Bluegrass Whitewater


Bluegrass Paddlers in Maryland
July 12, 2010, 5:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Thanks Dot Edwards for this great trip report!

Sorry it’s taken me so long to post this trip report but hey, life happens.

First off, if you told me a year ago that I’d be running the RFG and Upper Yough within a year, I would have thought that you ate too many special brownies. The Upper Yough was super fun. It wasn’t as threatening as I thought it would be but, it was longer with a lot more rapids and big holes to punch than I expected.

Not Everyone should go on the UY

Not Everyone should go on the UY

Our group had the perfect number of experienced yakkers for us newbies, Elizabeth, JBob, Todd H. and me. I have never seen so many kayaks or shredders packed into one river, not to mention the fact that you had to maneuver around rafts. Due to the amazing traffic, we divided into 3 small groups. I had the fortune to be led by Pete (last name??) who knew every rock & hole in the river. YT, Brent and Gerald would move back & forth between Todd & I to make sure we were okay. It was always comforting to look back & see that someone was always near in case there was trouble.

Brent Austin @ National Falls

Brent Austin @ National Falls

Pete was very conscious in leading me through in not necessarily the easiest lines. He had me practice maneuvers especially in the beginning to give me a good feel of what was to come. He would give me the history of the rapids and 3 options. Unfortunately my slightly wigged out mind could only retain half the info for 1 line. Case in point, Charlie’s Choice: In the end it was decided that we would take the left line & avoid the mushroom rock line. After discussion, I was confused & said I would just follow wherever Pete went. Well… he proceeded around a boulder & by the time I got around it, I couldn’t figure out where he went. By the time I saw him, he was way river left & I decided it would be too hard to get there. I noticed the tops of helmets after a drop to the right and remembered them mentioning a line on the right so I went for it. Since I wasn’t sure what was at the bottom, I threw in a boof stroke for good measure, went down the drop then flew over a mushroom rock. From seeing the rock, I realized this was the place they wanted me to avoid. Luckily the run went smooth, was super fun and YT was right behind me. (Ha! I bet you thought I’d report some carnage)

Brent Leads the way

Brent Leads the way

The most fun thing that happened was that I went down a drop and subbed under the rapid/hole. I couldn’t tell if I was upside down or what, my Stubby and I were just completed submerged then, I rocketed out the other side. So so fun and I’m sure I couldn’t do it again if I tried. Gerald just skipped across the hole.
P7030013
Tombstone (aka Fu#@ Up Falls) was interesting. Pete was taking a line that seemed a bit too tricky for me so I asked YT to lead me. He was excited to have his first chance to lead me soooo he flipped at the very top and went down the entire thing upside down. Out of the 3 options I was given, the one thing I retained was that I did not want to go where YT was headed. I went hard left & picked my way down. As for YT, I was impressed he didn’t swim, he got a rocky beatdown.

Pete told me there were 2 holes that you absolutely want to avoid on the UY, one of them being at the bottom of FU Falls. I believe Elizabeth dropped into the hole but, she IS the Surfing Queen so she made her way out with style.

National Falls was fun. When I took the drop at the bottom was a kayaker getting worked. Luckily, I just missed him and if anything, he helped to keep me on line.
P7030020
No real carnage for me. I flipped in the Rockies when too many kayaks pulled out at the same time. I did get surfed in a hole (name?). I knew I was in trouble when I dropped into the hole, since a group of kayakers below immediately began to cheerfully yell and whistle. Due to the fantastic surfing/playboating lessons I had been getting from E the last few weeks, I didn’t freak out and got a couple smooth flat spins. In the end, I flipped & apparently that’s the easiest way to get out of the hole.

The paddle out was great b/c I met a couple women who knew the river very well. They introduced themselves since they were excited to see another female on the river. Hopefully, we’ll meet again soon to have a women’s trip down the UY.

Gerald Delong @ National Falls

Gerald Delong @ National Falls

I loved the run. The sky was blue and sunny and the water cool and plentiful. The group ride home was filled with a huge sense of mass euphoria. We ended the day by having a group dinner on a porch in WV under the black sky with stars.
P7030029
Take that Wes and Hanley
D*t =)

Thanks so much Dot for the great trip report.

