Author Archives: "Dave Shively"
Glassy water and uncharacteristically dry, chilly temps greeted 103 committed Pacific Northwest paddlers who competed on Jan. 7 for Seattle’s third annual New Year’s Challenge paddling race. The six-mile course started on Lake Union in the heart of Seattle and ran through the Montlake Cut to Lake Washington. All types of craft competed, ranging from SUPs and sea kayaks to canoes, OC-1s, OC-2s, OC-6s, dragon boats, prone paddleboards, rowing shells, racing kayaks, and surfskis.
If nothing else, 2011 proved to be a landmark year for paddlesports media presented from one important perspective: the paddler’s. Advances in waterproof camera technology and dropping price points have made it easier than ever for paddlers to bring back high-def reels from spots with real high-death potential. Here, Shon Bollock from Shasta Boyz Productions takes us behind the scenes of his latest release, Slippery When Wet, with a highlight segment shot entirely on the original GoPro Hero.
For Tart, an upstart long-distance kayaker and recent college grad who sketched out the Paddle For Wells expedition as a 15-month paddling and fishing epic in support of World Vision’s clean water initiatives in Africa, the shakedown on the Ohio was unraveling fast. “This whole thing is new to me,” Tart said in a telephone interview earlier this week. “A lot of professional instructors set out on these trips and they’ve got a system down and can really cover the miles. I’ve been hunting, fishing, canoeing and kayaking most of my life, but I’m a total amateur at something like this. The fun has been getting out there and learning.”
We paddle through the night, guessing our direction from Orion reclining on the artificial canyon walls. Beyond the last portage in early morning, the water was salt, mussels clung to the rocks and seagulls took to the air at our approach. Beyond the breakwater, the sea pulses with the minute swell of diminishing energies. At this time of the year, titanic storms batter the coastline with 20-foot waves and driving snow. As we turn our tiny canoe north, the Black Sea extends to the horizon in glassy calm before melding with the clear, cold December sky. Fortune smiles.
After its six-annual running on the weekend of Dec. 3-4, it’s clear that the Deception Pass Dash—a two-day, northwest Washington paddling festival centered around an all-craft, six-mile race through the fickle tidal currents of Deception Pass—has become one of paddling’s best, and most eclectic holiday gathering traditions. Check out this video, with some feisty bluegrass from The Pitchfork Revolution, that captures the festival, and explores what makes this unique race so many things to so many different types of paddlers.
Tyler Fox grew up in small-town Ontario (Marmora, that is), but currently splits his time between the Ottawa River and Okere Falls, New Zealand. “Doesn’t everyone have a Northern and Southern Hemisphere home?” he asks. Umm, if we could only be so lucky. At least we can live vicariously through the 29-year-old on the bleeding edge of freestyle kayaking, watching his latest video edit. We caught up with Fox to get some answers, and to have him weigh in on where he sees the sport of freestyle kayaking now, and where he sees it going.
Leaving Belgrade, we charged downstream on the Danube as the Serbian national police had given us seven days to leave the country or face imprisonment. We had made it past the gate, literally: As we crossed into Romania, we were emerging from the Iron Gates, the Portile de Fier, a gorge that stops and starts for over 100 kilometers, and in places shows 3,000-foot granite faces soaring from the water’s edge.
Southeast boaters have been watching Noccalula Falls for years. The 90-footer flows through a park in Gadsden, Alabama looked clean, but rarely had enough water to contemplate a run. When whitewater stalwarts Pat Keller, Isaac Levinson, and Chris Gragtmans met at Noccalula on the rainy afternoon of Nov. 28, the river was bank-full. Noccalula was good to go.
Located on Delaware River shoreline in the industrial outskirts of Camden, New Jersey, my improvised site was the worst I had ever bedded down in, wedged between an oil refinery and a parking lot, directly under a freight train bridge. Life was not good where I was, 300 miles from the source, 60 miles from the sea. But with a successful run, I would have two rivers down on my quest to paddle the five longest rivers in the Northeast.
Alexander Martin, 25, completed the first modern-day canoe expedition across America last year. This fall, Martin has been reporting from the field on his latest continent crossing — a two-man, 4,000-km journey across Europe. Martin sent in this correspondence from Belgrade, on the Danube River in central Serbia, at Kilometer 2,800.
Is this the biggest wave successfully surfed in a sea kayak? Well, not quite, says San Francisco-based sea kayak instructor Sean Morley, who caught this 12- to 15-foot giant at Three Arches Rock near Pacific City, Ore., in late October. Morley says he’s ridden bigger waves but it’s rare to find them so “clean and nicely formed with a long period,” and rarer still to experience the size, power and speed of the experience through water-level photographs from fellow paddlers Bryant Burkhardt and Jeff Laxier.
A passion for the art of solo canoeing is only one of the ways Becky Mason was influenced by her father, the late Canadian canoeing icon Bill Mason. Alone and deftly handling a cedar-ribbed, red canvas-covered canoe on a wilderness lake, Becky is a mirror image of her father. Like her dad, she’s also a gifted painter and visual artist, and a staunch environmentalist who carries on the family tradition of defending imperiled wild rivers. Her most recent creative effort shows that she’s also a skilled filmmaker, following in the footsteps of her Academy Award-nominated father.
Long before the Lumpy Waters, Golden Gate and Rough Waters symposiums, sea kayakers gathered on Lake Superior’s Canadian shore for the Gales of November Rendezvous. The event was the brainchild of Detroit-based paddler Stan Chladek, which he named after Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot’s famous ballad of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the 729-foot ore-carrier that sunk on Lake Superior in a 1975 storm.
A little Kodak courage provided Tennessee open boaters Dooley Tombras and Matt DeVoe the extra little nudge to fire up some of the Colorado high country’s creekboating proving grounds during the recent filming of ‘Canoe Movie 2: Uncharted Waters.’ The film, premiering at Canoecopia March 9-11, also includes the pair’s first canoe descent of Lower Thompson River near Asheville, N.C.
2011 was an extraordinary year for North American rivers. La Niña loaded western snowfields to record levels, and when the melt came, rivers from Idaho to the Delta ran outside their banks for weeks on end. In mid-May, the Mississippi River registered the highest flow volume ever recorded.
Canoe & Kayak had the outstanding opportunity this August to join Willamette Riverkeeper and 130 new friends at the Chatoe Rogue Farmstead Brewery in Independence, Oregon. We only had 24 hours to experience Paddle Oregon, the multi-day river trip that captures the spirit of the state through a tour of its largest waterway.