Saturday, May 30, 2009

Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival

The Upper Clackamas Whitewater Festival (May 16- 17) was an action packed weekend for paddlers of all ability. For me the fun began with the kayak mass start race. In this event 15-20 paddlers in playboats all sprinted through carter rapid and to the finish gate below. Throughout the race I was near the front of the group battling it out between 4 other paddlers for first place. I wasn't able to take first, but I was the third one to pass under the finish line. Shortly after this event was over my brother and I met up with two other paddlers who were interested in entering in the relay race. We took up the offer, and over the 4 part course our team took first place. To end the action packed day, my brother and I competed in the big air competition. This was hands down the most exciting event. Every athlete slide down a 30ft. ramp off a 5ft. jump in to the river below. I was able to throw down a variety of barrel roll tricks, and even attempted a few backflips. The highlight of this event was watching Steven Olsen fly down the ramp twice as fast as anyone else with a skateboard attached to the bottom of his kayak and throw huge tricks. Unfortunately I wasn't able to place in this event, but Todd Baker threw numerous stylish barrel roll tricks to take first and Steven Olsen came in a close second. I couldn't find many pictures of the event but these photos were shot by David Brigg.

Steven Olsen throws a huge kickflip for second place

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Junior World Record: 82' Metlako Falls

Christie Glissmeyer sets the new female record waterfall

For a while now, I've had it in my mind that it would be very possible to break Pat Keller's 75ft. Junior World Record Waterfall. And on Sunday that thought turned into a reality. Evan Garcia called me and said that Christie Glissmeyer and himself were itching to run 85ft. Metlako and that the flows were good to go. I knew this would be a great accomplishment in my kayaking and joined the two on their trip to Metlako. At the trailhead Christie, Evan, Erik Boomer, and some other buddies hiked the beautiful 2 miles to Metlako. We scouted the stout from each angle, and decided the flow was as perfect as it gets. Shortly after getting in our boats and boofing the 10ft. Lower Punchbowl as a warm up, we arrived at the lip of the beast. Evan and Christie were first to roll off the lip, and after excited shouts from below I knew it was my turn. I paddled toward the drop in total control and as I rolled over the lip I kissed my deck, let go of my paddle, and waited for impact. After 3 solid seconds of freefall, I penetrated the deep pool below with little force of impact. Surfacing in the massive boils, I hand paddled to a cove on the right, and got my first look back up at the 85ft. stout. Christie and I shared the excitement of having just broken the Female and Junior Record Waterfall with Evan. The photos of myself are still on hold, but before too long I'll have pictures to go along with this story. Also make sure to check out Christie Glissmeyer's interview with Paddling Life Magazine.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Summit Creek First Descent

Earlier this year I had visited Summit Creek in hopes of big drops and good whitewater; when I arrived at the lower gorge I knew I had found just what I was looking for. As soon as I found the goods I called Cody Howard and the next Saturday my brother, Cody, Brett Adams and I left for the first descent. Highlights of this run were running some super smooth slides for the first time, and scouting the massive Skate Park Drop.
I was really satisfied with the First D of the lower canyon, but I also knew that there was an upper canyon likely to have drops of similar magnitude and style. After hearing Cody's positive report about the upper gorge Erik Boomer, Evan Garcia, my brother and I went out to get some for ourselves. The upper gorge started out with some gnarly log portages, but slowly turned into the most amazing 10-30ft. slides.

Sliding a smooth 20 footer
After boat scouting and running a number of these smooth drops, we came to what seemed to be the start of the first gorge. A quick scout revealed a sweet triple-tier slide as well as a stout 60 foot waterfall all within a beautiful deep gorge. Third in line to run the triple-tier drop I ended up running the last section backwards but was able to correct before landing in the pool below. We took out below the triple tier and spent about half an hour scouting the 60 foot Summit Falls. The waterfall had a pretty smooth lead-in but also a small landing zone and questionable runout into two 20-30ft slides. After much speculation, Boomer decided to give'er. He landed flat after a sweet boof, but with his imploded skirt was forced to run the two slides following with a boat full of water. After Boomer's sweet First Descent of Summit Falls I knew the stout was good to go and decided to give 'er. Instead of taking a boof at the end of the drop, I went for the plugger line and ended up resurfacing against a rock below with an imploded skirt and boat full of water. Luckily I was able to swim to shore before the slides, and my boat got caught in a nearby eddy below the slides. Stoked as hell, I got up on the shore to watch Evan huck a huge boof, and again end with an imploded skirt.

Scouting the Upper Gorge

Flying off Summit Falls

Summit Falls was the end of the first gorge, but before too many log lams we arrived at the second gorge. Already knowing our lines, we were able to run this section much quicker. Our only stop was at the 50 foot Skate Park Drop, where we all went big and stomped some huge autoboofs. With a 40 foot vertical drop leading into a smooth 15 foot horizontal kicker, this drop is like no other, and is one of the most unique I've ever run. After a couple more smooth slides we ended the run with huge smiles across our faces. With two of the most beautiful gorges in the Northwest and with its amazing whitewater, Summit creek has become one of my favorites.

Erik Boomer drops into the Skate Park

Photos- Erik Boomer

A Week with World Class

Last week my brother and I were lucky enough to have the World Class Kayak Academy stop by for a week of paddling in The Gorge. The entire crew, staff and students, were very enjoyable to be around. I rarely get to paddle with kids my age, except for my brother, so this was a treat. Most the time I spent with World Class was on the White Salmon, and by the looks of their paddling I could tell they'd been instructed by the best. Paddling with World Class was a great experience, and I look forward to paddling with them again.