Lou Kwall). “I was having fun practicing law and then I got enlisted to run for sheriff,” he said.It was 1988, and the incumbent sheriff was retiring. Rice ran and was elected, and reelected in 1992, 1996, and 2000.In 2004, he was ready to retire as sheriff, and then his local representative decided not to seek re-election.“The timing couldn’t have been any better. I was not running for reelection as sheriff, then Dr. Don Sullivan announced he was not going to run for reelection to the seat. I had lived in this district for 45 years,” Rice said.He ran and won, and moved to a new type of government service.“It’s totally different. Being on the administrative side and being in charge is a whole lot different from being a rookie in the legislature,” he said. “But I’ve enjoyed it.”The best part, he said, is “being able to vote no.”One example he cites is the Terry Schiavo case.“The Terry Schiavo Act, I just thought the whole thing was outrageous,” Rice said. “The Schiavo case had been litigated for seven years. It had been well tried by both sides and it had been up and down the courts on appeal. I didn’t think the legislature could set aside a valid court decision. It wasn’t a privacy issue so much as the constitution and separation of powers.”He’s also proud of his work in helping to write and pass the Jessica Lunsford Act to protect children from abusers, especially provisions for GPS tracking of offenders when they are released from prison.“Child predators need to be locked up as long as possible, but when they get out, they need to be tracked,” Rice said. “The technology is there; we pioneered it in Pinellas County. I’ve been urging the legislature to pass that type of legislation for the past five years, since I was president of the Florida Sheriffs Association.”Rice is also pushing a state constitutional amendment to prevent governments from using their eminent domain authority to take one person’s property and give it to another for economic development, such as the U.S. Supreme Court authorized in the recent Kelo decision. Acknowledging that the legislature could address the issue with a statute, it is such a fundamental issue to most Floridians that a constitutional amendment would be better, he said.“When the government can force someone to sell their land and turn it over to some other private party for development or redevelopment, that’s not good and I don’t think that’s the way Americans want it to be,” Rice said.For other lawyers who might be interested in legislative service, Rice has some serious advice: “I would probably recommend that they go up there [to Tallahassee] and sit through a couple sessions. For one thing, it’s a volunteer job. You don’t go there expecting to earn a living. People think it’s a part-time job, but it’s not if you’re going to do it right. It takes a lot of time and effort.”Rice surprised many observers last year when he announced he was running for the Republican nomination for attorney general after only one term in the state House. But he sees it as a logical decision.For one thing, he is friends with current Attorney General Charlie Crist, who is running for governor.“I’m the only candidate running who has ever had any experience running an agency, particularly running a public safety agency,” Rice noted. “I spent three and a half decades of my life protecting people and their rights. It’s a broad-based experience, particularly in the justice field. That gives me a familiarity with the issues that a lot of legislators don’t have.” February 15, 2006 Regular News Lawyers in the Legislature Lawyers in the Legislature Editor’s Note: The Bar News continues its series of profiles of lawyers in the legislature with interviews of Reps. Joe Negron, R-Stuart, and Everett Rice, R-Indian Shores, both of whom are also running for attorney general. The March 1 issue will profile Sens. Ron Saunders, R-Naples, and Walter G. “Skip” Campbell, D-Tamarac, who are also seeking that post. The fifth candidate to be the state’s top lawyer is former Republican U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum. Negron draws on his experiences Gary Blankenship Senior Editor While in law school at Emory, Joe Negron clerked for an Atlanta lawyer who did pro bono work for a battered women’s shelter. One client from the center was a woman whose husband had stomped on her glasses and pushed her out of a slow-moving car. She came into the office bruised and holding her mangled glasses.“She didn’t know what to do and she had one child at home,” he recalled. “We got a restraining order. We did our best as lawyers to help her, and it made such an impression on me.”Fast forward 20 years. Rep. Negron, R-Stuart, chairs the House Fiscal Council and discovers a backlog of state funding for domestic violence shelters. He finds millions of dollars to help make up the deficit.“Who would know I would have the opportunity in the legislature to commit several million dollars to fund centers for women and children to go when they are facing these crises?” he asked.That funding is one of the accomplishments Negron points to proudly of his six years in Tallahassee. His top achievement, he said, is blocking a bill that would have created a statewide database on Floridians’ drug prescriptions.“If you were prescribed a level 2, 3, or 4 drug by your doctor, that information would be entered into a database in Tallahassee, where your private medical records would be monitored by the government,” Negron said. “I think it’s big brother, it’s heavy-handed, and I don’t think it’s any of the government’s business what medical care law-abiding citizens are receiving.”He’s also proud of passing a bill, working with Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher, that made out-of-state health insurance companies follow the same rules as in-state companies. That corrected a loophole which allowed out-of-state companies to raise their premiums to unaffordable levels when a policyholder became seriously ill — a practice dubbed the “death spiral.”Another accomplishment is getting more judges for Florida’s courts.