A look at one of the Midwest’s most popular kayaking events, this weekend’s 27-mile Short’s to Short’s Paddle, which has competitors race across a series of northern Michigan’s lakes and end at the Short’s Brewing Company production brewery in Elk Rapids, Mich., with a few pints to celebrate the arrival of summer.
ERIC JACKSON CAN THROW DOWN. The Jackson Kayak founder claims four Freestyle World Championship titles, thanks in part to his ability to break complicated play moves into their constituent parts, and repeat them on demand. So if you want to learn an advanced playboating maneuver like the blunt to McNasty, you want to talk to E.J.
JESSE COOMBS IS TELLING ME WHAT HE DID LAST SUMMER. “Imagine a 14-hour jungle portage with 90 pounds of gear and multiple rappels over un-runable 100-foot, 300-foot and 600-foot falls,” the expedition paddler says, describing just one of the four days he spent last August in Mexico’s Barranca de Piaxtla, potentially the deepest river canyon in North America.
Whitewater slalom followers knew it was only a matter of time before Michal Smolen became the top K1 paddler in the United States. What came as a surprise to many, however, was how quickly the 17-year-old Smolen has made the ascent. At the U.S. National team trials in Charlotte, N.C. April 15-17, Smolen defeated past Olympians and World Cup medalists to take first place…
The first Whitewater Grand Prix, an invitational-only kayaking series with 20-something of the world’s best paddlers, is underway in up Canada with two stages—best trick on “Gladiator” of the Ottawa River, and big water boatercross on the Rouge River in Quebec—in the books. Some video and results from Stages 1 & 2:
Mud squishes between my toes as the Halftime String Band takes the stage. My buddy Bob Spangler plucks hollow notes on his upright bass. Yesterday he led me down the lower Big Sandy for the first time, and then it rained all night and the Cheat Canyon gauge shot up to 6 feet. God, I love Cheat Fest.
RUSH STURGES LIKES TO GO BIG WITH STYLE. That’s why the producer and star of Dynasty, Dream Result and Frontier makes the bow draw to boof stroke his go-to creekboating move. This technique (displayed at right by Rafa Ortiz) makes it simple and efficient to line your boat up before taking that big, game-breaking forward stroke-whether you’re trying to clear a boat-eating hydraulic or land a waterfall with precision.
The run started calmly enough with some class III and class IV rapids. Then it transitioned to class V with some runnable whitewater, but lots of portages. We encountered some great rapids, amazing scenery and a gorgeous un-runnable falls. We only had a half-day of paddling, due to the morning’s preparations, but found a great spot for camping at 6:00pm and we were all in good spirits for the beginning of our adventure.
We like to call it a revival. After seven years where the number of freestyle competitions remained mostly stagnant (and low, at that), as many as 60 new events have sprung up across North America in the last two years. Freestyle boaters now have their pick of nearly 200 competitions in 25 states. The trend begs the question: Can freestyle return to the top of the kayaking hierarchy, a position it held for much of the late 1990s and early 2000s?
The run started calmly enough with some Class III and Class IV rapids. Then it transitioned to Class V with some runnable whitewater, but lots of portages. We encountered some great rapids, amazing scenery and a gorgeous un-runnable falls. We only had a half-day of paddling, due to the morning’s preparations, but found a great spot for camping at 6 p.m. and we were all in good spirits for the beginning of our adventure.
Well, here it is. The highly anticipated release of the 4th of 7 Slippery When Wet trailers featuring the man, the myth, the legend, Ben Stookesberry. This man has proven himself a world-class filmmaker, kayak icon, and easily one of the top expedition kayakers on the planet.
Name a steep creek competition after the “Northwest,” a region known for capricious weather and copious precipitation, and it should be no surprise when river levels skyrocket overnight. Still, waking up to three times as much water flowing through the narrow gorges on the East Fork of the Lewis River elicited surprise—and trepidation—from most competitors.
Earlier this month, Darrin Kimbler launched his canoe at the mouth of the Columbia River, near Astoria, Ore., with his dog, Mike, and a full load of gear. If all goes according to plan—and according to Kimbler’s blog, CanoeAcrossAmerica.com, not all has gone according to plan already—Kimbler and Mike will paddle into Key West, Fla., in eight months time.