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Green River Narrows Race 2009

Paddler: Eric Deguil

text by Eric Deguil

One year. One year without forgetting the fastest and hardest lines from Green river narrows race. I learned with one of the best Green river paddlers, Shane Benedict. I was second in 2008 and I promised him to come back in 2009 to win the race. If the Green river god agrees.

One month before the race, I was ready to compete, but I didn’t have money to take plane. My best friend Nicolas Brahic (we started kayak in the same club 20 years ago) decided to help me and a short week after, we had the tickets! Shane Benedict send me his new prototype kayak which was finished one week before! It's surely the fastest creek boat in the world. Everybody agreed that this year the remix Stinger will break the record.

Nicolas and me ran the narrows three times a day to find the best lines and don’t get caught by river. Gorilla is always strong. Go left or die is always narrow. You can lose the race in Scream machine or Power slide...Two days before the race i touched the finish rock in 4’26”. The best time I ever did, but I wasn’t happy. I knew that with Stinger kayak, I could be faster.

A new start on legendary race.

I was on the start with Tommy H. who win the green narrow race six times in 14 editions! I took the left line in Frankenstein, not very fast, but I did my best kayaking through Gorilla. When you drop in the monkey, you're like in Gladiator movie. Rocks around are full of people! Everybody push you during the hardest last minute. Awesome!

My finish time: 4’29” - very happy to be third. It was good performance for me, since I don’t have so much practice in long boat. 10 minutes off and it was time to hike to the start. For your information - there is no trail and sometime you walk in forest, other time in river… it’s fun.

It was my last run on Green race this year. I wished to give the best of me in short boat, my favorite category. And it was the best run I ever did. I will never forget it. I was my kayak. I was the river… The spirit of Green river was with me. And forever in my heart. 4’47”, the third best Green race time, and the second place! Incredible.

The Green race is not like other races in the world. It is the harder for your brain, your body. Everybody help you, pushes you to be strong. Awesome race, awesome river, awesome people.

It was the race of the season. But the best of kayaking is not racing. It's exploring the rivers. It's finding the best line in every rapid you take. The way you live. After big party at Woody’s house, we get up early to drive to Tallulah river.

600 hundred steps to put in. Two Frenchie frogs and one Troll from Norway were ready to run one of north American classic river. This river is so fun! We could play everywhere. The river bed is like an artificiale river, but made by mother nature. Dag Sandvick, Nicolas Brahic and I were very lucky. Tallulah gorge is runnable only 4 week-ends each year!

Photos by: Dag Sandvick and Shane Benedict

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