Monday, April 26, 2010

Robe Canyon Downriver Race 2010!

The 2nd Robe Canyon Downriver race was a huge success this past weekend in Granite Falls, WA. Todd Gillman put on a great race, and there was a nice turnout of 16teams! The weekend started out nicely.. I finished classes on friday, and was stoked for the weekend to come. Saturday came and in the evening we met up with a great crew for some of their first times down Robe. Rodrigo, a good friend from Pucon, Chile even made it up for the fun.
The crew after a great saturday evening run. Left to right, Rodrigo, Mike, LJ, me, Kurt, Louis, and Niko. Photo:LJ

We drove back to Bellingham that night where we met with the largest of burritos! Casa Que Pasa is whats up(if ya know what i mean)
LJ diving into a class 5 burrito. Lj is used to stouts so it was no problem for him, he styled the line and ate the whole thing! Damn thats a burrito right there! Photo: Rodrigo

The morning dawned and we drove down to Robe with the flows looking higher than we expected(which was great, 5.8 might be the best Robe level out there, and we got to race on it!)

A super good showing of kayakers at the take out, ready for the day's festivities.
Racers walking to the put-in. Photo by Ethan Smith. It was great to see so many teams fired up to race and tons of people just plain stoked to be out there. Gotta love events like this.. brings out the true kayakers. People are out there to have fun and run the river not to win any money at the end. I love the passion people have for our sport to all gather for such a fun grass-roots event.
Racers putting in on the flatwater above the run.There was a great showing! Photo: Ethan Smith.
The Racers getting ready for a great day. Somehow Niko and I missed this shot... Demshitz is out to lunch.
Lj looking onto Last Sunshine rapid, the third rapid of the run and indeed one of the sweetest.
Ethan Smith, Portland boater running last sunshine on a beautiful day.Photo: Cody Payne Thanks to Ethan for running safety/taking some great photos!
Chilean Paddler Rodrigo Tuschner running "da real shit" with that chilean estilo weon!
Rodrigo kills it and is always fired up to go kayaking, gotta love this guy, never seen a frown on his face when he's out on the rio. Check out his website, Kayak Pucon. If you ever go to chile, this guy knows the rivers super well and has a great shop in Pucon so make sure to visit his site before your next south american paddling adventure!
Rodrigo immersed in frothing brown that is Robe canyon.
Brian and Aaron Johnson, the winning team amidst some fun boogie just after last sunshine. Photo: Cody Payne
Kurt and Louis, the third place team killing it just below last sunshine, these guys are incredibly fast with some insane slalom skills. Photo: Cody
Me approaching last sunshine. Photo:Cody Payne
My teammate, Niko Peha killing it in the race on only his second time down the river! He styled every single rapid except for the last hole which got him good.... He did insanely good for only running it twice. Unfortunately he swam out of the last hole, but we had a great run otherwise and it was really fun running the rapids right after each other with Niko right on my tail. Good times.
Brian and AJ the winning team running super close at Last Sunshine. Photo:LJ
Kurt Braunlich lining up for last sunshine... This guy is such a stylie kayaker, absolutely crushes it.
Tretwold getting some vertical in Last Sunshine, the gnomes are strong here.
Me boofing Hotel California, a pretty big hole with Niko right behind me. Photo: Ethan Smith
Todd Gillman and Bryan Smith at Hotel California photo:Ethan Smith
Bryan Smith charging into the bottom of Hotel Cali... sick shot by Ethan Smith
A new-zealander boofs hotel california. Cool shot by LJ
Downstream view, LJ photo
Racers Paddling down from the finish line.
The Awards ceremony. It was great to have everyone there, a good group of paddlers for a super fun event.
Ben Hawthorne hands his Robe over to Brian Fletcher.
Chris Tretwold and Way-rad Mcgnarly got the Gnome to take home after swimming into the finish with pure style.(The gnome is the prize for the slowest team) Ethan Photo.
Here are the Final Results. an (s) means there was a swim involved.
(1) Aaron Johnson / Brian Fletcher (27:56)
(2) Rob McKibbin / Ben Hawthorne (28:45)
(3) Kurt Braunlich / Louis Geltman (29:07)
(4) Jon Prentice / Darren Albright (30:38)
(5) Sean Bozkewycz / Adrian Kiernan (31:59)
(6) Bryan Smith / Todd Gillman (32:52)
(7) Hale Hannaway / Jon Dufay (33:58)
(8) Brad Xanthopoulos / Marco Colella (34:23)
(9) Jonathan Ehlinger / Andrew Oberhardt (36:10)
(10) Scott Waidelich / Nick Hinds (36:41)(S)
(11) Steve Arns / Matt Kompass (36:50)
(12) Fred Norquist / Niko Peha (38:03)(S)
(13) Ken Olivier / Sam the Kiwi (40:27)
(14) Shane Robinson / Brock Gavery (40:54)(S)
(15) Don Beveridge / Darcy Gaechter (41:30)
(16) Chris Tretwold / Ryan Bradley (55:15)(S)

