Lord of the Fork

So last weekend Ty and I made another pilgrimage up to Kentucky/Virginia to paddle in the Lord of the Fork. The Lord of the Fork history and facts can be found here (http://www.russellfork.info/race.htm). So this was personally my first time in a "extreme" race. As we got to the start line and after a warm up lap I was feeling pretty well and looking forward to the challenges that lay ahead in trying to speed down some difficult rapids. I was starting in the back of the pack and paddling a short boat where as 47 out of 57 racers were in long boats so I started out knowing I was going to have to keep it clean to do well. Thus I set my goal as not losing and having as clean a run as possible. Considering it was my first extreme race it went pretty well with all but one line being pretty clean. Had a little melt down to undercut incident as i got a bit further left on the boof at the third drop of triple drop almost lost my paddle in that incident but was able to keep a hand on it and roll her back up and get a victory fist pump before taring back off towards the finish line. It was a great experience being able to compete and really is as described in the green race video a whole different experience then fast runs with friends when you know that you are truly getting after it alone. It is also a very fulfilling experience to know what you have conquered after thinking about it for so long. In-fact the high of racing still has yet to wear off but that is also due in part to leaving for CHILE in a few days. So here in a short while you can expect to see some lovely goods from Chile as long as we can keep ourselves out of a good bit of trouble. Have a good one and stay safe Paul
By the way the Lord of the Fork results are here:

heres a parting shot from El Horrendo


Surf Kayak World Championships 2011

Three weeks ago, myself, brother and dad were on the Outer Banks of North Carolina for the 2011 Surf Kayak World Championships. There were seven of us on the Canadian Team, and the other members consisted of Christine Brice from Ucluelet BC, Ted Morris from Algonquin Park, and Dave Willer and Barry Jones from Toronto.

The Surf Kayak Worlds is held every two years, and the most recent championships were held in Spain in 2007 and Portugal in 2009. Although there were a few Canadians in past competitions, this was the first time that Canada has had a full team entered. Since most of my paddling experience is whitewater I went down there with low expectations for myself, but it was still pretty cool to fly the flag and surf with and against the very best in the world in this sport.

In the competition, there were approx. 20 countries present including US, Canada, Spain, Basque Country, England, Japan, Ireland, Jersey, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Portugal, yadda yadda yadda.... For those not familiar with surf kayaking, it utilizes flat bottomed kayaks designed specifically to ride waves in the exact same way as a surfboard does. Most of the boats are equipped with fins, and each wave is scored using the exact same scale and judging as used in a surfboard contest.

The competition consisted of Team events and Individual events. In order to compete in the team event, a Country had to submit 7 paddlers. Like I mentioned, this was the first time Canada had enough for team event, and placed 5 out of 5. He he. But, as this was the first competition for a few of us, we didn't mind.

Next up was Individual heats, which went better for us. It started with 12 twenty minute heats with four surfers in the water. Each surfer was allowed 10 waves and the the best two waves were combined to get a final score. The top 2 people in the heat advanced to the 2nd round, and me and Kye were psyched to place well and advance. There were some excellent boaters in both of our heats so we were surprised to hit the beach after to recieve highfives telling us that we had advanced. I placed 2nd in the first heat, trailing .55 points behind Anthony Bell, team US East champion, and Kye killed it in his heat coming first. I have to mention that Kye competed the whole week in a plastic boat, the only one not in a composite surf boat, and he definitely turned some heads in the process. Watch out for this little bugger in the future. Other Canadian members that advanced were Christine in Womens Short, and Ted in Masters Short. Major props to dad for hopping in a flat bottom boat for the very first time and surfing against a few former world champions. He did not advance, but gave er and is now inspired to start pushing the envelope at home here in Northern BC!

During the 2nd round, me Kye and Christine all got bumped, but I didn't mind and I had already exeeded my expectations. Ted continued to surf well, and ended the Championships in 4th place in the world in masters short boat. What a guy, huge smiles all around!

The best part of this competition was the community feel of the thing. I cant imagine another sport where the top people from around the world can gather and compete against each other in a friendlier spirit. High-fives, shakes and hugs were present before and after many of the heats between competitors, and there was no tension at all between anyone (except for one surf boarder who made a complete ass out of himself and had to have the cops called on him). There were socials most nights, and a good party after the awards ceremony. We went down to NC mainly for the experience, and team Canada will be present and hungry at the 2013 World Championships in Australia.

Enjoy the pics:

The 2011 Aquabatics Film Competition

The 2011 Aquabatics film competition went off last week with 9 film entries and a great turnout, this festival showcased the vast amount paddling and videography skill in the region. The festival had two categories: Paddling Porn and Entertainment. In the paddling porn category Blair Trotman snagged first place with his entry Do It For The Love Vol. II. Paddle Junkies picked up first in the Entertainment category and won the peoples choice award, winning a Wavesport Project X and a Kokatat Rogue drytop for their entry: The Kayak Network. Super Sexy Kayak the film Liam Fournier and I entered placed second in the entertainment category.

Thanks to Simon Coward and the boys at Aquabatics Calgary and all the event's sponsors these guys put on a great show and I'm super excited for next year. Check out all of the videos at http://www.youtube.com/user/AquabaticsCalgary.

Peter Thompson



Often the friendship and camaraderie that come with the sport of kayaking is over looked. This was hit home during a recent solo paddling trip that I went on to the west coast. Although it was a great trip and I was able to meet up and paddle with friends along the way, the alone time when camping and hanging out made for maybe hard trip but definitely a different paddling trip experience. The biggest thing I found with my solo trip was that I spent way more money and only had only had myself to bounce ideas off of to decide what to do. This was both a nuisance and a blessing in that I could do what I wanted, but I also made some decisions that in hindsight were pretty dumb. I suggest that everybody tries going on a solo trip, but also enjoy the great times and the camaraderie that goes along with the quintessential paddling trip.