“We’ve known for years we needed new judges in Florida and there was always some excuse on why we couldn’t fund new judges,” Negron said.When he became appropriations chair, Negron made that a top priority and helped get 55 new judgeships last year, with a pledge for at least that many this year.“I feel very strongly that the court system is an independent, co-equal branch of government,” Negron said. “The court system should remain strong.. . . Our funding of the courts should not be based on the degree we agree with the courts’ latest decisions.”Running for attorney general is another way of continuing to pursue his goals.“I believe the attorney general is a leader in establishing and enforcing laws to protect citizens of Florida, particularly our children,” Negron said, noting he got funding for the Jessica Lunsford Act, as well as for domestic violence centers.He also sees the job as a way to continue pushing for consumer protection for Floridians, and protecting their rights.“I strongly believe that our rights and freedoms do not come from the government; they are granted to us by our Creator through the Constitution,” Negron said. “Rights are not self-executing; it’s the responsibility of the attorney general to be the guardian of our individual liberties. These rights that I want to safeguard include our right to bear arms, our right to worship or not worship as we see fit, our right to bring up our children, and our right to be left alone.“The people are sovereign and the government is in place to serve and protect, and not control.”Politics has always been an interest for Negron (he’s collected memorabilia from past political campaigns), and legislative service is something he encourages other lawyers to consider — and for a different reason than given by some.“Attorneys can disagree without it being personal,” he said. “Sometimes for non-attorney legislators, they take a no vote to be a personal repudiation of them. They’re offended. Their feelings are hurt and that’s not really the way it should be.”Legal training also helps “in the ability to comprehend and digest massive amounts of information in a short period of time and to understand how these laws are actually going to be enforced once they’re passed,” he said.“It will be an extremely rewarding experience, but be prepared for an all encompassing commitment of time and energy.”
As professional sports leagues around the world began to cancel their seasons, Jordan Martin and his teammates were called into a team meeting. The former Syracuse defensive back found out one of his Seattle Dragons teammates had tested positive for COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.Five games into the inaugural XFL season, Martin and four other former Syracuse football players’ — Jay Bromley, Andrew Tiller, Shamarko Thomas and Eric Dungey — attempts to continue their professional football careers were put on pause when the 2020 XFL season was canceled on March 12. “I already heard the NBA and hockey and stuff like that were ending, so we were kind of figuring that we were going to be up next,” Martin said. “There wasn’t anything that we could have done to prevent that.”The XFL, restarted in 2018, is a professional football league that presents opportunities for players who are trying to make an NFL roster. Dungey had a brief stint with the Cleveland Browns practice squad this past season, Thomas played four seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Bromley was a third-round pick who played four years for the New York Giants. After many of the former Orange players bounced around practice squads of NFL teams, they landed in the XFL, which began play on Feb. 8. The league said it’s committed to continuing in 2021.The Tampa Bay Vipers drafted Tiller, the Dragons took Martin, and the DC Defenders drafted Bromley. Thomas was initially signed by the New York Guardians but was soon traded to the Defenders, and Dungey signed with the Dallas Renegades after being released by the Browns.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“I needed a job, man, it’s as simple as that,” Bromley said. “Honestly, I needed a job, and NFL teams weren’t calling for whatever reason, so I wanted the opportunity to continue to play the game that I love and enjoy playing, and the XFL offered that opportunity, so I’m grateful for that.”Initially, the league continued to hold games despite many states around the country declaring a state of emergency, but when Martin’s teammate tested positive, commissioner Oliver Luck and President Jeffrey Pollack canceled the remainder of the season. Players were told in team meetings to go home and self-quarantine.In their shortened seasons, Bromley made 15 tackles and a sack in five starts while Thomas recorded 11 tackles in four games. Dungey was second on the depth chart, and Tiller was listed as the second offensive guard on Tampa Bay’s depth chart. Martin, who played in all five games and recorded 20 tackles, returned home to Maryland, unsure of what the future would hold. The Dragons and the XFL have been staying in contact with players as states around the country work to contain the coronavirus. The XFL announced all players would receive their base pay and benefits for the season despite it being curtailed by the coronavirus. Players are free to sign with NFL teams — some already have — and for Martin, that will always be the goal.“I think the goal for anybody is to try to … reach that status of an NFL player,” said Martin. “So, the NFL is always gonna be the goal until, you know, the wheels don’t let me go no more.” Comments Published on April 3, 2020 at 6:44 pm Contact Gaurav: firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook Twitter Google+