Monday, September 29, 2008

Cali-Burn Fest '08


October 10-12, 2008
Cali-Burn Fest ‘08

Arcata, California

Combining an Explosive Big Air Ocean Expression Session with TWO days of racing through Burnt Ranch Gorge, this year's Cali-Burn Fest is set to be one hell of a good time!

This October 10th-12th when the local rivers are dry and most paddlers have all but given up on paddling options, there is one spot on the West Coast that will be going off harder than ever. Building on the success of years past, the 4th annual Cali-Burn Fest will consist of 5 radically different events: Ocean Surf, Open Downriver, Slalom, Boater-X and Team Relay. During which paddlers will experience the magnificent Humboldt County redwoods, the beauty and possibly huge surf of the Pacific Ocean, and the Class IV/V awe inspiring wonder of the Trinity River known as Burnt Ranch Gorge.

In addition to a great event Cali-Product is pleased to announce that all funds generated from this year’s festival will be donated to the Sun Catchers Project. Founded by Rita Riewerts, The Sun Catchers Project is a non-profit organization which builds and donates solar ovens to impoverished African villages. These ovens come in two sizes; the larger of which can cook up to 1,500 meals a day! For her to be able to continue this great cause she needs your support. If you plan on heading out for the race and can help out with a donation to her organization that would be awesome!

While in Humboldt, think Green! For this reason and many others the Cali-Burn Fest will be a “Carbon Negative” Festival. During the weekend Cali-Product will be polling racers on how far they traveled as a result of the festival. After collecting the total number of estimated vehicle miles, C.P. will purchase an even greater number of Carbon Credits than what was emitted.

- Paddlers doing their part to make the World a cooler place.

Presented by: Cali-Product, Kokatat, Colorado Kayak Supply, Sun Catchers Project, Farmer Brown’s Garden Supply, American Whitewater, and Canoe & Kayak Magazine.

For those in Arcata or anyone who can rally up early, check out: - Subliminal Sabatoge & Adrenaline Rush at Humbrews, Thursday October 9th. 9pm $5 Doors. Details on the poster.

More info at

Feel free to email me if you have any questions.


Paulgamache at

Monday, September 15, 2008

Final World Cup Mission: Thun, Switzerland

Our third and final destination on the World Cup Tour was Thun, Switzerland.  The rain finally stopped, all the kayakers were camped in a tiny parking lot, and the surf wave was on a beautiful river in the middle of an incredible city.  What a terrific way to end the trip!


Trying to join the Swiss Army.  
They didn't let us keep the hats.

The wave here was created by adjusting the gate positions on the weir.  It was pretty amazing how the wave could change from flat to steep and fun in a couple of minutes. 

Nadia, Pringles, and my camp spot!

The lake upstream of the playspot.

jed selby
17th - Thun

dustin urban
5th - Thun
3rd - Overall

michael palmer
10th - Thun
3rd - Overall

My move for the Big Air Competition. 
Unfortunately my teammates fell in before pulling off their entry moves.  And, if you were wondering, swimming with 3 boats tied together is NOT easy.
probably last - Big Air 
12th - Thun
13th - Overall

King of the Wave Practice Session

king of the wave

I think Kebabs might be the Swiss National food.  
Regardless, that is all we could afford to eat during our stay in Switzerland.  A McDonalds value meal was $12.  A small Starbuck's frappucccino was $8.50.  Fortunately, camping in the parking lot was FREE.

Swiss flag lined street in Zurich.

Thanks to the Jackson Crew who drove Nadia and I to Zurich so we could spend our last day in Europe exploring the city's art museums, architecture, and kebab shops! 

Until next time, we kiss you goodbye!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this trip possible!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

World Cup Mission Part 3: Augsburg, Germany

Well, 'Three Girls and two kayaks' found a lift to the next event in Augsburg. Despite being significantly less comfortable than a train ride, it was a lot more enjoyable. After loading 3 American girls, a Swede, a hilarious Brit, and a 6-pack of pink Bitter Shock for Women (Czech energy drink) into the car pictured below we were low-riding our way to Deutschland.

Thanks for the ride Pringles! And, no, the car is NOT larger than it appears.

Unfortunately, Pringles was arrested by the German police for illegally driving Adriene over the border without a passport. (She left it in her bag, which was in the Swedish Team's van).

Fortunately, after sitting off the side of the autobahn for over an hour, Adriene was only fined 20 euros and the handcuffs were only a joke and a funny picture.

No swimming?

Thankfully there was a Rescue Team at the German event so no one would die if they did happen to swim. Diving into the shallow concrete course with sneakers, a wetsuit, and no helmets, I am surprised that a kayaker did not have to rescue a paralyzed rescue team. But, they did provide a sense of security when playboating in the hole?

LP surfing Augsburg's feature, which was a fun and fast hole.
This spot was a lot of fun to play in, but waiting in line clinging to the concrete walls was not quite as enjoyable.

Dustin Urban going HUGE!

Team Berghoura (consisting of Pringles, the Swedish Team, and the 3 American girls) killing it in the cardboard boat race.

Overall Results for the Colorado Crew:
1st - Dustin Urban K1M
16th - Jed Selby K1M
3rd - Michael Palmer K1JM
19th - Nicole Mansfield K1W
1st - Nadia Almuti and Nicole Mansfield's taping skills, which helped lead the Swedish cardboard boat to victory!

