Hey ya’ll just a quick post here with a little video from a fun fall lap down the Green River in North Carolina in the 9r. I have been loving this boat! As you can see, the bow rides up and over features super easily and retains speed very well making for a super fast, sporty, fun-as-hell to paddle kayak. Enjoy!
We just got back from the Rey del Río in México, an event organized by Altius and River Roots founded by the Mexican Government and the Board of tourism of México.
I was stoked to meet team mates Sam Sutton and Egor who had also flown in for the event. With another 25 of the best kayakers in the world, good organization, huge prize money and waterfalls it was going to be an awesome weekend!
We flew in to Villahermosa (Tabasco) and drove to Palenque (Chiapas) where there are awesome Maya ruins. From there we drove to the río Tulijá commonly known as the Agua Azul due to the turquoise blue color of its water because of the minerals it contains.
We did a few training runs on Friday and a time trial to seed everyone for the boaterX. Saturday started early with the first rounds of the boaterX. The course was really narrow with only one deep line so it was really hard to pass anyone, the time trial played a huge role on the boaterX as choosing your starting position meant a lot. In the end I didn’t make the final (top 4) but I did manage to win the losers heat and ended up 5th. Not a good result but that’s all I could do with the seeding I had (6th). Congrats to Pat, Dane and Egor and Isaac for going fast and taking the top spots.
Here’s a sick video by RiverRoots from the BoaterX event on Saturday:
On Sunday we all headed downstream to a set of three waterfalls, a 30ft, 50ft and 40ft. Every paddler had one run and he was judge on his technique, style, progression… There were sick lines, tricks off the waterfalls and all sorts of cool stuff.
Personally I didn’t have a good run and even broke my paddle on the second drop… Anyways it was a fun day. In the end I ended 7th 1 point from Sam. Pat Keller took the win followed by Rush and my bro Aniol.
Overall it was a great event, well organized and the media that Jared, Matt and Polly took is amazing so looking forward to see all the great footage they shot. This is a great step for kayaking to attract some main stream media and portrait our sport in great way.
After the event my bro, Benny and I drove north east for 8h or so to Tlapacoyan, Veracruz. We stayed at Aventured and had a great time going paddling every day. Big Bananas, Jalacingo, Tomata… There’s a lot of quality white water and a lot of fruit too so it’s a great place to hang out and spend some time.
After a week it was time for me to head back to the city and fly back to Chile where there are a lot of river waiting, so stoked I made it out to México, learned a lot and hope to do a lot better next year! Now it’s time to paddle some rivers, head south and eat empanadas.
5. Lunarzilla, One of my favorite combos of the year. Spinning back on yourself and then launching a godzilla out of it to finish the trick of just feels awesome and we ahve a lot of potential to link more tricks onto the end of the Godzilla.
4. The no paddle Tricky Whu. In my opinion one of the best ways to improve your kayaking is to go hand padlding for a couple of days, Me and my buddy Matt Anger originally started hand paddling this fall to improve our hand roll so we could throw our paddles on taller waterfalls and be a little bit more cnfident about hand rolling in the couldron below, By the end of the week, we could nail pretty much every hole move between us.
3. The Lunar Tricky Loop. This is a James “Pringle” Bebbington original. I always used to watch Pringles videos and be mind blown by the combos he threw but never thought I would ever be able to throw one, Pringle took me under his wing for the summer of 2012 and after seeing him throw them down every day and the occasional tip I started throwing some of the basics. This trick however was the bane of my life for that entire winter season. Feels so good to be able to stomp it on demand now. Thanks again Pringle!
2. The Panam. The biggest I have ever gone on a wave. Ever.
The Airscrew – Blunt – Mcnasty. The blunt was pretty lame and I would like the mcnasty to rotate more like a pistol flip but i’m still really happpy to land a 3 trick combo on a wave and stoked to build on this trick at next years Stakeout.
Thanks for reading,
See you on the water,
On late November I started a three day journey to Chile. Departing from Bracelona to New York and to Panamá for a couple days layover as my boat wasn’t allowed in the plane after making it all the way there… a day of paperwork and 400$ less and my boat was on its way via Cargo with the same airline… thanks Copa Airlines!
