Monday, April 16, 2007

2007 Collegiate Nationals Wrap-up

Well, after an intense 2 days of competition in cold, rainy, windy weather, monday rolls in all sunny and warm just as all the collegiate athletes are leaving Reno.
Big thanks to the CSTV folks and Jim Litchfield for throwing together another excellent event this year. Lots of extremely talented paddlers from all corners of the country came out, the competitions were tough and in the end we have the results:
Saturday's boatercross saw snow in the morning, leading many competitors to sport drysuits for the event.
The women's final was first, unfortunately local favorite Lizzy English (UNR) jumped the gun at the gate, causing her to be DQ'd. That left the race open, with Hannah Farrar (Dartmouth) taking first, Diane Gaydos (UC Davis) second and Kim Russell (COCC) third.
The men's race paralleled last year's competitors closely, pitting Andy Maser and Lane Jacobs (both from Oregon, and in the finals last year) against each other. After 50 seconds of furious paddling, Lane came out first for a repeat victory with Andy a close second. Matt Fithian of Garrett College rounded out the podium.

Sunday morning we woke up to snow flurries downtown, but thankfully slightly higher water than the day before. Good news for the freestyle comp. Hole #3 on the Truckee was a little shallow, so folks had to be careful where they decided to throw their moves and what moves they decided to throw. Once again it was cold, but that didn't stop anyone from going big.
Two 60-second rides with the scores added together decided who would move on to the semifinals. After the men's prelims, Jesse "Weasel" Murphy (UC Davis) was in first with a flurry of tricky-wus, McNasties, Phonix Monkeys and clean cartwheels, followed closely by Dan Simenc (Skippy- Boise State), Jon Meyers (Western State), defending champ Jacob Selander (North Carolina), Lane Jacobs (Oregon) and Eric Bissel (Arapahoe CC).
Following a short break, the women's heat began. These ladies stepped up the comp this year, throwing lots of vertical cartwheels, cleans, splits and big loops. Hannah Farrar (Dartmouth)- yesterday's winner- advanced to finals in first, Jamie Cooper (?) in second, and Kim Russell (COCC) in third.
In the finals, Kim Russell threw a ton of vertical right-cartwheels but didn't have the variety that Hannah and Jamie did, and ended up taking 3rd. But, it was 3rd in her first freestyle comp ever- not bad.
Hannah and Jamie did the unthinkable after their rides- tied. Which meant only one thing- another punch-out heat. These ladies were tired, but threw down good rides regardless. Hannah took the podium in first place and Jamie second.

The men's semis were intense. Defending champ Jacob Selander's rides were solid, but unfortunately not enough to advance to the final 3. Jesse Murphy, Jon Meyers and Lane Jacobs all threw impressive rides with tons of variety and moved on. It was obvious that the weekend of competing was starting to take its toll on these three, they looked a bit tired during their finals rides. Nonetheless, the rides were good, and Jon Meyers (second last year) got his turn on the podium in first place, followed by Jesse and Lane.

Something new this year was the overall champion- combined scores from the Boatercross and Freestyle- Hannah Farrar won the women's with first place finishes in both events, and Lane Jacobs won the men's, with a victory in the boatercross and a 3rd in the freestyle.

Good times were had by all in America's Adventure Place- Reno.

--Jacob live in Reno!

Oh- and videos to come soon. Just need to do a little editing on the plane back to North Carolina this afternoon.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Video update

So the food coma post-dinner has me stuck in front of my computer doing a little editing...

so here's a link to some footage from today's practice:

Wheeee! Click ME!

More to come tomorrow.... hopefully it'll warm up a bit...

Jacob out!

Welcome to the Icebox!

Landed in Reno yesterday morning, just in time to get in a good afternoon session at #3 downtown (where the freestyle comp sunday is going to be held). Good to be back at this spot- lots of tricks possible and not too hard to pull off a lot of stuff.

But it's kinda cold.

Woke up this morning to this-

Macy's backyard... uh..... man, i love february! er, crap- it's april, huh?

