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13
Apr

Tallulah Fest 2015

 

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The Tallulah is one of the coolest dam released rivers out there. Long slides, great boofs and a pool drop style see’s kayakers of all abilities flocking to this south east classic.

Saturday we got to take a nice leisurely stroll down 600 or so steps and then cruise down the river with a huge crew of new and old friends. I have always wanted to run the Tallulah it’s by no means a big, scary or hard river, it’s just good old fashioned fun and it is awesome to see so many people enjoying there time on the water.

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Saturday night played host to the Tallula fest video comp. We got to see so many brilliant videos it must have been incredibly hard for the judges to decide which one was going to take home the $1000 cash prize. My personal favourite was “Resemblance” by local south east charger Dylan Mckinney (see video below). In the end Colin Hunts blend of ridiculous kayaking, chilled tunes and footage from local rivers took the win. With Dylan in second and Ryan Macavoy in third place.

Sunday morning rolled around far too quickly for most and we had to shake of the previous nights celebrations and go for one last blast down the river before heading back home to Asheville.

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Huge thanks to all the awesome people that volunteer to make this festival happen, see you all next year.

Demshitz

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10
Apr

Why Kayaking and the LPS are Awesome (As if You Needed an Article to Tell You!)

The Ladies Paddle Symposium 2015 is coming up this weekend, and some last minute places have just opened up; if you’re interested, please call 07737 040 785.

Here are some words from Susanna Rickard about last year’s event!

I hadn’t realised a jaw could really, physically drop until Fran read out my name as winner of a Pyranha kayak at the 2014 Ladies Paddle Symposium. Then came a mixture of disbelief, amazement and complete joy before some tears of happiness shed on Lowri Davies, who had the (damp) experience of sitting next to me.

Learning to paddle something this short!

Learning to paddle something this short!

The LPS is fantastic. Not because I came home with a boat, but because it’s the only weekend like it in the kayaking world. In a male dominated sport, a weekend of female-oriented coaching and networking is great for our confidence and development as paddlers. It’s also a great weekend away in itself, full of laughs and good times.
Kayaking can teach us a lot about ourselves. When I started learning in 2013, it was the first time I’d taken up anything new in about a decade. I came to it after a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, as part of a recovery process. It quickly became obvious I was shy about getting things wrong, didn’t like making mistakes (especially ones that led to swimming!) and put huge pressure on myself to do things right as fast as possible.

Early days, learning to roll it…

Early days, learning to roll it…

The sport has built my confidence and taught me a few valuable lessons along the way, including ones about my concentration, patience, and empathy for others in a group. Paddling definitely demands a less self-centered outlook than we might otherwise have. What I really like is that the stuff it teaches us applies to life outside paddling.
The LPS manages to capture all the elements of this great sport and brings them together in one weekend. The fantastic set of talks on the Saturday night in 2014 covered everything from boat design (built for average male measurements) through to Deb Pillinger speaking on the paddling ethos – surmising that if bankers were paddlers, the banking crisis wouldn’t have occurred.
Friends were made, and I reckon everybody headed home with a smile on their faces.
Since winning my Jed, I’m certainly happier spending a lot more time upside down, and indeed getting thoroughly trashed in waves. And after all, if it comes to it: “if you’re not swimming, you’re not trying hard enough.” So a huge thank you to Pyranha, a huge thank you to the LPS and all who make it happen, and bring on LPS 2015!

Fun at Lee Valley

Fun at Lee Valley

 

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!

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