The following article was published many years ago in American Whitewater Magazine, a not for profit group I was involved with when I kayaked every weekend. The river written about is the Beaver river in upstate NY near Belfort and every year hundreds of boaters would gather from all over America to run this little gem.
So there I was running one of the more difficult class V runs to be found in NY backwards on a $50 bet. Thoughts of my sweet one year old son and his beautiful mother did NOT fill my mind. Survival was the focus here. How to pull off this stunt without getting flipped, swimming or worse. Marty probably didn’t think anyone would really take him up on his offer for $50 to run it backwards. The decision was already made before I started not to accept the money from him, so why was I doing it? Fame, fortune, glory? No, I was doing it because I wanted to prove to myself that I had put off running the Eagle section of the Beaver to a point in my paddling career where I could run it backwards. The crowds faded from my mind and all I could think about was, where is my boat, where am I pointed, am I ready to brace? Complete focus. The run was not pretty, but better than many other paddler’s forward facing runs.