Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Treatise on Solo

Go solo boating......

In this day of kayaking where it seems that bigger, higher and scarier is necessarily better to produce the most insane photos, it seems to me that it is important to run things solo.  Hence, in this post, there will be no sick photos or gnarly descriptions as neither one of those are part of soloing.  Don't get me wrong - I love kayak porn in all of its shapes and forms and extravagances.  I can tell a beat-down or high water story with the best of them (ok maybe a mank story), but I think it's also important to bring it back to the soul from time to time.  

My favorite part of the solo is finding my own unique rhythm with the water.  It's the reason we all started kayaking in the first place - the feeling of floating and of reading a line to be one with the flow.  When you solo, there's no distractions from that experience, just you and your breathing, the icy water splashing on your cheeks, and the view downstream.  There's no need to look back for anyone or keep up with anyone, which allows focus to remain on just the canyon walls.  It becomes all about the kayak and about me desperately wanting to be on the river.  Go Solo....

It is definitely important to consider safety.  Soloing brings added risk to kayaking.  I don't recommend running a river at or near your ability level - start easier and make sure the risk is worth it to you personally.  If you're a class IV boater, solo Pumphouse on a sunny afternoon.  If you're a class V boater, fire down Browns during the inky pre-dawn splendor.  Life is nothing if not a bold adventure.  

Go solo and don't tell a soul, but the next day lay treats off a brown stouter with your boyz and the paddlarazzi.  Then in addition to all the stories, media and attention, you'll have a kayaking memory completely unique and individual.    

Go Solo.....

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Spring is Nature's Way Of Saying: Let's Paddle. So we do.

Well spring time hit at quite a perfect time, I was getting very sick of the cold weather when all that was running was the glenwood play wave. I spent my days working, longing for the snow to melt and the rivers to flow, and occasionally getting out to the play park to brush the dust off my shoulders from too much time spent in ski clothing. Here is an example of a typical day in early spring for me.

Lazy Tuesday With Fred Norquist from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

As spring approached, we saw that escalante was in. Jake and I made a quick hit and run at that one day, this is a super fun early season creek to brush off the dust from winter.

Jake and I in the lower gorge of scandalante.
Me runnin the falls.
Jake running the falls as well.

And then it happened: God came out and said "let there be water"!!! And there was water. We started running Barrel Springs when it got to a decent level. Here are a few photos from our daily barrel runs. This was a good warm-up, barrel is a really fun, long class 4-5 rapid that keeps you on your toes.

Jake and I in life after death at 5,000.
Barrel at a nice level of 5,000.

Jake and I doing our thang.

We ran barrel quite a bit, maybe 5-6 times. Here is a little helmet cam video of it at 4,000cfs.

Barrel Springs/Shoshone 4000cfs from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

We checked the CO flows to see that Vallecito and Pandora's box were in. Jake and I set out on a 2 day shit running mission in durango.

The crew on the hike into Pandoras box, safely passing the no trespassing signs without getting shot.
Looking into the gorge, scary stuff.

Jake, Ben and Nate at the Put-in.
We were stoked to successfully run Pandoras.

We also ran Vallecito three times when we were there, but were having way too much fun to take pictures.

Then one night, God came to us and said "go to california and get some classic california granite". So we did. Jake and I left carbondale the day the Reno competition was over, and met up with Demshitz in reno. We then went on a tour of some really good rivers in Cali.

First stop was Kimshew.

The crew at the put-in about to go run the brown.
Chris Korbulic dropping into Kimshew falls with me, fusilli, and shannon looking on.
Fusilli boofed it!
Jared ran triple drop.... and had a marginal line.

So did Chris with the most savage piton that I have ever seen.

Jared on Frenchman's curve, on of the best rapids on the run.

Jared boofing a hole in the lower section.

Jeremy Laucks making it look easy.

We then drove to the South Branch of the Middle Feather, one of the most quality creeks in the world probably.

We put on with a stout group, making it a super fun, long day on the river.
Fusilli after one of the top rapids.
Jared on one of the best boofs in the world.
Me and Jared running a fun little in-between rapid.
The crew kickin it at lunch time, Demshitz like to get tan.

Fusilli on a very cool rapid.
Shannon Carrol stoked to be on waterfall paradise.
Jared running a sweet 20 footer.
The lip of the portage. This creek is super steep.
This is my favorite rapid on the run, a sweet double drop.

This was one of my favorite runs I have ever done, the cleanest waterfalls possibly in the world.

Here is a cool little video that I put together from another great day in california.

South Branch of the Feather Creekin from Fred Norquist on Vimeo.

We then met up with Evan Garcia, Michael Shields, and Max Blackburn and cruised to the upper south yuba. We ran a super fun section, with one of the most fun rapids that i have ever run at the end, East Meets West.

Here is Michael Shields running east meets west. Check out his blog

Evan cookin up some good ol' dirt taters.

We then Headed to the Clavey river for a fun overnighter. This was my first class 5 overnighter, so it was really cool to be able to paddle to your camp, sleep and wake up to an awesome day on the river.

Our sweet campsite.
A fleet of jefe's.
Jake, Miguel, Evan, Max, and Charlie kickin it at camp after eating som delicious cheddar wursts.
The rapid right next to our campsite, Charlie Center showing us how it is done.
I thought this was a cool shot of him resurfacing.

