Boofin' in the Smokies

It finally rained here in the Southeast last week. Stephen Kimmel, Alenda (my wife), and I headed to the Smokies to get our boof on.

Every steep creek in the Smokey Mtn National Park was running, and we decided on Big Creek. We parked in the overflow parking lot because the main lot was packed with kayak laden vehicles. I was smiling big after the 3 mile hike to the put in.

This is the entrance to Monster. There is a tree in the main drop, so don't miss the eddy.

This is Stephen flying through the air at the footbridge rapid. This was his first time on a really continuous creek, and he styled it.

We scouted Action Alley on the hike up. Keith Sprinkle of Asheville made it look easy sans paddle.
Alenda ran the trail while we paddled. She took all of the pictures except the last one. For more Big Creek and Watauga pics check out zogtraining.blogspot.com.


Winter Solstice… in the BC Backcountry …and a new tide of change for 2008!

I just returned from an epic 5 day snowboard trip in the BC, backcountry. Endless days of fresh powder, nights spent in the cabin with great friends and a corridor of wilderness that left me humbled. During my trip, I reflected back over 2007 and my grand adventures on and off the water and looked forward to new challenges that lay ahead for me in 2008.

Staring in January I will be working Whitewater Research & Safety Institute (WRSI). I am honored and so excited to have the opportunity to work for a company that makes such innovative, quality products and to work with a team that leads the industry in promoting safety and training in water recreation. I spent a week down in Vail, CO in December training with Kasey Ankney and Nick Turner, it was amazing to watch Kasey in action and see her passion for the whitewater industry. I know I have my work cut out for me, I am so excited about the new 2008 products WRSI has to offer and I know this will be another amazing adventure as I have so much to learn.

I wish everyone the best in 2008, have a safe and adventure filled New Year! With the amount of snow in the mountains here the potential whitewater looks promising for another great water year in BC! Yee haa!

Enjoy the Pics!

Our Red Mtn crew...(Brenda, me, Chris, Sean and Laura)
Thats all for now...Kim!


Sand Flies, Sheep, Helicopters and Rain??

New Zealand, Kia Ora.

Having packed up and fled the oncoming winter in BC I have found myself working for a Helicopter rafting company in Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island NZ.

This is a land of abundant gradient and terrible access, either walk through the mud with your boat, or my new favorite, the Helicopter! With the Southern Alps right behind us there are dozens upon dozens of rivers and creeks fed by snow and glacial melt combined with an annual rainfall of over 4 meters a year.

However it hasn’t rained for a month! This is a West Coast drought and the rivers are getting low, low, low. (Pray for rain)
Since being here we have picked of some classic runs including the Arahura, Upper Crooked, Upper Kokapotahi, Whataroa and more. On off days there is often pumping surf close by to keep you entertained.

Early Last month I hooked up with Lofty from Paddler Zone in Christchurch, New Zealands Fluid distributors, and we made our way out to the man made course at Tekapo for round two of the new NZ freestyle series.

I jumped into a flirt for the two day event with an “Extreme” ball race and freestyle competition in the small shallow hole. Thanks must go to Antz Longman and Cumec Magazine for putting on the event. I took away 3rd place to a fleet of Bliss Stick kayaks.

For a country with more sheep than people New Zealand has some of the best paddling I have seen any where. If you are prepared to trudge through the mud or hire a helicopter and put up with the swarms of sand flies then you wont be disappointed.

Cheers Ben Earle.

Thanks to:
Fluid kayaks, WRSI, Paddler and Cumec magazine (www.cumecmagazine.com)

Its Raining today!!!!!!!!!


Here it is...

As promised a short vid from Costa Rica. Hope you enjoy and have a happy holiday.


Dan Caldwell


Warm Winter Boating

Hey there folks,

Dan Caldwell checking in from beautiful Costa Rica. I´ve been here for about 3 months enjoying some great boating and warm weather. The rivers down here are great! Warm, big and steep. I´m waiting for the water to drop a bit before doing some exploration but have been loving the ´classics´. I´m in Central America for the next 3 months so stay tuned for lots more including lots more pics and another vid or two.

Testing out the waters.

Heading for some down time

Check you boat before setting a Class VI.

All photos- Brendan Rivision
Until next time,

Hasta Luego ( I think that means ´please pass the cheese´)

Dan Caldwell


Dan Caldwell with some Winter Training Tips

Hey Folks,

Well it's that time of year when the kayaking season is drawing to a close for many. The cold, relentless winter forces us to store the smelly polypro and drytops and bring out the mitts and gloves, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't keep in paddling shape! Here is a little vid with some techniques to stay ready for spring and some cold water boating footage on the Moose and Ottawa.

Okay maybe it would be better just to go someplace warm to boat for the winter. That being said I'm heading to Costa Rica for the next few months so stayed tuned for some Central American updates.

P.S. I apologize to the more sensitive viewers that may have trouble sleeping after viewing some of the camera angles in the opening of the vid.


