Where does time go?

Sugar Grove NC.  Bella is my brother-in-law's dog.  She loves balls.

Ball lover in Sugar Grove NC. My brother-in-law's dawgy, Bella, snaps a tennis ball like a hungry hippo.

I haven’t had much time for blogging this year so this one is gonna be long.  Honestly I still don’t have time to blog but there were a whole load of photos I’ve been wanting to put up here.  This post really doesn’t even cover all the things I want to journalize, but it makes a few notes about my travels and experiences through June-Sept.  Time does seem to fly.

June is the last time I spent any significant time paddling on rivers.  This was me at Sunshine on the Green.  I paddled with my good friend Jason McClure.

June was the last time I spent any significant time paddling on rivers. This was me paddling a rapid on the Green River Narrows near Hendersonville NC. I paddled with my good friend Jason McClure who took this photo.

Jason McClure waits for me below a rapid on the Green River Narrows near Hendersonville NC.

Water droplets freeze as Jason McClure waits for me below a rapid on the Green River Narrows near Hendersonville NC.

We saw Stephen Hughes, Nate Elliott and Chris Roberts doing some tree removal that very day.

We saw Stephen Hughes, Nate Elliott and Chris Roberts doing some tree removal that very day.

Chris Roberts repacks his throw rope below a tree-free slot.  Thanks to the noble and safety-conscious efforts of these guys.

Chris Roberts repacks his throw rope below a now, tree-free slot. Thanks to the safety-conscious efforts of these guys.

This spring I also spent a significant amount of time paddling with Anna Levesque of http://WaterGirlsAtPlay.com filming her new women's kayak instructional video.  Here, she and Maria Noakes are pictured on the Green River Narrows near Hendersonville NC.

I have also spent a significant amount of time paddling with Anna Levesque of http://WaterGirlsAtPlay.com filming her new women's kayak instructional video. Here, she and Maria Noakes are pictured on the Green River Narrows near Hendersonville NC.

To raise money for our trip to compete in the World Surf Kayak Championships in Portugal, Joey Hall premiered his new Kayak, Surf, Travel Film, INTERFERENCE, at the Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co.  We had around 80 people turn out for the showing.

To raise money for our trip to compete in the World Surf Kayak Championships in Portugal, Joey Hall premiered his new Kayak, Surf, Travel Film, INTERFERENCE, at the Asheville Pizza & Brewing Co. We had around 80 people turn out for the showing.

We arrived in Libson (Lisboa) Portugal in late July and drove to Santa Cruz where the Ocean Spirit Festival was being held.

We arrived in Libson (Lisboa) Portugal in late July and drove to Santa Cruz where the Ocean Spirit Festival was being held.

Here is Joey looking totally thrilled and jet lagged after ten hours of air travel.

Here is Joey looking totally thrilled after ten hours of air travel.

The macro scene in Portugal was really interesting.

The macro scene in Portugal was really interesting and beautiful.

This young man named David Speller from Jersey and the Channel Islands won his fifth consecutive World Championship title.

This young man named David Speller from Jersey and the Channel Islands won his fifth consecutive World Championship title.

It is always so nice to come home to North Carolina...

It is always so nice to come home...

... where I am pleased to see they have canoeing and kayaking.  Or at least they had it in the 80s.

... where I am pleased to see they have canoeing and kayaking. Or at least they had it in the 80s when they took this photo. Wilson Creek perhaps?

Common sights and sounds seem so much more rich and vibrant when you've been gone for a while.

Common sights and sounds seem so much more rich and vibrant when you've been gone for a while.

Summer's end is near when I start seeing these fellas.

Summer's end is near when I start seeing these fellas.

My best buddy and I took some long walks on the beatiful blue ridges of North Carolina.

My best buddy and I took some long walks on the beautiful blue ridges of North Carolina.

In late August hurricane Bill arrived so I had to make an emergency trip back to the coast.  Joey and I had a few nice surfing sessions at Wrightsville Beach.

In late August hurricane Bill arrived so I had to make an emergency trip back to the NC coast. Joey and I had a few nice surfing sessions at Wrightsville Beach.

Crystal Pier at Wrightsville Beach.  A board surfer crouches to make a small wave seem bigger.

Crystal Pier at Wrightsville Beach NC: A board surfer turns and burns down a small but steep wave.

