Our hotel here is SWEET, one of the nicest places for the Alzar School yet. Plus, we have the new van, which is a great ride, comfy. Plus, we have been eating excellent food... two 'paletas' each day (awesome popsicles).
One of the most exciting developments is that we are going to have not one, but TWO local students join us for the trip. They are named Mayan and Marisol. Kristin and I met with them yesterday and they are SO cool. They are both 15 and are excited to share Mexico with our students from the US. We can't wait. Their tuition is covered thanks to all the generous donations to the Jean Bierle Scholarship Initiative, so a big THANK YOU to those who helped with that!
You would all be happy to know that Pebbles (the Alzar School puppy) is adapting very well on her first trip out of the US... She made the drive down easily, napping most of the way. We were awed by how well she did in the car. And, she has finally discovered that she can swim and loves it. Today we played fetch in the river and she was having a blast. She still needs to work on her technique a little before hitting the main current, but she is now leaping into the river instead of reluctantly treading out, which is great. She also really enjoys all the new sites, sounds, and especially smells. Today on my jog with her, she chased after a burro for a little bit, and later tried to eat a gecko.
So its been two sweet months for my friends and I at the White Nile. We have been hopping from different spots absorbing all the river has to offer. We first started at the upper section, by the notorious Nile River Outfitters. This upper part of the river has proved to be a great river running training grounds with big drops, big holes, big haystack waves, big reactionary waves, and elusive but extremely sharp rocks.
The lower section, From where the pictures are from, is 45 km down river at the Nile special and it's brother Club wave. This seems to be where we have been spending most of our time. We stay just downstream at the Hairy Lemon and paddle to the waves twice daily. The Hairy lemon is sort of a kayaking camp. You eat marginal food, surf 2-3 hrs, eat, rest, surf another 2-3 hours, eat, drink and talk with our new international kayak friends, go to sleep, and do it all over the next day. It some of the most fun I have had kayaking. Paddling with people from all over the globe. All with different customs and styles, but all sharing the love of Nile and kayaking.
Inspired by lots of beer and Nile river legend Sam Ward's tales of creeking we took a side trip, to the Sippi Falls region of Uganda. Their Sam showed us his treat, a not too challenging, but fun and beautiful first desent of upper Sippi river. Yes, we got to go creek boating in Uganda!
In all of my kayaking endeavors and some not in the kayak, (motorcycle taxis, Boda Boda's, = not safe. Helmets are sweet!) WRSI gear has been there. We used it creeking with the Hail Mairy and the comfy fit of the helmet let me forget I have it on every day for up to six hours. I can not even begin to say how necessary the simple built in visor is with the equatorial sun, super intence. Thanks WRSI, looking forword to letting you know how the trip finishes, We are trying to see if it is economicaly possible for us to go to the Zambize.... till then, Cheers from Todd and the Montana boys!
Well ive just returned from an emotionally charged rafting expedition on the Franklin river in Western tasmania. It was a memorial trip to remember and spread the ashes of WRSI team member and close friend Benny Earle, who drowned whilst attempting a first descent of Finn creek BC during the canadian spring.
I couldn't think of a better way to remember a friend- than to raft the river he loved so much- telling stories , laughing, crying with all his best mates and family.
It was a great trip, perfect weather, great waterlevels and good company. Many a time we thought ben must be watching over us, giving us sunny days and a relatively safe passage through the 'great ravine'.
We did however manage to 'plug hole' a 12 foot raft into a Sieve with all our gear on it. The rapid known as nasty notch is renowned for causing issues and losing rafts. which causes a headache considering how remote the river is and how necessary it is to have your raft and gear to get out of the wilderness. It was either sheer luck or a bit of divine intervention from our fallen friend- that after removing the top layer of gear the raft managed to toaster out of the sieve and we pulled it over the boulder, we did however have to swim for some gear that went floating down river- including the toilet.
Because of time restrictions- we were forced to descend the river in 6 days (usually takes 10), but apart from a couple of long days was no real drama.
I will try and get some photos up and running on this blog.
And to all the crew that came down the river- thanks for devoting the time to remember an amazing man. We will miss you Benny Earle, but rest easy for your spirit will always flow strong and free in the wild waters of the Franklin River.
peace out brother.
I will be in Colorado until December 21st. I have a U.S. Team Camp November 24-December 5. Then I head down to Telluride for the first Jeep King of the Mountain Skier Cross event. Immediately following that I go up to for U.S. Team Selections event. The next 6 weeks are going to be busy but there is nothing I would rather be doing. Pray for snow!
Mi-June is the end of the school year in France and then the beginning of the kayak time. The night after my last exam I took a plane from Lyon destination : UGANDA.
After those 4 weeks in this awesome country, it was time to go back in Europe to have the euro championship in Spanish Galicia.