Anyways made it to Chile and went straight to the río Maipo just outside of Santiago where my good Astorga friends live and fight against the Alto Maipo Project the Government and private corporations are trying to put on their river and land. The plan is to divert the river and all it’s tributaries into 70 km of pipes to produce energy for the copper mines in the north. This means drying a whole region with multiple valleys and rivers and taking all of the drinking water for Santiago polluting its waters and mixing them with residual waters from gold mines and others to be purified later on… I really hope that the Government and politicians that rule Chile can see further than their own pockets and decide what’s best for Chile and for its people, NO ALTO MAIPO! Learn more about the Alto Maipo Project here: https://www.facebook.com/NoAlProyectoAltoMaipo
After settling down and paddling the Maipo for a few days we started the drive south with a first stop at the río Claro. The Claro is one of the most amazing rivers in the world, clean water and the most beautiful lava canyon you can imagine with all kind of drops and rapids, it truly is a kayakers dream.
The last time I was there was in 2007 together with Chris Korbulic on what we thought was the first descent of the ‘Garganta del Diablo’, my favorite section. It took us a long day to scout as much as we could from the canyon rim, and I think we only saw the 20% of it? Anyway we put on the next day hoping everything would be fine and we discovered one of the most awesome places on earth. It was such an awesome feeling to go back and remember everything from that tip… We got there late afternoon and put on straight away.
The water was low but we paddled some of the best white water ever so we war so stroked!! The next day we ran the ‘Cocina and 22 saltos’ into Garganta and finished off with the 7 tazas. Such an awesome day of kayaking surrounded by the most polished and smooth basalt walls you’ll ever find, its amazing, you have to be in there to understand it and experience it by yourself. After another day of some more paddling we started to long drive south to Pucón.
The levels in Pucón were still good when we got there so we rushed on paddling the Nevados, Trancura, Palguin and Puesco at good flows. All this runs are really close to town and it’s easy to paddle three rivers in one day so within a couple days I was already pretty sore but so stoked to be down there after so much time since I paddled any of this runs, for me it’s like a rediscovery trip as the last time was 7 years ago and a lot has changed since then, the rivers, the rapids, the gear and myself so its an awesome personal experience to live it all again. After a few days of great weather levels started to drop and we decided it was time to head south.
New team member Beth Morgan took the 9R to Sickline last month. Here are a few words on her experience:
A couple of years ago, whilst sitting on top of a bus in Nepal, myself and Beth Hume were discussing our future paddling aims. I decided that one of mine would be to enter Sickline. Still an incredibly nervous paddler, terrified when paddling grade 4 and above, the idea of even paddling the Sickline course, let alone racing on it, seemed like something which would be very far in the future if it ever did happen.
Earlier this year when I decided that I was going to go to Sickline, I never thought that this would be the year I would achieve this goal…. I was just going to fly out for the weekend, try to borrow some kit to do a bit of paddling, watch some awesome kayakers race and go to the (infamous) party. However, after realising I had enough leave to take the week off, getting a space in a car with Lee and Rory and a demo of the new Pyranha 9R to take, along with some friendly peer pressure, I found myself entered and leaving in the middle of moving to London and revising for exams (results just in and I got a merit – kayaking apparently is the best substitute for revision!)
After the long drive out we went to look at the course. It is definitely steep! I spent a while looking at the run and watching people’s lines. It is a series of boofs stacked together, none of which you really want to miss. The hole above the start to the qualification course was my main concern, it looked sticky and there was an undercut river left and a siphon river right below it. During the week I watched a few people getting beatings in there which didn’t exactly settle my nerves!
Starting slowly seemed like the sensible option, especially after the drive and in a new boat, so I got on below Champions killer and did a few runs of the end of the qualification course before working my way up to Champion’s killer. Champion’s Killer, despite its intimidating name, is friendlier than it looks but tricky to get right. I spent a few days lapping the drop and realised that to boof the 9R you need speed, whereas I had been slowing myself down to get the right approach angle.
Although getting myself more confident on Champion’s Killer (which was most important for me as I wasn’t really expecting to qualify), I still needed to paddle the main course. The universe was slightly against me with this (or I’m just making excuses for being scared!) – once I had recovered from the drive, got used to the boat and was feeling good for the main course I got sick (apparently you’re not meant to drink the river water) and then whilst still feeling weak from this it rained, the river rose 10cms and the rooster tail which made the hole above the quali-start look just about do-able had gone. Not ideal when I was still feeling weak.
The day before the competition arrived and I still hadn’t paddled the main course. Today had to be the day. After a quick warm up on Champion’s Killer and another walk down the course to suss my lines, I couldn’t put it off any longer. This was definitely the most nervous I’d been in a little while (probably since doing the Rauma in July) and I decided that I didn’t fancy the seal launch. After getting through the entrance boof I had a little breather in the flat pool while I psyched myself up and remembered my lines. After peeling out of the eddy everything went quickly and before I knew it I was at the bottom of Champion’s Killer absolutely buzzing.
