Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Gear Review - IR Drysuit

Immersion Research was nice enough to hook me up with a reasonably cheap drysuit which I've worn at least every second day since I got it about 5 weeks ago. Seeing as I haven't seen many IR Drysuits around I thought I'd do a bit of a gear review in case anyone is interested in its performance.

Dryness: Awesome! Its been pretty sweet jumping off the river feeling warm and dry watching Ryan and Pete complaining about being cold and wet and wringing out their fleeces

Warmth: Sweet, so far I've just been wearing a onesie underneath and thats been warm on glacier melt rivers in Norway and paddling while it was SNOWING in California

Functionality: the entry zipper is on the back of the shoulders, this is good because it makes for a really comfortable fit and doesn't interfere with your paddling. The negative factor is that you can't get into or out of the drysuit by yourself but thats alright cause paddling by yourself is not as fun anyway.

Cool, we just bottled 50 Liters of home brew and I lost my train of thought. IR drysuit, yup, mean, highly recommend it.

Running 'safety' in the middle of the river

One improvement would be to make a girls version with a rear zipper because a front zipper for a girl isn't that useful.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

South Branch of the Feather

After two days slogging through flat water and sieves on Deer Creek we were seriously thinking about throwing in the towel and heading back to Coloma when Nemo's tire decided to disintegrate on the highway. Fortunately we had just replaced the spare tire but Nemo didn't have a jack so it was Jess and Daan to the rescue.... Again... This situation turned out to be a stroke of luck because while we were changing the tire we decided to head up to the south branch of the feather and check out the flow. A much more desirable plan than heading back to the Coloma Club!

How many kiwis does it take to change a spare tire?

Ryan Lucas on the first gorge

Power pointing Jess away from the sieve just in case she didn't see it for herself

Me hitting up the auto boof

We arrived at the put in to find the river at a good juicy flow but severe lack of warmth and sunlight led to us not putting on the river until after midday.

Pete showing kiwis can fly

"Toni you fire it first then take photos of us"

Daan on one of the million sick boofs

Ryan showing off his gorilla arms

Lodge firing up Kaituna styles



Pete sending Ryan down a funky looking rapid

Ryan firing 99 problems

Despite the high flow and the runout which led into a 100ft death waterfall Ryan fired up 99 problems and made it look super good.

Me firing the 50fter first (Photo by Pete Lodge)

The last drop on this run is a perfect 50fter clean lip, roll off the edge, late tuck into a slight reconnect and pretty much no hit. Super fun! What a good way to end a sweet run and keep you from losing your mind on the brutally steep exit trail.

Me, stoked (Photo by Pete Lodge)

Pete with the line of the day, even popped out upright!

Then the river drops off the face of the earth.

Thanks to Jess, Daan, Ryan and Pete for another awesome day on the river!!!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Homestake Creek Race Teva Mountain Games

At about 10am on Wednesday the 1st of June I found out that the Teva Steep Creek Race was actually on Thursday 2nd of June not Friday which I had previously thought. After some indecision where Pete nearly convinced me to stay in California and go creeking instead of racing I decided that with a bit of dedication it was possible to complete the 18hour drive from Coloma, California to Vail, Colorado in time for race registration at 8am.

Lou Urwin unleashing the mongrel

Nikki Kelly with a sick boof

Me trying to remember the lines after 1 1/2 hours sleep (photo by Shilo Gibson)

Shilo, Melissa and I rolled out of Coloma at 11.30am and settled in for a long drive. We arrived in Vail around 6am in time for a quick catnap before heading up to Homestake Creek. The river was at a medium to high level which put it on the good side of manky and made for some great carnage in the bottom hole.

Martina heading through the goalposts

Brendan in his second timetrial

Tyler making it look good

Sam heading through the lower mank section

Mike heading for the tied win

The kiwis repped hard and Nikki and Mike both making it onto the podium, heres the results:

1st Adriene Levknecht
2nd Nikki Kelly
3rd Martina Wegman

1st Mike Dawson
1st Honza Lasko
3rd Jakub Nemec

Big ups to everyone for competing and shot Teva for giving us all a pair of free shoes!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Lower Clavey

After another failed attempt at an early start due to lack of sunlight hitting the gorge we put on to the 20ish mile Lower Clavey. We were a little bit nervous as the river had risen somewhat overnight but we still deemed it to be on the good side of high.

Camping on a bridge!!!

Me hitting a cool rapid right at the put in

Daan styling..

From the put in it was straight into continuous, steep, boulder garden style rapids. The intensity stepped up and didn't ease off until the confluence with the Tuolumne roughly 8 miles from the bridge.

Pete boofing a sticky hole

Ryan hitting the line

Pete Lodge on another cool drop

Me enjoying the scenery (photo Pete Lodge)

Ryan avoiding the sieve

Pete with another super boof

Ryan showing off his Trout Pool boof

Last rapid before the confluence

By the time we made it to the confluence we were all pretty keen to cruise the last stretch of boogie water. We stayed with the current paddling through 3m high waves and avoiding some gnarly looking holes and smashed out the last 12mile section in under an hour.

Camping on a forestry road

Pete in the sunshine with food is happy Pete

All in all an awesome day on the river, amazingly there was no carnage despite the intimidating rapids and big sticky holes. I would highly recommend this run, definitely one of the best days I've had on a river ever!!!