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2021 dirty bird recap

2021 Dirty Bird (Pigeon River) Recap

It was a breath of fresh air to be able to run the Paddle In Pink annual Dirty Bird event at the end of July this year. For most of us, the last year has been an incredibly hard year. As a kayaker, I really missed the closeness that the community can bring to this sport through the numerous festivals and events. I absolutely love the all-female paddling events and to be able to host a playboat day is an absolute honor and blessing.

This year 15 rad women gathered that shared a stoke that cut out all judgment and criticism and just allowed everyone to smile, laugh, and encourage each other that came to support and raise money for the Live Like Maria Foundation. I’m always blown away year after year how incredible it is to watch the participants of this event encourage each other whether that is advice given, a smile, or a hoot and holler.

This year brought out many new faces I had never seen before and I think that is one aspect of this particular event that makes it special. The pigeon river is a class III river and therefore brings out fresh faces to the sport and allows familiar faces to share the love of whitewater kayaking. If anyone knew Maria Noakes, she embraced making everyone feel welcome and went out of her way to just introduce herself to someone new to her. I truly believe the 15 of us really did Live Like Maria for a day and it feels so good to raise money for the foundation.

Jackson Kayak has sponsored this event every single year that I have hosted it and I love their continued support. Kokatat and Watershed Dry Bags come through year after year with gear to add to the raffle and this year New Belgium provided Fat Tire beer and their Fruit Smash Hard Seltzer. These companies have been slammed with orders and I cannot thank them enough for finding a way to help raise money for such a good cause. 
Also a big thanks to FoxFire Campground for allowing us to host the event and take up the pavilion space for the day!

One final thanks to Rob Giersch who donated his time to photograph and video the event. Take a look for yourself at his amazing work. All the photos you see from this event is straight from Rob’s lens.

Crystal.Gustin

I started kayaking in Wisconsin of all places, because this is where I am from. I then moved to San Diego and took on kayak surfing along with heading to the Kern River when water was available. I then made the move to Asheville, NC and have been hooked on this sport since my Wisconsin days. With whatever it is that you do, do it because you love it, not because society tells you should or for other outside factors. Don't simply exist, live!

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