Anyway, the snow had melted by 11, so it was time for a morning/ early afternoon session.
The water had dropped a little from yesterday- making the hole a tad shallower and bonking a bit more regular. Not to worry, all the tricks are still possible, but you gotta be careful.

After an hour or so of freezing, I decided to break for lunch. Where I am now.

Drying off my wet capilene.

The dryer's almost done, and it's time for the afternoon session! Good times.
I've been taking a bit of video footage, I'll try and edit that up and post it tonight.

Live from Reno!


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Holy crap, it's almost April!

Huh, this semester is flying by... just realized that there's only 6 or so weeks left in the term (I should really get cracking on writing my master's, eh?), and only 3 until the 2007 Collegiate Nationals! (ooh! check out the website too...)
While Dan and Leif and others are creeking in Cali right now (I think...) I'm still in NC working away and tring to get out and playboat a bit. Been a decent amount of water, few days local on the Neuse and Haw and a trip to the Charlotte park here and there. And plenty of pool sessions.

Although today it's sunny and 80 and change, so it's gonna be a lake flatwater session.

Better than smelling like chlorine.



Wednesday, January 17, 2007

More eye candy... good stuff.

Been doing a little editing lately, here's a couple short clips to "wet" your palette. Best if you reduce the size of the windows media player window for a little more clarity.

Canyon Creek, Washington.
3 mile run just outside the Portland, OR area. Pretty consistent flows all winter long, good for your waterfall and mellow boulder garden fix. Here it is at a fairly low(ish) flow.

Falls of the Neuse
The classic Triangle area wave, here it is at night at about 4000 cfs. Good times.

And coming soon to the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area, the super low-budget film featuring some classic west coast water (and possibly more, we'll see...) and grad students taking full advantage of their very low amount of free time...
Melt preview #2

Take it easy,

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Liquid Habitat

Okay, been a while here. School is an ass-kicker, but I keep telling myself that it'll be good in the long run. But in the meantime, winter break allows for a trip home to the Pac NorthWet and nothing but kayaking. Did I say playboating? nope. Been home for 3 weeks and in a playboat twice. Yes, it's creeking season!

So for the last couple weeks I've been paddling the Habitat 74 and noticed that there's a lot of people out there wanting a review of this thing. And here's one for y'all! (good lord, did i just use the phrase "y'all"? man....)
First off, big props and thanks to Alder Creek for being so supportive for the last few years and letting me snag this boat for 3 weeks and give it some love. If you're in the NW, be sure to check them out, or just head to their website.

Some background first- me, 5-6, 130, maybe 135 soaking wet, paddling for 10+ years now, former pro now turned professional grad student (wo-HOO!), no manufacturer affiliation at the moment.
The Habitat- damn, that's a sexy looking boat. plenty of room to pack gear into (did someone say cali overnighters? i'll take a couple!)
For a 74 gallon boat, it definitely doesn't handle or feel like something that big. did a good job at floating over a lot of stuff (okay, at my weight i tend to float over most stuff), and kept its speed well plowing through hydraulics.
The defined edge from the seat to the stern digs in and holds nicely carving in and out of eddies, able to snag those necessary 1-boat eddies at the top of class 5 drops with ease. Once in said drop- predictable, easy to keep the bow up and easy to control the speed. Hit the brakes when you want, or hit the gas and accelerate quickly (holy crap, that's a big hole! gotta speed up!)
I was impressed by the soft landings. Boof the crap out of a drop or 45-it, the semi-displacement hull takes the impace and softens it out, keeping the back of the paddler feeling a bit better.
If you end up plugging the drop, the habitat resurfaces quickly, actually accelerating away from the base as it does. Nice.
Don't know how familiar you are with Canyon Creek, WA, but landing Champagne with about a 30 degree angle sent the boat flying away from the drop, 2 strokes later and I was set up perfectly for the next boof at hammering spot.
And comfy. But- again, the only boat I'm not comfy in is EJ's Fun. The little one. As in the one that's only 5-4.
Hopefully the student loan fairy comes soon and I'll be able to get a Habitat. Anyone want to buy a Java?

