North Alabama Whitewater Festival

North Alabama is a great place to be for kayaking this time of year. Check here for some recent happenings: www.bama-boys.blogspot.com

-Charlie Mix


thorpie's update

Heya crew.
Just an update from my corner of the globe. Im Just back in Tassie now after a sweet little creeking trip to New Zealand, me and the lads managed to get a lot of the classic runs done. Based in Hokitika on the wild west coast of the south island. The majority of the runs in the area involve a heli shuttle to get into the put ins at the base of the Alps, which isnt too expensive- even as NZ drops into recession, choppers cost on average about $100 each- a bargain considering how pristine and staunch the runs are. We managed to hit up the Perth, Arahura, Waihtaha, Hokitika and Kokatahi to name a few. Not really much carnage- apart from Kiwi mate Jimmy getting sieved on the Perth, Boat, paddler and paddle all went in for a few seconds and luckily flushed out the bottom of the boulder. I Guess it wasn't Jims time to go- as he was bloody lucky to survive. Thats one thing about NZ its sieve central, a place where mistakes have large consequences.
Well im now working and saving for the next mission. Off to Far north queensland next for some tropical creekboating then I fly to the middle east. Am going to do some work and explore the rivers of Turkey, am also in the process of getting a visa for Iran and hope to head there to explore some rivers. After all that its off to Norway for the rest of the northern Summer, Rafting and trying to make my kayak fly.
happy hucking


New River Academy was all set to spend two amazing weeks at the Futaleufu in Chile, when the volcano Chaiten erupted again. We were all super disappointed to miss the epic Futa, but David Hughes, owner and founder of New River Academy quickly rallied and came up with a new plan of Pichilemu and the Maipo River up north. So here I sit, in a little internet cafe on the streets of beautiful Pichilemu. Pichilemu is a chilean surf town, which is cool all on its own. Plus, the waves here are unbelievable.

David Nelson Jones, a senior at New River Academy
catching a big wave...
(c) Tracy d'Arbeloff

David Nelson Jones 3 seconds later...ouch
(c)Tracy d'Arbeloff

There are two spots to surf. One is right on the main beach, a block away from where we are staying. The other is a short shuttle away at a place called Punta De Lobos. Point of Wolves. Yes, be scared. These waves can be up to 30 feet tall and live up to their name. It is either go big or go home. Punta de Lobos has certainly gotten a big taste of New River Academy in the past week. Students have been throwing huge...and experiencing huge beat downs. It is all in good spirits though. I mean, there is nothing better then comparing who's munching was the worst at the end of the day. Surfing the ocean is so much different then surfing a normal river wave. For starters, they will not flush you out like river waves do. Also, it is super tiring; you constantly have to paddle to fight the riptide, not to mention boofing big piles every five seconds. Sometimes I feel like I am on a treadmill out there!

One of the Pichilemu "taxis"
(c)Tracy d'Arbeloff

The town itself is beyond cool. Instead of taxis here, they have horse drawn carriages! There are tons of cool little cafes and restaurants, plus cute local markets all over the place. The one downfall is the the surfers are...I think it is suffice to say not pleased that 20 kayakers have invaded their "territory." Although I sympathize, they are annoyingly rude. So much for chill surfer mentality! Add into that a language barrier? Yeah...not good. At least New River Academy has gotten to brush up on their um...surfing etiquette? Rule number one: ALWAYS give the surfer the wave. Rule number two: if asked to "discuss" on land, do not accept. Seriously!!

Jason Craig, sophomore at New River Acadmey
throws a huge airscrew at Punta de Lobos, Chile
(c)Tracy d'Arbeloff

Ok so it is not that bad. As long as we are polite and do not steal waves, they tolerate us. Barely. But we still get our share of waves, and they are more then worth the wait.
And despite being terrified of sharks...and jellyfish...things are absolutely perfect. I am truly lucky to be here.

-Tracy d'Arbeloff