The 5 year wave, Redding CA

SponsorsSo 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.

From Here to There: 19 Miles on the Versa Board

Just last weekend Woody and his lady Kim (Woody is also Kim’s man) had come over to visit and cook out on my brand new grill (it’s bad ass).  Over a good evening of chatting and hanging out with our significant others, Woody said that he had the idea to stand up paddle 20 miles on the French Broad river on the Versa Board the next day. Betsy (my lady) said that I had to go because she had a pile of grading several megabytes deep to do and she wanted me out of the house.  So there it was: the scene was set.  We both needed to get on the water and with unseasonably few whitewater options, this looked like the adventure at hand.  The idea was exciting as a challenge always is but I also felt a kind of sinking dread: this was going to hurt.
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Versa Board on the Yough

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.

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Paddling the Versa Board SUP board on Gore Creek during the Teva Mountain Games

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.

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