We portaged some super stout drops.
This river had a really cool style of rapids, some boulder garden, and some granite holes. EG filmin.
Max boofing a crazy rapid.
EG likes brown.
Eg runnin the brown.
Charlie lovin the clavey.
Charlie in one of the last sweet rapids.
Michael Shields doing what he does best: stouts.
Charlie sneaking a gnarly little rapid.
Evan decided to run it. He pitoned, but was lucky not to get beat down by a backed up hole.

I had a bit of a rough day after a gnarly beatdown that lead to a swim. Drink your booties, apeeze the river gods. Your next swim is just around the corner.

The past couple months have been filled with great times on the river. I cant wait for what is to come.
Go kayaking. Its incredibly fun.

For more thorough descriptions on these rivers, check out my blog at
or evan's blog
or miguel's blog

If you havent heard, the Demshitz movie is for sale now at Get your copy today! possibly the best kayak video ever.....ever

Monday, May 18, 2009

1st Annual "Budo Fest" Extreme kayak Race

The 1st Annual "Budo Fest" was awesome. The Embudo was Flowing a stout level and we had 2 teams for the race. Tons of folks hiked into the Slots to watch the teams come through the last section. Evan Ross, Tim Kelton and Rolf Kelly had a time of 40 minutes. Pretty awesome for a 7 mile class 5 run. Kyle McCutchen, Oliver Deschler and Luke Pennington had a time of 49 minutes. Huge props to these guys for entering the race. There was a raffle Saturday evening that raised $250.00 for American Whitewater, in our friend Mitchell Smiths name. The whole event went off without a hitch. A big shout out to Colorado Kayak Supply, Astral Bouyancy, Keen, Taos Mountain Outfitters,
Shred Ready and Lunch Video Magazine for supporting the event and donating prizes for the raffle. Local artist Lex Lucious made some cool trophies for the winners. John Grace from LVM brought out the Jumbo Tron and everyone dug the big screen and movies during the party.I'll be posting a longer report with photos soon. Here is a short video of the event. Cheers, Atom...

1st Annual "Budo Fest" Extreme Kayak Race May 9th 2009 from atom crawford on Vimeo.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Anybody Can Kayak: Basic Playboating

Over the past year my dad and I have been filming and editing a new instructional video. It has finally been completed and is now available at CKS in store or online at

Our video offers a new distinct way to look at instruction. My dad and I have spent the majority of the past four summers in Salida, CO. Salida has two excellent holes which offer the perfect training grounds for any playboater. We have paddled, coached each other, and analyzed our boating through video almost every day which has lead us to discover the techniques described in our video.

These techniques have allowed me to consistently place in the top ten at pro events. My dad is 55. He is slow, weak, and inflexible. He’s not competing pro, but is doing great for an old guy. Our belief is that if he can playboat, anybody can playboat... they just need the right instruction.

The video offers clear and concise instruction. Much of the video is in slow motion, freeze frame, and graphic overlays to focus your attention on important parts. These features create clear visual demonstrations as well as syncs the audio and video so you can see what we are talking about. Other features include learning techniques, golden rules, topic overviews, and topic summaries.

To buy:

For more information check out:

To see me in action check out:

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Routt County River Enforcement does So. Cal.

Routt County River Enforcement does So. Cal.
By: Dan Piano

Sometimes the best thing to do after a long winter in Northwest Colorado is get out of town before the runoff picks up; and head to Cali. This was my fourth spring trip to Cali and I would have to say it was the best. We had perfect weather and almost ideal flows everywhere we went.
We started the trip off in Kernville California with a few laps down Brush, and Dry Meadow Creek. The weather was perfect but for some strange reason the flows would not come up on Brush. Rumors were circulating that an illegal agricultural operation was pulling a bunch of water from the creek up stream.

Spencer from L.A. checks out the view on Dry Meadow. Photo: Kevin Fisher

Next stop Hospital Rock on the Kaweah River. I have been wanting to paddle this section of river for years. Clean mank-free granite boating…awesome!
Dan on one of the many excellent drops.Photo: Kevin Fisher

Kevin Fisher on Little Niagara. Photo: Dan Piano

The next stop was Clover Creek located high up in Sequoia National Park.
Giant sequoia vs. Kevin Fisher. Photo: Dan Piano

Adam and Dan hiking into Clover. Photo: Kevin Fisher

Kevin and Dan hiking up. Photo: Adam Mayo

Dan on one of the top slides. Photo Kevin Fisher

Dan looks on as Adam stomps out the first run of the day. Photo Kevin Fisher

Dan dropping in. Photo Kevin Fisher

Best line of the day ..Kevin Fisher. Video: Adam Mayo

Mayo slide. Photo: Kevin Fisher

After a great day in Sequoia we decided to head for the Middle Tule. This run is loaded with super fun granite slides and waterfalls…highly recommended!

Hot. Photo: Kevin Fisher

Typical Middle Tule. Photo: Adam Mayo

Dan droppin’ in. Photo: Adam Mayo

Scott Baker firing “Norte Calipas”. Photo: Adam Mayo

Duckyman stickin’ it! Photo: Adam Mayo

Dan boofing into another sweet rapid. Photo: Adam Mayo

Rick Franken bombing! Photo: Adam Mayo

RCRE signing off.