Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Swift Water Rescue Class

Over the last weekend my brother and I spent three days at Wet Planet in Husum, WA learning professional swiftwater rescue techniques. We spent our time in and out of the water understanding and practicing a variety of rescue techniques. I was already aware of and had used many of the rescue techniques, but methods such as the Z-Drag system and foot entrapment resolution were new to me. From learning how to tie proper knots for different situations to learning how to un-pin a raft or kayak I learned many skills at this course and feel confident to use each technique in real life situation. Instructors Jonathon Blum and Todd Collins not only knew the proper techniques for each situation but had executed almost every skill in their past experiences. I hope I don't have to be involved in too many rescue situations in the near future, but I know that with extreme kayaking comes these situations on a regular basis. Now I feel like I can resolve many dangerous whitewater situations safely and efficiently.

Monday, June 1, 2009

White Salmon and Little White Extreme Races

This weekend was the best competitive weekend of kayaking I've ever had. It started with the White Salmon Extreme race and Orletta sprint on Saturday. In the extreme race teams of three had to safely bring each member of the race from the Green Truss Bridge to the Orletta put-in. My brother and I teamed up with Tao Berman to paddle the raging class V section. The levels were higher than I'd ever seen (nearly 5' on the Husum gauge) but because the Truss was a local favorite for all three of us we were able to take first place with time to spare. The next race was the Orletta Sprint. With only 5 second intervals each racer had to paddle about a mile of class IV rapids from the Orletta to Wet Planet North. Behind Tao and Max, I was able to take 3rd place in this event. The races were all part of the White Salmon Symposium, which ended with a rockin party at the Trailhead B&B in Trout Lake.

Saturday night we heard rumor of there being a race on the Little White the next morning, so as soon as we woke up my brother and I drove to Drano Lake. There were only six competitors in the race, but four others were there to set safety. In the first heat Tao Berman, Ryan Scott and I raced head to head from the Gettin Busy to Boulder Sluice. Tao took off far in front, but throughout the race Ryan Scott and I battled closely for the 2nd place slot. I was still ahead of him at Boulder Sluice, but in the last couple class II rapids Ryan passed me and beat me by less than a boat length. Because his boat was leaking badly before the next heat Ryan let me move on to the next heat in his place. In the final heat Tao, Lizzy English, Dan, and I raced head to head from below S-Turn to below Wishbone. I was able to maintain my distance on Dan throughout the race until I went over Bowey Hotel upside down. After a sketchy recovery at Bowey's I raced the rest of the way down and finished in 3rd place overall. The rest of the paddle down was really relaxing and a smooth line over Spirit Falls topped off an amazing race. Two races on my two favorite rivers and a great party all in one weekend... Who can ask for anything more?

Layin Treats on Spirit Falls

Photos by Tate Taylor and Stiv Wilson of Wend Magazine