Guest blogger Dorthy "Dot" Edwards



First Bluegrass Whitewater WK Event!
May 5, 2010, 7:59 am
Filed under: event,playboating

Jbob and I have been having so much fun this spring. In fact we have been having a blast for the past two years and thought that everyone should do so as well. Last Thursday night was a step in that direction.

Earlier that 29th of April, me and my companion scurried deep into the Elkhorn Gorge to set up some buoys in S-turn rapid in preparation for the Survivor Slalom Challenge later that evening.  We identified some features in the rapid so that we could describe the course and rules to the competitors.

Jimi Smith

Jimi Smith

“We had the contestants start at the top of the rapid where I had set up the buoys” said Jason (Jbob) Bailey. “They earned points for catching key eddies, catching waves and style.”

Participants met at the Elkhorn Acres parking lot @ 6:15, or at the put-in @ 6:30. We were fortunate enough to have an innocent bystander (Dave Margavage) to help us with our shuttle so we could  “Elkhorn Lite”  (takeout at Softley’s).

The event commenced  with a surfing display at Church Ledge. Past NPFF director Todd Garland won with over 20 flatspins! This portion was judged by scoring each 180 degree rotation of the boat while staying in the feature. Barry Sipple styled his Ace 4.7 as runner up.

We paddled on down to the slalom location and with only enough delay to get Judge Jbob into position to score the challenge. Everyone did great, but Todd managed to stay in the lead and accumulate the most points.

After all this, we doled out the prizes at random. Some folks walked off with some pretty fancy schwag items like a pair of Smith Sunglasses, a Shred Ready shirt, hats and stickers. Not bad for our first time!

Thanks to everyone that made it! The next World Kayak Event will be next Thursday, May 13th. I will plan on the Elkhorn Creek if it is above 400 cfs. Same time, same place. In the event of no water, lets meet at Riptides on the River (currently Riptide’s in the River) for some knot tying, throw bag cornhole, and some spiffy flatwater games that are not lame.

peace

e

Todds @ Church

Todds' @ Church



Bluegrass Whitewater World Kayak Events Begin April 29th
April 22, 2010, 5:22 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I am very excited to announce that Bluegrass Whitewater will be hosting five World Kayak events in our region.

What are these events? They are participation based, get togethers on our local waters.

DownStreamLookLunchStop

The first of these are planned to be held on the Elkhorn Creek near Frankfort, KY, water levels permitting. Ideally there will be enough flow to allow for a surfing throwdown where points are earned based on how many rotations you can get while in the feature. For instance a complete flat spin would be worth 2 points (one for each of the 180 degrees completed) a cartwheel would be 2 points for each end, a full loop would be worth 6 points, 3 for each 180 degree rotation. Points will be awarded for rolling and even windowshading!

churchhoods

The second portion of the event will be held on one of the rapids. Points will be given for time, of course, but there will also be additional points awarded for catching eddies, rock splats, and other crazy things that you will find out about.

The first event will m be April 29th. We will meet at the Elkhorn Acres take out and proceed to the put in no later than 6:15. The other Elkhorn dates are May 13th and 20th.

There will be two other events in October at the Russel Fork.

Anyone who feels comfortable on the Elkhorn Creek should come, all participants novice through expert is on the same playing field as prizes will be given as door prizes, you only need to participate to win!

Locations are water level dependent. In case of insuffecient or excessive flows, the venue may changed, be cancelled or postponed.

Cynthia_Jackie_Elizabeth(2)
this is a picture from one of my first runs!

All you need to do is go to http://worldkayakblogs.com/throwdown/register/ , scroll down and find “Kentucky” and select the date that you wish to attend! Also, please check this site before the event for updates or changes.

Thanks to Barry Grimes for the photos for this post.



Nolichucky Playboating
March 25, 2010, 4:41 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized
Nolichucky Gorge
Nolichucky Gorge

I was listening to NPR about choices. Basically people are very ill-equipped to decide when there are more than three or four options to select from. This was one of those boating weekends with so many possibilities (Russell Fork, Cheoah, and West Virginia were all available. The frontal lobes were overloaded so the choice had to come from the heart.

I had recently been on the Noli at 1500 for Chris Wing’s Polar Clinic and was really excited to show Jbob how much great play was on this stretch of water as his only run had been @ 700cfs, and while very fun, not so much play.

David Gorbachev @ Jaws
David Gorbachev @ Jaws

If 1500 was great, 200o was even better as you can tell from this photo.

