Archive for August, 2007

Cabarton Section Clean-Up Saturday


From the Idaho Statesman – Original Article Edition Date: 08/29/07

Cabarton - Corner before Trestle RapidsEnjoy some incredible views and good river karma!

That’s the call for help from Boise State University’s campus recreation program to clean up the Cabarton stretch of the North Fork of the Payette River on Saturday.

The Cabarton section is one of the only sections of the river that is away from Idaho 55. It gets a lot of use during the rafting season by both commercial rafting companies and private rafters.

A planning meeting is set from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday. On Saturday at 9 a.m., participants will leave for the river and return at 6 p.m.

The cost is $30.00, which includes transportation, food and equipment. Registration deadline is 5 p.m. Thursday.

For information contact, Geoff Harrison, assistant director for the BSU Outdoor Program; 426-2628;

The Weekend and Idaho Fires Cranking Back Up…


We had a great run on the Cabarton section of the Payette Sunday! Tyler, Troy, Shaun, Zech and I hit the water at 10:30 and had excellent, smoke-free weather :-)


Here is a pic of Troy and Shaun in the foreground, with Tyler and Zech in the right background behind Shaun. We ran a ways with a guy running an open canoe and another guy that just moved up from Phoenix. Had a good time chatting with them.

Idaho FiresSouth Western Idaho had some rain a week ago that really helped with most of the fires in our area of the state, but now the hot, dry weather has returned and the fires are cranking back up. Red dot’s on the pic are activity within the last 24 hours.

Darn Those Fast Learners!


If you know me, then you know from the title that this is about someone else :-P Actually it is about my brother. Mike is seven years younger than I and is one of those guys that picks up everything he does quickly. I’ve had him rock and ice climbing – he got me into scuba. So now I’m throwing him in my wifes Java and having him bounce around in rivers.

He visits us from Seattle about twice each year and each time I’ve been getting him out to a pond or a pool at the Gutter and working on paddling basics. He learned to roll in 20 minutes at a pond by our house. So his next visit I took him to the Gutter and had him working on strokes and ferrying. A cold swim this spring convinced him to take time on his first roll and make it count. But he is also not afraid to hang in there and crank out 4 or 5 attempts.

So he visits this last week and we slated Friday, Saturday and Sunday to go and paddle. He has been begging me to run the Main Payette, but I’ve wanted it to be a good experience for him so I have balked until Friday when we were at the Gutter working on ferrying and eddy skills. He had one swim but really began to nail the eddy lines. He rolled a lot at first, but the got pretty clean until he got tired.

Saturday I decided to run him down the lower section from the bottom of AMF to the JetBoat ramp and that gave us some mild class IIs and one class III at the end. Worked him on eddy turns and even catching smaller eddies behind rocks in the middle of the river. Mike caught a few edges here and there, but did great really. My son Troy lead him down Climax and Mike didn’t follow the line close enough, hit a hole sideways, flipped and ran about half the rapid looking up. After getting knocked over by a wave on his second roll attempt, he did make his fourth. No swims which is better than I can say for myself on my first 3 runs down Climax! OK, he’s ready for the Main.

Sunday – woke to clouds and a little rain (which by the way put out most of the fires in the state!) but that doesn’t dampen Mikes ‘the show must go on’ attitude. Mike and I hit the road with my two boys – Troy (12) and Tyler (15) – and we slipped into drytops (for the first time in about 3-1/2 months!) just below GoLeft at Mile Post 77. Troy jumps into the lead with Mike following. Mike does well through the first three small II’s and then LunchCounter, Bennetts Rock and Constriction put a smile on his face. He finally flips below Mikes Hole in some swirly water, rolls up on an eddy line only to flip again, but busts out another roll and comes up smiling.

At MixMaster I called Tyler in closer to help clean up any boats, paddles, or his Uncle. Mike styled MixMaster and told me to make it a little harder on him. OK, we’re going to boof the rock on the right of Monicas Rock. He missed the line a little and slipped into the hole on the side of the rock – a flip and a roll. Another flip at the bottom of AMF, but again makes his roll. One more flip on the way to the take out in which he found out why we wear helmets – bounced off a couple of rocks and skinned some knuckles, but rolled up on attempt three.

So basically a little more work on edges and lines and Mike will be good to go – time to start having him reading water and leading.

So my little brother is a fast learner – must me nice….

More on Kids and Paddling


Liam (14 years-old) from the DC area has some input on kids and boating. Check it out HERE.

Paddling with Your Kids


I look at most things I do as a family event and paddling is no different. I know there are many others out there including and Jim that have up and coming paddlers in the family – paddle partners for life.

With true whitewater boats now being produced for kids, new challenges have opened on the paddling frontier. I don’t think you can make a kid love paddling, but I think you have a huge impact in their decision by how you introduce them to the sport.

If you want some of my ideas on the subject – go HERE.

I would love to hear your ideas! Comment or EMAIL ME

Kyle at the Gutter


One of the best things about Idaho River Kids is to watch them progress as time goes by. One year they are timidly flailing around on easy class II water – then styling class III/III+ water the next.

