Thursday, May 29, 2008

Devin's getting ready for Colorado

We picked up a pair of Salamander Kayak Bags from Aldercreek Kayak to ship off Devin's Pocket Rocket and Chico Jefe for his 16 day trip with The Hyde family and compete at TEVA and Fibark competitions. Young Henry Hyde, age 8, should have a fun time working with Devin while he's there. The last time they were together they both ended up with mohawks!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Map of the Velsesia Whitewater

I found this great map of the area in Northern Italy that I was in.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Val Sesia, Italy pics (of me!!) with Gene17

Myself posing unknowningly, but hey. I look cool!!
The big slide at the beginning of the Egua. Above this slide was a technical class IV lead in that had a nice pin spot and a few holes waiting just above this 25-30' slide.

A fun drop on the Gronda. a upper trib of the Sorba. This was a fun drop with a right boof required to avoid the room of doom after pitoning. I learned that on my second lap but I was able to work my way out of it.

Cave rapid on the Sermenza. This rapid required a controlled turn left off a pillow into a ledge drop that if ran straight forward, you'd end up in the cave with boils and hole. This drop was on the last day and put everything we learned by Gene17 to the test. If you learned what they taught. This drop was a blast. I ran it twice with good results each time so I guess I got learned!!

My first attempt at a freewheel!! Landed it great with the exception of imploding my skirt but I was able to paddle to the eddie.

This was a drop just below Trumpet Falls on the Little Sermenza. It took the help of Alex Dey to remind me which drop it was. In part due to the angle Simon took the shot from which is above the falls looking down into it. The drop was in the 14-16' range and like Trumpet Falls. We ran this one blind as well. Good times!!

The first drop on the Sorba slides section. We ran laps on all three drops over and over to work on boofing and edge control. In the end. My left knee is still killing me to this day from shouldering my Nomad8.1 up the hills. I'm not whining. I just have a bad knee and brought it back to life. Oh, well?

The second drop on the Sorba slides section. We worked on boofing left into the eddie in the cave. In the beginning this move was killing me. After 2-3 laps I was nailing it like I knew how to kayak.

This seems to be a rarity in that I have high quality shots of myself kayaking. This is at least proof that I do in fact kayak!! If you ever get a chance to take a instruction trip with Gene17. Do it!! Simon Westgarth has assembled some of the best paddlers/instructors that's I've ever seen and had the opportunity to paddle with. Dave Carrol, Matt Tidey and Ed Cornfield are the shit:)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Upper Clackamas River Festival

Last weekend was the 25th Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival held up on the Fish to Bob's section of the Clackamas. We made it out for the competitions on Saturday. The always entertaining kayak mass start race, 2nd annual freestyle ramp and kayak relay race. The races went off as expected even with the record high water levels and another record for the competitions. SUN!! Low 90's to be exact. I was insane to say the least.

The Mass Start race is always a crowd and competitor favorite because you have to run Carter's in a playboat through two gates of Luke Spencer's choice. After changing the
gates 3-4 times they decided on the two 3 and 7 that should in short provide the most carnage! It didn't disappoint. With Carters blown out there was only fast moving water and one large hole that we had to punch directly behind the first gate. Most made it though upright but not necessarily on line anymore. Me and Devin both made it through OK. Though when I came out of the hole and headed down a steep wave I found Robbie Virostek surfing the wave directly in my path so a quick change of course kept us from coliding. In the end, Todd Anderson took 1st and Austin Rathman claimed 2nd even though Austin head ruddered a large portion of the run after the hole!

In the pic, Todd is bottom left with Austin upside down next to him, myself in the background with my white fullface and Devin in the hole on top right of the pic. You can just see his paddle. pic provided by Todd Anderson. Taken by Nicole Rose I believe.

The relay race was next and myself, Devin and Todd Anderson had decided to be a team and quickly added Christie Glissmeyer to our needed 4 kayak team. Making me the non sponsored odd duck out I guess. Oh well? Todd and Christie hadn't done Fish to Bob's before so we decided for Todd to fire out the first stage from Fish to above Carters, Christie to run Carters, myself, down to below Big Eddie and Devin would then carry all 4 beers to Bob's. Oddly enough that put me and Devin on the longest stretches but it was for fun and we were up for the challenge. All went great till my and Christie's transfer where I fought to get the 3 beers into the mesh bag me were using in a surging eddie. Once I got my crap together, I was in 4th at that point. I passed Robbie and Sandra to claim 2nd and Devin kept the pace and we ended up with a close 2nd place trophy out of it. The best part was Todd paddling along with us cheering us on like a drill sergeant!! Todd, you are in amazing shape for sure!!

Our trophy from the relay race!!

The freestyle ramp was a new 40' steep ramp that Devin did a few practice laps on a decided it wasn't worth the back pain on the landing as did I after my 2nd lap when I too landed flat and felt it for the next week. Talking later in the week with Ryan Scott who won the event. He stated, "it hurt his back as much as running Spirit Falls". Me and Devin missed out on the main portion of the event when we chased down Steven Olsen and his boat after imploding his skirt on the landing. A common occurance this year. We got his boat just below SlingShot and had to run all the way to Big Eddie to get back up.

Devin exiting the ramp in what I call, "training for Spirit Falls!"

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Hagen Gorge in May!!

Paul Guinea on the second part of Teakettle.

Devin on Double Falls.
Devin in the boils heading towards the narrow slot.

Last Sunday morning I got a phone call from a friend that they were headed up to run Hagan Gorge. This is a run paddlers recently found in the Washougal tributary in Washington a few years back. This was a run that Nate Herbeck had been wanting to get us or more so Devin on this season but things just never worked out. We even headed out to run it once and when we got there the group decided to run the Upper NW fork in the NW Washougal. One note: it's referred to as NW apparently some maps call it the North fork and others the West fork. To make it right, it's now referred to the NW fork.

