Whitewater Wednesday. V 34.  Giving back to the Community.

Werner Paddle's, Whitewater Wednesday Volume 34.  "It is refreshing and energizing to not only be a part of an industry that supplies people with fun, but to after 50 Year still be a company with enthusiastic staff that participates in the paddling community."  (Case in point.  While writing this marketing manager, Danny Mongno [Quoted here,] is surrounded by gear he is packing for this weekend's "Moose River Fesitval, NY" and drinking from a hydration back pack preparing for next weekend's 31 mile Chattajack SUP race.)


A great example of giving back became evident the past few days while scanning social media.  At this year's Gauley Fest, we continued our fundraising efforts for American Whitewater with a fun contest in the booth.  Certainly there are many who  want to come by the tent and chat paddles, learning proper fits and asking design and material questions.  But for everyone one of those guests, many more just want to enjoy the Festival, celebrating the river lifestyle in all its glory.  For those folks, we want to always have something fun to particpate in. In the past we hosted our, are you "Werner Tough" contest.  In celebration of our Bomber Repuation for strength and reliability, we wanted to see who was equally strong.  So men and women competed against each other to win a free custom paddle fitting, in a push up + pull up contest.  Fun was had, money was raised, we gave back with some sweet paddles.

(Thanks to our friend Scott Martin for the shot.)


This year with the release of our new Odachi race paddle, we decided to mix it up and in the spirit of racing decided to see who was "Werner Fast."  Again, combatants of the female and male persuasion squared off, but this time to see who could do the fastest number of burpees in 1 minute's time.



Things started along smoothly Friday night, with some money raised and competitors testing their "go fast" ability.  But many said they would be back Saturday night...and that is when it got interesting.  In 2's and 4's people lined up to burpee and the numbers being posted were going up and up.  After a strong field of ladies squared off, it was NC's Hannah Kessenich that walked away with the custom fitted paddle, with a strong showing of 26.  (I dare you to head out into your yard and see if you can come close...not EASY at all.)

(So stoked with what paddlers refer to as, "the big brown box," showing up after a UPS visit Hannah photographed her prize and posted to her Facebook page, we were super happy for her.  A custom fitted Stikine just in time for Fall boating.)


Then things got interesting.  Budgeted to give away 2 paddles, along comes 12 year old Kaelin Freedenson.  Who would think a 12 year old would be able to hang with the big boys, but hang he did.  His 26 stood a top of the leader board, tied with Werner Paddle's Team rider and his coach at Keeners all summer Bren Orton, late into the night.  Eventually his number would be surpassed, but no other junior even came close.  A conference was quietly held amongst the staff at the Werner booth and a decision was made, add a new class, a new paddle, create a junior division and stoke out the winner Kaelin.

(Kaelin is one of the most talented junior paddlers in the World right now, shown here tearing up the feature at the NOC.  Read about his experience on our Facebook page, when the "big brown box" showed up at his front door.)


So who did eventually beat Kaelin and Bren?  Funny you should ask, because that was yet another stretch to the old budget.  But in the end one that made us and all the contestants so happy.  With minutes to spare before AW ended the contests and asked for vendors to come to the stage and announce winners and present their fundraising gifts, 3 men were in a tie with an insane 31 burpees.  (Just stay in the house, don't even bother trying to beat that.)

Andrew Hawley, Wyatt Rosco and Luke Walker were stoked after another short conference between the Werner staff landed each with a brand new paddle.  No pictures yet from these guys, but we were promised and are sure they will come through.  Hope they are getting some use with all the rain we have been getting nationally.


In the end we went from affecting 2 stoked boaters to 5 directly, and many more indirectly.  Werner Paddles is a national level sponsor of AW (has been for decades)  and added another small gift that cool fall evening in West Virginia.  A gift that helps this great organization continue to keep us all on the water.   But what makes us most proud as a company is that we are doing in the field, alongside our fellow paddlers.  Whether a whitewater event like Gauley, or kayak fishing, sea kayaking or Stand Up Paddle, we just love being part of the community.   So thanks to all of you who support us, welcome us, help us continue on and reach a milestone like this season's 50 years of handcrafting paddles.  Thanks for keeping the paddling community alive and full of energy.  Looking forward to seeing you on the water next time, and be sure to get to the hundreds of events a year where we are feeling generous.