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22
Sep

Massive moves at the Montreal Eau Vive

The Montreal Eau Vive, created by several prominent kayakers within the whitewater community that centres around Lachine rapids in Montreal, Canada, celebrates both the whitewater and city of Montreal with as many people as possible.

The event is unlike other events in both its format and judging. Taking place over two days throughout the weekend and consisting of both a freestyle and race stage, the overall crown is given to the kayaker who performs best in both events. A cash prize and an invitation to the White Water Grand Prix make winning this event a highly sought after prize.

Day one consists of two freestyle events. The first is on the well known and beloved Big Joe wave, a six foot tall bowling wave that allows for any trick to be thrown consistently and has great combo potential.

The other freestyle event takes place on the infamous Mavericks wave. The biggest wave of the Lachine rapids, an eight foot tall, surging beast; with a surfers right shoulder that behaves much like a barreling ocean wave.

Mavericks is exceptionally hard to surf and throw tricks on but those that are willing to tough out those missed tricks and crashes will be rewarded with some of the best tricks of their lives. This wave is also difficult to get to and nigh on impossible to take multiple rides on due to it’s lack of eddy service and location, in the middle of a three mile wide river. Fortunately the organisers had come up with a solution to this problem in the form of two high powered jet skis, to allow kayakers to access this unique and rarely surfed wave.

Bren Orton on Mavericks from Montreal Eau Vive on Vimeo.

I had been in Montreal a week prior to this event to get ready for this competition and was stoked to take first in both freestyle events with a record high score on Mavericks.

Day two saw competitors load up on a high powered jet boat to be taken to the boater-X course. The rapids that form the course are located in the middle of the St Laurence river which is several miles wide. Without the jet boat these rapids would not be accessible to even run, let alone hold an event on, as such a big thanks to Saute-Moutons Jet Boating Montréal for sponsoring the event with both a boat and captain for the day.

The boater-X was a hard fought battle, but in the end I managed to take first place, against local hero Seb Clermont, the Quebec Connection crew and the Ottawa valley locals, Kabob Grady and Seth Ashworth.

I have wanted to take home the win in this event for the past three years and I was so stoked to finally be able to do it and procure my spot in the 2017 White Water Grand Prix.

The Montreal Eau Vive celebrates the famous rapids and city of Montreal in style. Aided by jet skis and Jet boats, the event manages to show new sides to well known rapids and provide people with new surfing opportunities. The vibe for this event is very special; owing to the unique format and location of the event, a scoring system that rewards style and amplitude and the awesome attitudes of the organisers.

Much love to everyone that makes this event happen and thoroughly looking forward to next year’s edition! Bren.

All photos by Damien Larrigaudiere

22
Sep

Pit 5 Race

September 10 marked the second year of the Pit 5 race, a fun grassroots race in northern California on a really fantastic section of III/IV.

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Section 5 of the Pit River sits right outside the town of Big Bend, which is about 45 minutes east of Redding. It’s about a 4.5 mile stretch starting just below a dam ending at the takeout, a bridge that crosses over the river in the town of Big Bend. This was the course this year.

After completing a lap and showing some friends the race lines, we rallied up to the campground. I ran over to the put in to give the safety meeting. At the meeting, I asked the racers what format they would like to have the race be, and after a few minutes of thinking, we all decided to make the race a mass start team race. As everyone started breaking up into their groups, I decided that I was also going to race. Because there was an odd number of racers, I decided to not join a team.

I had the safety team head downstream, had my dad agree to be the starter, and I began to get the racers in the water. As we paddled across the pool, racers were goading each other, talking smack, and laughing. I smiled to myself. This is why I set the race up. I wanted to bring paddlers together to compete and bond, to have fun. We got to the starting area, and after a few seconds, the hat dropped and we were off.

The race starts with a flat water paddle that is a few hundred yards long. People were bumping into each other, laughing, and sprinting to the jungle, a constricted rapid that is about a boat width long in it’s narrowest spot. I dropped into the jungle in 3rd place, with a huge clump of racers right behind me. After exiting the jungle, I began to sprint through the next section of flat water to catch up to the leaders. Right before the hardest rapid on the course, I made a move and took the lead. We were all really close to each other.

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The race continued for about 4 miles after that point, and the teams began to settle in and work together. They were encouraging each other, telling their teammate to keep pushing, and making sure that they were being safe while they wee charging downstream.