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Gnarrows Race - 08

If you have to live and work a normal job in Colorado, Fort Collins is a pretty great place to be. While we don’t have a playpark or even a play feature worth talking about the Cache la Poudre has some of the best river running play and creeking in Colorado. One of my favorite runs in the drainage is the Narrows or lately as we locals call it the Gnarrows. If you live in Fort Collins the Narrows is your backyard creeking run, you can get to it in about 45min from town, it this first section to come in, the last to go out, and might the best roadside run in Colorado. The Gnarrows has it all sweet boofs, a little gnar gnar at most levels, lots of eddies, difficult eddy linkages thru the rapids to build your skills and stroke repertoire, and as of the last three years the Gnarrows race.

I’m not sure when the idea for a race was conceived but three years ago is when it first officially took place. The concept for the “non-race” has always been pretty simple and has entailed a preliminary boater cross heat through the entire run, gentlemen rules applying in the meat, with the top two advancing into the next round and a finals heat in the lowers, again boater cross style. There are no stop watches, only the safety your friends are willing to provide, and typically lots of pre and post smack talk. The winner mainly gets the pride of knowing he beat all his buddy’s, a Gnarrows belt buckle with the past winners engraved on the back, and also gets to call the specifics of next years race.

Here’s some pics from this years event courtesy of Jeff Burley (JF) and Alfie Umbhau (AU)

The Gnarrows Posse 08. It doesn't get much better than this. AU
Cutch and this years winner in fine form in Heat 1 of the Prelims. JB

Mr. Stafford, last years winner, in Heat 2 of the Prelims. JB

Who is that guy? Heat4 of Prelims. JB
Mr. Huck'n Duckie himself coming thru lowers. JB
I'm not sure if thats the loof of determination or exhaustion but here's Heat1 of the Semi's. JB
Adrock showing us how its done - JB
The Finals - While I'd like to say I the placing remained the same through the finish, Cutch pulled it out in the end and came away with the Buckle. JB
This year’s the “non-event” went off spectacularly. We had the most participants yet, a few surprising results and post race activities, and had to add a semifinal heat to whittle the competition down to four in the final heat. Wile I was bummed I didn’t come away with the buckle and even more bummed it left the Fort and now resides in Denver I couldn’t have lost to a better guy.

Friday, September 05, 2008

World Cup Mission Part 2: Prague

After 3 flights and 45 minutes of sleep, Nadia Almuti and I finally arrive in Prague.  Jakub, the Czech paddler assigned to shuttle us back to the kayak course, fortunately is easy to spot as he stands in the crowd wearing Wavesport apparel.  But, our luggage is not as easy to find.  Even the airport employees can not figure out where in the world it might be located.  Awesome.  They promise to call Jakub as soon as they find anything out.  Fortunately Nadia and my carry on backpacks are filled solely with practical items; only yarn.  Yet again, awesome.  Atleast Jakub is friendly and on the drive to the course teaches us important Czech words including thanks, stripper, and beer. 

Tired of watching other people playboat while I was sitting there wondering if my kayak would even arrive, Nadia and I decided to explore the surrounding area.  Unable to decipher Czech, it is unclear what we found, but it certainly was incredible.  

Day 2 without a kayak.  I think this monkey sums up about how I felt.  I'll spare you the rest of the animal pictures I took, but if you ever happen to be in Prague, make sure you check out the zoo, which is one of the top 10 in the world.  And, if you are caught wondering like Emily Jackson 'What keeps the bats in the bat exhibit,' just linger a moment longer and you will realize they are flying by your head, lurking in the shadows, and there are probably more in the hallway then in the actual exhibit.  

8pm on day 2 our luggage finally arrives!!!   


Yes, that is a table with a self-serving beer tap.  

Mikael Ekstrom proudly showing table 14's movement to 3rd place in the restaurant's beer tally.  Table 14, which featured Team Sweden, Nadia, Adrienne Levknecht, and myself never made it to the top 10 in the overall city rankings though.

Nadia's pointing the way to the whitewater park.
Notice everything is wet.
It rained... a lot!

Here is a view of the playspot in the slalom course where the event was held.  The course is a concrete channel separated from the main part of the river.  Holes and waves are created by tires and concrete and the eddies are significantly less friendly than the play features in Colorado.

Clay Wright judging with Nadia his scribe.  I wish I knew what they just saw.

It is 8am.  Time for K1 women's prelims.  
Here I am practicing my exit move taught to me by Sweden's Erik Westberg.
Clearly I do not know how to play the guitar.

Glenwood, Colorado local Michael Palmer showing off his McNasty.

Eric Jackson

Buena Vista's Dustin Urban doing something sick.

Results from the Colorado Crew
Michael Palmer - 4th K1 JM
Dustin Urban - 5th K1 M
Jed Selby - 20th K1 M
Nicole Mansfield - 13th K1 W

"3 Girls and 2 Kayaks need a ride to Germany.  Will pay gas and beer."  

Hopefully we find a way to Augsburg that does not involve a $300 train ticket.

Monday, September 01, 2008

North Fork of the Crystal - 2008 Photos

Paddlers: Chris Menges (green Burn), DK (white Jefe Grande), Zack (orange Huka)
Photography: Natalie

The North Fork of the Crystal is one of my favorite runs in CO as it combines clean, quality drops, plenty of vertical and crystal clean water with the amazing high alpine scenery at Lead King Basin.... It's kind of a pain to get there though. We comined a few laps with a day on the Punchbowls. The water was low, about 600 cfs and it was considerably mellower that my last run down at 1100 cfs (see high water North Fork pics here).

Zack kicks off the run on Cake with some nice background scenery.

Chris dropping in.

DK drops into icing. At this level there is a sweet kicker 1/2 way down on the left.

Zack bouncing down the right side...

Chris Menges sequence at icing. So fun!

Dropping off the 40 foot (is it that big?) almost vertical slide part on the left.

DK and Zack in the double drop.

Chris boofing in the trees?


DK pulling out a sweet boof on the 8 footer.

Chris watches Zack boof the 8 footer.