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01
Apr

FREE Demshitz Video Boating Waterfall Clinic

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Paddler: Dave Fusilli

Photo:  Aniol Serrasolses

Come one come all.  We will have boats to demo and skills to pass along!  See you on the water!

Demshitz Day with Alder Creek!

What:  FREE Video and Waterfall Clinic with the Pros!

When:  April 5th  11AM-3PM Easter Sunday

Where: Sunset Falls Park on the East Fork Lewis – Sunset Falls is on the East Fork Lewis River.  It’s the first drop on the race course Saturday at the creek comp.  It’s run-able even at low water and is an easy park n’ huck for folks that would be exciting enough to look cool on video but is a great spot for a first waterfall run too.

Purpose?:  Now that cameras are small, wearable, and waterproof, more people are posting videos of their adventures online.  Plus, videos of people going over water falls are cool.  Why not learn to truly inspire people with your videos.  Learn some easy ways to take your video boating to another level from the guys who do this for a living.  Learn about different perspectives, framing, creating suspense, etc… The boys can also offer up some great strategies for running drops and techniques that will have you lookin good for the camera.  There will also be some Pyranha demo boats available to try out!

Who: If you are up for running the falls and have the appropriate class IV skills then huck it!  If you just want to come video the fun and get some tips on photography and videography then you are welcome to stay on the bank too.

31
Mar

Night Laps on the Green River

After deciding to hold back and not go down south for winter, I was hoping, as every other paddler in the Southeast was, that El Niño would bring the cold winter rains and get all of the Southeast classics up to prime levels. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been the case and even the Green hasn’t been running… at least during the day. So, we have resorted to night runs with head lamps! Night Green runs aren’t completely abnormal, but are usually done with the aid of a full moon. With neither a full moon or a release during the day, and a couple of us really jonesing to get out there we had no other choice.

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A night Green run really adds some spark to paddling a section of river you paddle often and know so well.. It also turns out that head lamps don’t provide as adequate lighting as you’d think and your depth perception not the same either (obviously). Although, I wouldn’t recommend paddling the Green Narrows at night with a head lamp to most people, I do think that paddling on some sort of water at night with the aid of some sort of light can help improve your paddling and really help you get a feel for the water! It can especially prepare you mentally for those times that you accidentally might end up paddling in the dark too.

Lessons learned:

  • Bring extra batteries
  • Pack food and extra layers
  • Paddling in the dark is actually really fun (also really scary as well)
  • Paddle a forgiving boat like a Shiva for these endeavors

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Till next time,

Dylan

31
Mar

What to do when you are broken……..

I finally broke down and went to see the doc for my shoulder and knee. After two MRI’s, it turns out I have a torn rotator cuff and torn articular cartilage behind my patella……bummer……no skiing for a while and no hard paddling for six weeks. So why not get out and go on a beautiful, multi-day, class II adventure??

Scott with boatsI live in Idaho, so I’m very lucky to have many wilderness rivers right out my backdoor, and I think easy self-support kayaking is going to be the best way to get out and stay strong during my six-week recovery. I started with a three-day trip down the Grand Ronde in northeastern Oregon a few weeks ago. Except for my boyfriend, Scott, and I, the canyon was empty of humans and full of wildlife. We saw a bear from the river, a herd of elk while hiking, and river otters. Since it is still actually winter, the first night was really cold and we woke up to ice on our tent and a foggy canyon.

fog lifting                               camp 1I paddled a Shiva and Scott paddled a Burn, and between the two of us we easily fit enough gear, food, and tent to stay warm and have a few beers at camp. I think easy multi-days are a great was to get out and have a fun adventure while giving yourself a chance to get your gear dialed in for self-support kayaking. I’m so fired up on multi-days that I just ordered a Fusion so I go on wilderness trips for weeks at a time!!!

Packing at camp 2

erin pumping water

 

26
Mar

Video: High Water Raven Fork in the 9R

Like so many others out there, the 9r has quickly become my favorite kayak of all time.  I have had a lot of fun taking it on harder and harder whitewater, and it performs beautifully, from class II to class V+!  Here is a quick gopro edit of a sweet weekend on the Raven Fork river in North Carolina, with good juicy flows!  Enjoy.