Peter Thompson


Chelan: the final Flow Study

Chelan PUD has offered releases the last three years on the Chelan River via a flow study made possible in part by American Whitewater. I recently read the original write up on the first feasibility study in Chelan Gorge. At the time I had only been boating a few years and had a different perspective. If Chelan was the only river to paddle in the region I could see pining for releases. However, Tumwater Canyon, Icicle Creek, and the best playboating the state has to offer are an hour away. Not to mention, Chelan looked nuts. I thought these guys were crazy. Things change.

This is the last year and last weekend of the flow study, then it's up to somebody other than me to determine how many times per year this jewel will have enough flow to kayak. Rowdy as always, it's good to be back!! Big intimidating bedrock drops set in a dramatic gorge. Warm water and hot temps... couldn't ask for more.
And while Tracy Clapp, Britt Gentry, Forrest Hubler, Rick Williams, John Gangemi and Bo Shelby all got to go in first back in 2000, we get to refine the lines and discover new things about the run. And there are always the un-run drops. Or should I say un-run DROP! During the last day of the last flow release Rob McKibbon aka Superchamp first D'ed the biggest drop of the run, Pinnacle. We all looked at it for a long time and worked through many different rescue scenarios if things were to go awry. In the end, I think there were 6 throw-baggers with multiple bags, two guys at the Sieve Drop just downstream and I was in my boat, in the water, 5 feet away from the bottom hole in Pinnacle. It's about as safe as it's gonna get. It is by far the most intimidating drop on the run. Rob made it look easy.

Professor Gnarly, the aptly named ledge hole at the bottom of Entrance Exam was handing out the big smackdown as well as some passing grades. Mostly smackdown. Professor Gnarly is a stickler, pay attention.

cruising to Chelan
"you only get to run a drop blind ONCE"
Dave studies Entrance Exam for his 2nd lap

Ellie doesn't think the Prof looks so bad

 Fish employs DOUBLE EXTRA SAFETY at Entrance Exam


Meat Locker safety crew

comin' in hot!!

 winna winna, chicken dinnah!!
 Fish sets safety at Meat Locker

 Rob scouts Pinnacle  dan p photo

Brad tries to move the sieve rock @ Sieve Drop

Rob at Pinnacle  dan p photo 

Rob, Scott, Totten, Alex and the whole gang will be back next year, pending release dates. Chelan is always a good time. Can't wait for next year!!!! SYOTR


Russel Fork Ridiculousness

It was a rather epic weekend out at the Russel Fork and all the Ouch! Crew. We set up a pretty good camp and were hanging around all weekend cooking over the fire and running all that the gorge had to offer. On the first day having no recollection of the lines we were able to enlist the help of Chris Hipgrave to show us down and give us the lines as long as we were able to keep up with him which the man is a british bomber, no doubt. Having stomped boof after boof all the way down the river we set up shuttle for round two and got after it again but filmed our second trip down. That night we did a bit of partying like we had friday night and chilled around our fire having a good time and cooking out. Bagged one other run on Sunday of the gorge section with the some of the boys from boone meeting up with us. We had a great time, ran some good whitewater and got to meet some awesome people on our adventure to Elk Horn City. Hope everyone else had a great weekend as well, Peace Paul


Update from 2011 Surf Kayak World Championships

Currently here in North Carolina at the surf kayak world champs. Been here about a week and it has been quite the trip so far! Waves have been good, and there are some righteous paddlers here from all over the world just rippin it up! Ill do a proper post when I have a bit more time, but for now here is a link to team Canada's website (our team manager has been good about keeping things up to date, unlike myself).

A dry summer in France

Like during the rest of this year, water levels were pretty low in France this summer. So what do you do if you work and are unable to travel far?

This summer started with an event that I really like : the Natural Games. The competition is as tough as the parties are wild! Even with what little training I was able to get in this season, I managed to make it through to the finals and ranked 4th. Not too bad…

Photo by Valentin Grollemund

Afterwards, I went to Biarritz, a city on the Basque coast, to go to school for a few weeks. Of course I had to go to classes, but you can’t be that close to the ocean without catching some waves before there are too many surfers to kill?? I had nice waves to surf with both with my freestyle and surf kayaks.

Photos by Katie Beardsley

At the end of July, we had the French Championships on the opposite side of France in Metz, a city in the northeast. The competition happened on a really small hole that is part of the slalom course in the old center of town. It was a cool location with lots of people watching. However the spot is really small and you’ve got to be extremely technical. The beginning was easy but the semifinals proved too difficult to reach the top five and go through to the finals. Despite this, it was a fun event with yet another great afterparty.

Photos by Richard Bord

Once all the official events are over, there’s always Charnay - a medium-sized feature lost in the middle of nowhere. Which means you can kayak, party, barbecue, swim, slackline, relax, and many other things without disturbing anybody.

This time, the hole was half wave, half hole and was working almost all day long which isn’t usually the case!

Photo by Alexendre Jakette

After Charnay it was back to Paris again, where I decided to boof every drop I could find. Kayaking is a real drug and this stuff, though fairly small, was a lot of fun! There are lots of other urban spots to be found in Paris, so we’ll continue to scout the region this year…

Photos by Laurent Devigne

Photo by Romain Peureux

All of this to say that even when water levels are not ideal, you can always find some cool missions. And after summer comes autumn which is supposed to be the rainy season!!! To be continued…