I would really like to to do more trips like this before the water goes away. This weekend Jbob and a few friends are heading to West Virginia for some big water fun, join us if you are in the area.

The Nolichucky Campground

The Nolichucky Campground

Nolichucky Campground

Nolichucky Campground



Not NPFF 1st anual downriver race
March 2, 2010, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Winter Boating

2010 NNPFF Downriver race and club championship from Jason Bailey on Vimeo.

NNPFF Race

NNPFF Race



National Paddling Film Festival
March 1, 2010, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Winter Boating,event

Last year the BWA held elections to decide the different officers for the club. There are quite a few jobs.  There were two choices for President, but beyond that, if you want the job, it’s yours. And if you don’t want it, well, we might just make you take it.

If you were at the NPFF last weekend (February 27-28) you would of never guessed that is how event director, Brandon Jett, came to be in charge.

I prodded Brandon to remember his sandbagging in an email: “Actually I do remember reading on the Forum when I was in Colorado…the results of the elections.  I saw I was the new NPFF Director after asking to withdraw my name as a canidate (I don’t think he was present when we nominated him)…” “My reply was one word.  ‘Interesting…’”.

Brandon Jett NPFF  Director

Brandon Jett NPFF Director

The Buffalo Trace Distillery, near Frankfort, KY was again the location for this year’s NPFF. Festivities started Friday night with all the beer and food one cared for with the price of admission. There were drawings for scwag between the films that were being shown in each room. You can watch in the bar, downstairs in the hall, or on the huge screen in the theater.

upstairs theater

upstairs theater

paddle porn in bar

paddle porn in bar

It was like when a couple of your friends come over and you watch all of your paddling dvds except there are a lot more people and places to sit. And you haven’t watched them twenty times already.

I hear there was some after hours parting at a nearby bar, but I checked out early. The next morning was the First Annual “Not NPFF” race!

The race was a complete success. I am not giving any of it away. Dot, Adeom, and  I got a head start and shot video of the racers at Railroad, Lunchstop and the finish. It should be up Tuesday or Wednesday. I know its hard to wait, but be strong.

Here are some Pictures from the rest of the day. You can view the entire alblum here.

Clay Warren was the Winner of the "Not NPFF" race

Clay Warren was the Winner of the "Not NPFF" race. He is pictured with and his prizes.

Fred Tuttle donated a huge amout of retro boating gear to distribute amongst the particapants. Jbob scored a nice bag with a couple of LC 1 skirts that are in better shape than some of mine.

Andi scored a few pairs of booties. Size 13's!

Andi lucked out with a few pairs of booties. Size 13's!

1 – Clay Warren (BWA) Speeder 32:40
2 – Dave Thomas (BWA) glass boat 33:16
3 – John Mello (BWA) sea kayak 33:21
4 – Brian Mattingly (Viking) red green boat 33:31
5 – Delaney Albright (Viking) red green boat 33:37
6 – J Bob (BWA) glass boat 33:41
7 – Jim Gunn (Viking) glass boat 33:44
8 – Fred Tuttle (BWA) glass sea kayak 33:55
9 – Todd Schindler (Viking) glass boat 34:35
10 – Dan Coaplen (Viking) dancer 34:39

Even the Vikings had a good time despite their defeat

Even the Vikings had a good time despite their defeat

Team Scores: BWA  20, Vikings 35, TRR  152, CRKC , 159.  BWA sets the pace for this year!

“I thoroughly enjoyed the day.Thanks to all involved.The seed has been planted.This is destined to become an annual event, that will grow well into the future.”  Dan (from the Viking forum).

After the race we returned to the Distillery for the Chili Cook-off. I was on kitchen duty then. There has been plenty of trash talk over who was going to win this past month, and YT was able to back up his claims of the master of the pot. Way to go YT!

" I am YT hear me roar" chili cook off winner

" I am YT hear me roar"

Dinner and beer was included in the ticket

Dinner and beer was included in the ticket

There was a Silent Auction with items from the NPFF sponsors. All proceeds will go for river conservation and other good causes.

“In the end, it’s all about providing people a really good time so we can raise funds for river conservation “said event coordinator Bethany Overfield. At times it seems like it’s all about floating kegs, but we raised a lot of money this year and I’m so proud to have been involved.”

