Archive for November, 2010


Small Wave Ocean Surf POV

Its been a while since I’ve been surfing and I was looking through some old photos and videos of surf in Oregon this last weekend. I stumbled across a video I made to test out my POV camera set up that I designed 2.5 years ago. Its small surf, but I kinda liked looking at the waves and seeing my old break and rip again and thought I’d share it with the world. The POV thing worked well too, I think.

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Coaching with Cardiff Canoe Club

Last Sunday I was back in my home town of Cardiff and was lucky enough to get out on the Ogmore River with Cardiff Canoe Club. Chris and Mark are both going for their Level 3 Coach assessment soon and were keen to get some practice in. The group was split into two and Chris and I headed down river with Sarah, Gethin and Phil. Although I was official photographer for the trip, I did join in all the exercises that Chris set to help improve breaking in and out, surfing, ferrying.


Photo: Chris coaching Sarah on the the lines of a rapid

To me, the photo above sums up coaching. Its first and foremost fun and clearly both Chris and Sarah are enjoying what they are doing. Secondly its about discussing what went right and then addressing how those skills can be built on next time.


Photo: Gethin breaking out

Chris worked with Gethin (and with the others) on breaking in and out of eddys with one paddle stroke. Its amazing to watch a 13 year old get a stern squeeze- 1 year of trying to get that move I still only hit it 50 % of the time.


Photo: Chris on a weir. This run is a weir fest.


Photo: Dave in his canoe

I had muchos laughs with CCC, I’m looking forward to paddling with them at Christmas! And I’m so happy to be using my DSLR again!


A Weekend on the East Lyn

During the week I had been watching the many millimetres of rain find their way to the river prior to the UHCC weekend trip to Dulverton. The webcam for the East Lyn was showing a steady 100 cm  (tope levels for this run). After a good night at the Bridge Inn and ear plugs to block out the snorers, a group of us headed over Exmoor to one of the best runs in the Southwest of the UK.

Photo: On the Triple drops

We decided to run the top section of the east lyn- Brendon to Watersmeet. There were some cracking rapids on the run; I particularly enjoyed the triple drops close to the beginning of the trip. Lots of nice rapids and one zig -zag drop followed by a portage river right. We probs could have run the double drop at the level we had, but there is a nice vertically pinned piece of wood that could upset the approach to the next drop.


Photo: Tim on the Triple drops

A bit of flat water and a few more rapids and we were at waters meet.  It was 14:30 and we had light until 16:30, and the group descision was to carry on down the Watersmeet to Lynmouth section. We got through all the rapids before the Gorge in quick time and then scouted the Gorge. It looked like it might give a beating, which i ordinarily would be up for if i hadn’t been paddling all day.  I portaged with some of the guys while Dave and Chris ran the Gorge. Sounds like it was a wild ride and very fun for both.

We hooked back up at the end of the gorge for the paddle out. Back to Dulverton and to the Bridge Inn to exchange stories of the days paddling with the other paddlers in our club.

Day two. Dave, Chris and I headed back to the East Lyn. I’d wanted to run the last two drops of Hoaroak Water (Trib to the Lyn at Watersmeet) for about 1 year and this weekend the levels looked good to go. Dave and Chris played rock-paper-scissors to choose who would be probe. Chris’ rock lost to Dave’s paper and he hiked up as we set saftey and camera.


Photo: Chris between the drops on the Hoaroak

The drops went well and Chris had a good audience of a bus load of ramblers. They were asking if we were doing extreme kayaking to which I replied “Oh…um ..YES…of-course…clearly; its pretty dangerous but Chris knows what he’s doing”. The drop looked a lot worse from where the ramblers were standing and actually it was a slide not a waterfall and not too hard…I did feel bad, but maybe it made their day a bit more interesting?? :-) Next up Dave then me. Dave had a great line; I was slightly further river right and got an autoboof straight into unaerated water. I could feel the viration travel from my lower spine traveling up c-spine finishing over my head. Ouch. But I checked myself over before running the next slide and no lasting damage; I just might be 5 ft 11 now instead of 5 ft 11 1/2″.


Photo by Chris: Dave featuring in the money shot

The Hoaroak feeds straight into the East Lyn, we blasted the first section of the lower East Lyn super fast; but making sure we got some photos. We looked at the Gorge and I was feeling more energetic so we all ran it. Totally cool and totally fun. I’m a bit gutted that I didn’t run it at higher levels the previous day. It’s very rare that I walk around stuff that I’ve paddled before but on that day I just wasn’t feeling it…so no shame in that.


