Archive for July, 2008


My First Boto-X…

…no, I’m not talking about the injections of botulism that seem to be so popular among the movers, shakers and socialites these days but I’m referring to my first Boater-Cross experience.

What a fun, low pressure gathering of the kayak tribe. Click the “read the rest of this article” link below the photo to read me write up. Its long, so you may want grab a cup-o-coffee.

Photo by Jenn Hart: Gorge Games Boto-X winners

Continue reading ‘My First Boto-X…’


Shark Season

It’s coming to that time of year; shark season. How quaint it coincides with Discovery Channel’s Shark Week. I dislike scare mongering and chances of attack are extremely rare, probably equivalent to that of being eaten by a bear. However, there are some precautions that can be taken.

Photo: Lost Creek State Park, OR

Here’s my list of do’s and don’ts. Don’t surf at sunrise or sunset (when visibility is low). On the west coast of the US, attacks are most frequent Aug-Nov, so try to limit your days surfing during these months to reduce chance of attack. Don’t go out on high productivity days (cloudy water, poor visibility). Don’t go surfing after a big rain (when the salmon are running). Don’t surf near the mouth of a river (sharks chase salmon and seal pups up river). Do surf with other people. I also carry a knife, not sure that’d actually get to use it in an attack, but you never know….


Spencers at Primo Levels

We headed to Spencer’s Hole on the N. santiam last Friday to see what it had to offer at 1240 CFS on the Niagara gauge. The weather was also coopertive and I busted out the shorty dry top. Only to get my exposed arms scraped along a rock!

Photos (L to R) James’ loop; handsurf; Dave bow pirouette.

The attainment was at a friendly level and so was the wave/hole. I even tried to cartwheel.

Photos by Dave: Me on the attainment; trying to cartwheel

James was going huge. Photo by Dave.

There was a tinge of burnt wood in the air due a fire closeby. Photo by Dave.


Some Thoughts on Playboating


Over the last 4 years I seemed to have noticed a downturn in the number of play-boaters I see on the river. This time-frame has coincided with the evolution of creek boat designs. Without sales figures for both playboats and creek boats in front of me, I couldn’t comment if the two are correlated, but I think they may be. Runs that were challenging in older boat designs are now opening up to wide varieties of paddler. However, I’d be sad to see people completely give on play boating, for a few reasons.





Photo: Chrisina R. on Grannies Wave, Wenatchee

I decided to concentrate on playboating about 1 year ago, after I suffered a neck injury. The foremost skill it has taught me is to automatically to use a low brace, which is key to preventing shoulder injuries. This is HUGE, ensuring longevity of my paddling career. In addition, it’s taught me good boat control and helped me dial into using my hips, feet, thighs and my arse simultaneously. It’s helped build up my shoulder, abdominal and trapezius  muscles. There is no doubt in my mind that playboating has helped me become a better paddler. I’ve noticed improvements in surfing, with edge control and river running with strength and endurance.


Photo: James at Spencers Hole N. Santiam

The best thing about playboating is that it’s often low consequence, no pressure. So, although there are 100’s of creeks in Oregon, that are very worthy of running, a day or two invested at the local park and play spot is a good compliment, in my opinion.


Gorge Games – Extreme Race

We had a tonne-o-fun at the Gorge Games last weekend. What a phenomenal event for highlighting all the outdoor living the Columbia River Gorge affords. The kayaking events went well, with two females, Heather Herbeck and Lana Young, representing in the Extreme Race. Huge holler out to you, ladies! Results:

1st Place — Tao Berman
2nd Place — Sam Sutton
3rd Place — Honza Lasko

1st Place — Heather Herbeck
2nd Place — Lana Young

No photos becuase I wans’t allowed to hike in to Big Brother- press passes were needed. Note- if you want to watch next year, voulenteer for shooting film or saftey.


Corvette’s First Surf Lesson

Vero took Corvette, her 5 month old black lab, for an impromtu surfing lesson this week. Looks like Corvette will be taking her place in the line-up pretty soon!

Photo by Yvan: Corvette, shreddin’ it up, with a helping hand from mom!


Spencers is in…

James and I beat the traffic on our way to the gorge by going for a spin or two at Spencer’s on the way. I’d forgotten how fast and unforgiving Spencer’s is. It’s a great place to learn to playboat because it forces good technique. The attainment was tough for me- a combo of Spencer’s being on the high side and me being out of shape. Evidently, James did not feel the same way. He was getting some of the biggest loops I’ve seen him do (without an over-thruster). The hole was flushy and it looked like the loops were hard to stick. I managed to get some video, but these were not James’ biggest loops. Click on the photo for the video


Niagara Section, Short Video

We paddled the Niagara section of the north Santiam again on Tuesday. It was a little lower than on Sunday at about 1400 CFS. At this flow, the narrows rapid was again looking a bit funky. James, Nathan and I scouted the rapid for about 20 minutes. The most-commonly run line on the rapid is the left line, indicated in the photo (marked in red). The right line opens up at the lower flows < 1300 CFS (red arrow indicates boof rock).

When we checked the rapid from down stream i noticed there was a rock sticking out in between the two boof flakes that could push a paddler off line (blue arrow). James and I were in our all stars and although feeling confident, we both opted for a seal launch through the 2 nd half of the rapid. Nathan , testing his new creek boat, and on the run for the first time, styled the second 1/2. We ran Niagara. It’s a really easy move, but classified a IV because the right wall is severely undercut with a cave.

Click on the Photo below to link to a short video of the only two rapids of consequence for the run; Narrows and Niagara

Photo: James and Nathan scout Narrows

The video shows how surgey the water is. Its one of those rapids, like double drop on the Truss, thats a roll of dice. As James says, you could do the same moves each time and 50 % of the time you are upright, 50 % upside down. James advised me to run the meat of the flushy hole @ the bottom of narrows and it worked like a dream (and I avoided that nice piton you see in the video)- thanks for the info James!