Joe Ellis–My Power of Water Story

Joe Ellis–My Power of Water Story

Joe Ellis SurfingAs far back as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to bodies of water.  Whether it is a small backwoods pond, a trout stream, a rapid river, an inland lake, a Great Lake, or the Pacific Ocean – the Power Of Water is undeniable.

My first vivid memories on the water come from about 1982 (5 years old) on Gun Lake in West Michigan.  In the old school paddle boat or in the aluminum canoe we (siblings, cousins, friends) would explore the shoreline looking for fishing holes with our Zebco rod’s, night crawlers, and a few artificial lures.  It didn’t matter if it was small pan fish, or trophy Northern Pike…we went after it!  At dawn and dusk nearly every day, we made our way up and down the shoreline on an adventure.  Getting on the water at 6 AM before any wind kicked up and boats made waves, there was something awesome and powerful about that perfect glass so clear that you could watch birds fly overhead without actually looking up.  After many years and hours logged in the canoe and paddle boat on those shorelines on Gun Lake, I appreciate that same tranquility and power to this very day.  Today though, it’s on a SUP with a Sage fly rod.  Still enjoying even more-so essentially what I have been doing for 30 years now.  The best part about it – I’m now able to experience that with my son.  I’ll observe closely and enthusiastically as The Power Of Water moves him like it moved me.

Next came the Pacific.  All I can say is it isn’t possible to paddle out past the break and NOT experience the Power Of Water.  Watch the cult-classic film ‘Point Break’ for all the super cheesy cliche that describes it…and some great acting to boot (HA!!).  To date, I’ve experienced Trestles in San Clemente CA, the Kaanapali Coast on Maui (Honeymoon), and the North Shore on Oahu (Honeymoon).  Next on my hit list is the gnarly coast of Northern California, because when the Power Of Water from The Pacific Ocean hits you, it’s the perfect balance of pleasure and pain…or like being extremely nervous and extremely aroused at the very same time.

Joe Ellis Dock SunsetI urge everyone living in Michigan to explore our incredible State to the best of your ability from North to South, East to West.  Discover Michigan’s transcendental GREAT Lakes.  Experience our historic rivers.  Embrace our mystical inland lakes.  And for the love of “whatever floats your boat”, feel The Power Of Water!


Joe Ellis

Trey Rouss–My Power of Water Story

Trey Rouss–My Power of Water Story

trey roussWater is transforming. Beautiful. Intimidating. Clear. Distorted. Exhilarating. Ominous. A release. An escape. And a sanctuary. Life. Water is and so am I.

My first real memory of THE POWER OF WATER was at ten, eleven years old. We were camping at a beach in Last Chance Bay on Lake Powell. My dad ran trips up there and always brought me along. Twenty five to thirty adults, ten power boats, four pleasure cruisers, a giant barge and me. Oh yes, and an inflatable Sevylor kayak! For ten days straight as the afternoon “adult” festivities ramped up, I would head out into the nooks and crannies of the cove in my kayak and fish. All alone. On my own. Free.

There was nothing like it. Not waterskiing or tubing or driving the big boats. Nothing. The water is crystal clear on Lake Powell, yet it is filled by the silt and sediment laden waters of the Colorado and Escalante rivers. How is that possible? You can see down forty feet and watch the fish play. You get lost for hours in the rocks and the crazy sandstone formations. Just me… all alone… floating in the sky. I am there right now, almost forty years later. That is THE POWER OF WATER.
– Trey Rouss

Hannah Easterle–My Power Of Water Story

Hannah Easterle–My Power Of Water Story

hannah poolOne of the key words that The Power Of Water stands for-Play. I got to play in a kayak for my first time on Friday, during the winter! I never knew there were places to use kayaks during the winter months.

I am newly enjoying the lessons and fun that there is to be had all year long. I went to Brighton to play with a couple different kayaks in the high school pool. I learned and practiced safety on the water. After learning different things, like what to do when you capsize (flip over), I cannot imagine going out on the water without this knowledge. If I hadhkayak gone on a kayaking adventure without knowing how to properly and calmly deal with capsizing, I feel it would be very dangerous because I would be nervous and feel helpless. Practicing with the help of Trey(owner of The Power Of Water) I definitely feel much more confident for my next time on the water. I cannot wait for this summer to play and continue learning about kayaking, canoeing, and stand up paddle boarding, or now that I think about it, I cannot wait to discover the actual power of water! I look forward to reading about everyone else’s experiences!
~ Hannah Easterle

Doris Landry-Kruse–My Power Of Water Story

Doris Landry-Kruse–My Power Of Water Story

love to kayak group photoOn an early Tuesday morning in May of 2013 the sky was ominous but we were eager to paddle. The radar indicated we would be rain free for the day on the Little Muskegon River.  Unfortunately we didn’t check to see if the night’s rain filled the river.  It looked high but we didn’t check.  First mistake: it was flood stage!

