Friday, June 22, 2012

Last week in the USA

Our last week in the United States of America we had run out of water to paddle on so we decided to try out a few other activities. We went skydiving and it was SICK!!!! We spent a day wrecking havoc at a water park. We visited some granite waterfalls that you can slide down. We went to Reno River Festival. We broke some laws in Yosemite national park and we destroyed a large amount of paddling gear. Heres some photos.

Reno river festival me an Jordie won the SUP X races even though neither of us had been on a SUP on a river before!!!

Kiwi places for Reno River Festival: Lulu 1st SUP Slalom, Josh 3rd SUP slalom, Jordie 1st in SUP X, me 2nd Boater X, 1st SUP X

Jordie and Christy checking out the view

Team shot on top of half dome

When we arrived at Yosemite National Park and enquired about permits to climb half dome we were told we definitely weren't allowed to camp anywhere in the park and we definitely wouldn't be able to summit half dome as permits have to be pre booked in March. We decided to take this as a challenge and hatched a cunning plan to camp out on a rock (safe from mountain lions) then get up at 3.30am and attempt to beat the ranger up half dome thus mitigating the need for permits.

Christy stoked to be going downhill

Jordie taking a break

We successfully beat the ranger up the hill and had a mean time on top of the dome admiring the view. Unfortunately while we were up there the ranger appeared and started checking people's permits. Jordie had managed to sweet talk a bunch of girls we met up there to give us one of their permits so we sent Lulu down first to scout out the situation while we hid behind a tree. The plan was that she would walk down past the ranger and if he checked her permit she would signal us no go and we would sneak around the ranger. When she reached the ranger she signaled not good so we decided to sneak around the ranger one by one. Its pretty hard to be sneaky when you're alternating between climbing down granite cliff and smashing your way through manzanita but the ranger either didn't see us or gave us points for effort and didn't chase us.

Mean waterfall half way to half dome 

Team shot with half dome in the background

Carapicho on the awesome slides

Team kiwi and friends


Then on the way to the airport the roofracks fell off the car in the middle of the motorway resulting in two completely destroyed boats and a number of smashed paddles. Not sure how we are going to race in Norway with no boats and no paddles but fingers crossed for everything working out. It usually does. Main thing: no one got hurt!!!!

the prognosis for these paddles... Not good

Lulu checking out the damage

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Bald Rock Canyon

Bald Rock Canyon is the lower section of the Middle Fork of the Feather River. The section begins just after the confluence with the South Branch at Milsap Bar and ends in Lake Oroville. It is "one of the most spectacular canyons in California" according to the Californian guidebook and with Cherry Creek's flow rapidly dropping out we decided to flag that option and get on a new run instead.

After picking Jordie up from the airport we pretty much dragged him straight to the river. Our crew consisted of Nick and Jordie (rafting) and Chris, Ryan Mac, Christy, Katie, and myself (kayaking). Only Katie had run the river before and that was 6 years ago so we didn't have much beta, we knew that the run had been rafted once before but wasn't recommended, so the scene was set for a great adventure.

 Shot WWC for providing the raft

The first day has plenty of sweet stress free rapids, similar to the Devils Canyon section which we had run a few weeks earlier. There was one small portage and one slightly longer portage where all the water goes under a mansion sized boulder then sieves out between various smaller rocks.

Portage no1 - unfortunately all the water pushes straight into an undercut on the right

Portage no2, apparently you're supposed to lower your boats down river right then ferry across and continue portaging but we found a more enjoyable option


Our campground (photo by Ryan Mac)

We camped halfway though the portage which left us heaps of time to go swimming, jump off rocks, try to climb up waterfalls, and make an awesome fire. 

Chris with a balanced diet

No Jordie, that log is too big for the fire

Crazy sieve on river right here

Day 2 the gradient increases and so do the sieves. We had one hairy moment when Christy got pushed into a sieve and just managed to jump out of his boat and scramble up the bank before his entire boat went straight under a pile of rocks and luckily popped out the other side. Unfortunately his paddle disappeared never to be seen again.

Ryan Mac hanging out in the middle of the river

Katie looking styly

What are these boys up to?

