Pro Am Games: A First Descent Fundraiser

After finishing up with Nationals Championships at Pigeon Point, I headed over to the Nantahala Outdoor Center on the Nantahala River where I volunteered to be a Pro at the World Kayak Pro Am games.  It’s a competition where a pro is matched up with a few amateur kayakers who are trying to improve while supporting an awesome charity, First Descents, a camp for cancer survivors ages 18-34.  I was teamed up with Cat, Sierra, Lilly, and Olivia and I couldn’t have asked for a better team, they were motivated, excited, and we all had a blast!  

    After the boaters meeting, we all hopped in our boats and started to figure out the feature, what we wanted to work on, and what we were going to do in our rides.  Two of my girls hadn’t surfed much so I sent them up with Jason Miller to the top wave to work on some skills, while I helped Sierra and Cat in the competition hole.  After a couple hours everyone had a great ride figured out and it was time to compete.  

Sarah Ruhlen

Sarah Ruhlen

    The mens teams went first with 8 teams of 2 to 3 amateurs with each pro, and the women went last, with 2 teams  of 4 jr. women as amateurs and Rowan and I as the Pros.  Everyone on my team got their whole ride and we had an amazing time doing it, and we were all smiling the whole time!  We even had a special plan for our teams last ride (at the 15 second buzzer we all went in and swam!).  In the end, my team was first and Matt Anger’s team won the men’s. It was a successful fundraiser for First Descents with over $4000 being raised, and huge thanks to Jason and Samantha Miller for putting this event on. Great job to everyone who competed and helped. make this an awesome event!