Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My first Oregon Kayaking Trip

An Oldie but goodie, my first trip with Jason Rackley and some of the other OK regulars!
Link to Jason's TR

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mini Update: September on Dead Cow


James, Josh, Joe and I met out at Dead Cow this weekend for a mini surf sesh.
Levels were prime for the little wave and I expect them to hold till the rains kick in for real. Josh was pretty new to the playboating idea but was tearing it up in no time once he stepped into James's boat, and James's was rocking Joe's C1 in short order himself.
Cheers and SYOTR!

Check out some photos here.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Chelan Gorge

July 25th 2009:

American Whitewater has been working for over 10 years with the Chelan county PUD to get water released and allow access specifically for whitewater kayaking.

The dam was built in 1927.

If you aren’t interesting in sardonic wit and ironic humor, skip to the end for a summary but make sure to look at the photos while you scroll!

Initially I had decided the 6 hr trek from Portland to Chelan falls was too far for the 6 named rapids but when my other plans fell through, and Mike L called me at 5:30pm Friday night, I ended up being pretty easy to convince:

Mike: “You want to head to Chelan Gorge?”

ME: “Not really, its far.”

…. 5 minutes later….

ME: “Pick you up at 9!”

We left Portland at 9pm and owing to the late departure, had an easy drive up I5, grabbed a quick camp in Cashmere, were up by 8 and on the road by 8:05 AM. When we got into Chelan Falls and to the take out park, there were only a small handful of the 22 boaters that would make their way down the river that Saturday. The flow was scheduled to be about 360 or so, to be ramped up a bit more on Sunday.


After getting out pink laminated permit cards, having a brief chat with the PUD representatives and our AW contact, conducting the usual BS session and shuttle coordination we were off to the put it, up a windy dirt road opened specially for us by the CCPUD. We stopped briefly to scout the crux gorge from the rim, looking at Entrance Exam, Throne Room, Pinnacle, Super Boof and Boulder Seive.


Once at the shallow cobble bar put in, a few more boaters from the Seattle area showed up. Including several folks who had been at the previous release two weeks prior. We welcomed the advice about each drop, most of us only having ing heard of or seen video of this stretch a few weeks before. On particular boater in a blue and white Burn seemed to know the line quite well and recommend several locations to set safety before paddling off down the gorge eventually leaving the one boater who followed him behind.

After some shallow cobbles, a few unremarkable drops on the toughest of which pushed class III, the walls rose, the bedrock appeard and we were catching the eddy above Entrance Exam. Aside from the aforementioned paddler, the 5 in my group were the first. As Nick, Mike, Martin, Phil, Travis stepped on the rocks, we wondered where our Bareback friend had gotten to. Our questions were answered shortly when we hopped our way down the rocks and found him standing, river left, at the exit hole to the rapid.

Entrance Exam is made by 4 ledges, each a bit sticker than the last. The first presented no problem to most, the second had a slightly tricky entrance and flipped a few.

Mike below ledge 1

Mike after Ledge 2

John in Ledge 3

Ian in Ledge 4

The third seemed fairly benign, though offered up some nice backenders. It was the fourth that most worried about. With its guard hole and flake, shallow left side and retentive right side, it had made several swim during the last release and this day would be no exception. I took to calling it Two out of Three since it seems, besides the first ledge, that you got to run any two of the remain three well. Heaven help you if you cleaned the middle two. We were naturally astounded that the speedy paddler on the rock below the drop would have run in, apparently without scouting and without safety, we signaled to him:

Question: “Did you” (pointing at him and miming paddling) run it?”

Reply: “Yes I did and its good (nodding and pointing at the left side of the drop).”

This exchanged was repeated several times since the hole was quite sticky and to run it without safety would have been some kind of madness. The answer was always affirmative, “Yes I did.”

Imagine the surprise then, when Mike and Nick reported to me they had observed a long curl of blue and white Pyrahna plastic at the seal lauch for the put it. “But,” we thought, “He said he ran it and pointed out the line so enthusiastically when we asked…” At some point this fellow paddled away and I didn’t see him again though I heard about an upside down line at one of the bigger drops, with a slide on the left and kind of ‘bar fight’ on the right.

