By Jeff Moag
Artist and OG dirtbag William Nealy has gone by many monikers, from Mr. December to Whitewater’s Poet Laureate. Nealy defied easy labels, but one thing is certain: his art distilled the pure essence of whitewater’s formative years. He began by drawing river maps of popular southeast runs, and in 1986 dropped Kayak: A Manual of Technique (Menasha Ridge Press), which for my money is still the best book ever written on the subject. It’s fitting, then, that in 1984 Nealy inked this visual guide to the first-ever Gauley Fest. Nealy left this world in 2001, but his art—and Gauley Fest—live on.