After a bit of a rest I went back up for double the fun and to try out the seal launch (which resulted in a bit of a girly scream). I was feeling pretty happy and ready for the race! The next day was race day and the girls were up first. I had a great time on my first run, ending up 7th with a sub-1.40 time. Unfortunately, my lack of racing experience means that if I do well in my first run I put pressure on myself to do the same on the next one, which I don’t really know how to deal with! So I messed up run 2, spinning out on Champion’s Killer then getting pushed into the undercut on the exit. But all in all I ended up 9th out of 15 awesome female kayakers – a result that I am over the moon with!
So I guess now I need to think about what my paddling goals for the future are going to be – apart from doing some race training so that I can hopefully qualify and race on the main course at some point! If anyone has any ideas for other goals please let me know!
Thanks to Pyranha Kayaks for the loan of the 9R and Immersion Research for keeping me dry!
This is my first post on the Pyranha blog since joining Team Pyranha.
I’m very happy to be here.
I thought I should write this post by way of an introduction.
I’m 34 years old. I live just outside Dublin in Ireland. I started kayaking at university when I was 19 years old. I have many passions and interests in life. My passion for kayaking has been consistently strong. This is somewhat unusual for me because of my very limited attention span and my inability to sit still for more than 10 minutes at a time.
I’m not the world’s best kayaker nor do I aspire to be. I do my best. I won accolades at my university kayaking club for the record number of swims I had on rivers. It took me a while to get the hang of it.
I have days on the river where I feel like I am flying and every stroke seems to go in the right place and I have days on the river where I feel unbalanced and all over the place. Just like everybody else.
I think that in order to be a better kayaker, I need to practice more. Just like everybody else.
I enjoy kayaking. I enjoy kayaking so much that I teach kayaking for a living. I enjoy kayaking so much that I have made considerable sacrifices to keep doing it and to keep teaching it. Or maybe a better way to put it is that I enjoy being in the water in a kayak. Twisting and turning and weaving. I enjoy sharing that experience with other people. It makes me smile when things I’ve seen flash in my mind’s eye. Journeys I’ve been on. People I‘ve met. The colours of things I’ve seen.
My involvement in the sport of kayaking helps me to realise my potential across a variety of spheres. It stimulates me, keeps me motivated and excited and allows me to experience and interpret the world with fewer filters. In a more innate and natural way. I believe that your involvement in the sport of kayaking does the same thing for you. That’s what we all have in common. Regardless of our level of ability.
I think that the best thing any of us can be is ourselves. I think we should aspire to be happy with ourselves as we are irrespective of what other people are doing. Not that we shouldn’t aim to improve with practice and hard work or to be inspired by others, just that we should also be accepting of where we are now. So if you love to paddle flat majestic stretches of water on sunny mornings or you love to paddle challenging class five runs with skill and determination then that’s what you should do. Maybe that will change. Maybe it won’t. Be happy with that. There’s a place for all of us.
If you’re looking for lots of pictures of someone stylishly paddling down hundreds of rivers, you won’t find them here. If you’re interested in pictures of nature and scenery and characters and someone sometimes paddling down rivers with style, and sometimes falling on her head, then you have come to the right place!
I’ll share with you some stories of what it’s like for me to teach kayaking for a living and what I learn from other people along the way. Mostly it’s great fun and sometimes it’s hard work. For me it’s a question of self-realisation. Getting paid a small amount to be myself is much easier than getting paid a big amount to be someone else.
I’m also hoping to share some stories of my kayaking trips. I’m heading kayaking in Indonesia shortly with 4 amazing girls. Of course I will be paddling my Burn. Hopefully we will have some great stories to share.
Lastly, big thanks to everyone at Pyranha for welcoming me to the team.
The pic above is a pic from my winter trip to Costa Rica last year where I had the privilege to meet these American kayakers who welcomed me, looked after me, taught me a whole new language (which I have since named Americo-Kayaka) and shared their rice with me, as only kayakers can. Thanks Gringos
I am fired up on this new boat! Going fast and linking up moves is one of my favorite ways to kayak and the 9r makes it that much better. The 9r is the highest performance, most progressive kayak design ever made, and if you need some proof just take a look at the rocker profile. Some serious thought and testing went into this boat, and it is unlike anything else out there. If you haven’t already, check it out and give one a test paddle, I am sure you will be fired up! I have been loving mine, and had the idea to paddle the Tallulah Gorge in Georgia as fast as I could. It took just over 10 minutes from Oceana to Lake Tugaloo. The run may have been over quick, but it was one of the most fun laps i’ve ever had out there! Check out this quick video of the run, hope you enjoy!
