Once again inspiration has struck me in the “not so SUP world”. However, it is about kayaking, water, insanity and even a little hope and “Feel Good”
Frank Provost purchased a 2018 Jackson Coosa FD, Jackson’s first pedal drive kayak. This kayak was designed for stability and fishing and casual “Pedaling” on the water. What Frank is doing is going to turn the heads of the folks at Jackson Kayak. He is entering the Coosa FD into the worlds longest non-stop kayak, canoe, SUP race in the world. The MR340, as most of you know from previous blog post’s on here is a race of pure insanity that takes you on a muddy, bug infested, hot and sweaty ride down the Missouri River across the entire state of Missouri ” 340 miles”. Ozark Mountain Trading Company in Ozark sold him his Coosa FD and when I seen in the 340 Facebook group that he was going to enter the boat into the race I just had to write a little blog post. It was in contacting him that the blog post took a turn for the “AWESOME”. Frank is not only doing this race as a personal challenge, his main goal is to raise awareness for the Hero’s on the Water “HOW” organization. An organization that helps introduce veterans to a relaxing environment and gives them the relaxation they need while being outdoors. So, just like every year, the MR340 is starting to produce stories and emotions that make the race what it is.
Based on some of the comments in his post on the 340 group, he is starting to see the close-knit group of paddlers and how they offer advice and encouragement they give. I experienced this last year when I SUP’D the race for the first time. You really won’t see a better group of people than MR340 Paddlers when it comes to advise and help, well, maybe not, the veterans and enlisted servicemen and women are some of the best groups of people out there. They have given everything just so some crazy people like us can do races like this. Frank wants to do his part in helping raise awareness about our vet’s.
Jackson Kayak spent the last year beta testing prototypes of the Coosa FD, sending models out to pro-staff fishing members and kayak shops to beat the hell out of them to ensure all the flaws and quirks were worked out of this boat. In the past couple of months, Jackson has begun production of the Coosa FD and the Cruise FD to send out to Kayak shops across the country. Ozark Mountain Trading Company is one of those shops and Frank is one of the few people to be the first to own this kayak. The design of this kayak should shine well on the Missouri River due to the ability for the lower unit “propeller” to kick up if Frank hits a chunk of driftwood or a small wing dike. But just like any mechanical craft, there is always a chance that issues can come up and Frank told me that Jackson has reached out to him to help in any way they can. Frank will be traveling down The Missouri River with extra parts in case issues pop up. Frank may not be pedaling the fastest boat in the race but I can promise you he will be the most comfortable, this is due to Jackson’s elite seat he will be sitting in. Frank is really taking the Coosa FD into uncharted territory but, he feels confident that the kayak and Jackson’s new drive system will take him the 340 miles to the finish line.
Frank is doing this race fueled by the awareness he want’s to raise for Heroes on the Water ” HOW”. How, is an organization that helps our troops relax, rehabilitate and reintegrate through kayak fishing and the outdoors. Since 2007, Heroes on the Water has been organizing no-expense kayak fishing trips for active-duty military and veterans of the U.S. armed forces and their families. In 2018, we began serving first-responders and their families through the same proven ecotherapy. Heroes can reflect in solitude or connect in groups as they learn kayaking and kayak fishing basics.
The impact that Hero’s has had on our worriers is incredible, here is a graphic thanks to “HOW” on what they have done for our troops.
The Man – Frank Provost
Frank was kind enough to answer a few questions for me to give you all a better idea of what, how and why he is doing the MR340.
1. Why are you entering this race for the Hero’s on the water organization? : I think that this event would be good to bring awareness for Heroes On The Water. I believe the paddling community should know that there is a group that utilizes kayaks to help veterans and active duty service members who are suffering from PTSD and other problems by using the kayak to cope with the stress they endure on a daily basis. Being a kayak angler I enjoy the peace while being on the water. This is a good organization that I proudly support from my heart being a veteran myself.
2. How are you going to train for this event? :I will train by first changing my diet by cutting out most sugars and carbohydrates. I will be using a treadmill, an elipticle while the weather is still cold. When the weather breaks I will spend more and more time on my kayak in preparation for the race. I will also be doing some kayaking on the Missouri River. When the weather turns hot I will try and do lots of activities in the heat trying to acclimate myself to the heat better.
3. Will you have a ground crew : My ground crew will be my Wife and 2 daughters who support me in this adventure. This is also another way for me to teach my daughters to do things for a cause that is dear to their hearts. This ill also show them that even though it seems to be impossible that they can achieve anything they set their mind to.
4. What is your biggest fear of doing this race as a first timer : My biggest fear is that I do not finish the race. This fear is something I am going to defeat.
5. Besides doing this for Hero’s on the water, was there any other reason you wanted to do this insane race. : I am also doing this for all veterans out there for I am very active in supporting my fellow Veterans. This is also my way of showing that it does not take money to support these causes and that little things like this can bring awareness to organizations that I truly believe in.
6. What are your expectations going to be” : My expectations are to endure the mental and physical pain that this grueling race will bring. I am also hoping to meet some great people during the race.
7. How supportive in advice have fellow 340 paddlers been: I have been getting some great advice from veteran racers of the MR340. I thankful for all the advice and support I am receiving.
The MR340 seems to bring a lot of first’s every year, whether it be first-time paddlers, First time ground crewing, untested kayaks and paddleboards. The Jackson Coosa FD was built for fishing and recreational pedaling, the 340 will be a test for this brand new kayak. Frank is determined to take his Coosa FD all the way to the finish line all the while raising awareness for a great organization. Frank and many other people that enter this race are not doing it to get first place. People like this do the race for personal and sometimes emotional fulfillment. Simply having the courage to enter the race is enough to impress anyone, finishing it is something completely different. Boats of all shapes and sizes have turned heads and impressed even the organizers of the 340. This goes to show you that if you have the determination and will you can succeed in what “normal people” call “insane”. Like my dad told me last year, “it takes a special kind of stupid to do a race like this on a boat like that”. The Coosa FD may not be a paddleboard and Frank will not be standing for this race but, myself and the entire paddling/pedaling community will be standing up and supporting his cause the entire length of the race.