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As I turned the corner into the last rapid and saw the finish line, I breathed a sigh of relief and began the final sprint. I was lucky enough to be the first to cross the finish line under the bridge, and as I turned around, I saw the coolest things. Racers were still laughing,  trying to get ahead of one another, and pushing to the line. the-winner-comming-under-the-bridge

This year, the Pit 5 race had to have been one of my highlights. I cannot wait to start planning for next year. Huge congrats to Will Boyer and Elijah Sobel, Darin Mcquaid and Jay Lynn, and Garrett Pinkley and Boone Bates for being the podium finishers in the team race. Huge thanks to my safety team, Gary Pinkley and Rocco Russo, and my dad for being official starter. And special thanks to Alex Colvin for the images.

See yinz out there next year!

23
Aug

Skook with Mrs. Jed

Here’s a quick edits with Skook clips of Mrs. Jed on Skookumchuck. I love that wave and the Jed kills it out there! Side grinding the green wave and throwing pan ams are some of the best things on earth.

15
Aug

Bren’s top five waterfalls of Norway

02
Aug

Anglesey’s Stacks and Skerries in the Pyranha Octane

After paddling the Octane on Llyn Padarn I wanted to try it out at sea in wind, waves and moving water. My kayaking buddies for this trip were Ed and Abi Loffil.

Porthdafarch Skerries Map

 

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The Pyranha Octane with the Flat Earth Sail fitted

Ed and Abi had a head start on the outward leg so I followed them 20 minutes after their departure. This leg had up to 10 knots of southerly wind with a slightly post spring tidal current to propel us on the flooding tide to The Skerries. Time of leg – 1.5 hrs.

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Approaching Penrhyn Mawr

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Approaching the middle race of Penrhyn Mawr

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South Stack

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Rush hour in Holyhead Bay

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The Skerries

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Departing The Skerries

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Surfing circuits at The Skerries

The return leg had 10-17 knots of southerly wind against the south flowing ebb tide. Time of leg – 3 hrs.

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The rough journey back south

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North Stack

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Taking a rest at South Stack

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Sailing home to Porth Dafarch

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The team returned at Porth Dafarch with our paddling friend Jan

 

Initial thoughts on the Octane

Previous to receiving the Octane I had never paddled a surfski. The closest speedy boat I had experienced to compare it to is the Rockpool Taran. The Octane, like the Taran, is great fun to paddle fast, especially in surf. At speed the surf ski is particularly stable, locking into its watery path. Its stability seemed further enhanced with the addition of the Flat Earth Sail, as this gave more propulsion. It is even better to sail than the equivalent P&H Scorpio or Delphin sailing kayaks as it is super quick and responsive to the rudder. With its open cockpit it felt a lot like a modern sailing dinghy, especially with the gurgling sound of the self-bailer.

Paddling downwind with swell was far, far better than the reverse into wind and waves. The former situation gave much greater speed than the accompanying sea kayaks, whereas into wind and swell the surfski was only marginally quicker, despite lots more effort from my core muscles. I probably need to improve my technique in these conditions.

The Octane is a very positive boat. It rewards good posture and technique with better performance. This feedback is proving really useful as I try to get better at paddling a surf ski.

Next time I want to try some more downwind runs!

Geth

www.seakayakingwales.com

27
Jul

Border Patrol

Boundary Creek is a little bit of a mission. You have to paddle about 6K down a lake, then do a 3K hike up Boundary Creek to then paddle down the beautiful limestone gorge. The creeks path cuts in and out of the Montana, USA and Alberta, Canada hence the name Boundary Creek.

27
Jul

Tumwater STOKE!

Just another day on my backyard run, Tumwater Canyon!

For me it’s not conquering new goals but the steps I take to push me towards the things I thought were once out of reach. It’s in this forward momentum I can see and be inspired by the world opening up in all directions around me full of endless possibilities. If you never push your limits how will you ever know what you’re capable of?

#shegoes

21
Jul

Going East

Hi there,

Just in few days I’m leaving Europe and going to take part in another 6 weeks long project. As usually at this time of the year I’m going East. The plan is to paddle all the best rivers of Altai Mountains, move further east to Sayan Mountains (both in Siberia/Russia) and then to take a plane towards mighty Tian Shan Mountains of Central Asia. In the next 6 weeks I will be visiting some of the most scenic and amazing destinations for kayaking! Super excited.

Small Naryn river Getting ready

Check out this beautiful edit from our last few trips to Siberia and Kyrgyzstan.

Stay tuned.

