Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Labor Day Trip Report

Me and Sam took off to NC Friday night with visions of rain in our head, hoping and praying the creeks would stay flooded for at least one more day. We left Knoxville, TN early Saturday morning to meet up with Drew Armstrong at Big Creek in NC. We had heard that everything was already dropping out fast and that this was our last option for some Saturday creekin'. We showed up at 8:30 Am Local and found that it was running strong at 2.8 ft! With huge grins and Drew on the way, it was time to get geared up... We started off with a quick run down the lower since it's best with more water and drops out faster than the upper section. Samantha did awesome on the lower! I wish I could have gotten pictures of her run. After the lower section we met up with lots of different friends that we just randomly ran into... and hitched a ride back up to the parking lot for a run down the upper section.

Once back up at the top, we met up with more friends and the parking lot was getting more and more crowded with amped up boaters ready to get in... the water felt GREAT!!!

From there I hiked up to run the Upper and ended up paddling with too many people to name on here... it also doesn't help that I'm terrible with names ;-) Samantha was an awesome girlfriend and hiked all the way up to 'Midnight Hole' and took pictures of us there and of me in 'Action Alley.' Check out the pics from Saturday!

(Photo of Drew Armstrong running 'Midnight Hole' by Samantha Brunner)

Here's a sequence from my run on 'Action Alley.' For those that don't know, 'Action Alley' is basically one long rapid that contains the ledge called 'Baby Gorilla' and the 100 yards of rapids right above it. Sam took what she could from the one boulder she was perched on with her 300 mm zoom lense. This first one is of me running the technical rock jumble below the enterance ledge.

(photo by Samantha Brunner)

From there, I boofed on the far left side to avoid a nasty pocket on the right. This shot is of me just after clearing that boof.

(Photo by Samantha Brunner)

From there, theres a fast jet of swirly water that rounds a corner and drops off a ledge into a sticky hole. This is me rounding the corner and preparing to boof.

(Photo by Samantha Brunner)

Immediately around the corner is a boof in front of a log leaning across the river. There's a fairly sticky little hole below the ledge so a boof is a good idea. I caught an eddy on the left just below it before heading into the enterance ledges of 'Baby Gorilla'. It's the biggest eddy in 'Action Alley.' This is me in that eddy...

(Photo by Samantha Brunner)

From there it was off to 'Baby Gorilla' but unfortunately we didn't get any pictures of that. It's a super smooth drop involving a 10'? boof between a rock shelf that almost like like a giant allegator and an overhung wall. There's not much room in the landing and the water is kicking out at mach speeds! :-) It's a blast to drop in and get shot out through the flume on the right like being shot out of a cannon. Immediately after, the river drops over the double exit ledge of 'Action Alley' and the action calms down a bit... Still fun, but not quite as fun and involved as the Alley! After a fun day on big creek we met up with our friends Dan Peschio & Jen, Shannon & Michelle Nicholson, John, Matt, Jared (from Astral), Mike & Dana, and Amy ... I think that's everyone... So anyways we grabbed some food at Burgermeister (they actually have vegetarian food!) in west Asheville and as it turns out... a bunch of crashed at Dan's house that night... hoping for rain or that the water would at least hold for Sunday! On a whim, we decided to go look at Big Creek again because everything else had dropped out and the Green wasn't running... and oddly enough it held at 2 feet!!! This led to BIG fat grins and a lot of gear flinging as we prepared for the trail up the upper section having the creek nearly all to ourselves! We put in just above 'Midnight Hole' and Sam hiked up again to get some more pictures (I'm thinking next time she'll be wanting to run it -I hope so!!)...

(photo of me running 'Midnight Hole' by Samantha Brunner)

(Photo of Matt running 'Midnight Hole' by Samantha Brunner)

(Photo of John in 'Midnight Hole' By Sam Brunner)

(Drew on 'Midnight Hole' by Samantha Brunner)

We paddled down to the parking lot too tired to walk back up and do it again... From there we parted ways and me, Drew, and Sam left for the Ocoee to meet up with the rest of the Memphis crowd. We were thinking the rain was over for the weekend, unfortunately we didn't find out about all the extra rain until we were well on our way home after another run down the Ocoee Munday... Awesome trip though! I can't wait for the next rain. until then...

