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.
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?
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.
The Wells Brothers, Todd and Brendan, certainly seem to be getting after it in Oregon this month. Two weeks ago they brought you Outlet Falls 2011, and now this… Sam Freihofer and Todd Wells paddling 82-foot Metlako Falls on Eagle Creek, in Oregon—in a two-man kayak.
4.17.11, ~2:30 p.m. Toketee Falls, on the North Umpqua River in southern Oregon, has only had more than ~75 cfs five times in the last year, because of an antiquated hydro-power diversion. I was planning on paddling somewhere else when I woke up in the morning, but looked at flows after a night of rain and saw the gauge above Toketee at ~250 and going up slowly.
Accomplished kayaker Jason Craig sustained severe injuries—pelvis and sacrum fractures, and torn dural sac, at the base of his spine—after impacting a rock while running an unnamed 30-foot waterfall on Dry Creek near Auburn, Calif., on March 20. Craig, 17, a world champion freestyle kayaker from Reno, Nev., was the third of his group of seven experienced paddlers to run the drop…
We’re not certain where this film comes from, but based on a bit of Internet sleuthing we believe it originates from Norway and this company — Panorama Hardanger. Either way, it’s pretty sick. Question: What does it look like to follow kayakers down Class IV/V whitewater and waterfalls in a helicopter? Answer: Play the video. [...]
This new video was posted April 10 by Wells Brothers Productions: “Tyler Bradt, Eric Johnson, and Todd and Brendan Wells paddle Outlet Falls in Glenwood, Wash., at peak flows. After our first day on the drop we returned for a second round, in which we also ran the first descent of the lead-in rapids to the falls.”
One of this video’s opening narrations says it all: “Day one, we found a dead body… It’s the second one we’ve found.” That sums up the intensity of Siberia’s Lower Bashkaus Gorge high in the Altai Mountains just north of Mongoia, tackled last summer by Sickline Adidas Team members…
Oh spring, glorious spring! On April 1 the California Department of Water Resources reported that the Shasta River Basin was showing 199 percent of its average snowpack. At the end of March, Northstar-at-Tahoe reported 42 feet of snow—the ski resort’s snowiest winter in 25 years. Most whitewater paddlers are frothing over the length and potential of this fresh season with the amount of precipitation feeling borderline biblical.
A landslide last week hit Icicle Creek Road, near Leavenworth, Wash., closing the road at the site of the slide and barring boater access to the upper section of Icicle Canyon, the deepest canyon in Washington state and popular Northwest Class IV/V whitewater kayaking run.