Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The BOX

As Cutch and Stafford put it simply, there is only one Box.  It resides in northern Wyoming, almost into Montana.  Here exists an amazing dichotomy between one of the most peaceful places I've ever been and yet it is also one of the most intimidating.  There's simply no quantifying the experience.  It's a journey into the wild west as it was in the years of old.  

Ben coming to terms with Big Sky Country

Inside the Box, you'll find western big water, mixed with big gradient, nauseating sieves, and committed drops.  It's exactly what the kayaking would be like through the Black Canyon if the Black Canyon had good kayaking.  The Box is better in every way - cleaner and bigger drops, more committed, a longer gorge, smoother walls, more beaches, easier portages, and instead of poison ivy there's raspberries.  Plus instead of gapers and cameras on the rim, there's grizz.  

Ben was pumped on his smooth line through Double Suck and lovin' the scenery.
Looking down into the Box from our hike-out.
We hiked out of the box to enjoy the creature comforts that come with a car.  The hike-out for Alex and I was an amazing journey into the lives of mountain goats as we followed their trail straight up 1500 feet of vert.  The other boys committed to a sketchy 5.8 chossy free-climb and all agreed to never do it again.  In retrospect, there's amazing beaches throughout the entire run and I'd prefer to bust a self support trip although a loaded boat would make the portaging extremely sketchy.  It's such an amazing place, your best bet is to spend as much time deep down as possible - 3-4 days would be fantastic even though it could be routed with a good guide in a 12 hour day.
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Here's our guide, Barry, smoothing the morning drop.
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A rough day in the Box at low flood-stage
So a word on the gauge....Leif's bachelor party dropped into the Box at about 1,500cfs on the gauge, which is 50 miles downstream of the takeout.  Between the Box and the gauge lies multiple farmer's diversions.  The group described low flood stage huge water.  Six days later we dropped at 950cfs.  During the warm-up Honeymooner section, our guide Barry repeatedly mentioned that it was still a little high for his tastes.  I definitely would have described it as the habanero side of medium, not medium or medium low like we were expecting.  However, everything went on our trip except the top of Deliberation, which was intense.  Basically, it appears that the farmers had just begun taking a lot of water out below the Box, but above the gauge and thus causing the gauge to drop a lot faster than the run.  Barry believed that the Honeymooner foot gauge was at 24-25" for Leif's group versus 21" for us.  Take what you will...

This shot is Alex waiting for the 8' boof off the must run Deliberation Corner drop.  You can see the must make, one boat eddy where Barry and Orion are waiting.  If you were to miss the eddy, you'd survive if your read and run solid V-V+ skills were polished.
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To think that I could only fit one of the two rainbows in this picture...


Be sure to check out www.gravitysessions.com for a full trip report from Ben.

Also, a bit of cheese here, but I'm dedicating this post to my Werner Powerhouse.  The damn thing is tough as hell and I beat it senseless this season.  It's the one piece of gear that I trust to not fail and that definitely can't be said about other paddles.  Four of the five people on the trip had Powerhouses.  

Monday, August 18, 2008

Big Water BC

Ledge from hell. Fear Canyon of the Elaho at 300cms.

I've moved to the PNW and have been bashing through the backcountry of Beautiful British Columbia. Recently, a small team including myself, Corey Boux, Ben Hawthorne and Steve Bartrom were able to get on Fear Canyon of the Elaho at a big flow. We've been exploring some new ones as well, so stay tuned and check out Huckin Huge.com for more!

Gripped.

Photos by Ben Hawthorne


Salida 08 wrap up

This summer I spent teaching kayaking at the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Center in Salida, Colorado. With two great playholes right in town it is a great spot to spend the summer. Most nights after work I went out for a session and was done in time for dinner.

At the beginning of the year one of my goals was to get a 5 trick combo. Due to the high water and then a quick drop the hole wasn't at ideal level for very long and I didn't get it. I did hit a couple 4 trick combos though. I also made up some other new fun tricks and worked on some less common tricks, both of which I am calling novelties for the sake of my video. Hope you enjoy!


video

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gunnison Whitewater Park

The Gunnison River Festival will be held this Saturday, August 16th. This years event promises to be better than ever due to a new and improved feature, better planning, bigger prizes and great events. For details on the festival, check out their website: Gunnison River Festival.

The Gunnison River whitewater park features have been excellent this year! At 1700 cfs the bottom wave was truly world class, with a large, glassy steep green face and a big pile. Johnny Meyers was all aerial everything, helixes both ways, etc... Unfortunately we never got footage or pics at that level. But we have some pics for you at two levels.

The first set of photos by John Peterson are of Chris Menges. These pics were taken at about 1450 cfs. The wave was fast and kinda steep with a goood pile - still pretty easy to stick tricks.