From the moment we entered the river it was full of challenges at every turn. Just about all of us got wet, sometimes purposefully as we needed to help someone who went for an unplanned “swim.”  To be sure, the river claimed us all in some way… as well as a half-skirt, a new dry-bag, multiple lunches, a really nice rain jacket and nearly two paddles. Second mistake: we should have read the messages in the ‘carnage’ and gone ashore to call for help.

But getting wet is no big deal, neither is dumping and pumping out boats.  But it is a really big deal reclaiming a boat… or two… then three, caught under strainers and sweepers!  It is a really big deal to hoist boats up the side of a 4 to 6 foot vertical (outside) river bank.  And, it is a huge deal when the current is so strong that we had to hold each other lest we got carried down the river. Third mistake: standing in the river and its rushing waters.

A paddling journey that should have taken 4 hours took over 6, feeling as thought it would never end. We all agreed that it was the most challenging kayak adventure we ever experienced.  We did employ amazing teamwork and a lot of ingenuity in getting everyone back into their kayaks and moving downstream to safety. However, once home we knew that we needed to better understand what happened and how to prevent it from ever happening again.  As a result of our ‘Little Muskegon Mishap’ we contacted Trey and his chief coach, Scott, to discuss our experience.  After their initial shock and amazement they developed a plan to teach us safety, better boat control and, overall, how to become more skilled paddlers.  No mistake: we called the experts to train us!

Epilogue: The same group has paddled the Little Muskegon at least three times since our near-disastrous experience; each time we have traversed it expertly thanks to Trey & Scott.

Doris Landry-Kruse

Scott Fairty–My Power Of Water Story

Scott Fairty–My Power Of Water Story

southern rivers whitewater Tuckaseegee River

Hitting an eddy at Railroad Rapid on the Tuckaseegee

My First Encounter with The Power Of Water

I signed up for a whitewater kayaking pool course at the local YMCA in the winter of 1981.  The course covered the basics of boat control and eskimo rolling over the course of several weeks.  The course included an optional river trip in the spring to put our new found skills to the test.

In the pool, we learned how to go in circles (easy) how to go sideways, how to stay upright and how to go straight (definitely not easy).  While the pool sessions were certainly fun, I wasn’t yet convinced kayaking was something I’d be doing regularly.

When spring rolled into Connecticut’s Housatonic River Valley, our enthusiastic band of soon-to-be whitewater kayakers headed north to run the Gaylordsville section of the “Housi”.   After a safety briefing and a little stroke review in a flatwater section of river, we headed downstream.   The first “big” drop is under the Gaylordsville Bridge, it’s an easy Class 1 rapid about 150 feet long.  A couple of instructors lead the way and waited for the students at the bottom to “pick up the pieces”.

And there were pieces.  I entered the drop full of excitement and a little bit of apprehension.  Bouncing over the first few waves, things were going great. I felt in control and was completely enjoying the exhilaration that comes from being the captain of my own ship in the middle of the chaos that is The Rapid.

As  the bottom of the drop was in sight and being confident of my first successful descent of a whitewater rapid I chose to exhibit that universally recognized gesture of triumph, hands held high, head tilted skywards and chest thrust out along with some sort of exultation.  Lesson #1 The river will provide immediate feedback to the cocky and inattentive.

There is something about being suddenly and unexpectedly upside down, underwater in a cold river, “locked” inside a kayak, that completely eliminates rational thought.  I had successfully rolled in the pool and knew there was no real reason I couldn’t do it just as well in the river but that didn’t even come close to happening.  GET AIR!, was the only message my brain stem could muster.  If I came out of the boat, I knew I should hold onto my paddle, go to the end of my kayak and swim it to shore.  That didn’t happen.  I abandoned all my equipment and swam for the riverbank.

I was hooked.  I had a couple more out-of-boat experiences during the day but was completely drawn in by the sense of calm control in the midst of a chaotic environment, by the unique perspective it gave of the river I had driven past hundreds of times without recognizing it’s amazing beauty, of the camaraderie that quickly developed amongst the group sharing this incredible experience and by the sense of satisfaction of having successfully pushed my limits.

Little did I know that first pool session would have lead to discovering the Power Of Water in Belize, The Grand Canyon, Ireland, Wales, dozens of areas along both edges of the continent and hundreds of rivers and lakes in between.  I can’t wait to see what The Power Of Water has to show me next!

-Scott Fairty