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Kayaking Clinics Open to Public

Beginners got lessons July 15 despite rain.

It didn't look good for the kayaking clinics scheduled for Friday afternoon, July 15, on the section of the Potomac River near Old Angler's Inn in Potomac — the kickoff to the two-day Potomac Whitewater Festival.

Heavy storms passed one after the other throughout the morning and early afternoon, bringing thunder and heavy rain.

Such weather doesn't tend to faze the experienced paddlers who take part in the festival — kayaking is, after all, a water sport, and even high river levels aren't daunting those who brave Great Falls.

But Friday's seminars were targeted to beginners, part of an effort to involve them more in the annual event.

“The focus in the past has really been on getting the high-profile athletes. [This year’s goal] was to open it up to the general public,” said Sunny Pitcher, a professional kayaker and organizer of the event.

The rain subsided around 4:45 p.m., and those who had not already taken to the water got brief lessons by the launching ramp.