I am the flower whisperer.  (Chris Gallaway thinks he's the flower whisperer but it's really me.)

I am the flower whisperer. (Chris Gallaway thinks he's the flower whisperer but it's really me.)

While I arrived a day too late for the good swell from Hurricane Bill, we still had waist to chest high surf.  Though in New Jersey my good friend Drew Hayes caught up with Bill for some beautiful, overhead glassy conditions.

While I arrived a day too late for the big swell from Hurricane Bill, we still had waist to chest high surf. Though in New Jersey my good friend Drew Hayes caught up with Bill for some beautiful, overhead, glassy conditions. That's not Drew on this wave. He took the photo.

Drew also became acquainted with Zorak.  See Spaceghost Coast to Coast for reference.

Drew also became acquainted with Zorak. See Spaceghost Coast to Coast for reference.

Mark serves the best bagels in Wrightsville Beach.  A morning surf session is never complete without a stop at Manhattan Bagels.

Mark serves the best bagels in Wrightsville Beach. A morning surf session is never complete without a stop at Manhattan Bagel.

On my way out I stopped into the local kayak shop in Wilmington NC, called HOOK, LINE & PADDLE.  Ryan is one of the owners and long-time skater.  Here he is showing off his very valuable and original Gator and Caballero boards.  And he still skates them!

On my way out I stopped into the local kayak shop in Wilmington NC, called HOOK, LINE & PADDLE. Ryan is one of the owners and long-time skater. Here he is showing off his original Gator and Caballero boards, and he still skates them!

When I got back home I had a chance to compare my new surf kayak designs to the old one.  My friend Ray Cotton and I designed the Spray (left) in 2002.  Three prototypes and seven years later Drew Hayes, Ray and I designed two new boats based on the original design.  Ninja 6'8" (middle) and Ninja 7'6" (right).  Both new boats plus another called the Sword are due out on the market soon.

When I got back home I had a chance to compare my new surf kayak designs to the old one. My friend Ray Cotton and I designed and shaped the Spray (left) in 2002. Seven years and three prototypes later Drew Hayes, Ray and I designed and shaped two new boats based on the original design with the help of our friends at Riot. Ninja 6'8" (middle) and Ninja 7'6" (right). Both new boats, plus another called the Sword, are due out on the market soon...

Back at Wrightsville Beach we did our first family paddling/camping trip over at Masonboro Island.

Back at Wrightsville Beach NC we did our first family paddling/camping trip over at Masonboro Island.

A curious stranger visited us several times throughout the night.

A curious stranger visited us several times throughout the night.

Chris from Hook LIne & Paddle looks for a good spot to drop a crab trap.  He and Ryan took me out for my first stand up paddleboard fishing trip.

Chris from Hook Line & Paddle looks for a good spot to drop a crab trap off of his Native Watercraft. He and Ryan took me out for my first stand up paddleboard fishing trip. Quite fun, and I'm totally sold on the SUP as a fishing craft.

My next stop included visits to Potomac Paddlesports and Valley Mill Kayak Shop in Washington DC followed by a quick run on Great Falls of the Potomac.  Here is Jim Buley dropping into Horseshoe Rapid.

My next stop included visits to Potomac Paddlesports and Valley Mill Kayak Shop in Washington DC followed by a quick run on Great Falls of the Potomac. Here is Jim Buley dropping into Horseshoe Rapid.

Colin Kemp peels of the flake at Horseshoe, Maryland side of Great Falls Potomac River.

Colin Kemp peels of the flake at Horseshoe in his Jackson MonStar: Maryland side of Great Falls Potomac River.

Next I had the very specail treat of spending a day at Sea Girt New Jersey with my good pal Drew Hayes.  The surf was no less than superb.

Next I had the very special treat of spending a day at Sea Girt New Jersey with my good pal Drew Hayes. The surf was no less than superb and the fishermen were pulling the Bluefish out of the water that day.

Drew left, me right.

Drew left, me right. Drew wrong, me right.

Drew finally got to taste the fruits of his labor.  Endless hours of sanding on the Sword Surf Kayak plug and finally he got to try the boat in excellent conditions.

Drew got to taste the fruits of his labor. Endless hours of sanding on the Sword Surf Kayak plug almost two years ago and finally he got to try the boat in excellent conditions.

Surf Taco isn't far from the break at Sea Girt.