Dan Caldwell


Crash Test Dummy

On Sunday I drove down to Saluda, NC to check out the level on the Green River. I have not been on the Green much this summer, but I knew the water would be low. The infamous Green Race is almost upon us, and it promises to be an interesting year. The 2006 race brought out record numbers of racers, and swimmers.
I have raced in a Prijon T Canyon for the last several years, but on Sunday I borrowed a friend's Tornado. The T Canyon is fast, but incredibly unforgiving. I thought it would be smart to paddle the Tornado instead.
I was nervous about Gorilla, but I have run it hundreds of times at many different water levels. I usually run the far right shelf when the water is really low, but yesterday I decided to go for the middle boof. The word in the parking lot was that it was still dangerously low, but not as bony as it had been earlier in the summer.
I was having a great day in the Tornado, and stopped above Chiefs to discuss the plan with Caleb Coaplen. I decided to run the race line. I ended up with too much right angle coming out of the Notch. I corrected with a left draw and tried to power my way over the Launch Pad. My recollection of the event is hazy, but I believe that I pierced the breaking wave at the pad and pitoned the rock that forms it. The piton killed my momentum and I came to a complete stop at the top of Gorilla. I knew I was in serious trouble so I tucked and braced for a big impact. The huge kayak pitoned (or glanced off the rocks) in the flume below Gorilla. I immediately flipped. Flipping at the bottom of this rapid is unacceptable at low water. I felt blows coming at me from all directions. I took the biggest hits I have taken in years right on my head and thoracic spine. Finally, the impacts stopped.
I rolled up in a daze just in time to see Caleb clean the landing. Some people were portaging and ran over when they heard me hit. I could not even answer them when they asked if I was okay.
I have been thinking about this incident all day today. I got lucky. I have a large abrasion directly over my 1st thoracic vertebrae. My spine could have been damaged. I could have been knocked unconscious. I should have walked the rapid or run my usual low water line, but I let pre-race enthusiasm get the best of me. Unless the river comes up between now and race day, I will not be racing this year. I will be at the Russell Fork Race this Saturday and I know it will be tons of fun, as it always is.
I will miss racing the Green this year, but I can not justify the risk of paddling hard through bony class V+ whitewater. If it is not fun, what's the point?
This was the first bad impact I have taken since using WRSI helmets, and it may have saved my life. Thanks WRSI.


Ottawa lovin' & lettin' loose on the Moose

Let the games begin, heyoooo! Well since leaving beautiful British Columbia I've been teaching up a storm, playing a bit on the Ottawa, getting married and enjoying the Moose River Festival. Although my beloved Ottawa river is not exactly ideal levels, I did manage to get some time on Garb and even through together a little vid for you. Check it out:
(remember I'm a special boy)

Also managed to head up to Old Forge New York for the annual Moose River Festival where the drops are big and the parties even bigger. The first drop on the Bottom section gets the blood pumping with a 40 foot slide that lands beside a really bad hole. Good times had by most (those that ended up in the hole probably immediately regretted that decision). Well I'll shut up now and let you check out the goods. Until next time keep fit and have fun (that's right, I just quoted Hal Johnston and Joanne Macloed).

Dan Caldwell


ORT Men-Gore Canyon Colorado US Nationals

ORT Men - Gore Canyon Colorado
U.S. Nationals

ORT Women - Gore Canyon Colorado
U.S. Nationals

ORT Women - Payette River Idaho
PBR Event


Oregon Rafting Team (ORT)

ORT began it’s evolution in 2002 when 20 year river running veteran and football coach Tim Brink gathered a crew of his past and current teammates from rugby and college football for a local race. After dominating the regional whitewater raft racing scene for a number of years, an unfortunate career ending rugby injury forced Tim to focus his competitive fervor exclusively to raft racing hence ORT began. After training one summer with world class guides from Colorado, Tim returned home to the Portland area with some new found racing knowledge and began recruiting paddlers to form both men’s and women’s racing teams. During the initial season, ORT raced with a co-ed team as recruiting enough committed paddlers to form two teams proved to be difficult. That is not the case any longer. In 2007 ORT traveled to Colorado with two full teams as the women and men each placed in the top five nationally.
ORT athletes will have to compete with each other to earn a spot on the “Red” team for 2008. However, ORT has a no cut policy as equipment is provided by Aire rafts, Aquabound Paddles, WRSI helmets, and Immersion Research, we now have enough gear to race 3-4 teams at any given event across the country. The athletic backgrounds of our athletes include 4 former college linebackers, dragon boat racers, endurance runners, skiers, snowboarders, mixed martial arts, kayakers, catarafters, drift boaters, skateboarders, rugby, and of course a few river guides.
Off the water once the gear is put away all the seriousness stops and the raging begins. With nicknames like the Nightcrawler, Hoser, Ox, Timber, the Twin Towers, WFE, Cuddy, etc., let your imagination do the rest and the resulting perception may actually be accurate. We are proud to say that ORT is the first of it’s kind. Not a team of guides or even river veterans, but rather an athletic, charismatic body of energy that successfully engages in a variety of adventures throughout the year while reinforcing the bonds we have created through the medium of whitewater raft racing. ORT, we are more than just a racing team.