Bethany and Brandon were the backbone of NPFF this year

Bethany and Brandon were the backbone of NPFF this year

The grand finale of this fine event was the premire of  River Roots new production, Dream Result, hosted by featured paddler and world waterfall record holder Tyler Bradt.

“Having Tyler Bradt introduce the US premiere of Dream Result made for a tremendous show. Who knew he employed accelerometer data to estimate the g forces of waterfall running? Dream Result is sure to be a huge hit – it’s absolutely one of the finest whitewater videos I’ve ever seen ” wrote local boater, Barry Grimes on the BWA forum.

rofessional Documentary – Dougie Down the Pet
Professional Safety/Instructional – Sea Kayaking With Gordon Brown
Professional General – Into Perpetual Ice
Accomplished Documentary – Liquide Norway vs. Massive White Nile
Accomplished General – Cali Love Tour 2009
Amateur Documentary – Wet Dream Result
Amateur General (tie) – Prototype: An Advanced Film About Intermediate Kayaking, The Gnar Gnar

Paddlers Choice – Cali Love Tour 2009
Best of Show – Cali Love Tour 2009

Still Image – Chris Bell – “Commitment”

Feel free to comment! Post your link to your NPFF media or just leave a comment.



Not so “Polar” Clinic with Chris Wing
February 24, 2010, 4:31 pm
Filed under: clinic,playboating

I headed out Friday evening for Erwin, TN to participate in the H20 Dreams Polar Playboating Clinic the following morning. My destination for the night was Uncle Johnny’s Campground and Hostel as it promised a bed, all the wood I cared to burn (to keep the bunkhouse warm) and showers. It all that and more! There were some very nice people staying there already and in the morning the resident helped me make coffee and get my truck loaded as I was to meet Chris Wing and the other clinic goers   at the Nolichucky Gorge put-in.

Chris Wing is the owner of h2o dreams

Chris Wing is the owner of h2o dreams

Kentucky had an overwhelming presence at this Polar Clinic. I think out of the nine participants, all but two were from the Bluegrass.  We gathered at the Nolichucky Gorge put in near Poplar, NC where we geared up and put on the river.

Polar Clinic warm-up

Polar Clinic warm-up

The clinic began with us warming up in the flatwater near the parking lot. Chris showed us several warm up drills designed to teach concepts like torso rotation and engagement, spinning a playboat, edge control and the importance of good posture. He helped us adjust our kayaks so that we were sitting in the center as well as tons of good advice for outfitting playboats.

Bernie Engleman, clinic rockstar

Bernie "handroll" Engleman, clinic rockstar, in his boat after adjusting the seat position.

Once we were all warmed up it was time for a little downriver action on our way to “Jaws”, the actual clinic location. Everyone styled the Class 3-4 rapid “On the Rocks” upstream of the playspot.

me at "on the rocks" rapid. Nolichucky Gorge, NC. Photo- B. Jett

me at "on the rocks" rapid. Nolichucky Gorge, NC. Photo- B. Jett

Jaws was at an excellent level for the day (~1400cfs), the air temperature was far from polar– nearly sixty degrees that day. I later learned that the water was a not so balmy 34 degrees,  but  we were dressed for it and we all had a solid combat roll. Any swims were contained to the two basketball court sized eddies just downstream of the hole and assisted by the three safety boaters.

“As a new boater, I went into this clinic not knowing what to expect.”  said bluegrass paddler, Jimi Smith. “I’m about as beginner playboater as possible. Chris Wing made me understand the basic ways to setup for moves and how to position my self.”

Although Jimi had been boating for less than a year, he was surfing and rolling in the hole like a seasoned paddler.”

Jimi Smith above on the rocks

Jimi Smith above on the rocks

This was a beginning playboating clinic, but everyone was able to enjoy this feature. Chris focused on getting the participants comfortable with moving around in the fluffly white pile of water.

Not into the playboating scene? Chris has a great arguement for all boaters trying their hand at it especially in the winter.

Jaws ~ 1400 cfs

Jaws ~ 1400 cfs

“What’s great about this time of the year is that many of these freestyle spots are actually running and it is a great way to get out and enjoy the winter outdoors and knock off many of the cob webs of sitting sedentary this time of year.  Freestyle in general is a great method to learn boat control and overall orientation in a very disorienting environment (waves and holes) which can directly translate to river running combat skills, not to mention it’s fun.  I have never regretted a day of playboating no matter how chilly it sounds.”