– Clay

17
Mar

Village life – Uganda 2015

I promised my mum I would not go back to Uganda after getting Malaria and breaking my hand on the last trip. But after spending 2 months in England, the longing for warm water, big waves and cheap living kicked in (sorry mum). So I booked my flights, which where far cheaper than normal thanks to the ebola crisis, and set out on my 4th trip to the source of the Nile. The only downside to these cheap flights is that I had to spend 12 hours in Dubai airport. Luckily two of my best friends James Weight and George Younger where also flying out to Uganda on the same flight and we got to hang out and have some highly intelligent and eloquent conversations about gnarly rapids, sick waves and hangovers. We finally made it to Uganda and where picked up by our friend/driver Steve, Steve is one of the few Ugandans who understands that if he fully rips us off we won’t use him the next time but if he only slightly rips us off we will use him every time – Science. As a result of this Steve is doing really well for himself and is currently building a new house for him and his two wives. We where trying to make it to the river that day but as is what normally happens in Uganda everything took longer than it should have done and after a long, bumpy, dusty, ride we gave in and stayed at “Mama Flows Mzungu guest house” for the night. The next day we set of at six am, much to Steve’s dismayal, for Nacartu the village next to the famous Nile Special wave. For those that don’t know there are three main places to stay on the Nile, The Hairy lemon, Nile River Explorers and the village. Most people will stay at the Lemon or NRE but both of those options are expensive, the upsides being power, security and occasionally internet. For the less financially exuberant person (dirtbag) the village is realistically the only option left to live out months on end next to one of the best waves in the world, that being said it is like fight club in that you really need an invite to stay there and a good understanding of how things work in Uganda. We made it to the village and where warmly greeted by the local people, Several minutes later we where on the water. I don’t think anything compares to catching that first wave of the trip. Pure Magic.

The next couple of days passed by in a blur of air screws, awesome sunsets and african children making fun of my freckles. This is one of my favorite parts of living in Africa, Days just blend together and your only focus each day is to surf as much as possible. Theres not too much to say about this part of the trip other than it was awesome, Eventually something had to put a dampener on this awesomeness and it came with James Weight leaving the village to get a job and see his girlfriend (lame). Still me and George carried out our daily routine of surfing, sleeping and occasionally eating. Eventually some more of the boys rocked up to the village, Paul Palmer, Martin Koll, Arthur Paulus and Will Chick. Martin, Arthur and Paul are both awesome guys that have been to the Nile multiple times but Will was an unknown kid on his first trip to Africa and I was dubious about how he’d deal with village life, I needn’t have worried though as within a week he had graduated from semi beater to full blown village boy.

Midway through the trip Nile special got really busy and we started heading up river more and more to avoid the long line ups.This wave is called “mutts nuts” and it truly is the dogs danglies, it only runs a few days a week and early in the morning, we where blessed with no one else in the eddy and a prime wave multiple times. Through heading up river to surf this wave we also started running Itunda several times a week on our way down to mutts nuts because of this we started to get really comfortable on this rapid which lead to probably my favorite day on the water of the trip. We spent the day sessioning Itunda and each got a sick move on a different part of the rapid. I sent the entry loop, Paul launched a ridiculous Panam on Cuban and George nailed a head dry boof through bad place. Will Chick got humbled on his first lap but stomped it on his redemption lap.

There is only one thing that gets old in the village, The food. After weeks and weeks of living on rice the conversations continually drifted towards fantasy food back home but the trip was going awesome asides from the longing for McDonalds, I was learning tonnes, having a great time and most importantly getting really really tanned/freckled. Then during that final week I got that all too familiar feeling of joint pain and head aches. I quickly decided it couldn’t be Malaria because after the last trip where I didn’t take anti malarials and got destroyed by Malaria I invested £50 (3 weeks living in the village) in anti malarial tablets. I manned up for a few days but eventually the fever, vomiting and diarrhea set in and I got owned by Malaria once again, Big thanks to the boys for looking after me and Steve for taking me to the hospital. Because I waited so long to get treated it took a little bit longer than usual, they also discovered I had a blood infection and that also contributed to a lack of awesomeness for a few days. Eventually I got better and and had to make the faithful phone call to my mum.