Overall it was a great weekend. Big thanks to Todd Gillman and the TRL boys for putting it on.
Photos by LJ, Ethan Smith, and Cody Payne.

Check back soon for a Robe Canyon Video

Spring is here! I love snowmelt.

Well the past couple weeks I have been paddling hard, "training" for the Robe canyon race which went down this past weekend(check back in a few days for a write-up). The snowmelt finally started up here in northern washington and some of my favorite rivers bumped up to decent(but not ideal) flows. I have been spending the last week on some of my favorite runs, Robe canyon, Middle Fork of the Nooksack, and the Horseshoe bend section of the North Fork of the Nooksack. It has been great to be able to paddle almost everyday. At one point this week, I paddled 6 out of 7 days while still being in school... that aint bad, although I wont mention how it affected my grades haha. I paddled robe 3 times, Middle Fork twice and The North Fork once. So in other words life is good right now. being able to kayak this much is awesome. Here are a few pics from a sunny day on the North Fork, the home class 4 run.

Me entering Bench Drop on a sunny afternoon on the NF.
Oh yea... BROWN.
Entering a lower in between rapid.
Soul cruisin' in a shiny new Jefe Grande... Lovin that boat.
Boofing into SAT.

A fun boof in the middle of SAT.

I then met up with Cody(demshitz made star) and took him down a nice class 3 section with a beautiful view of Mt. Baker Cody loves Demshitz.

It was a good day on the Rio! The NF is beautiful. Pics by Cody and Fred.

I shot some great video of Middle Fork that will be out soon.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Spring Break! Little White Binge/Robe Canyon

As final exams ended for the winter quarter, shouts could be head all over campus, "SPRING BREAK!!!!". Each person was glad to be done with classes and to have a nice 10 day break. While some people went back to their homes, some flew to mexico or drove to canada to get plastered. I loaded GnarCar up and had one thing on my mind. Kayaking. The water levels were low. I knew one place where even if it isnt raining.... the shit is running. The Little White Salmon. Probably one of the best rivers in the world, no definetly. I drove down to hood river with the goal of kayaking until my arms fell off. The first day we had a great run on the Little White.
Here is a great shot of Orion Meredith styling spirit falls like its a damn fashion show. Photo Fred Norquist

The Little White Salmon will always have a place in my heart, it has some of the most quality rapids out there, and travels though a beautiful northwestern basalt gorge with tons of greenery. The water comes from an underground aquifer which gets filled in the winter by rianfall, then runs all througout the winter months and even into the spring and summer. The water is Crystal Clear with an incredible aqua-marine blue tint to it. The little white is an extremely special place.

After a great day, I drove to the Wind River Festival which was a great time with good brew, good food, and some good stories around a bonfire. I woke up, and met up with a motivated Seattle crew ready to charge.
We put on the Little White around 9 having a good run, and my first run down spirit falls which was a success. Then we headed to the Truss to make it a double WHAMMY! By the end of the truss, my arms were sore and It ended up being a great day, I reached my goal of portageless Ldub and Truss. I said goodbye to my seattle friends and drove over the bridge to Hood River where I cooked some dank pasta in the parking lot at the kayak shed.Gypsy style!