All this was soon forgotten as we paddle off downstream. The group having consolidated at Entrance Exam, we were 21 strong. I didn’t get out of my boat again for a while, running the next drop with the help of Jared, a Seattle boater who seemed to be everywhere we needed him. There are c ouple lines that require a helping hand and a shove to end up on the correct side of some rock. Jared was always there to help out, for which, I think we are all grateful. This was followed up by Super Boof, a super sweet, no brainer boof with the option for a rock slide, or a straight boof.

Super boof

Next up was Throne Room.

At Throne Room, an off-vertical slide, with a kicker of a sticky hole that feeds into an overhanging right wall right above Pinnacle, a drop that had yet to be run when I was there, has an easy line, but don’t screw up. We saw a few wall splats, last minute rolls follow by folks diving onto the rocks to grab boaters before they was backwards into Pinnacle.

All portaged Pinnacle that day, though Mike looked at it for an eerily long time. I for one was glad when he finally shook his head, and prepared to portage. He just said “No safety.” A fair call since the Boulder Sieve was next up and the exit hole to Pinnacle was about as burly as you could find anywhere.

Mike takes one last look at Pinnacle before portaging

We were all once again assisted by Jared around the Boulder Sieve, and we were pretty much done. There happens to be some really shitty sievey manky crap downstream, some of which I ran underwater or upside down, some of which other paddlers lost paddles on, and some of which I hurt my shoulder on. After that, more of the same style couple bars brought us down to the confluence with the Columbia and the takeout where the friendly PUD and AW representatives were waiting with fresh cookies and a cooler full of cold soft drinks!

My take on the Chelan gorge? It’s worth it!

The water is warm so run the first rapid or you’ll wish you had while you are making your third sneak and second portage. Go when there is more water. Stuff will clean up and though you may not want to run Throne Room, you’ll be happier on the rest of it. I saw some photos of the higher flow Sunday, and I think I saw Pinnacle being run too. In general, you won’t find a river with water that clear, water that warm, rapids with that particular combination of challenge and consequence north of Ashland and south of Squamish. It’s unique, rare and worth doing at least once. I’ll head back for the next release, especially with a little more water.


Later, while chowing down calzones and pizza in town, the AW rep joined us. As we related the story of He-man, the speedy boater to him he confided that he had indeed seen the first paddler to come down, alone, in a blue and white boat, portage the first rapid. To which (perhaps beer induced ) cried of foul went up. As we put together the details in our addled brains, we realized, the early speedy start, the portage followed by the misleading “Yes I did” reply to our queries, meant only one thing: Premeditated Douchebagery. What is the world coming to? Remember however, the unnamed paddler is innocent until proven guilty and all evidence presented here is circumstantial and above all, good natured. I’m sure there is a perfectly logical explanation for the whole thing.

Check of the rest of the photos.



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

First Spencers Hole Rodeo: Results

Last Saturday a mass of paddlers descended on Gates Oregon the likes of which no home town, grass roots kayaking even has ever seen before. Paddlers came in from as near as two block, to as far away as the deep south. Car laden with brightly colored plastic fairly clogged the roadway all morning. Boats of all shapes and sizes from open canoes, Perception Mirages and Dancers, recreational kayaks, to new school creekers and playboats. The rides were amazing with the best ride of the day being a non-stop 45 second mobius tumble. A move previously though impossible, starting with a right to left split and ending with a clean air back-loop making one full vertical rotation through every axis and dimension in space-time. For those of you working on this move, the crux is forming a time space distortion that allows you to keep your body rotation ahead of your boat. For those of you working on your vertical hole moves, you know how important this it.

Elvis “The King” showed up in his Pink “Cadillac” Space Cadet and despite the slightly aging design, threw an amazing double/triple donk-loop (Double end over end rotation with three full twists). It was a sight to behold. It’s amazing what these older paddlers can still accomplish. Remember, finesse and experience will beat power every time!

The Mass Start race was a sight to behold… neither photos nor words could possible do it justice.

All in all, you just had to be there. Really.

Actually almost nobody showed up.

I blame last minute notice.

To those that did show up, swag was given in thanks.

A few of us are hoping to get something a little more organized together a bit later in the summer.

I’ll keep ya’ll posted.

Would anybody interested if it was 90 and there was no water anywhere else?


Thursday, June 18, 2009

First Spencers Hole Rodeo!

** Update: Date for event is 6/20/2009 **

Official and last minute notice for the first (that I know of) Spencer’s Hole Rodeo.


How: Multiple divisions, classes and lots of swag! Everybody has a chance to win and its totally free!!

