Tuesday, May 11, 2010

WCKA: Idaho

Just over a week ago we at World Class finally finished the last of our classes. To reward ourselves we decided to take it easy and travel to Idaho for some relaxation and good ol' paddling in the Whitewater State. We kicked off our Idaho escapade on the North Fork of the Payette River, basing ourselves out of Seth Stoenner's house in Boise. The NF Payette has always been a run that I've wanted to paddle and, though it was pretty low flows (800cfs), I was stoked to get out there and experience Idaho's most renowned class V run. For the short time that we had in Boise we were only able to paddle the Middle 5 section on the North Fork, but I look forward to coming back in the near future at higher flows and paddling the entire run.

Huddling up in classic Idaho spring weather

Seth Stoenner showing us the way down Jacob's Ladder

Olin Winberg punching through one of many holes on the North Fork

Getting in the boofing mood

Boise local Conner Jackson getting it done

Endless Idaho style whitewater

After a day of paddling on the North Fork and a couple nights of relaxing at Seth's house we headed north to the South Fork of the Clearwater. At the Clearwater we paddled the classic Golden Canyon stretch of whitewater for 3 days in a row. Each day, as I recognized the lines better and better, the run only got more exciting. This run had countless boofs, but the two stand out rapids were Chuck's Drop and Fish Jump. Chuck's had a few different lines, and we all had a good time picking our way down the rapid. There was a couple different options for the lead-in to Fish Jump, but by the end of the drop we were all funneled back to the center where a meaty hole awaited. Most of us were able to boof over the hole, but anyone who didn't was given a thorough beatdown before flushing or swimming out.

Brian Jamieson boofing a drop on the clearwater

Erik Parker boofin Fish Jump

Fish Jump Day 1: Boofing over Risto Beatty (he flushed out shortly after)

Fish Jump Day 2: No obstacles this time, just one monster boof

SF Clearwater video that Josh Larsen and I put together

Special thanks to the Stoenner family for letting World Class crash at their pad, and to Dustin and Seth for showing us the lines down the North Fork.

Photos by Matt Rusher, Jason Cohen, and Link Jackson

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

WCKA: Cali Livin

Since the crash a little over six weeks ago my road to recovery has been incredibly smooth and forgiving. After 3 weeks of resting at home I re-grouped with the World Class crew in Northern California and slowly eased back into paddling. My first day back I took it easy, giving up the 49 to Bridgeport section of the Yuba River to paddle flatwater and get a feeling of how well my back would perform. With almost no soreness after the first day I started paddling class III-IV runs on the NF of the American (Giant and Generation Gap). Again I came away from these sections of river with little to no soreness in my back and continued to paddle nearly every day.

The crew putting on 49 to Bridgeport

Seth boofing big on the Yuba

One of the canyons on Generation Gap

After a few days in Nevada City we pushed on to the Trinity River and then into Eugene and to the Oregon Coast. Burnt Ranch Gorge on the Trinity, with it's numerous quality class IV-V drops, was definitely a stand out run and I look forward to spending more time on Cali's smooth granite wonders.
In Eugene we paddled the Miracle Mile section on the NF of the MF of the Willamette, and an addition mellow section of the McKenzie River. The Miracle Mile section felt like a class IV version of 'Gettin Busy' on the Little White and offers a good time for any progressing class IV boater.
At multiple locations on the Oregon Coast the crew enjoyed abundant blunts, pan-ams, and airscrews on all the big waves. Unfortunately after my first day of ocean surfing my back was more sore than it had been during the trip, so I decided to leave the next few days of ocean surfing up to everyone else and took over the position as cinematographer. After the coast we spent a couple days chilling out at our teacher Capo's house, enjoying an endless supply of homemade pizzas, then moved on to Hood River.
Back in Hood River, my home, the group paddled the Farmlands, Green Truss, and Middle sections of the White Salmon, upper section of the Wind River, and of course the classic Little White Salmon River. In Hood River evidence of everyone's progression over the semester became relevant as 8 of 10 students were able to paddle the Green Truss, a solid class V section of whitewater.
Left with only a couple runs in Idaho and a week of finals in Missoula school's quickly coming to an end. So far it's been an amazing semester to say the least, and I'm looking forward to the last couple weeks of being a WCKA student.

Here's a some photos from a few different runs throughout Cali

Maestro Capo


Erik Parker

Olin Winberg

Seth Stoenner

Brian Jamieson

Another Cali seal launch

Capo Boof

Josh Larson

Seth Stoenner

Olin Winberg


A scouting session on Burnt Ranch

Straight from the Redwoods

All photos by Ben Kinsella