I spent the night at my buddies house, and awoke being incredibly sore. Probably too sore to kayak. SHRED ALERT! haha

So I spent the day hiking around taking pictures of the waterfalls in the area.

Multnomah is a stout. Probably runnable(that is possibly sarcastic).

The Lip view! Holy STOUT! you can see the bottom drop's lip around 500 feet below.

Good scenery in the Columbia River Gorge.


After a good day of hiking and photographing, I headed back into HR, met up with some friends and hopped the fence into our favorite hotel hot tub. It was purely for therapeutic reasons of course. We did this everyday for the rest of break, Gypsies!

The next 5 days I ran the Little White everyday. I made a sick Video edit from some headcam footage taken over those days on the LDUB.

Check it out, personally I would say its one of my better Video creations.

Little White Salmon River Helmet Cam from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

And here are some pretty pictures. Spirit falls is beautiful place. It is a place that instills fear in me. It is a waterfall unlike any other I have run, significantly more consequential with Chaos below, and a bad cave on the right not to mention a huge frothing boil, or the fact that many people have had back injuries on this drop. After running spirit once and having a decent line, I was out to style it perfectly.

Jay Gifford Contemplating Spirit Falls

I ran and didnt have the greatest line... boofing too big will really hurt on this drop. Im really glad I didnt end up injuring my back. Photo By Erik Boomer

Oh yea! haha ouch! Photo: Erik Boomer

That was my second line on Spirit, one decent line, one huge boof, and on my last run I finally had the perfect line that I wanted oh so bad. Its in the video. Check it out.

My sad face leaving LDUB. I will be back have no fear.

It was friday, I had run the Little White 6 times and the Truss once. I was sore, and school was to start on tuesday. I headed north. After sleeping at a good friends house in Gig Harbor, I woke early and met the BHAM crew at Robe for a lap. Hitting Robe at a lowish flow isnt quite the LDub, but when water comes into Robe canyon, its a damn good day. It was still a good day for sure.

The Bham Crew about to hit up good Ol' Robe Canyon.

We took Adam down for his first time, so we were taking things slow, which allowed for plenty of time for me to hop out and snap some shots.

Chris Tretwold of the Bham crew in T1. Photo Fred Norquist.

Looking downstream at T2 and into the depths of Robe Canyon. Photo Fred Norquist

T1 and 2 are some pretty fun warm-up rapids, but once you come to Last Sunshine, Its on. Definitely my favorite rapid of the run.

Leif Embertson About to launch a sweet line off one of the greatest boofs out there. photo:Fred Norquist

Oh yea! The kicker giving Leif a nice boof into the fast moving current coming from the right. photo:Fred Norquist

Here is a short video of one of my best lines on Last Sunshine, God I love this rapid.

Fred Norquist, Robe Canyon, Last Sunshine W/ Style from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

One of my Favorite shots from the day, Jonathan, Chris, and Hale running Hole In the Wall. Photo: Fred Norquist

Looking up the Canyon with Faceplant in plain view.

Just after faceplant is Catcher's Mitt, a big hole and a good feeling drop to boof the piss out of. Here is Chris Killin it. Photo:Fred Norquist

Shortly after Catcher's Mitt is a manky pile of rocks created by a landslide that is normally portaged. Below the portage is garbage.

We wanted to attempt to cut a log out of Garbage that had been bugging us, and we want gone before the Robe race. Attempt we did or Chris did rather. However was unable to cut the log free due to surging water and sketchy sawing conditions. We concluded we would come back at lower flows.

Then we ran Garbage.

Leif dropping in. After Garbage, the rapids space out a bit, one of the best has to be 20ft waterfall.

Chris smear boof on the second drop in 20ft waterfall. This is a great one to Brown.

Jonathan, Chris and Adam coming into sight in Conversation.

Adam and Chris in Lower Conversation. Photo: Fred Norquist.

It turned out to be a great spring break. Im back in bellingham now, classes Just started. It looks like runoff will begin sometime soon, and be sure I will be out there paddling as much as I can.

Untill next time!