When: 11:00 AM (Registration)

12:00 Comp Start

Where: Gates, Oregon

Meeting and Registration at the Gates Park and Ride here:


As access is VERY limited


We will meet at the park and ride and walk or boat to the feature

How: Multiple divisions, classes and lots of Swag: Everybody has a chance to win and its totally free!!

Access is tight and we really don’t want to step on anyone’s toes out there.


Thanks to Jana Krause and World Kayak for providing the resources.

Hope to see you out there.


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Let's Play #4

OKCC Play Clinic #4 was held on 5/2/09 on the Clackamas.
We had a nice medium level for which Joe Bobs, the bastard brother of the better known Bobs Hole was in at a nice friendly level. This is not always the case. Even at its friendliest we had a couple of swims from this hole, which dealt out some first time beating and some impressive rodeo-ing!

It was a good day on the river, lots of attention was paid to eddyline play, whirlpool play and some hole riding.

It was my first river back in since the Grand and it did not disappoint, there are still some big boils, big holes and big waves to be had out there!

Big thanks to everyone who came out and I look forward to seeing you at our last one, next month.




Monday, May 4, 2009

Grand Canyon Photos

It only took me a week to go from 1300 to 544 to less than 200 photos to post:

Grand Canyon 09



Thursday, April 30, 2009


- and working on the photos. Its going to take a while but you will be among the first to see the wonders of my recent Grand Canyon Float.

We did a 16 day trip with 19 wonderful folks (we traded at Phantom) and took out at Diamond Creek.

More photos to come soon!


Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Another Grand Adventure

Its been a quiet few weeks leading up to it, but tomorrow, I'm getting back on the Grand Canyon. I'm looking forward to giving my new Level 6 gear a workout and have some canyon time. Check back at the end of April for some long awaited photos!



Monday, March 9, 2009

Lets Play #3: March OKCC Play Clinic

The water situation is getting dire. 3 days of rain and the rivers hardly even bump.
But life goes on and we still have some play boating to do!

13 of us converged on the Bruno Mt run on the N.Santiam to cartwheel, surf, spin and bump our way down the run.


Michael, Liane, Michele, Bobby, Tren, Noby, Joey, Kent, Lindsay, Aleece, Willie and I met in Tualatin, picked up Carey at the Swiss Village and proceeded on up to the snow and the river.

There are plenty of little spots to work on surfing, carving, edge control and cartwheel including Bridge Hole, Zoolander, Sweet Spot and the Take Out Wave.

Aleece at the Bridge Hole

Tren and Liane at Zoolander

Michael on Sweet Spot

Nobu on the Take Out Wave

Check out the other photos from the day.

I'll be gone on the Grand for April but check back in May for the next Clinic!

See soon!


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rock Cr

Saturday Feb 28, 2009:

It finally started to rain.. early in the week.. then it stopped and all that stuff we had watched come in, went out just as fast but Saturday... Thing is, we were left with a sense of optimism and thought to ourselves, "Screw the Wind, lets try for Rock Cr!"


Only, there was a lot of snow on the road, and not much water in the creek. We started out day like any good Oregon February run: by hiking a mile or so, dragging out boats through the snow.


When we got to Heaven and Hell, we found there was wood at the bottom of Hell, though with the flow, the drop looks very doable. Mike L and Michael W were the only folks who were feeling like tangling with it that day, and Mike L is the only person to run it. Turns out that wood was more in play then he thought and after a quick rescue, everyone else seal launched in and we were on our way downstream.


The level as low, the company was good and after a more then brief look at 3-Swim falls, we finished up and grabbed some pizza on the way home.

Its always good to get on a new creek in the area though.

More Photos from the weekend:

Friday, February 13, 2009

Lets Play: OKCC Play Clinic #2

Saturday Feb 2,

Welcome to the second edition of the monthly Oregon Kayak and Canoe Club's Playboating clinic.The weather here lately has been sunny, cold and clear making for beautiful days, cold clear nights filled with stars and very low water. Last time we were on one of Oregon's best know play runs, Lake Creek. This time we were relying on dam release at a normal summer flow: The Niagra Run on the North Santiam.