Oh- here's some pictures. Sorry about the poor quality, I pulled these off of video footage with an older editing platform.

Hagen Gorge, WA

Sweet Creek (gotta love that name), OR

Now, I gotta be at the airport in a few hours to fly back to NC. Ah, school. Does it ever end?


Tuesday, September 26, 2006

BC Without Beta

While everyone back east was facing the trials and tribulations of competition, Leif and I embarked on a kayaking adventure of our own, a little closer to home. British Columbia is large, full of incredible mountains, impressive scenery and high quality whitewater, and up until recently was largely unexplored... by me. Leif and I decided to go see what was up there in the wild and maybe, just maybe we would get some good video footage for our forthcoming kayak flick.

The first step to any successful mission is to go to the store and buy some guidebooks, topo maps, and do some research on the internet. We decided to skip that step and go to Skookumchuck instead. Turns out that was a pretty good choice because we had a sweet 5-day session at Skook during some pretty premium tides with minimal crowding. Big air was the name of the game as usual... that and trying to explain to confused tourists why we were paddling upstream and continually falling on our heads. We even surfed an early morning tide and were lucky enough to be the only ones there. By the end of those five days we were too sore to continue pushing the edge of the freestyle envelope, so we went to Squamish for some world class creeking.

Since we had no beta on any of the local runs we decided to drive up the Cheakamus river and peer into the canyon. It looked good, so we drove up the road a ways and met a dirt biker on the way who happened to know where the putin was. Sweet. The run started off with a technical 12-footer and then crashed through boulder gardens and ledges for a couple of miles. With our appetites wetted for BC whitewater, we drove up to the Soo River that afternoon, placed my bike at the alleged takeout and drove up the road five or six miles until we found an suitable access point. The run was even sweeter than the Cheakamus, sporting one superb walled-in class V gorge and numerous steep boulder gardens. We thought we were starting to see what BC boating was all about, but we were wrong.

We read on the internet that the takeout for Callaghan creek was at a bridge. A quick glance at the trusty road atlas showed only one bridge, so we parked the bike at a campground just downstream of it. Perfect, now for the put-in. It seemed smart to drive up along the road that ran parallel to the river to find a good access point. After four or five miles of driving up the gravel road we encountered a road construction project. We asked the workers where we could get down to the river and they didn't seem to know, so we continued on to a viewpoint for a big waterfall near the Callaghan. We decided that the tiny creek that fell two hundred feet into a rubble filled canyon below us probably met up with the main river somewhere. So we bushwhacked down the steep canyon walls toward the creek. Of course there was not enough water to paddle the side creek so we sloshed down a mile or two, ran three small, dried-up waterfalls and plopped into the milky blue Callaghan. This run was sweet not only for the 3 or 4 waterfalls, of which one is a perfect 25-footer, but for the steep boulder gardens and powerful rapids. This was classic BC creek boating. The locals had told us it would be far too low, but only a spoiled girlyman afraid to put some scratches in his boat would call it too low. We took out, euphoric from the paddle. Then only a long bike shuttle separated us from our next trip on the Ashlu.

Bryan Smith, a Washington state native turned Squamish regular, and his friend Joey were kind enough to show us down Box Canyon of the Ashlu. This is perhaps one of BCs finest class V runs. Having local paddlers to guide us was imperative, though, as many of the drops in Box canyon are both un-scoutable and un-portageable. I can’t really tell you much about the Ashlu because it is kind of a blur in my mind. I was nervous putting on, especially once it started hailing and thundering, but managed to style most of the lines. The canyon was phenomenal with smooth, polished, vertical rock that extended straight up from the river. The drops were steep and super clean with fun boofs and continuous action. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes class V and knows a boater that lives in Squamish.

It is important to note that the Ashlu is currently threatened by an impending hydro project that will siphon the water out of Box canyon and other sections during most of the year. While we were there, crews were already logging along the access road in preparation to widen it to bring in the equipment necessary to construct the dam.

