Road trip part 2, The Gol Gol,

This is actually the second try at the Gol Gol, a couple weeks back we showed up and decided there was way too much water. This time there was just a little less. The team, Kyle, Steven, Jake and I got suited up in our wet gear and hiked in to the first drop. Everyone was tired from the lack of good sleep the night before, (half the group slept in a truck and the other half in a bus stop). After a quick inspection of the first drop no one was interested in a big jungle hike to run a 15 foot boof. We put on below the first drop and cruised threw some fun class 4 towards the next horizon line. The whole run is made up of gigantic pour overs, that lead into class 4, and then back into other giant pour overs. With all of the big drops on this run pouring over it is really important to delay your boof stroke, waiting till the drop truly goes vertical to take that last powerful stroke.

Kyle getting his late boof

Steven dropping into an interesting flume, this thing was cool, both sides of the slide where just exploding, have to find the sliver of water that makes it through

Jake with a big boof

We bombed off a couple drops, and quickly arrived at an especially gnarly looking 30 ft drop. After scouting my line I gave myself a 50/50 chance of being where I wanted to be through the entrance rapid. If I was spot on from there I gave my self a 60% chance of sticking the boof over a nasty hole. To make it worse the hole was recirculating under the right wall, all of this equaled a no go in my head. Everyone in the group quickly came to the same decision and we raised the boats out of the canyon, through the jungle, and put them back in at the base of that very respectable rapid. A quick paddle brought us to the top of the 50 footer. "This thing is immense", easily a 1,000 cfs bouncing threw a narrow slot. The perfect line is through a nasty lead in, over a roller, and down 20 feet where the right side of the current engulfs you. Then you fall another 30 feet into the most aerated landing zone ever. Kyle looked at this drop for just a few minutes, walked up, got in his boat, and paddled into the monster. Kyle had an amazing line, and made this huge drop look really good to the rest of us.

Kyle styling the monster

Steven getting swallowed

One after the next, everyone donated themselves to the massive volume of water, letting themselves get engulfed and flying into the landing zone. In the pool of the landing zone everyone rolled up laughing, "IT FELT LIKE I JUST LANDED IN A CLOUD". As quick as it started it ended, we exited the canyon, jumped in the truck, and rallied back to town for some much need food.

Kyle reflecting on another stout

Chris Baer


Still Chilly in the SE

So its still been snowy, icy, and cold down here in WNC which has made for some good snowboarding and chilly kayaking, however it has been some good kayaking. Been out to the Nantahala Cascades , North Fork of the French Broad, Yellow Creek again, and Scotts Creek. Also we discovered North Fork Creek which looks like it would take a lot of rain, has tons of sketchy undercut drops, however they are some really cool looking sketchy drops. As per Scotts Creek its logged and trashed out like crazy and I had to do a dry land "swim" onto a log, however it was pretty entertaining and I am fine as is everyone else who was there. So now we have two summer projects Scotts Creek and Yellow Creek for some clean up. As per North Fork of the French Broad we had a good day at a nice level and I got a bit trashed in a hole but rode it out so it was a good time, and as per all the boatertalk posts saying there is wood in the way at the time of our trip none of the wood was in play. The pictures are actually from the top and bottom of the drop known as Submarine on the North Fork of the French Broad. IN MORE RECENT NEWS CHEOAH IS RUNNING THIS WEEKEND AND LOOK FORWARD TO SEEING PEOPLE THERE! However I will end with some pictures from my exploits. Stay safe and congrats to Shannon Bahrke on the Bronze rocking the helmet! Thanks WRSI, Peace Paul


Florian, road trip part 1

Paddling with the kids,
The adventure continues, one group leaves another shows up, the group dynamics change again. Some for the better some for the worse, but always entertaining. My latest adventure to the Florian and Gol Gol was with a extremely young group of paddlers. The group consisted of Kyle Hull age 20, Jake Greenbaum age 21, Steven Forester age 18, and my self Chirs Baer at age 31. With a big age and experience difference you know there is going to be some major differences in group dynamics. With as much deference as there was, we have in common something much more important, we are all good paddlers, and we were going to tackle some great rivers.

We rented another truck this time from Rodrigo Tuschner, (Rodrigo is the active partner and face of Kayak Pucon). The fact that we just rented a kayak vehicle made me a little nervous (kayakers aren't known for there meticulous vehicles). My suspicious about the vehicle were confirmed immediately when the rest of the team brought the truck over to the coffee house. The first things the crew said was that Rodrigo said "don't be going over 90k, and check the oil, don't ruin my shit".

So the journey began all four of us pilled in the truck and rallied at 90 kph for, four hours. We stopped for gas and the truck didn't start after we filled it. So, we simply push started the truck again and were on our way. Once we got to the Florian, I strategically parked the truck so we could easily roll start it down a good sized hill.

Once at the Florian we started our hike in, crossed the bridge and put on. This time on the Florian the gauge was reading 45 cm. This is 10 cm less water then last time we where at the Florian. Immediately I knew that the 50 footer was going to kick a little more, and the double drop might be runnable. We headed into the canyon and ran the first fun drop, everyone had smooth lines.

Jake in the first rapid

Steven boofing through the first rapid

Then as we were headed through some in-between class 4+ Kyle got pinned, pinned bad. His whole boat was under water, I was only feet away but unable to help. I had immediate thoughts of bad accidents I had been around before, but Kyle was wasting no time. Kyle was fighting hard, pushing off of rocks squirming around, and plan old "giviner hell". Quickly the water surged the boat shifted and the water was curtaining right over Kyle's head. It was at this point Kyle finally decided to get out of his boat. Kyle was very calm and precise about his movements. He got his knees up, and in one motion stood up in his cockpit and jumped into the pool below. A few minutes later Kyle was able to reach into the drop and unpin his boat. Once again we were on our way.