The second set of photos by Chris Menges are of Johnny Meyers and a board surfer. The water level was about 1100 cfs. Johhny was going off as usual - check out the pics and make the call on the feature - it was totally fun but a bit harder to stick lots of tricks. The pile surges in and out.

Chris Menges at 1450 CFS - a good perspective on the feature at this level.

CM peeling on to the wave - easy to enter at this level, but requires some skill.

CM bouncing the REV and getting ready to takeoff on a blunt.

CM blunt setup on a rainy day in Gunnison. 1450 CFS.

CM blunting. OK, ok, its a round house. shut up.

CM carving the Rev in Gunny at 1450 cfs.

The following photos of Johhny Meyers were taken at 1100 cfs. Photography: Chris Menges.

J Meyers warming up - this shot offers a good perspective of the wave.

Meyers bouncing....

..and throwing a clean blunt...

...and sticking it!

JM looking for the helix.

Crested Butte board surfer peeling out on the wave...

...and carving heelside...

...and pretty much rockin it. There were more board surfers this day than kayakers.

Nice closeup of Johhny Meyers blunting at 1100 cfs.



Everyone should know there is a hole that forms behind the main wave that is pretty fun. The above and below shots show meyers enjoying this 'bonus feature' after getting flushed off the main wave.


SEE YOU AT THE GUNNISON RIVER FESTIVAL!!!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

The Log Jump, Sweet new move

The Log Jump, a new move brought to you by the CKS Squad in Colorado

Location- Colorado River, Glenwood Springs Colorado

The most critical component to the log jump is setup. It is very difficult to do it without a log, obviously. For this you have two options:

1.Get some really strong friends to send down a tree when you’re surfing or

2.Surf the wave all day long during peak runoff to make sure you are there when log comes through

Once the log is heading your way you have two choices, fight or flight. Assessing the log is really important if you don’t want to get worked. If it looks good (no bad branches), get on top of the wave as if you are setting up for a blunt.

Once the log is in the trough of the wave accelerate down the wave with a stroke and push your bow down just like initiating a blunt right before you reach the log.



When you hit the log, lean back pull up your legs and let out a big heeeyaaaa. If all goes well, you should be airborne. If not you may get the wind knocked out of you as the tree crosses your chest, or worse.





Be safe and have fun

Jed Selby
Buena Vista Colorado

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

World Cup Mission Part 1



Monday at 1pm we will depart from Denver airport.

Tuesday at 2pm we will arrive in Prague.

The reality is setting in that this time next week Nadia Almuti and I will already have been in Prague for over a day. This reality is exciting, yet slightly disconcerting considering neither Nadia nor I is really the type to thoroughly plans things out. Hopefully we find some place to spend the night.

I am traveling to Europe as a member of the US National Freestyle Kayak Team to compete in the World Cup of Freestyle Kayaking. The 2008 World Cup consists of three competitions over a course of three weekends in Czech Republic, Germany, and Switzerland. My results during Nationals at the Fibark rodeo in Salida, CO this past June qualified me for the team and this competition. Since Fibark my reaction has changed from ‘I could never go to Europe,’ to ‘Wouldn’t Europe be incredible?’ to ‘Well, we bought plane tickets, I guess we’re going to Europe!’ Unfortunately the American dollar is not quite as worthy as the Euro and with skyrocketing gas prices most of my summer wages from working at CKS have gone to gas stations to pay for weekly creeking missions. But, thanks to Colorado Kayak Supply, Ska Brewing, and Pyranha Kayaks I will be able to make this trip a reality as long as European ramen is not significantly more expensive than it is in the states.

Hopefully you did not miss our Jell-o wrestling and Ska Brewing drinking fundraiser last night at River Runners. If you were not there, you missed out on a good time, but do not worry, you still have a chance to help support the cause. CKS is auctioning off a new 420 donated by those awesome folks at Pyranha Kayaks. I used the 420 last season and would be stoked to still be paddling it around if the new Rev did not come out this year. The 420 is a full on playboat, but that does not hinder its’ river runner capabilities. Excelling at front and backlooping HUGE, the 420 is a great boat for your local playpark, running big water, and boofing the low volume river. Here are some pictures of me in the 420, which may or may not be proving my point. But, what is a blog without some pictures?

Here's the link to the ebay site
http://cgi.ebay.com/Pyranha-420_W0QQitemZ130245786703QQihZ003QQcategoryZ36122QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem


Thanks to everyone who came out to River Runners to wrestle in Jello and drink some delicious True Blonde donated by incredible Ska Brewing.

Check back in with the Colorado Kayaking Chronicle for more Nadia and Nicole World Cup adventures.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Sean Langevin Memorial Nordheimer Race '08 Wrap-up and Video

Huge Thanks to CKS for sponsoring the race and cause!


Newest Nordy


Nordheimer Race 2008



A short writeup on the race and the weekend festivities can be seen in the July/August American Whitewater Journal.


For more info go to: The Cali-Product Events Blog