“Hey mum, Do you remember the last time I called you from a hospital in Uganda ,I had Malaria and a broken hand?

Well, the great news is that both my hands are fine! …the bad news is I have Malaria… and a blood infection… Sorry”

Thankfully I got healthy enough to spend the last couple of days of my trip exactly how they should be spent. Shredding with the boys.
After 6 weeks of pure stoke the dream had to end and I had to pack up and head home to England to get ready for GBR team trials.

The Nile is under threat once again and I urge anyone interested in visiting this magical place, protecting the environment or stopping corrupt political deals to visit this web page – https://saveadventuretourisminuganda.wordpress.com/
Huge thanks to all the boys for the good times, the village kids for providing endless entertainment and everyone else who contributed to a great start to 2015!
Video from my trip is here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4BuxcML0IrU
See you on the water,
Bren

 

16
Mar

Goshen Race 2015: Kicking A$$ in Goshen Pass

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The new Goshen Race trophy.

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Pyranha paddler Gordon Dalton delivers the pre-race talk.

Sunday, March 15th was a bluebird beautiful day in western Virginia. The awesome weather and good flows on the Maury River brought out thirty paddlers from as far away as Ohio and D.C. for the 8th Annual Goshen Pass Downriver Race. The stoke was high as several young guns hoped to take home the 1st place win; a title which has heretofore only been held by one paddler – a Team Pyranha local who shall remain nameless here for modesty’s sake. In a surprise premeditated move, the defending champion decided to sit this race out and focus on organizing the event, since the rest of the race committee was off skiing instead.

Spring flows of 1300 cfs made for a bumpy mass-start and the racers did some serious jangling as they entered the first class III rapids. The field was still thick as they entered “Devil’s Kitchen,” a technical class IV rapid, especially for the racers in Speeders and Wavehoppers (Fun fact: A Pyranha Speeder has won this race in 6 out of the past 7 years!).

Carnage in the "Kitchen:" a racer earns his booty-beer. Photo: Steve Kvech

Carnage in the “Kitchen:” a racer earns his booty-beer. Photo: Steve Kvech

Carrie Hood is all smiles during the race. Photo: Steve Kvech

Carrie Hood is all smiles during the race. Photo: Steve Kvech

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Post-race party.

The awards ceremony is always a good party; thanks to generous support from Pyranha Kayaks, Appomattox River Company, and Werner Paddles. This year Werner even supplied “life jackets” for the beverages provided by Devil’s Backbone Brewing Company. Brett Mayer is new holder of the “Gold Blade” trophy.

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Father-Son “rivals” Will and John Moran with a new sprayskirt for Dad.

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Virginia’s “Paddle VA” family loves the Goshen Race.

Women's champ Melissa Fawn checks out some new threads.

Women’s champ Melissa Fawn checks out some new threads.

Brett Mayer receives the trophy from Gordon Dalton.

2015 Goshen Race results

Virginia’s “spring kick-off” was a success. Think Rain!

27
Feb

Kyle Hull the 9R

I have had the pleasure to paddle a variety of kayaks in my years of paddling.  I have really liked some of them, and others where just ok.  Then there are the kayaks you just know are good from the very first moment you take a seat in it. The new Pyranha 9R falls into that category. From the first video I saw to the very first time I paddled the 9r I knew it was going to be an amazing boat.  Everything about the 9r is spot on.  The boat is narrower than most boats but does not lose stability. This also increases the speed and makes switching from edge to edge faster. Paddling the 9r for the first time down the Little White Salmon was one of the smoothest rides ever.  The bow on the 9r is a magical thing as well. The rocker of the boat allows the bow to ride over curlers, waves, holes, seams, and eddy lines with ease.  It also spins on a dime. You can have your boat pointing left and with minimal effort turn it back straight or all the way right.  Now some people out there might be thinking that this boat is just a straight race but it’s much more than that. It does excel in racing but it is also an amazing boat for the average Joe. Its stable and boofs like a dream. So from beginner to the most hard core of paddlers the 9r will get it done. Till next time

