So I have been caved out up here in Mt. Shasta as we have been getting lots of snow in the past week and expect at least another foot by the end of the week. Sure as hell doesn’t feel like spring except the rivers are swollen and the lakes are full. I will be the first to admit that my play boating is the weakest aspect of my kayaking but this wave is fun no matter what your skill level. At normal flows this feature is a nasty low head dam but when Keswick Dam starts releasing at least 38,000 cfs or higher the Redding Wave forms. This happens about once ever 5 years, as the last time I surfed it was before I went to World Class Kayak Academy in 2006.
This video is of Andy Smith from Riversport Outfitters and Paddling School and myself paddling the Loop section of the Youghiogheny River on Versa Boards. Rumour has it this was a first descent for a Stand Up Paddleboard. Do I think its a big deal? No, not at all but its funny to say first descent so I did. You might also call this swimming the Yough but we did manage to stand up some of the time. It was a great time.
I spent the weekend in Vail Colorado judging the freestyle event at the Teva Mountain Games. There also just happened to be a downriver SUP race so I decided to enter. This is the section of river that the race was on. Its Gore Creek above Vail, CO. We started about 3 miles above town and paddled right down to the middle of the village. The race was the next day and the river had risen another several hundred CFS so the gaps under the bridges were much smaller and the waves were much bigger.