Updated: 05/29/2014 2:34 PM
Created: 05/29/2014 2:29 PM WDIO.com
By: Laura Kennedy
Kayakers haven't let Mother Nature spoil their fun this spring. They've been hitting the water anyway, dodging ice chunks on Minnesota rivers since March.
The weather warmed up just in time for Memorial weekend and the Kettle River Paddle Festival.
"This gives us the opportunity to have a slightly more formal event together as opposed to a few people here and there every weekend," said Max Currie.
Currie enjoys the challenge of a particular three mile stretch near Sandstone.
"It's very dynamic," he said. "It changes basically every day. At the different water levels it's a totally different river. The rapids are some of the more serious rapids in this areas so it's fun."
Derek Grisbeck hits the water in all types of weather but says this sunshine is tough to beat.
"It's a great medium because the water is chilly and the air is hot so you don't get too overheated," Grisbeck said. "If you do, you can always flip over and roll back up."
The group picked Kettle River because it offers a little something for everyone.
"At Blueberry Slide, this top feature here, it's really good for what they call park and play," said Chris Horsmann. "You can stop, hang out, check the eddy, rest for a bit, peel back out, surf the wave, get back to the Eddy, get back up and catch it again. "
"It's a great level right now for beginners, people who are learning," Grisbeck said. "And it's a great time to get out and surf and work on more advanced moves if you'd like."
A great location, and a great way to reunite old friends.
"You see a lot of people you haven't seen in two years and ask them about all the rivers they've been on," Currie said.
These paddlers were eager to test their limits, even if it meant taking a few dunks in the chilly rapids.
State Patrol Investigating Fatal Accident Near Floodwood
The Minnesota State Patrol says they are investigating a fatal two-vehicle accident on Highway 2 near Floodwood. They say a Sterling Truck and a Chevy Silverado collided head-on.
Up-Close Look at Winter Layup in the Port
U.S. Flag Fleets transport more than 115 million tons of cargo per year, but all of that weight combined with last year's heavy ice, means a lot of repair damage during this year's winter layup.
Beargrease 2015: Crossing the Finish Line
For first-time mushers and veterans, there's just something about crossing that Beargrease finish line. Erin Altemus, who took fourth place in the marathon, said it's the same for the dogs. "There is a psychological thing about that," she said. "They sort of understand that they're at the end."
Anderson Takes Top Spot in Tight Beargrease Finish
After more than 300 miles on the trail, musher Ryan Anderson and his team clinched first place in the 31st annual John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon. His team of 11 pulled into the finish line at Billy's Bar in Duluth just before 3 a.m. Wednesday. This is Anderson's second full-distance win. He won the marathon back in 2011 when he beat out musher Nathan Schroeder by just 20 seconds
17-Time Beargrease Finisher 'A Special Musher'
Four-time Beargrease champion Jamie Nelson finished the marathon for the 17th time on Wednesday. Her handler and longtime friend says her success and longevity is no coincidence. "Jamie's a special musher."