Surf Taco isn't far from the break at Sea Girt. Good taco make boy into manimal.

Next stop, Farmville Virginia, Appomattox River Company.  Tom here sells more boats than anyone I know.  He works for Bob Taylor who has owned and operated ARC for over 30 years.

Next stop, Farmville Virginia, Appomattox River Company. Pictured is Tom Detrick who sells more boats than anyone I know. He works for Bob Taylor who has owned and operated ARC for over 30 years. There is a lot of history in this place.

I found this treasure of a "Skate Board" (says it right on the front) helmet in the Appomattox River Co warehouse.

I found this precious gem in the Appomattox River Co warehouse, right beside the archived 1989 Extrasport PFDs. Don't worry, they sell 2009 Astral PFDs too.

Back home for one day then back on the road.  I feel like I have to take pictures of everything these days.  The digital camera plagues me.  Mushrooms, rocks, bugs, flowers, animals, food, people.  I waste so much time trying to compose a good shot, even with my camera phone, with which I took several of these shots.

Back home for one day then back on the road. I feel like I have to take pictures of everything these days. The digital camera plagues me. Mushrooms, rocks, bugs, flowers, animals, food, people. I waste so much time trying to compose a good shot, even with my camera phone, with which I took several of these shots.

Further South, I visited a new IR dealer, Higher Ground in Beaufort SC.  These guys are a full service, technical outdoor shop, and very pleasant to do business with.  Shop owner Shelby Bishop stands with a rack of Astral PFDs out front of the shop.

Further South, I visited a new IR dealer, Higher Ground in Beaufort SC. These guys are a full service, technical outdoor shop, and very pleasant to do business with. Shop owner Shelby Bishop stands with a rack of Astral PFDs out front of the shop.

From Beaufort I migrated back toward the North to Sea Kayak Carolina close to Folly Beach SC.  Without question, these guys are one of the most full service, guru, absolutely core, sea kayak shops out there.  Steve, William and Scott stand proudly in their boat room.

From Beaufort I migrated back toward the North to Sea Kayak Carolina close to Folly Beach SC. Without question, these guys are one of the most full service, guru, absolutely core, sea kayak shops out there. Steve, William and Scott stand proudly in their boat room.

No Folly Beach visit is complete without visiting and surfing with the Folly Kayak Man himself, Russ Buskirk.  Here sits Russ and Bert in their workshop.  Russ is a multifaceted artist, currenly specializing in pastel paintings.

No Folly Beach visit is complete without visiting and surfing with the Folly Kayak Man himself, Russ Buskirk. Here sit Russ and Bert in their workshop. Russ is a multifaceted artist, currently specializing in antique furniture restoration and pastel paintings.

Russ also just recently placed 3rd in the World Surf Kayak Championships in Portugal in the Grand Master's Division.  Pictured here, Russ makes the most of a 2 foot day at the Folly Beach Washout.

Russ also just recently placed 3rd in the World Surf Kayak Championships in Portugal in the Grand Master's Division. Pictured here, Russ makes the most of a 2 foot day at the Folly Beach Washout.

Golden Orb spiders are everywhere on the Carolina coast.  Ths healthy female spun her web on Russ' front porch.

Golden Orb spiders are everywhere on the Carolina coast. Ths healthy female spun her web on Russ' front porch.

Last stop on the way home:  River Runner Outdoor Center sits front and center on Gervais Street in Columbia SC.  Jesse Koch (pronounced Cook) manages the shop and held the sidewalk down for me while I took this photo.  I haven't been in there in a while so it was nice to make a quick visit.

Last stop on the way home: River Runner Outdoor Center sits front and center on Gervais Street in Columbia SC. Jesse Koch (pronounced Cook) manages the shop and held the sidewalk down for me while I took this photo.

Just to test myself I tried to hold this facial expression for three straight hours in the car.  What can I say, I'm in training to be a smartass, and I'm passing without any problem.

Just to test myself I tried to hold this facial expression for three straight hours in the car. What can I say, I'm in training to be a smartass, and I'm passing without any problem.

Home again for one day then I’ll be at NOC for their annual Guest Appreciate Festival this weekend.  This is the typical Fall schedule of a paddlesports sales rep, so get used to it and stop giving me so much grief.

Sincerely,
Spencer Cooke, Effort Inc

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