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First Annual New River Gorge Youth SUP Race

First Annual New River Gorge Youth SUP Race

The New River Gorge Adventure SUP Race has become the epicenter of whitewater standup paddleboard racing in the Eastern US, but not because of a cash purse (there isn’t one!) or fantastical prizes. Instead, this race has ingrained itself in the hearts of a community that it has helped to grow since its inception in 2011.  This year, First Waves has partnered up with Active Southern West Virginia to bring the first Youth SUP race to the Gorge.

Paddleboarding for Visually Impaired Youth

Paddleboarding for Visually Impaired Youth

At First Waves, we have been dealt the opportunity to work with amazing partners and volunteers. The latest project in conjunction with VIP Sports was one of the most memorable.  By working with Slippery Rock University volunteers and VIP Sports instructors, we were able to provide a standup paddleboarding experience to more than 60 youth participants that were blind or semi-blind. Here's a short film documenting the training process and the event itself! Enjoy!

A "MONSTER" ADDITION TO FIRST WAVES PROGRAM

A "MONSTER" ADDITION TO FIRST WAVES PROGRAM

The river wave at Greenhouse Park is little more than a pile of foam during the hot month of July in Johnstown, Pennsylvania.  The Stonycreek River is the tamest version of itself and instead of whitewater enthusiasts, the park attracts sunbathers, tubers, and swimmers to its shores.  What most have overlooked, however, is this wave’s potential as a training ground for the area’s youth to become river enthusiasts.  When presented in the right way, the wave can capture the attention of teenagers better than the latest X-box and carve a path for outdoor recreation and education that is widely available but pervasively ignored.  This is exactly what the First Waves Johnstown Program is able to provide to underserved youth in the area.

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

A heavy rain engulfed the Stonycreek River Valley on the night before Day-1 of First Waves Johnstown.  The next morning, instructors and volunteers of the crew arrived early to observe the day’s conditions: a swollen river with strong currents.  If it weren’t for the team of expert instructors and volunteers from the Benscreek Canoe Club and SurfSUP Adventures, this amazing adventure would have been cancelled.  One volunteer exemplified this commitment by relentlessly retrieving gear from the flow and helping participants find comfort in the grip of the river’s flow.  Were it not for Andy May’s efforts, First Waves equipment would likely still be on a journey toward the Gulf of Mexico.

First Waves Partners With G-FORM

First Waves Partners With G-FORM

First Waves is all about adventure.  Learning to perform outside your comfort zone is what enables participants to grow, and inspire others.  But like any proper adventure, there are obstacles to overcome.  For First Waves, one of these obstacles are the rocks that surround the waves and rapids we surf and document.  To stay protected, First Waves is proud to announce its latest partner, G-Form Protection.