One weekend in mid-October, several of the Pyranha boys and girls headed up to chilly Old Forge, New York, for the final race in the King of New York Series. The water in the Moose River was over twice as high as normal flows, prompting race organizers to move the race to the Lower Moose this year, which was plenty raging for the 1.5 mile stretch of whitewater chosen for the race. The race began above Iron Bridge, with a mass upstream-facing start. Racers had to attain to the top of an island, then turn downstream and haul ass to the finish, located after two long rapids. With almost one quarter of the competitors being women, this race was much better looking than the average whitewater race. Pat Keller took first place as part of his pre-Green Race training program, and was followed by young buck Robert Waldron, a youth recently rescued from impending degeneracy by mentor Geoff Calhoun, who came in hot on his tail. Jared Seiler, defending King, was fourth in. The ladies field was led by Margaret Williams and Erin Savage in long boats; I followed as the first girl in a short boat.
Though the KONY series is traditionally raced primarily in long boats, I couldn’t resist seeing how the Pyranha 9R would hold up in the pack. After a romantic evening getting to know each other on the ride to New York state, I was confident that the 9R would satisfy my need for speed.
The 9R and I spending a quiet night in before the race.
After racing in the 9R, I think I can say with confidence that the ladies will love the 9R. The high-riding bow flies over waves, and it turns on a bow draw as easily as it carves, which is a huge plus for this former slalom racer. It also holds a line though, which is especially impressive for a boat that spins so easily. For a light paddler (115lbs/ 52kg), the 9R feels like it’s hovering slightly above the water, and it punches holes like a dream. In short, this boat is perfect for smaller paddlers: light paddlers can expect to put this boat where they want it easily, and to get some pretty major air off boofs.
To see the 9R in action, check out this little edit I made of Moose Race:
The long Road to recovery
The weeks after a serious injury are definitely the most interesting. After months of P.T, sitting around, and reading countless books, when the Doc finally gives you the green light you are more than ready to get up and go. When I broke my Tibia plateau in 4 spots and was on crutches for 3 months, I knew was more than ready to get back in my boat and go.
The worst part is that you just can’t get up and go. It’s now been 3 months since I have been off crutches and I still run with a drop foot and I can’t jump yet. Walking down hills used to hurt more than it did now I can do it with my kayak. The best part is that you get back to living again. I was unbelievably stoked on just paddling flat water and doing attainments right in front of my parent’s house when I was still on crutches.
I was fully walking and on my feet in the beginning of August. So I left my parents house in Nor Cal and headed back to white salmon to catch the dregs of the summer kayaking. It was amazing to say the least. The Cispus, which is my favorite summer time run, was still flowing at a healthy medium flow and I was happy to bag about 6 laps on it before it dropped out. I also did numerous laps on the Green Truss, as well as just living simpler times at the Substantial Media Mansion.
Now it is the beginning of November and I am gearing up for winter. I was excited to get an invite from Rafeal Ortiz to go compete in a brand new style of Competition show casing waterfalls. So at the end of this month I will be headed down to the Agua Azules for the Rey Del Rio competition. So stay tuned for more info coming from there. So for the time being I just making sure my knee still getting stronger and keeping my paddling sharp. I cannot wait for the 2015 season to begin and just start getting after it.
Thanks to everyone for the support with this Injury and I will see Yall on the Rio. Here are a few run’s I was able to get on late in the season before the water ran out in the North West.
The British Universities Kayaking Expedition‘s are entering their tenth year. Students from around the country were invited to submit paper applications which were scored by previous team members, with the top twenty being invited for a 3 day ‘selection event’ in North Wales.
The hugely rainfall dependent boating conditions in Wales has required us to improvise in the past, however much to everyone’s relief the rain gods were smiling on us and came up with the goods.
Friday morning saw the 8 car convoy heading en-masse for the Mawddach. The gauges were reading low, but the constant rain gave us hope that it was on the up, so we made the call and got on.
The final expedition team would be selected by means of a vote later in the weekend, so the twenty applicants were split into smaller groups to give everyone the opportunity to paddle with people they’d not paddled with previously, to get to know them, and see how each other approached a ‘new’ river.