The only other bit of carnage involved the raft. The boys had been styling every single rapid but when they got to the waterfall they decided to portage it. Instead of lowering it down the side of the waterfall they opted to throw it over the edge then jump in and ride it down the wall... Apparently the idea was that the raft would slide down the granite then skim out into the pool. What actually happened was the nose of the raft stuck to the granite, the raft then folded, unfolded, catapulted Jordie onto the granite and Nick straight onto Jordie (at least Nick got a softer landing) then the raft flipped on top of them and started getting sucked back into the waterfall. Jordie still came up saying "that was AWESOME", so much for portaging being the easier option.

Oh boy

me taking the more conventional line (photo by Ryan Mac)

Chris with a styley boof 

Christy huddling under the poison oak for shade

Bald Rock Canyon is an awesome run, I think the only thing that might deter people from paddling it is the 13 mile flat paddle out over lake Oroville. A much better option is to get in touch with Gerard. He dropped us off at the put in, drove our cars to the boat ramp, and picked us up at the end of the river on his party barge with cold beers and margaritas. What a great way to end a sick run!

Party barge (photo by Ryan Mac)

Gear transportation (photo by Ryan Mac)

Christy appeasing the river gods, good man.

Saturday, June 16, 2012


On our way back to Coloma from Teva Mountain Games we decided to do some tourist activities and check out Dead Horse Point State Park and Arches National Park.

Colorado river at sunset from Dead Horse Point

Sunrise at Dead Horse Point

Shilo checking out the sunrise

Nemo still going strong

Arches National Park is an amazing place, would have been great to have more time to fully explore it but the little of what we saw was amazing.

Some dude lived here for 20 years back in the day, housing in america has improved quite a lot since those days

Delicate arch

Christy "if I fall off the cliff you have to come get me cause I have the car keys in my pocket"

Super amazing place, definitely worth a visit!!!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Summer Teva Mountain Games, Vail, Colorado

The Teva Mountain Games is an annual extreme sports festival hosted by the city of Vail, Colorado. Events include steep creek kayaking, slope style mountain biking, sup boarding, bouldering, slacklining, and is interestingly combined with a dog big air competition. Each year a bunch of kiwis head over and generally dominate both the podiums and the party scene...

The one nice move on the steep creek race (photo by Christy Hammond)

This year due to record low snow packs the river was looking pretty manky but we headed on up for a couple of practice runs. The practice runs were pretty eventful with plenty of pins, pitons, and a couple of swims.

Martina ripping it up (photo by Christy Hammond)

Sam had the fastest time after the first round (photo by Christy Hammond)

Tyler making it look good (photo by Christy Hammond)

Isaac showed up on the morning of the race and after only one practice lap managed to memorise the lines and make it look pretty good, he just missed making it through to the next round by two places. (photo by Christy Hammond)

Jamie somehow got his name wrong on the entry form and got called Jamie Kaituna by the commentator all day (photo by Christy Hammond)

Mike taking the title from Sam in the second run (photo by Christy Hammond)

Lou Urwin on the last drop (photo by Shilo Gibson)

Shilo and Christy getting all artistic on it (photo by Shilo Gibson)

Backflip on a slackline, yeyah (photo by Shilo Gibson)

This year was the first time they had a slacklining competition at Teva and it was awesome to see the tricks people can do on them. Back flips, spins, front flips, it looked like heaps of fun and super styley.

Teva freeride duel (photo by Shilo Gibson)

On the last day of the games we had the kayak 8 ball race which is pretty much boater X in groups of four with the top two from each round progressing through to the next round. The best part about the race though is the '8 ballers', throughout the racecourse hiding in eddies are people whose sole purpose is to take out the people kayaking, no rules, no holds barred, they want to see you swim... 

... and they won't hesitate to try take your head off either (photo by Shilo Gibson)

Me and Lou making it through to the finals (photo by Shilo Gibson)

In between the 8 ball preliminaries and finals was the rafter X. In small two man rafts you had to race down a section on gore creek head to head against another team and go round slalom gates. The winning team progressed to the next round and the losing team got knocked out. Christy and I made it through to the final but unfortunately missed a gate so came in 3rd.

Craziness (photo by Shilo Gibson)

Getting revenge on one of the 8 ballers (photo by Shilo Gibson)

Heres some results...

Appeasing the river gods

In 3rd place 'The Kaitiaki Difference' (photo by Jordie Dorfliger)