Free SRT Clinic and a new Creekin' Vid

Hey all,

Just a quick update from the Wild West. Last week I held a free SRT safety day for any and all to attend. The goal of the get together was to talk about safety, learn some new tricks and actually practice the old ones. We had a good turnout from river surfers to beginner kayakers and seasoned vets. Thanks for all who attended and hopefully these meeting will start happening more frequently and on other rivers around the globe.

Also give you a short creekin' vid I've thrown together. Hope you enjoy!


Violently ill, too much rafting and 90 feet of freefall

The title pretty much sums up my last couple of weeks. After wrestling with some unknown illness that actually made me spend some time in the hospital to get rehydrated I was back on the water. Unfortunately it was in a big rubber raft instead of my kayak, but I guess I need the money for my upcoming travels to NZ. Besides it’s a great way for others to see what whitewater is all about. So after working lots of days in a row I finally got a day off and headed to Sutherland Falls on Blanket Creek. Sutherland is the most perfect 60 drop I’ve ever seen (except for the nasty little drop just below it). To sum it up- paddle to the lip, spot the landing, adjust angle, fall, fall some more, hit your tuck, fall some more, impact. Good times.

After that drop I headed over to another spot that my friend Johnny had heard about only a few days before. Since our beta was from a non kayaker we were a little bit skeptical. When we finally found it we were pleasantly surprised with a nice fun 30 foot drop. After a bit of work hauling our boats we got the mission done. Might be a first descent but definitely can’t claim that for sure.

Well I’m back pushing rubber again just waiting for another day off because I’ve got some big things lined up so stay tuned.

Dan Caldwell


Mathieu Coldebella-Mix Water Contest-France

Mix Water Contest
2nd and 3rd of June.

Text : Mathieu COLDEBELLA
Photographs : Gaël KERNIN

WRSI fench team (without Marc)

The Mix Water Contest is the only feeestyle kayak event in Paris. There are 4 spots on the white water park, each differents but both nice.
The contest happened in the first hole, a litle one but with a good retention.
Saturday we did the freestyle and funny boarder cross qualifications. Mathieu Dumoulin pass easily but i twas more difficult for me.
There was no party at nihgt so some people decided to ad-lib a parking meeting which keepon for a long time.
Sunday : - Quart of final : don’t remenber the results but Mat and me went to semi final.
- Semi final : 1st Mathieu Dumoulin, 2nd Mathieu Mathieu Coldebella.
- Final : 1st Romain Planchais, 2nd Mathieu Dumoulin, 3rd Mathieu Coldebella.

Mat Dumoulin going ultraclean

Mat Coldebella Airloop

Mat Dumoulin Power flip

Mat Coldebella Airsomething.

In fact, a pretty cool week end with graet friends, great sun, hot water and perfect helmets !!!!

Special Thanks to WRSI.


Heat wave + Massive Snowpack = Epic Floods!

Hey there folks,
Dan Caldwell checking in from beautiful British Columbia again, this time with some pics from the Kicking Horse River in Flood. With several sections to choose from this truly is one of Canada's best. The larger than normal snowpack started melting at a very quick pace thanks to a mini heat wave which produced some of the highest known levels. I timed a run of the lower canyon (it took 21 minutes, usually it's about an hour) and figured that the speed of the water was around 50km/h. Add 15ft waves and you have yourself a good time!
Check out a vid with some of the action

Photos courtesy of Steve Brooks
Now go boat and be safe!
Dan Caldwell


2007 Worlds

check it :

It's a new clip video about 2007 worlds, you can see some french paddlers : Stefun Pion, Mathieu Dumoulin, Nouria Newman, Gael Kernin, Valentin Corrote, Léo Carpenne.
and many surprises, we discovered Ford car : it's so funny, but it's drink too much gaz!

hope to see you on a river.
marc girardin


Big water in BC

So here I am, an Eastern Ontario playboater in the land of creeking (British Columbia) and what should I find? Some amazing play! After a month of on and off play at Brilliant wave in Castlegar
Brilliant Wave, Castlegar, BC

I finally got a chance at a rare wave on the Pend D'Oreille near Trail. Unfortunately there was no way to catch it at the level it was at without some very tricky rope/tow things set up on a train bridge (according to some locals that's the only way on) but I do have some pics of my dozens of attempts. At least the rapid below is massive, with lots of boils and whirlpools. An implosion device is highly recommended as well because if you swim you end up crossing into the U.S. and unless you boat with a passport it can be quite interesting...

The entrance to the wave

Pend D'Oreille wave/hole/boil thing

Well that's all for the moment. I've just settled into my new home for the summer, Golden BC, and should have some updates shortly with so many great rivers around, like the Kicking Horse, Sutherland Falls, Skookumchuk Creek.....

Dan Caldwell