Year in Review 2017

2017 was an absolutely amazing year and first things first I want to thank everyone who was a part if it and showed support, and even if you didn’t show support because haters are motivators! But seriously thank you to everyone who I started out 2017 with and also the friends i met along the way, cheers to a great year! A huge part of life is just surrounding yourself with good people and kayaking is the awesome because it always brings out the best in everyone. I can’t express how blessed I am to have a family that kayaks and supports my crazy kayak dreams and friends who share the same passion and mindset. 2017 kicked off exceptionally good on the kayaking side starting off the year with my acceptance into Team Jackson Kayak! Never did I think I would make it into such a stellar kayak team and furthermore feel so welcomed in the Team Jackson Kayak family, truly amazing people I have been honored to meet. I absolutely love the new boats this year including the Antix, which is probably my favorite boat of all time. From January till mid summer the Antix was my primary boat for anything and everything and i had so much fun putting it to the test and also feel like i progressed a lot during this time because of that. I now have the Nirvana as well which is such a fun fast boat making everything feel smooth as butter. But whats even better than the boats, is all the awesome things I was able to do with them, heres a list of some of my favorite times this year:

-Cuyahoga falls Race (having helped start this event on my home river, seeing it grow so much, gain sponsors and have a huge turnout was absolutly amazing to see and be a part of, though I didnt do great in the races it was an amazing event)
-Personal highest decent on the Top Yough, MD (2500 cfs) was a very striking event
-Snagged a rarely run beaut of a waterfall, Cucumber Falls, PA (5th ever decent)
-1st place in mens short boat for the Upper Yough race in the Nirvana
-competed in my first ever freestyle competition and many other races during La Tour De Loop located on the Lower Yough, PA and placed 2nd (in freestyle) all in the Nirvana and Rockstar
-personal highest decent of Ohiopyle Falls (3.1ft)
– dialed in switch freewheeles as well as left side regular freewheels
-splitwheels in a playboat (new favorite move)
-pleasure of working as a kayak instructor numerous days for Ohioplye Trading Post
-Favorite Festval: Beaver Fest
-talked to a class of 8th graders in a city public school about the fun of whitewater kayaking and why pushing yourself to the extreme is the only way to see what your made of
-tripple crown of the green narrows and clean lines to boot
-personal highest decent of Lower Yough (11ft) and surfed personal record big waves
-first How To video and first instructional write up
-first overnighter! Cheat canyon at 4ft was an AMAZING rally
-Cheat Fest(playboated the cheat at 5ft, doesn’t get much better
-Gauley Fest (paddled the Antix and had the most fun on the gauley I ever have!)
-Kanawah Fest (was absolutely blown away by how awesome and well put together the Kanawah falls festival turned out to be let alone the amazingly fun whitewater and people
-first time to the Great Falls of the Potomic (absolute spectacle of whitewater, totally blown away)

A man cannot enter the same river twice, for it is a new river and you are a new man. Each trip has shaped me to be who i am. I am grateful for the experiences and the beautiful sights along the way. Its going to be hard to beat this past year but I am very much excited to do just that. The first main goal i have for 2018 is to paddle more rivers in the southeast such as the Linville gorge, toxaway, natahala cascades and as many others that i can. Another goal i have is to paddle the Ottawa as I’ve always wanted to but just never made the trip happen. Third and possibly the hardest goal this year is to paddle in the western states Colorado, or PNW. As well as a couple hometown and more local stouts as well ( chippewa creek, upper blackwater and a few waterfalls in Ohio). I also want to teach kayaking more this year physically and the backround side, river safety, river preservation and for myself, get more involved in dam removal projects and river clean-ups. Excited to see what 2018 has in store and to make more crazy dreams come true.

– Tommy Piros

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