This summer has been the season of big whitewater in most of the country, and the Demshitz crew searched high and low to paddle every bit of it. After their freestyle stint in Colorado and Idaho, the paddlers found themselves in Washington running—and sometimes swimming—the biggest and best whitewater the state had to offer.
We caught up with team member David Fusilli after their latest video, “Demshitz tours Washington’s Stouts,” dropped last Friday.
CanoeKayak.com: What were your goals for this trip?
Dave Fusilli: Every season I have a list of “stouts” that I want to hit. Some I have run before, and some I have wanted to run for some time. Hamma Hamma has been in my head for a while. I was there a few years ago and watched Fred Norquist, Evan Garcia and Graham and Jared Seiler run Hamma. I was injured then from a ridiculous crash on Yule Creek in Colorado so I just videoed. It was so great to finally get it this year!
What was one of the more epic carnage moments during your trip?
Well it’s funny you ask because I’m about to edit some crazy GoPro footage of me throwing a rope to Bren Orton and pulling him across the lip of Hamma Hamma. It’s a double drop, with a 20-footer leading into a 60-footer. The 20-footer is a really tricky drop that pushes hard into the left wall in the landing. That wall is like an undercut catcher’s mitt, a no-go. Well, Bren boofed straight out and got pushed into the gnar wall, got pinned and swam. Next he’s holding onto the bad left wall. I mean this was a huge place to grab on … it was crazy. I throw him a rope from the other side of the river and pull him across the lip of the second part of the drop. He was about three feet from swimming a 50-60-foot waterfall. I still can’t believe it worked.
What’s the Tally?
Miles Paddled—Let’s say 100 miles.
Waterfalls run—Seven waterfalls of 30 feet or higher
Gear Damage—Five lost or broken paddles.
Body Damage—Cut thumb, cut forehead and sore back from boofing Silver Falls. I think that’s it, not too bad.
Swims and Bootie Beers—Seven swims so that equals seven booties. The best bootie that Demshitz uses is the Five Ten Water Tennie. Mike uses the Astral Brewer, but it drains too fast. Mike Sheilds used a sandal, which I think is a first D, but for sure a bad vehicle for drinking beers.
What were some other highlights on the water?
Aside from all the kayaking, one of my favorite things about paddling in Washington was seeing all my West Coast friends! Mike Shields, Max Blackburn, LJ Groth, Nicole Mansfield, Erin Galey, Rush, Kristy, Drew, the BDP crew, Lane, Trevor, Stafford, Isaac Levinson and I could go on and on. For Isaac’s birthday we did a ” Big Wave Invitational,” but everyone was invited on the Lower White Salmon, making 24 of us. That was my favorite off-the-water moment: so many good friends, and some of the best kayakers in the world, just hanging out surfing a two-foot wave. That’s how I know that all those guys kayak for the same reason that I do. We just want to be outside and are stoked for each chance to get in our boats!
Do you have plans for the next trip/video?
Friday was Freestyle Nationals, and two weeks after that is Freestyle Worlds. I am the assistant coach for the U.S. Freestyle Team so I have been growing a mustache and finding the correct apparel to represent as well as possible. I still need some old-school short coaching shorts; though, if any of you find those hit me up. After that my plans are up in the air, but when it rains I will make another video. At this point of my trip I have been on the road since mid-April so a little down time would not be too bad, but just a little.
OK we will see some Demshitz out on the water!
Stay tuned for more video on CanoeKayak.com from the Demshitz crew.