One of the guys I have really enjoyed watching over the last three years is Kyle. Aside from becoming a competent paddler, he is a really neat kid. :-)

Here is a pic his dad took of him a while back at the Gutter.

Tyler in Staircase


My oldest son was training as a safety boater a couple of weeks ago and someone snapped this nice pic of him in Staircase (IV) on the Payette’s lower South Fork.

Tyler Staircase 1

Make Sure Your Life Jacket is Holding Your Head Above Water.


After driving down the Payette today and seeing 4 rafts full of people without life jackets (my pet peeve!) I read an article in todays Idaho Statesman about…you guessed it – life jackets. I’ve linked and quoted it below. Go Zimo!

Pete Zimowsky – Idaho Statesman
Edition Date: 08/12/07 – Link to Article is HERE

The wave slammed against the side of the canoe and before I knew it, I was in a mass of whitewater bubbles in Go Left Rapids on the Main Payette River.Gurgle, gurgle, phizz. Yes, another swim in what sounded like a giant glass of Alka Seltzer.

Hey, what the heck, it’s part of whitewater boating.

Water whirled around my head. The sound of the massive flush pounding rocks blasted my soggy ears. Within seconds I popped up to the surface of the water like a super fat cork. Yeah, right on! I love my new life jacket. (Oh no, here it comes, another life jacket column.)

Wait a minute. A lot of boaters take their life vests for granted.

Wimpy life vests

You’ll see vests that have been stored in the boat year after year. They have tears, the cloth is sun bleached and the flotation is getting lumpy and has turned wimpy. The buckles are busted or the zipper doesn’t even work.

Swimming Go Left Rapids was a snap. My shoulders and head were well out of the water and I had enough buoyancy to flip my canoe over and get back in it with the help of paddling partner Wink Jones, who was in a kayak.

Several weeks ago I got blasted out of my canoe in Mixmaster Rapids on the same river. It wasn’t the same easy swim.

In fact, the flotation in my old life jacket, which was more than 5 years old, was bad news.

I had a hard time keeping my head above water. It was a shock, and it wasn’t exactly the coolest place to be testing an old life vest.

I immediately went out and got a new one. I decided to go with a life jacket with more buoyancy.

I picked the MTI Adventurewear Big Buoy. It has flotation rated at 26 pounds.

My old one was rated at about 16.5 pounds and that’s pretty much the norm on most recreational life vests.

The pound rating is set by the U.S. Coast Guard. It doesn’t mean the life jacket weighs 16 pounds or 26 pounds. Duh, that would really put you underwater.

It’s a complicated rating system but here’s how the Web site explains it:

“Buoyancy is the force, expressed in pounds, required to keep you afloat with your head and chin above the water. “

It’s your body fat

It goes on to say, “Since everyone’s buoyancy requirements are different — based on size, weight, sex, age, percent of body fat, and general physical condition — you should test your life jacket in the water to make sure it will offer you maximum performance when your life depends on it.”

Face it, if you’re paddling on a calm lake or pond, you’re not going to need a life jacket rated at 26 pounds for big whitewater.

Choosing a life jacket has to do with the type of water you will be paddling, your swimming ability and how high you feel you want to be out of the water while swimming, said Sam Dixon with Northwest River Supplies, a river equipment outfitter in Moscow.

If you’re not a strong swimmer, you may want to rely more on your life jacket and one with higher flotation.

River outfitters rely on commercial grade life jackets with high flotation, some of them with head pillows on the back, in case a person is unconscious in the water. They don’t know the swimming ability of their customers.

Some kayakers like the skimpiest life vests they can get but they are confident of their abilities in the water. They still have to be in the 16.5-pound range.

High-impact vests

Anglers or skiers in high-performance speed boats also need to think about the right life jacket. They have high-impact jackets for owners of fast boats.

Fitting the proper life jackets for kids is important, too. The Coast Guard-approved rating for youths 50 to 90 pounds is 11.5 pounds.

You might think my Big Buoy vest is overkill for me because I’m only 156 pounds.

It all depends on the person. It’s really good for me. Yet, the high flotation life vest is just as comfortable for paddling a canoe as those with less flotation.

The description said, “This 26-pounder fits like a ‘normal’ vest.”

OK, life jackets aren’t boating ornaments. They are tools of the sport.

No matter what life vest you own, you should test it and you should wear it. Jump in an eddy in a river with cold water to see how it performs.

Ask yourself whether you feel comfortable with the life jacket’s performance.

If you’re a flatwater boater, a motorboater or wakeboarder, test your jacket in the lake.

You’ve got to think about it. Without a life jacket, or maybe with a worn-out and defective one, your chances of survival decrease a lot.

When you look at boating stats, drowning remains the number one cause of death in boating fatalities, and about 90 percent of those who drown were not wearing a life vest.

The one thing you don’t want to learn is that your life jacket isn’t holding your head above water when you need it. I found that out in Mixmaster Rapids, and it was hard work getting me and my canoe to shore.