Unfortunately I have had some problem with my van on the way and arrived the day before the competition after 17,5 hours driving. In fact I miss the event and finished at the 17th rank.
1 week later happened the R3 : Rabioux River Rodeo in the Alps which was a pretty cool event an a nice final for me against Mathieu Dumoulin and Gerd from Spain. I was 2nd and this result allowed me to win the Free Kayak Tour : French Championship.
Immediately after that we left France to go to Praha in the Czech republic for the first World Cup event. We had a sweet training week in a pretty city with nice people. The hole was really small but every move possible I managed to pass through the prelims but unfortunately finished 11th of the quarterfinals.
A last party in this amazing city and lets go for the 2nd event of the 2008 world Cup : Augsbourg. Result 31st after a very bad 2nd ride.
The last event in Thun was very different thanks to a small wave on the opposite with the 2 first spots. Sun and blue water are the paddling conditions in Switzerland. A reel nice event with a 4 prelim runs system to enjoy the spot. 16th of the qualifications but very good sensation in my new Nemesis S. The next day during the quarterfinals, I was not really in the course and finished 18th.
The world cup over I had to go back to school knowing I was on the 17th rank which is OK but I really want to do better next year.
Go big and have fun.
Well im now hanging down in New Zealand after a successful paddling trip to Mexico.
Yesterday We paddled the Nevis River in southern NZ, its an angry little class5 creek. And with all the spring melt it was charging along at over 20cumecs- which is on the high side of fun.
well - keep charging the lines.
Yesterday New River Academy hit up the Tygart. The Tygart has two completely clean 10-12 foot waterfalls. They are AMAZING. It was totally sweet to get to work on boofs and freewheels. The best thing about these waterfalls is that they are super safe. With all the lines you can run, they are perfect for beginner and advanced levels. I definitally improved my boof stroke a ton. I am so ready to get to New Zealand and run some big falls. The only embarrassing moment for me was when I was paddling hard to get to the tip of this rock that was sticking out to boof it. I was concentrating super hard when all of the sudden, I fell off the side of it and plugged! I laughed it off, but man. talk about Oops. The Tygart is a really good 'park and huck' to check out if you are in the area. It is also a super photogenic spot if you are into photography.
Keep it real!
Whats up everyone!? My name is Jay Panther and I am a freestyle skier that is real excited about the winter side of WRSI. Here is a video of two of the jumps I have been working on for the moguls.
Rush hour on the Highway and Big water = Good times
Strompis Wave in Orebro's city center-by Idamaria Johansson (Sweden)
What a summer!!It started three months ago when everyone was making the long journey west. I however traveled east, far east. I traveled from the land of trailer parks and pawn shops to a land of castles and cafes. From eating fried chicken and drinking sweet tea, to eating cinnamon buns and drinking the best damn coffee on earth. Ah, the land of Sverige, better known as Sweden, where the sun never sleeps. What took me there you might ask? Well my Swedish girlfriend of course. I went to Sweden to stay with her. To get to know her homeland and to go kayaking.
Sweden's Hell hole-(pic by Tomas Rundgren)
Being from Alabama, I thought I came from a tight group of paddlers, but it is nothing compared to Sweden. I guess it's because kayaking in Sweden is still relatively young compared to here, but its growing substantially due to company's like Kajaktiv that are offering extremely good instruction on all levels from extremely good kayakers and teachers. Sweden's neighbor Norway gets most of the press for Scandinavian kayaking, but if one is looking for adventure on a different path, Sweden should be considered. It's not just the paddling that makes Sweden a great place to visit, the culture is worth going there alone. I found the people to be very friendly and the towns and villages to be very charming and beautiful. The food and coffee is excellent and there's always festivals going on in the summer, not to mention there is a big lack of American tourist which I liked.
When I got back to the states it rained:
And now it's time to hit the books so I can graduate before I'm 40...
Until next time,
Fun times on the 13 wave
Hey there folks,
Well I've definately been working way too much these days (and it's been pushing rubber) but at least the locals found a small playspot for after work therapy. Now B.C. isn't exactly known for the mega play but this little wave/hole is great for training and just what the doctor has ordered for the long work filled summer. Hopefully I'll get some time to hit up the creeks around here before heading East for a few weeks back home on the Ottawa. In the meantime keep on keepin' on.
by waiting for good water level, I looking for to have great time in creek... it's not easy during this time in France.
There is a easy drop in Ardèche area in Dunière river. it's possible to run it during all day. The last week end, I gone there with Yan Neime, Cédric Conte, Romain Dumoulin (Mathieu's brother). We past a good day to practice this drop.
