On a clear October day in the middle of the Ka’iwi Channel, the island of Oahu is a distant smudge on the horizon and 45-foot outrigger canoes, each carrying six strong men paddling full out, appear only as rocking torsos and slashing paddles glimpsed amid the swell rolling down from the north.
With wildfires affecting some 2,700-acres of northeastern Minnesota’s Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, paddlers are being forewarned of “rolling closures” in certain burn zones. Still, officials and locals are saying the Pagami Creek Fire—aflame since it was first detected, Aug. 18, after a lightning strike—has yet to seriously impact paddlers and paddling opportunities.
Professional kiteboarder Tonia Farman launched Athletes for Cancer in 2007 in response to her brother’s yearlong battle with leukemia, the disease that ultimately took his life. While her brother was subject to a suite of medical tests and treatments, Farman resolved, “We needed to do something other than just sit and watch.” The result: a fundraising and athletic challenge that’s evolved into the annual summer Tenacity Games.
Last Thursday, July 21, Skip Ciccarelli set a new standard for the fastest through-paddle of the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Ciccarelli, a high school shop teacher from central Massachusetts, completed the 740-mile route across parts of four northeastern states and one Canadian province in 25 days—besting the previous record by a full seven days.
With a flow of 13,400 cfs, the Wenatchee River was cranking for this June’s 2011 Wenatchee River Festival. Thirty-three paddlers ranging in age from 13 to 67 competed in a variety of events ranging from a downriver race and river games to a surf competition in the world-class Rodeo Hole this June 11.
After 460 grueling miles of turbulent waters, frigid cold nights, aching bodies and 50-plus hours of paddling on the Yukon River, the two-time defending champion team, The Texans, emerged victorious as the winner of the 13th Annual Yukon River Quest on Friday. As their boat came to a stop on the banks of the Yukon River, the three-time winners dawned humbling smiles.
Billed at “The World’s Toughest Canoe Race,” the Texas Water Safari will celebrate its 50th anniversary in the summer of 2012. Starting this year on June 11, the Water Safari sends teams in canoes and kayaks over a 260-mile course from San Marcos, near Austin, Texas, to Seadrift on the Texas Gulf coast.
It is a cool, overcast morning (12 degrees C) and paddlers are slowly making their way to the edge of the Yukon River with boats in tow. By 11:30 a.m. yesterday, June 29, the banks are packed—support crews, boats, fans and officials—for the start of the 13th annual Yukon River Quest, a 460 mile (740km) paddle down the Yukon River.
The 2011 International Canoe Federation Freestyle Kayak World Championships could be called Dane’s party, as U.S. 17-year-old paddler Dane Jackson was not only the first and only person to ever compete in all four freestyle disciplines, but also took top honors in three of the four. The Tennessee teen also won bronze in the other.
The 63rd annual edition of the FIBArk Whitewater Festival went down over the weekend in Salida, Colo., with a multitude of events on and off the water. By Sunday afternoon, we learned from the New Belgium beer vendors that festival goers had ghosted some 100 kegs of beer and another vendor nearby at the downtown park, the festival’s HQ, had sold some 700 to 800 roasted turkey legs.
ear-mutiny comes on Day Three of an early-season canoe trip in the wilds of northeastern Ontario. We came to Temagami, a 6,000 square-mile canoe-tripping paradise, to visit a lake that was named after my great-grandfather over a century ago. Marooned on icebound Smoothwater Lake, it’s painfully clear we’re not going to make it to Mihell Lake.
There will be grass skirts, leis and luaus, Hawaiian beer—Primo, is the official beer sponsor—and of course a whole lot of surfing on some of the heaviest water ever seen in western Colorado. Flows at the Glenwood Springs, Colo., play park wave hit unprecedented levels this week—geese, apparently, can surf 25,000-plus cfs, no worries—but then again the park has only been around since March 2008.
TOM BYERS’ DARK, DUSTY CANOE WORKSHOP IS CLUTTERED WITH EVERYTHING EXCEPT POWER TOOLS. The accomplished backwoods builder shapes immaculate birchbark craft by axe, knife, awl, and bit brace. Hundreds of feet of peeled jack pine roots join the pieces, all products of the northern forest-birchbark skin, white cedar ribs and sheathing, spruce gum-steeped in the indigenous heritage of this centuries-old alchemy.
The traveling carnival that is freestyle kayaking pulled into Vail, Colo., over the weekend for the 10th annual Teva Mountain Games. Emily Jackson—no surprise here—captured her seventh-straight TMG kayak freestyle title, while the other Jacksons—Emily’s dad, Eric, and brother, Dane—settled for second and third place in the men’s finals on Saturday behind Colorado paddler Dustin Urban…