20
Feb

9R Love

Th 9R is still ruling my world at the moment, it really is the boat that I have been looking for when you’re after a day of making silky moves and taking beautiful lines on the river.  Ive actually found it to be a great all round river boat and not just for racing, its really competent and nimble on grade 2/3 and manages to keep you entertained throughout.  Its also capable when it gets a bit harder too and can stay on line in some pushy water, the boat seems to make you view the river differently and encourages you to take new lines that you wouldnt normally.  The 9R has shown me that it really is a boat that everyone from racers to creekers, coaches and paddlers even at the lower grade can enjoy too!

Have a look at these short videos of it in action, its worthwhile turning your speakers up for this one!

12
Feb

ZE 1!

Small boat, lower waterline. Perfect for long runs with the youth!

 Paddling is all about finding gear that suits you. Playboats are made for surfing and throwing loops. Creekboats are made to run waterfalls and steep rivers. You’ll be able to loop with a creekboat and to run rivers (and few waterfalls) with a playboat, but some boats are going to be better than others to do stuff.  That said,  you can do everything you want in every boats, the boat limits are actually the paddlers.

However, some boat are well design so it makes easier to do everything, without making the boat a specialist in a specific field. I personnally think they are the best boat, especially if you are looking to buy your first ever boat. As a newbie, it will help you develop general skills in the most various practice (surfing, spinning, carving, boofing, etc). By the time you will be experience enough, you will realize what you like, what you’re better at and what are the type of rivers you can find nearby.

All this leads me to tell you about THE most polyvalent boat to use: Z.One. I paddled it for the first time at Vagues en ville fest in Quebec city in April 2013.

Read the rest of this entry »

12
Feb

Columbia River Gorge: Rain, Rivers, and Demshitz

I found no shortage of any of these things on a recent trip to the gorge. After a long drought in California and a few days of good work I had a little money in my pocket and no reason to hang around home so I decided a quick trip up to the PNW was a good first adventure for the year. I was there for only four days of paddling and I was able to get 5 personal first decents and personal record high decent on the little white. I decided to start off with a little warm up since it had been a good two months since I had been able to paddle any “real” water. We paddled the Green Truss section of the white salmon my first day in town. I had never done the truss before and found it to be a little different than I thought. I was expecting big drops with stout holes but instead found  more continuous rapids. There were stout holes and some quality boofs but at least for the flows we had it seemed pretty forgiving in nature. None of the holes really felt like they wanted to punish you. There were definitely some rowdy rapids that were super fun. I went flying all over the place in double drop and came stern squirting out of a few others, but I never felt like I was gonna get beat down. Everything seemed to flush pretty good. Overall the run is just good fun. The only nerve racking part is the wood. I wouldn’t want to be swimming on this run, but I don’t really want to swim any run for that matter. Below is a picture of Dave Fusilli flying off big brother in the new 9R.

Screen Shot 2015-02-02 at 11.38.58 AMAfter a good day out on the river there is nothing better than getting together with friends for food and beer. We rallied back at Demshitz Palace to make home made pierogies.  Here is shot of the crew hard at work. Don’t worry no kitchens were destroyed in the making of this outstanding meal.

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One rog all cut, stuffed, and rolled. Now we boil them. Then we fry them. Then we eats them.