Owen County High School Student Bernie Engleman was among those tearing it up in Jaws spinning and even accidentally hand rolling in the hole after losing his paddle. “I had a great time down there. The weather and the whitewater were perfect and the instructor was awesome. I learned so much to, I definitely had a awesome time and I can’t wait to do it again.”

Looks like he won’t have to wait too long. Chris has openings for his next Polar Clinic March 13th @ Eternity Hole.

Here is a small amount of video I shot and Jbob edited.

Jaws Video

Jaws Video



Ocoee Update–Still looking good for April
February 12, 2010, 7:25 am
Filed under: Ocoee
me in Hellhole, Ocoee River. Photo Drake Collins

Here is an update on the US 64 rockslide that happened last November. For those of you that have been figuratively under those rocks and hadn’trd.

From the TDOT website:

Cing operews continued cleanup Wednesday, February 10 along the roadbed to remove material from yesterday’s blast and began the reconstruction of the 275 ton crane pad further to the east in preparation for drilling and blasting the eastern shelf on February 12-13. The contractor also continued scaling operations on the western side of the slope using the mini ram-hoe to prep for rock bolting operations. The contractor plans to continue scaling, drilling & blasting operations on the eastern side until the slope is determined to be stable enough to install the 40′ deep rock bolts. This drilling, blasting and scaling schedule will be done in unison with the rock boltrations that will be occurring on the western side of the slope.

Updates will be provided as they become available.

e



Big Creek and Middle Prong
February 10, 2010, 10:27 am
Filed under: Big Creek,Middle Prong,Smokies,Winter Boating

“7:30am at the Jamison Inn” Brandon reminded me. He was kinda mad at me for not waiting for him to go creeking the day before, so I made sure I would be on time for the carpool down to the Smokies.

the water is that blue!

the water is that blue!

This was my second trip down these creeks so I could relax a little. I heart second descents much more than first runs, I fear the unknown. On this occasion I knew that Brandon, Todd, and I would be following Brent , YT , and Chief–all solid boaters that frequently run these creeks. This was going to be fun.

Big Creek from bridge

Big Creek from bridge

Big Creek was running at 2.7′, and was fun, continuous class 3-4 boogie water with a couple bulkier drops.

Bigger drop on Big Creek

Bigger drop on Big Creek

We had time for another run, so we decided to make the short drive over to the Middle Prong and put on below the Cascade section.

This was very similar to the previous run, with roadside access and impeccable water quality. It was not as pushy nor as continuous as Big Creek, but still very fun. It seems to have a few more prominent drops to make up for it.

Todd and YT @ Middle Prong

Todd and YT @ Middle Prong

Brandon @ Middle Prong take out

Brandon @ Middle Prong take out

Brandon @ drop on Middle Prong

Brandon @ drop on Middle Prong

Todd @ drop on Middle Prong

Todd @ drop on Middle Prong



Calloway Creek
February 6, 2010, 6:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

It has been a winter of constant cold with snow instead of rain in Kentucky. So when YT called this morning with an invite to show me and a couple of my favorite people down this well known Bluegrass Steep, the below freezing temperatures at 8am were not enough to keep me out of my boat.

calloway ice

calloway ice

This run is special too, the takeout is  a five minute downhill walk from my front door. Finally, I stand a chance of being on time! The shuttle is a pigeonesque, no-gazetteer-needed hop one exit down the freeway.

calloway creek and boone creek takeout

calloway creek and boone creek takeout

Zach, Will and I  followed YT and Mello.  Thanks for the great lines! There is a lot of wood in this creek. There were no mandatory portages, though there was class 4 branch weaving around at least two riverwide strainers that may have been in play at higher water.

calloway wood

calloway wood

This creek was similar to Juett Creek.  It starts out very innocent looking. There is a good warm-up section before the stream enters a high walled gorge where the action starts proper. Calloway scallops between steep, narrow, fast slides like this:

calloway slide

calloway slide

and widens into chunky drops like this:

Zach May @ Calloway Drop

Zach May @ Calloway Drop

Calloway runs after heavy rains. I hope to start visiting my home creek regularly.

don't be skert, Duck Star!

don't be skert, Duck Star!