Kyle and his nasty pin rapid

The next drop is the double drop that we portaged the last time I was in the canyon. This time it was looking a little less scary and one by one we decided to hire it up. There was a myriad of lines from Jake's far left, to my far right, Kyle's underwater, and Steven's over rotating. Everyone was treated to a different experience, and everyone was ex-static to run a truly difficult rapid.

Jake slipping into the mealy

Kyle boofing the 20 ft exit drop

Steven over rotating off the bottom 20

Next rapid up is a fun 20 ft slide everyone just bombed down and that brought us to the 50 footer. Like I had said in a previous article, this 50 footer is not clean. There are flakes of rock the whole way down the drop looking to grab your boat, and flip, tip, or just slam you around. The group was solid, everyone came over the lip and road the drop "proud" (sitting tall in your boat and anticipating, the unexpected).
Riding proud gives you the best chance of correcting what ever those flakes in the drop decide to do to you, this time. Everyone dealt with thee bounces and had relatively smooth lines with low impacts at the bottom. From the base of the 50 footer it is just another couple hundred feet to the take out.

Kyle at the lip of the 50 footer

Steven in the depths riding proud

The take out trail SUCKS, it is at a 70 degree pitch, is all loose mud and rock, and covered in bamboo shoots that get tangled in every thing. Once on top of the ridge we tried a different technique to get back to the truck. We hiked river right up a old road to the bridge we put in on, across the bridge and back down to the truck. This route is definitely the better option. With this less brutal hiking option, my overall rating of this run has now been greatly improved. So if you are looking for a park and hike and stout hucking and then a decent hike back this is actually a damn good run.

Please remember there are hot-springs at the put in, they cost a little money and be nice to the land owner, the access here could easily be taken away.

After the Florian the truck started and we went to another park and huck. The water was too high and we tried to leave, this time the truck didn't start. We tried push starting it, and we tried again, and again, and we had pushed the car the better part of a mile. During this process I popped the hood and found one of the positive leads had come loose, with trusty multi tool and gorilla tape in hand I got the lead jimmied back on. The truck still didn't start. Finally a guy gave us a hand by towing the truck, and after two minutes with the clutch out if finally fired up.

Our truck broken down in the middle of the road

We where on our way again, this time to the Gol Gol, as we drove it got late, and started raining. We were approaching the Gol Gol, at two in the morning, and it became apparently clear we needed sleep. I started starring out the window and then I saw it, a little covered bus stop with just enough room for two of us to sleep under. We slept in the stinky wet and slug infested bus stop, for a few hours and then headed to the Gol Gol. When we arrived at the Gol Gol, we were tired, hungry, and putting on soaking wet gear. We were about to have a great day.

Chris Baer hungry, homeless and happy in Chile.


Jay Panther on North American Tour


The Killington, VT Nor Am is now over and I am back in Park City. I got 25th on singles day and 6th duals day. The weekend was solid and I am glad to add a 6th to the 5th and 8th I got in Lake Placid, NY two weeks ago. The results are still not what I am looking for as I have yet to win or podium, but I am still finding my stride. It will be nice to be home for this week and get some focused training. I want to bring the California Roll back as I dropped it during the last two contests because the courses were difficult. There are still three more Nor Am stops, a total of six competitions. This means there is still a lot of skiing to do. At this point I am fifth overall in the Nor Am Grand Prix so I am in a good position to make a run at winning it all.

I have attached some video from Killington. It is my qualifying run on duals day.

Thank you for your love and support. I will let you know when I am heading out for the second leg of the Nor Ams.

Jay Panther


Jay Panther on North American Tour


I am pleased to report a successful weekend in Lake Placid, NY with a 5th place Friday and 8th Saturday. Friday was one of the gnarliest days I have ever had on snow. I woke up to a text message from my coach informing me that it was negative seventeen outside with fifty mph winds and the contest was on hold. The contest did happen but due to the conditions it was turned into a one run contest. I put down a solid run on a very difficult course that was a sheet of ice. I watched nearly all of my competitors blow out of the course completely. Part of the reason the contest took so long was there were six men that had to be taken off the course in first aid sleds. There were some extremely scary crashes but luckily there were no broken necks or backs.

Today was significantly better. It was supposed to be a duals event but due to the weather and the slow contest yesterday, the judges decided to make today a singles event to ensure we finished the event. It was still negative twenty and the course was rock solid but there was no wind and the sun was out in full force. I qualified for the sixteen man final with a 10th in the first run. Going into my finals run I decided that 10th was as good as 16th so I was going to let it all hang out and go for the win. My goal for this season is to ski every run to win, and today I did. My finals run was amazing, a total smoke show. I shredded the course with the fastest time of the day by over a second and boosted both of my airs to the end of the landings. I am absolutely ecstatic about how I skied today and have truly disconnected myself from the result. All I can control is my skiing, and today I did it masterfully. What the judges decide to do with my skiing is out of my hands. It was nice, however, to have a half dozen coaches congratulate me, sing my praises, and tell me that I deserved at least a podium.

We are heading to Killington, VT next week for our second stop on the North American Tour. We compete Friday and Saturday again. There is going to be a live web cast for this event so if you have some free time, check it out. The web cast will be at www.urtur.com . Click on the "Results" link at the top right hand corner of the web page to get the run order so you can see when I go each day. Then click on the "Live" link to see the video. Each day men's qualifying will start around eleven a.m. eastern time. Thank you so much for the love and support.

Jay Panther