The put in requires a short hike through a clearcut section of forest that not too bad with the help of previous boaters making a trail a little more visible than the deers had previously done. It was quite a warm day to minimal gear was put on and the rest was thrown into our boats and off we went. Unfortunately my left knee has acted back up since Italy with all the boat carrying we did running laps on certain drops. Oh well, the price I had to pay was worth it!!!

Once geared up the group of 7-8 decided to split up into two group. Due to the nature of how small Hagan is and small eddies above many drops it proved to be a wise decision. Most of the rapids are shallow and low volume even with it being the highest most had ran it prior. Not so good on my brand new Dagger 8.5. Oh well? After a few fun class III drops we approached Hagen Daaz Falls. A fun easy 16-18 foot waterfall that we ran off the far right side without scouting thanks to Michael running Hagen the previous day. All went good and I think only Alex flipped in it and we then one at a time made it down to a eddie on river right that is directly above Euphoria Falls. This was a nerving eddie to catch cause we knew something exciting was just around the corner. There is also a little guard rock at the top of the eddie just waiting to deny you of scouting the drop. We all caught it and took a look via walking down the right bank that also serves as the portage trail if you don't feel Euphoria. Euphoria is fun shallow entry into a slide you run center left. Just left of the fan rock to avoid a dangerous piece of wood on the left that would not good to piton or pin. After the slide the riverbed makes a right turn into a short slide into a sticky hole. Running down the right side of the slide, boofing onto the bare rocks provided a fun route around the hole. A technique several of us had picked up from the instructors in Italy with Gene17.

After that the run mellows till the confluence with the NW Fork of the Washougal. At this point me and Devin had ran the rest down to the Main Washougal. Though, this time I felt a little more prepared for the big drops on the run that I'd previously portaged. Teakettle and Double Falls. Crack in the Earth has wood in it so it isn't a option. Teakettle is directly below the confluence of Hagen and the NW Fork. A two part drop. The top is a manky slide that we ran on far right into a boily pool around 35 yards long leading into a pourover with a pillow on river left and a pourover onto a boily mess that you skirt both by running right down the seam between the two. It's a run ride and I'm so stoked that the instructors at Gene17 gave me the knowledge on how to breakdown a drop like this and place my strokes appropriately.

We make our way down to Double Falls. A 18' vertical falls with a cauldron of boils that lead into a narrow slot guarded by a diagonal. It loves to flip you and at least knock you off line to piton the rock on the left. Devin had looked at this drop it the past and got to see Nate Garr run the slot upsidedown and a few others upright. In the end, on that trip he had decided to walk it after looking for 10-15 minutes. This time there was no question. He was giving it a go. After Michael Williams fired it off. Devin wsa next in his boat. We nailed the boof on the falls, made it thought the boils and got flipped on the bottom hole but came out fine. After a few others, I decided it was time for my nuts to drop. This waterfall! I too nailed the boof in the Nomad 8.5 and the diagonal sent me into the rock on the left. Pitoned, splatted the left wall and flushed out. Yippee!!!!

The rest of the run became lower as we went since all the water was coming off the top . In a boulder garden I got stuck in a hole briefly and pulled the best bow stall I will ever hit in a 8.5' creekboat. It stalled perfectly on it's nose and as I pushed down on the footboards, I was able to took downstream at the others that didn't understand what was going on till I finally came down without flipping and paddled to them laughing my ass off. They had thought that somehow I'd vertically pinned.

Proof you need a good helmet playboating and a chiropractor!?

Video I found on youtube that just looked to painful to not put up on our blog.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Opal Creek and Opal Gorge Run

Devin running Big Fluffy. photo by EJ Etherington
Last Sunday Devin made his second run down the classic Opal Creek section of the Little North Fork of the Santiam. In addition to the run Devin joined EJ Etherington down the Gorge section that is directly below Thor's Playroom. This run is a little ominous in the fact that there is a drop "Un-Un" that scares a alot of people from entering the gorge. In other words go with someone that knows the run. Un-Un is unscoutable and unportagable. Once in the gorge you are 100% committed. Flows were around 1200cfs according to Devin with makes for a juicy level for the mandatory portage but it was still doable on either side. They did the scary left side.

I was quite glad to get the email from Devin while I was sitting at the airport in New Jersey that all had went well and was OK. Joys of being his dad!!

Devin's 1st bootie!! beer free model

photo's by EJ Etherington

Devin got his first swim in while I was gone in Italy. Although it was while C1ing in a playboat that he wasn't outfitted in on the McKenzie River. He claims he was falling out of it during his multiple attempts at rolling?

Sure thing little guy. We all have excutes!:)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Proof Devin likes the Chico's

After this weekend on the L-Dub, we were contacted by a team member of Team Jackson to see if Devin was interested in joining Team Jackson! This would possibly mean free boats and joining the great team of paddlers that EJ has put together. Good friend Heather Herbeck is one such paddler on the team. Devin had paddled the Jackson Punk Rocker prior to switching over to LiquidLogic boats so he knew the boats. While he really liked the Punk Rocker he feels the Chico Jefe is the boat he'd prefer to paddle down the steeps. I'm glad that's the case of why he paddles the Chico and not due to the discounts he gets on LL boats.

In the end it's about the product you like not the company that gives you free gear. But it was really cool to get such a offer.

I'm off to Italy with Gene17 for a creeking clinic so I'll update the blog with Devins exploits in P-Town and mine when I get back!!