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After a good run on the truss, a good meal, and few beers I was feeling pretty stoked to fired up the little white the next day. It was a good foot higher than I had ever done it before which didn’t sound like anything the night before when we were discussing it over beers but the next morning when we were at the put in and I could see with my own eyes how much higher it was than when I had been there a few years earlier, I had to look deep inside to find that stoke from the night before. People say kayaking is really a mental sport and I agree. I have been losing the mental game for the past two years. I took a couple scary swims and I have been struggling to get my head back in the game since. I’ll admit, there was a point when we were at the put in when I thought about backing out. Looking at the river I knew it was higher than I had ever done by quite a bit and I had a moment of doubt. I’m not really sure what prompted it but somehow in that moment I knew it was just time to get back on the horse so to speak. My knees literally shaking from nerves I carried my boat down to the river and got in. I was a little shaky right off the bat and flipped in the landing at boulder sluice. I got pushed up against some rocks and had a hard time getting back up but manage after a couple attempts. At this point I was pretty fluster and wondered if I made the right call. I looked around and realized that I was committed now. There was no easy way out. I took a few breathes in the eddy to slow my breathing and regain my focus. I find it really helps sometimes to just remind yourself to breath and relax. Refocused I took on the rest of the run and as I started flying off drops that stoke from the night before found it’s way back to me. I am really glad to have had my Shiva on this run though. The rocker in the bow and the boats forgiving nature definitely contributed to having a successful run. It’s funny to me how by the end of the run I thought I must have been out of my mind to consider not going. Below is Rob Fusilli falling off S turn on the LW.

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After a second awesome day on the river we did a little Demshitz wine tasting. Yes you read that right. Demshitz is sophisticated.

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On my third day in the gorge we decided to travel a whole 30 minutes away to check out the west fork of the Hood River. There really is so much white water in such a small area that 30 minutes is a long way by comparison. It’s not all class V either. I know that is what you hear about from that area all the time but there really is something for everyone. There are plenty of class III and IV runs and some scenic class II runs too. Paddlers of all skill levels can have a good time in the Columbia River Gorge area. The west hood was super fun continuous class IV read and run. It is the kind of river that I really like. There are enough rocks and river features that you can make up interesting and challenging moves as you go down stream but there is really nothing that you have to make. You could just float everything pretty much right down the middle if you prefer. It had some really pretty mini gorges and the occasional surf wave. I’d be stoked to go back to the west hood for sure. I think this would be a perfect run for a boat like the Nano. It would be great for doing the little creeky moves and that flat hull would be perfect for the surf waves. We were having too much fun on the west hood and forgot to take pictures so I guess you’ll have to go see this one for yourself.

My last day in the gorge we got a sweet trifecta. We did upper Trout Creek into Trout Creek into Upper Wind. I think if you do Upper Trout the others are kind of a package deal but since I’ve never done any of them before I’m counting them as three personal firsts. Upper Trout was probably the most continuous thing I have ever paddled. We watched the gopro footage after and it really was just boof after boof for a solid 7 minutes. The water was screaming fast which was a little unsettling a first but really fun once you got into the rhythm. This first picture is from Dave’s helmet cam looking at the three boats in front of him with a boof between each boat in the shot. The camera really doesn’t do justice to the gradient here.

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Looking back upstream you get a better idea of the gradient. It was like this from start to finish. This was another time I was super grateful for the shivas rocker and forgiving edges. You could barely blink the water out of your eyes before you were going off the next ledge and needed to boof again. Below Rob is chasing me into one of the very few eddies where you could stop for a sec and catch your breath. rob and MEat upper trout

After we got to the Trout Creek section it got a little less continuous and the gradient eased up some but the general character stayed about the same. There were still plenty of sweet boofs to be had in this section though. There was one kinda sketchy log we had to negotiate. Doing most of my kayaking in California, I’m not really accustomed to seeing trees in every rapid on every river but in the PNW I seems to just be part of the experience. Once we got down to the confluence with the upper Wind the character of the river changed dramatically. The rapids on the Wind reminded me a lot of the rapids in the Grand Canyon except, they went on and on and on. This stretch was super fun although I think the edges on the Burn may have been more ideal for this last section of our trip. The river was still flowing really fast. There were plenty of big holes lurking in here too. When you got in the trough between waves you really couldn’t see beyond the wall of water in front of you. When you got up to the peaks you had to do a quick scan and look for warning signs of giant holes in your path. Overall it was really fun and I can’t wait to go back and see what other awesome runs the area has to offer. I know I’ve barely scratched the surface of what is there for sure.

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