Photo by Chris: Me and Dave on the last drop of the Hoaroak

We got out just before the rain started and headed back to Dulverton to meet the others and exchange car passengers. Will and I drove back to Soton while the boys headed to north wales on the hunt for some more exciting runs!


Playboating with UHCC

My friend Chris and I  ran a series of play-boating progression sessions over the summer at Woodmill weir. We were keen to run a playboating session on a real section of river so everyone could practice down river moves. On Saturday, James, Olly, Chris, Chris and myself practiced stern squirts in and out of eddies. We did some wave surfing and went for some loops on triple.


Photo: James on the second form top wave


Photo: Autumn colours on the Dart loop.

There we met our group from earlier in the day and it was pretty impressive to watch Dave M. try to loop his Nomad 8.5. Afterwards we spent a fair amount of time surfing on spin-dryer. Its pretty shallow but pretty fun.


Photo: Dave going for a nomad loop


Photo: Olly going for a loop on the loop

On Sunday we had a smaller group- Chris, Olly, Maria and myself. It was an awesome day on the river and Maria and Olly did so well with all their river reading and running skills and all their downriver playboating moves. I’d lent Olly my new All Star to use and I thought I would be in trouble of never getting it back…but he graciously handed it back to me after the run after teaching it new tricks for me. Way to train my boat Olly; thanks!


Photo: Maria taking a break from surfing

PB070057Photo: Olly on his tail.


Dawn Patrol on the Upper Dart

The UHCC were running a beginners trip to the River Dart, staying at RDCP. A bunch of us came down on Friday to run the Upper Dart at dawn patrol on Saturday. On the way, a couple of us stopped to watch the burning barrels of Ottery-St-Mary. Its a crazy west-country festival whereby locals run through the streets (packed full of people) carrying burning barrels of tar. Health and Safety officers look away now.


After a couple of beers (just 2!) on Friday night it was hard to get up early on Saturday; but we managed a 7:15 am, no-phaff, on the water start.


Photo: Dark at the get-in


Photo: Chris and Dave C. Check out the autumn colours :-)

It was Dave M’s first run down an English River- a seasoned veteran of Scottish waters, he said he enjoyed the run.


Phot0: Dave M. on Euthanasia


Photo: Dave M.

Fun was had all the way but particularly on Euthanasia and surprise surprise, as usual. It was a dry hair run down for all of us. This left us enough time to leg it back to RDCP ny 09:30 am to meet the others to lead a playboating group down the loop. Yehaw for hardcore; Dewy Finn!

IMGP0644Photo: Chris on Surprise Surprise


Photo: Dave after a great line on surprise surprise


My Oregon Family

After 4 days of boating, I had to bail on going playboating with Dave at Niels, even though it was a blunt-o-licious levels. My body needed a rest so I hung out with old work, Newport and kayaking friends for the remaining 4 days. Here are some of some of my best mates that live in some of the friendliest towns, in the coolest State on the other side of the world!


Photo: Me and theDave


Photo: With the famous Mr Stuckmeyer!


Photo: looking towards Agate, my old local surf break


Photo: Me, Mary and my favourite coffee


Photo: Me and biggie shortie at my old local…The Sandbar!


Wicked Awesome- The Truss

The Green Truss section of the White Salmon River is a legendary run amongst Pacific Northwest boating circles and is one of the favourites of Hood River and White Salmon locals. It is rated Class 4+  at low summer flows and class 5 the rest of the year. Snow melt in the summer and rain/snow in the winter make this gem paddleable year round. In terms of skills needed to paddle, its a step up from the Farmlands section immediately above it  and a step below the Little White section.


Photo: TheDave at the sketchy put-in

As I was booking my ticket to Oregon many months ago, I’d already decided that the Truss was  top of the must do list (joint with Opal). Although I’d paddled the Truss before, I had portaged Big Brother and wanted another crack at the biggie. We had near perfect conditions for paddling down. Rob, theDave and myself put on in rain and with the gauge at Husum falls running  a little over 2 feet a couple of hours before we put on, we couldn’t ask for better conditions. Meatball then Bobs were both pretty uneventful.


Photo: Rob smiling behind his full facer

Then as we turned the corner; there was the horizon line I’d been hankering after for 4 years. Big Brother. Yes! This waterfall is 27 feet tall. At the base of the falls, there are shallow and rocky bits on the river left side and an undercut, recirculating cave on river right. The lead in is a bit tricky as the flow tends to unsteady you and push you left-  this needs to be taken into account when peeling out of the eddy.