Tomass

18
Jul

Middle Fork of the Salmon

This year has been all about new rivers and new adventures, in turn, I jumped at the opportunity to go on the Middle Fork of the Salmon.  I had never even been to Idaho before – this was truly a first for me.  The Middle Fork Salmon features over 100 miles of Class III-IV rapids that run within the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness.  The elevation begins at 7000ft and drops to just under 4000ft, this gives you constant gradient and eliminates large flatwater sections.  There are numerous hot springs along the way, some that you need to hike in to access (Sheepeater, Whitey Cox’s and Loon Creek are all at a mile or less) while Sunflower and Hospital Bar are riverside hot springs.

Between May 28-September 3, a permit is required through the Four Rivers Lottery and Permit Reservation System while the pre and the post season launches are first-come, first-serve.  Getting a private permit to float the Middle Fork is notoriously difficult but you can easily avoid that by going through an outfitter.  We went through DeRiemer Adventure Kayaking and Northwest Rafting Company.  Paddling with Phil and Mary DeRiemer is always a favorite, plus I was able to meet and paddle with our other guide, Ben Morton.  We had a group of 18 kayakers, most of whom had done this every year, and most of whom were guys except for myself and my friend Becky.

 

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There are a combined total of seven commercial and recreational launches a day which make the put in at Boundary Creek very busy but well managed.  If it is your first time there, it will certainly surprise you when you walk down the path, we even launched after 4 groups had already left and it was still a shocker to see all the activity.

 

 

The water level was right under 3′ which is a perfect level for the first time and in the first few days there are plenty of the larger rapids- Sulfur Slide, Velvet Falls, Powerhouse, Pistol Creek and Tappan Falls, to challenge you and keep you on your toes.  The constant gradient allows the 15-25 mile paddling days to fly by and there are endless amounts of surf waves and eddies to catch along the way as well.  If you are not careful, you can easily paddle through dinner.  At 3′, the larger rapids were Class III+ although you could easily see that with more water they would become solid IV’s with strong current, large holes and tight lines, they would also become continuous as many of the rapids would run into each other.  The rest of the rapids are all read and run, make your own lines with numerous options.

 

We were very lucky to get Marble Camp- it is a beautiful campsite with lots of space to spread out, trees for shade and trails along the river but best of all, you have Marble Wave right below you.  The best eddy to surf from is on river left, you can catch the top eddy if you aggressively cut left immediately after the drop, if not you can either catch the one right below and work your way back up or ferry across from river right. It is an amazing wave that you could easily spend all day at- I was lucky that in the morning, Miles was taking pictures and I was able to jump in his Jed and catch a couple quick surfs.  The rest of the morning, I stood in the lower eddy pulling boats up and guiding them into the top eddy.  Since I wasn’t surfing it, I could help others get back up to the eddy, plus it is good river karma.

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13612214_10209221150233054_3226901513642041316_n (1) Big Creek was also flowing at a medium/low flow which gave us the perfect opportunity to hike the boats up and paddle it back down.  Kurt, Tristan, Jerry, Daryl, Brett and I decided to hike up along with our fearless leaders Phil and Ben.  It was a mile up to the bridge, which took some time even with the boats emptied out of any extra gear.  You can scout most of the rapids from the hike, the hardest rapids are the last one due to wood on the left side and the first one which is directly visible from the bridge.It is a beautiful creek that reminds me of the North Fork American back in California, the green hued, crystal clear rapids with boulders strewn throughout.  The mile plus of paddling went fast, before I knew it I saw the confluence of the Middle Fork Salmon.  Many people asked if it was worth the hike up, my answer was always a definite “yes!”

Overall, the Middle Fork Salmon is a great run and I would highly recommend it if you get the chance.  I know that we are already signed up again for next year!

 

12
Jul

What Does Brexit Mean for the Kayaking Industry?

The British public have spoken, and they’ve elected to leave the European Union.

The full effects of Brexit are yet to be seen, and this resultant uncertainty in the UK’s political climate has led to a significant fall in the value of the Pound in relation to both the Dollar and the Euro.

For non-UK manufacturers, this means their products have become much more expensive when imported to the UK market, whereas our products (proudly made in the UK since 1971) have remained at the same price to our UK customers, and are now even better value to those in the US, EU and further afield.

However, this won’t last; although we manufacture all of our products in the UK, many of the raw materials and much of the packaging are oil-based, and as oil is traded in Dollars, the cost of these is sure to rise in the next few months once our pre-agreed contract pricing comes to an end.

If you’re asking yourself, ‘Is now the right time to buy a kayak?’, the answer is a resounding yes, as no one can predict by how much prices of the raw materials that go in to a kayak will rise, but as the margins we make on them is minimal, these price rises are sure to affect the consumer.

There has never been a better time to buy a British Canoe or Kayak, check out the Pyranha Kayaks range now.

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