By the way the Lord of the Fork results are here:
heres a parting shot from El Horrendo
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:
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.
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.
dan p photo
Brad tries to move the sieve rock @ Sieve Drop
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
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…