EVENT: Gauley Fest 2013

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Gauley Fest is the largest gathering of whitewater enthusiasts in the world. Every type of whitewater craft shows up to this event; creekboats, playboats, squirt boats, riverrunners, long boats, slalom boats, moving water sea kayaks, C1, OC1, OC2, duckies, creature craft, big rafts, little rafts, oar rigs and the list goes on. If you like whitewater this is the place to be. Many manufacturers show up and show off the latest and greatest gear for the next season, while many local retailers show up to offload the season’s leftover gear, meaning AMAZING deals to be had!

I managed to squeeze in a 3 day trip this year that involved all kinds of good fun with old and new friends which included; creeking the Upper Yough, quality Mexican food in Morgantown, driving an all-electric car, paddling a high water Upper Gauley, watching The Dogg fire up Panther Creek Falls, a fun night hanging at the festival itself, 18 holes of disk golf, Segway riding, moto riding and a fast hilly run in Morgantown. I know I’m missing some stuff, but you get the idea. A long weekend full of all kinds of adventures. Check out the photos below to see some of the awesome for yourself. Hopefully I’ll see you at a future Gauley Fest!

Check out my writeup from the 2012 Festival HERE.

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The awesome little Western MD town of Friendsville is the takeout for the Upper Yough. I’ve always been told that I should enjoy the Friday release before Gauley Fest, and this year I finally took that advice without regret.

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Looking upstream from the take out bridge on the Upper Yough as the river slowly fills in from the Dam release on a beautiful Fall day.

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The relatively quite scene at the Upper Gauley putin on Saturday morning. Usually this lot is overfull and they are shuttling people in from a remote lot up the hill. This year there was plenty of parking left in the bottom lot, probably due to the very high river levels.

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Getting geared up for a high water playboat run of the Upper Gauley. (Photo: Nick Scholpes)

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Bobby dropping Panther Creek Falls for the first time. Check out the full story of this cool waterfall HERE.

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Always lots of cool adventuremobiles at Gauley Fest. Kayakers know how to live and travel out of vehicles. For sure kayaking is what got me into the “overland” world.

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Nice lookin’ new Jeep Wrangler JK Moab edition with Ursa Minor J30 pop-top camper. This would be a great way to access some remote rivers!

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LOTS of awesome gear for sale. Rocky Mountain Kayak always shows up with killer deals!!!

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Dagger auctions off a custom colored Green Boat each year. This year’s black with blue racing stripes boat came out sick! You can also see the company’s 2014 offering, the Katana crossover boat, in the background.

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Wavesport’s carbon Mobius playboat is a thing of beauty! Drool…..

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Chris Gragtmans, Dagger Team Manager, cruises the festival in the Mobius scooter.

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The Liquid Logic Stinger XP is a race boat, multiday boat and sea kayak rock gardening boat wrapped up into one little awesome speedy package. I want!

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The new Liquid Logic playboat is an interesting design, I can’t wait to get on the water. Currently there is no release date, final design or name for this creation.

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The TITS Deep ladies left their mark on my buddy Mr. Stephen Wright.

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The new Jackson Kayak & Murky Waters collaboration playboats, made with Inegra fibers, are light weight performance machines.

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Still in early proto form the new long boat from Jackson Kayak. Interesting hull modeled after the Karma creekboat.

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The crowd at Gauley Fest LOVES free shwag! Every year Jackson Kayak gives away a ton of it, and a free boat or two.

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Some fun games in the Fluid Kayaks booth in order to get in on the kayak of choice raffle.

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Bobby, Fluid Kayaks US Team Manager, had a good time at the fest, and only enjoys the finest beer, even when there is a keg of micro brew at his feet that he brought. His wife Mellisa might have just gotten grazed by a Nerf bullet :)

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Werner Paddles had some cool new blade colors and patterns. I like the kayaker camo.

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Werner also does a pull up contest each year that is always entertaining to watch.

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Lots of quality live music under a full moon in the rain with thousands of your closest whitewater tribe members, the definition of Gauley Fest.

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The fog and rain set in thick this year.

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I played with some long exposures of the full moon and bright tents. The circus that is Gauley Fest takes over Summersville, WV each year.

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You never know what sort of creatures your going to find lurking around Gauley Fest!

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The Van Life has always been strong amongst the WW tribe.

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Nick drops a nice putt while disk golfing on the way home after the Fest.

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I SUCK at disk golf, but as you can see by the face I give it my all :) (Photo: Nick Scholpes)

Also check out this great little film titled

Gauley Season” by Tommy Penick

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