From Squamish we drove over the mountains to Lytton, home of the Thompson River and base of Hyak Rafting, where an Australian kayaker we had met up at Skook was working for the summer. We sampled the Frog wave and whitewater of the Thompson, as well as the two beautiful gorges of Cayoosh Creek. But the real highlight of that area was the Lower Stein River.

The Stein River is typically run from Stein Lake down to the Fraser River which is about a 3-day wilderness trip. Usually the lake is accessed via float plane or an excruciating hike over snowy mountain passes for a whole day. Turns out float planes are expensive and we didn’t have enough time to hike in to Stein Lake. The alternative is to hike up-river from the confluence along a trail until you have gone as far as humanly possible and then collapse at a reasonable campsite. Leif and I and an Englishman known to us only as Burt, took off up the trail one rainy morning. That evening it only took two gigantic meat and cheese sandwiches each, courtesy of Hyak Rafting, and about 3-dozen granola bars to satiate us after the grueling hike. We stayed up late looking for meaning in a warm campfire before passing out under a tarp around 8:30. Once we regained consciousness in the morning we noticed that nature was all around us. It had snuck up on us in the night and now we were surrounded. There were tall, rocky peaks and forests and a clear green river crashing down through it all. There were bears too... we didn’t see any, but they were there. The woman at the visitor’s center had told me all about the grizzly bears.

As for rapids there was really only one. It began right where we put in and ended about 10 or 12 miles downstream when we hit the Fraser later that day. Most of it was really nice, continuous read-and-run boulder gardens. There were a few larger ledges and holes. And there was one sweet rapid called the Devil’s Staircase which is a series of five or six powerful ledges backed up on one another amongst a congested boulder garden. Paddling loaded boats through it was a little out of control, but it just made it that much more fun. Of course the Rocker allowed me to style my line through it. There was more whitewater after that, but it was just a blur of continuous class III-IV. The whitewater wasn’t super hard, but the whole experience of the wild Stein makes me want to return to run the rest of the river.

And that was that. We ran the shuttle from Lytton to the Stein trailhead, packed up the car and drove back to Portland that night. Leif continued on to Arcata the next day where he is bumming around for the next year. We’ll have lots of video from our trip in the next Sweet Bunion Production, but unfortunately, I don’t have any photos.

Dan Rubado

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Dude, don't drop that!

So, I went kayaking once, and it was really fun. Maybe I'll do it again someday when I finish grad school.
After a long summer of field work and an excessive binge of plane flights and overpriced airport beers, I landed in Minnesota to word at U MN for a couple weeks in a geochemistry lab. My job was to turn big rocks into very small rocks, and then drop said small rocks in lots of fun acid to dissolve away everything but the quartz. "Why do we need the quartz?" you might ask. Well, I'd tell you but then I'd have to kill you. Anyway, the end product that goes through more chemistry which I didn't have time to do is a nice, fine, white powder.

uh, does the DEA approve of this?
What's the street value of this stuff? Maybe I could pay rent!

What exactly am I working with again?

So the days would normally start out by walking into the lab and spinning the "Wheel of chemicals found under the fume hood", and finding out which one you were going to drop that day. Chemicals found on the wheel include- Water (you're probably drinking a glass of this at the moment); Hydrochloric acid (pretty close to water, it might sting a little); Hydrogen Peroxide (probably have this in your first aid kit); Nitric acid (Ouch! It burns!); and everybody's favorite, Hydrofluoric acid (Warning: Fatal if inhaled, absorbed through skin or swallowed. Speedy attention is critical! Get medical attention immediately!)

You thought I was kidding, huh?
What is this, space camp again?

It's always fun when the delivery guy brings more hydrofluoric acid, and you get to wheel a cart across campus that is full of 200 lbs of acid, each box has a set of warning stickers on it, one of which includes a 12" tall skull and crossbones with big lettering "POISON" on it. You get a lot of weird looks.

Yeah, I'm on my way back to North Carolina, might head to the brand-spankin-new whitewater park in Charlotte in a couple days. Stay tuned for photos/ video of that bad boy!

Live in the MSP airport!
--Selander out!