Shuttling Boats

We had a gorgeous sunny put-in below Niagra rapid: a vaulted, short gorge with double undercut walls and an entrance that is just 5 ft wide. The rapid isn't hard, but the potential for carnage with a group of 11 just makes it not worth it so we put in right below it. Shuttling the boats down the walk way, on a gorgeous and relatively warm sunny day can get kind of warm in a drysuit so after a short cooling off period we got right to work at playing and found a squirt and a couple of holes right there


Cooling off and playing around in the water

Unfortunately, because of the low water, none of the normal eddy serviced playspots were in so we focused on eddy line and down river play in all the little spots, the type that every local knows on their home rivers. The North Santiam is no exception and conversations like, "So, just behind the next rock is a great little right cartwheel spot but you have to enter just square and be careful not to go to vertical or you'll hit the bottom" were pretty common. Sadly without any real spots, its hard to stop for photos.


Playing on one of the better eddylines

On a river with no "play spots" we still took several hours longer than usual having squirted, surfed, endoed and cartwheeled our way down the river so people were pretty exhausted and cold by the time we got to Spencer's Hole: the only well known, named hole on the river. Spencer's is a spot only a mother could love. It's intimidating, sticky and flushy, has a rock in the bottom, has a two stage attainment just to make it back up to the eddy, and a rock you can flush onto if you come off the surfer's right side of the wave upside down. That being said, its one of my favorite spots in the area and once you learn to work it, the possibilities are endless. Only a few of the troupe were still feeling up to throwing themselves in at the end of the day, with the sun going down behind the clouds that showed up.


Ann in Spencer's

We rounded out our day at the Sierra Mexican Restaurant in Gates Oregon and with our bellies full and our arms heavy we made our way back to Portland. Thanks to Michael for organizing and Shannon, Markus, Liane, William, Ann, Carey, Michele, Nobu and Willie for coming out, playing along, supporting and just plain having a good time!

Special Thanks to Liane for pickup up my camera at the end of the day at Spencer's!

OKCC Play Clinic #1

More Photos from OKCC Play Clinic #2

Throwing down in the Astro at Spencer's HoleThrowing down in the Astro at Spencers Hole


See you at the next one.


Lets Play: OKCC Play Clinic #1


A couple of months ago Michael Williams from the Oregon Kayak and Canoe Club asked me if I'd like to help out teaching some of the classes for the Club. I accepted gladly and offered to teach a monthly play boating class, on the first Saturday of each month with a few exceptions.

Saturday, Jan 10th was the first of those (We skipped the real first Saturday so we could all recover from New Years)

13 of us met in Portland to head to Lake Creek and one more from Eugene Oregon met us down there at the put in.

Group meeting at the put inGroup meeting at the put in

Eddy at Grassy Lawn
Eddy at Grassy Lawn

Lake Creek is one of the area bigger water play runs. There are tons of catch on the fly holes and waves to have fun on but we focused on the eddy-serviced feature know as Grassy Lawn. Its a 35ft wide wave/hole with good eddy service and good access. At the level we were there it was a bit shallow for big loops but it made for a less intimidating and more friendly hole for the group to go play and get some comfort on the feature and figure out lots of new things, even if that's just how to relax and side surf.

All Photos by Corey Morton

Aleece working on her righty cartwheelsAleese figuring out righty cartwheels

Shannon working on her spinsShannon working on her spins

Having a good time on Grassy! See you at the next clinic!Having a good time on Grassy! See you at the next clinic!

Check out more photos from the day!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

High Water McKenzie: 6.22 ft

Clover on the McKenzie at high water is rumored to be the best set of features in Oregon. At the right levels, I agree. I've been there a few levels, 4.5, 4.7, 4.9, 5.4 on the McKenzie at Vida.. at all flows its known to give up big moves on at least one of its several waves. So when I called Althea to head out to Clover at 6.3 I was really excited and so was she!


Sadly, 6.3 seems to be kind of soft spot. From what I hear, from those in the know it gets good again at about 6.5 and up or 6.0 and down.

Luckily, we had a secret up our sleeve! With a little help from Ty of WRSI we got our shuttle set to Silver Creek, where the normal Mom's Pies play run take-out it and we found our treat!

High water Neil's Point! I'd heard a rumor of a fantastic wave hole down there at 7ft and thought it would be worth a try!

Turns out its a surging, steep, fast wave-hole with a big eddy and easier on/off than regular Neil's. Only downside: If you are used to the nice surfer's left shoulder of LW Neils, you'll find yourself flushing a lot but if you are comfortable in a grind, you can side surf for days in the pocket between moves!

Check out some photos from that day and go try HW Neil's for yourself!