Photo: Big Brother – notice cave on river right.

Most people go off the boof flake with a strong right boof. Dave was first to go down. Its hard to set safety but we opted for standing atop the falls, river left, poised and ready to throw a line into the cave in case Dave got  stuck in it. As Dave peeled out and I filmed, he got a lot of speed up and got a right boof stroke in, getting a good line. But as he landed he unfortunately flipped.  A couple of missed rolls and Dave was swimming and as he pulled himself onto the river right bank, Rob and I watched his new Nomad plop off Little Brother, immediately below. There would be no way for Dave to get that back- we would have to boat chase.

Still 6

Photo:  Dave off the lip

Still 5

Next up my turn off  Big Bro. Dave set safety at the cave (there is a piton drilled into the rock with a sling attached) and I peeled out and off the lip. I had a bit of a squirly moment at the top when i got upset by the currents but I managed to get a weak right boof-esque move in and off I dropped. I definitely didn’t lean forward- gotta to get my weight forward on those drops before I get hurt- but I really enjoyed the drop. I eddyed out and hopped out on the bank ready to watch Rob (who had my camera so no footage) get a perfect boof off the flake. That boy can boat!

Still 1

Photo: Me off the lip

We commiserated with Dave and he opted for the hike out- pretty much the only not-super-sketchy hike-out on the entire run- while Rob and I continued on down to chase his boat down. Little Brother (14 ft) I screwed up becuase I left my boof too late, but a quick roll and it was on to double drop (18 foot) that is always a roll of the dice (2 out of 2 cleanish lines so far; waiting for the tables to turn). We found Dave’s boat in a flat section, rescued it and placed it high up on the side of the river so he could get it later. Only one little dent that was popping out as we watched.

Next up, The Cheesegrater, after which the horizon line indicated the Zig-Zags (upper and lower). We didn’t scout Upper Zig -Zag- Rob just gave me the lines and all was good- a fast couple of S-turns with wood. We did take a peek out of our boats at Lower Zig-Zag though. Rob gave me the lines and off we toddled…all was great with more S-turns and more wood. Then just the Orletta section, and a BZ-portage left to go…I didn’t want the day to end. Rob did an ace job of leading me down.I love kayaking.


Photo: Just finished Upper Zig-Zag; looking at Lower Zig-Zag


Photo: Looking down into Lower Zig-Zags


Photo: Truss get-out and Middle White get in

We met Dave and my friend Kathleen at the get out and went hunting through the forest for the River (and Daves boat), but no luck. Dave went back and found it and towed it out on the Halloween Paddle; so all’s well that ends well. Running the Truss truly was the icing on the cake for the conclusion of my 4 days of Oregon boating!


Oregon Visit- the Upper Wind

I’d been staying with friends around the PDX area (muchos besos to the Karpers and Sandra and Timo) and it was great to find out that Kim was free to boat with us on Wednesday. We’d had such an awesome day on the Wind on Monday that on Tuesday, Heather, Rob, theDave, Kim and myself decided to head up to the Upper Wind.


Photo: On the Upper Wind

The river had risen from the day before and we were in for a good level. Rob was in his playboat and tried to persuade me to use my new 2010 All Star (a huge woot woot for world kayak and JK) but I’m always happier to do new class 4+ river section in a creek boat before I bust out the play boat, paricularly one I’d not paddled before.


Photo: Fall colours and waterfalls

There were more or less continuous read and run class 4 rapids (apart from 1 mile of 2-3 at the end) and there were certainly some cool rapids on the run (e.g. balls to the wall).  Heather once again did a great job of leading. I’d liken the Upper Wind rapids to those on Lake Creek. The Upper Wind -at the level we ran at- doesnt have the distinct play features of Lake Creek (such as mill wave etc). Never-the-less it was a super-awesome run. With the fall sun shining through the trees on the autumnal coloured leaves and kicking back with good friends on the water, looking up at fir trees, I felt like I’d well and truely come home. I haven’t had that much pure fun on a run for a long time (probably not since I was last on Lake Creek 3 years ago for a PDXgirlkayaker paddle)…Rob was right though; next time in a play boat for sure. A comprehensive write up can be found on Jason’s Website clickedy click here.


Photo: Heather Herbeck and Kim Karper. Smiles all round!

Afterwards, theDave and I headed into Hood River for some foooood and a beer at Double Mountain Brewery…well and to get Dave’s new Nomad to replace the one he split a while back…The tree colours were spectaclar!!!!


Photo by Dave: Me taking in all the wonderful sights of the Hood!