Sunday, August, 10, 2008
Sad and devastating news came early one morning when I heard that Ben Earle from Australia drowned after being vertically pinned under a log on Finn Creek in British Columbia, Canada, June 1, 2008. Adrian Kiernan was on the run with Ben and attempted to rescue Ben, but to no avail. Ben’s body was eventually extracted after two days of effort by local rescue teams. Ben leaves behind a large community of friends across the world, his wife Robin and their two young children Rio and Finnley.
It is a sobering reality that our sport is dangerous and always demands a high level of safety and respect for the rivers we travel. I have paddled with, and have worked along side Ben and his close friends and know their high level of professionalism and passion for the rivers they work and explore on. Ben Earle was a respected athlete on our WRSI Team, and I speak personally from the company when I send my heart felt regards to his family and friends.
Ben’s family live in Clearwater, BC, where last year he helped organize the first Clearwater Festival.This years Clearwater Kayak Festival was a celebration dedicated to the memory of Ben Earle. Click here for updated 2008 festival highlights. (http://www.clearwaterkayakfest.com/)
Kim Ward-Robberts ( WRSI Team Manager)
Ben Earle 1982 – 2008
Adrian Kiernan, a friend and fellow Australian Team Fluid Paddler wrote up an amazing article about the incident, and Ben Earle’s life. Please visit Adrian Kiernan’s personal blog for more information (http://www.goboatingaus.blogspot.com/) and read below for his thoughts .Photo’s courtesy of Maggie Crocker
(Ben Earle and Adrian Kiernan)
Below is an article Tasmanian paddler and close friend James Thorp wrote and photo’s courtesy of Josh Firth.
I first met Ben many years ago at a paddling festival in Tasmania. At the time Ben was drunk, wearing a dress and dancing on the pool table in the Bronte pub. We were both young then; Ben had just started kayaking and rafting. Over the years Ben grew into a great individual. He became a talented kayaker, an extremely professional raft guide, a husband, a father and a close mate. Ben chose not to conform to conventional ideals but instead to live the vagrant existence of a ‘ river gypsy’ moving around the globe chasing summers of kayaking and raft guiding.
I have paddled with both Ben and Adrian on many rivers in many countries and thus can emphatically say that Ben’s death was more a freak accident than a reckless or complacent act. Both Ben and Adrian are very safe, sensible and exceptionally skilled paddlers who would not haphazardly risk their life. In fact the rapid Ben drowned on was only class4 and he scouted it before paddling it, but unfortunately did not see the submerged log. Sometimes accidents just happen and we have to deal with them in their simplistic nature and not play a blame game to try and ease the pain.
In many respects we should not mourn Ben’s death but instead celebrate his life. Ben was an eternal optimist with an infectious enthusiasm and an endless energy that made him very driven and ambitious. Even on the biggest river epics, when everyone else had a grim face Ben would be wearing his cheeky smile, accepting the terms and conditions of the adventure in his trademark positive manner. Ben was always hard to say ‘no’ to and always the first to say ‘yes’.
My heart goes out to Adrian who had to witness his mate drown. No kayaker deserves to have to endure that nightmare. And to Robin who lost a husband and must now raise two children that will never get to know their father.
In many respects Ben was a martyr for kayaking and the ‘river gypsy’ lifestyle. He paid the ultimate price for the love of the river.
We will miss you Benny Earle, but rest easy mate for your spirit will always flow strong in the timeless currents and freedom of the river and in the memories of those who shared your amazing journey.
The town of Avon in Colorado is hosting a big air competition to promote the WWP. The top men and woman's trick take home some big bucks. The competition is judged by the public; anyone can vote and you can vote as many times as you would like until all the entries are in on Aug. 15th.
The hole was a monster at higher flows this year and we finally hit the park at a pretty good medium flow before the water dropped off this week.
Please click the link below to check out my big air entry and help me out.
Title name: Space Godzilla
Thanks so much!
The water on the Front Range has been at a pretty steady medium flow because of temperature fluctuations in Colorado (it is still randomly snowing in the high country in the middle of June) which hopefully means a long steady season.
In the first rodeo competition, I was a little shaky and could not go vertical because of the water level (grrrr, rocks!), but I still managed to place first.
Sometimes it is hard to concentrate when the MC is making fun of you. Thanks Reed!
Photo by: George Gatz Photgraphy
After hanging out with Steven Wright in Lyons and Corey Volt in Golden and Buena Vista, I was able to get a few pointers. In the second two events, I improved big time sticking my air loops, cartwheels and trying very hard to throw and stick my McNasty and Airwheels. I was super siked that I placed first in both of those competitions as well.
The final competition was no big deal because I was the only girl in my division. I swept and took the overall title in the woman’s expert. The best part of the competition is the overall awards. This year I won a brand new boat!!!! I still need to pick out which one I want. I am so excited!
Now that the freestyle comps and the Eddy Flower Vertical Challenge are over, I guess it is time to step it up and start planning some multi-day trips.