Have fun out there!!!

Boyd :-)

Green Narrows Report 8/26/06

(Photo of by Samantha Brunner)
I met up with my friend Dan and a new friend, Alex... and two Green first timers: Nick and Kyle for a sweet morning run down the Green Narrows Saturday... I'm definitely not a Green regular, but one thing I can say is that the Green is one of those runs that you can make as chill or as sick as you want depending on how you're feeling for that day.

(Photo of me running Gorilla by Samantha Brunner)

There's just so many lines and moves possible; the water is always great
Awesome run down with minimal carnage just a couple pins in the group... one in the class III runout, resulting in me having to boof Dan's shoulder haha... it was a pretty chill & relaxed day... a perfect day on the Green! Sam was a HUGE sweetheart for hikin' into the heart of the Narrows on Pullium Trail (a pretty tough trail from what I hear) to take some pictures...

(me in "Chief" by Samantha Brunner)

(photo of Kyle by Samantha B.)

(Photo of Dan Peschio slidin' in below Gorilla by Samantha Brunner)

("Groove Tube" by Samantha Brunner)

(photo of Nick by Samantha B.)

(photo by Samantha Brunner)

(photo of me above Sunshine by Samantha B.)

We went to the Ocoee Sunday and for some surfin' action and we were still back in time to get ready for school this mornin'... ughhhhhhhhhh - wasn't ready for school to start yet. ;-) We're headin' East again this weekend, maybe to do it all again! Pray for rain!

Support Jerry's Race! - A different kind of race for a cure

(Photo by Samantha Brunner)

Thursday, August 03, 2006

ACC & Ouachita Outdoors Surf & Turf Report!

(Photo by Samantha Brunner)

Saturday was the 2006 Surf & Turf in Rockport, AR...
After a special request from some local boaters, me and Sam couldn't turn down the big day in Arkansas! The Arkansas crowd is always a blast to hang out with and one of the friendliest crowds in the east! The Arkansas Canoe Club provided a lot of great food and fun times. The ramp was definitely a big hit and the water felt great! I got to help Adam Motes with the Paddle with the Pros clinic, and hang out with guys and girls from Texas, Kansas, Alabama, Arkansas, and Memphis! Fun times!

After surfing ourselves silly at the ledge, we all went over to Ouachita Outdoor Outfitters for a huge party that lasted most of the night!

(photo by Samantha Brunner)

...proving again that this Arkansas crowd has really got it goin' on! Thanks to Don Jackson, we all got to crash on the floor in the outfitters store... not to mention the donuts and coffee he had for us in the morning! What more can a boater ask for!!! Thanks Don!!! Between the ledge surfin' and the store, Jackson Kayaks was well represented...and the interest was HUGE! Just the number of Jackson Kayaks out there blew me away! As if the party, event, water, and Ouachita Outdoors staff weren't amazing enough, the people there were just incredible to hang out with.... lots of new friends for sure!

More pics up here on Jacksonkayaks.com!

Boyd :-)

more pics from Colorado!

I've finally got some more time to post up more pics from Colorado... Check em out!
( Clay Wright in the Salida flash flood! Photo: Samantha Brunner)

(Clay Wright on a normal day in Salida. Photo by Sam Brunner)

(cool shot Sam got of me throwin' down a back loop in Salida)

(Lawrence Simpson, of Team JK and RMOC, throwin' down in Salida. photo by Samantha B.)

(Clay Wright rockin' his way through the end of "Slideways" on Big South. Photo by Sam B.)

(Our new friend Greg, of Team JK and RMOC in Salida! Photo by Sammie B.)

Think about access...

Without American Whitewater, a lot of great rivers out there would just...

...come to a dead end.

Support the ones that support you! support American Whitewater... agree with everything they do or not, no other organization fights so hard for our access to these beautiful places.

(Photo by Samantha Brunner)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

HUGE SALE at Gaia Paddlesports!!!!

Gaia is having a huge sale on drybags and floatation... this is good stuff!

Go to http://www.gaiasports.com for the online store

Boyd :-)

Thursday, July 06, 2006

another fun day surfin' in Salida...

Photo of me by Josh Oberleas
So I'm chillin' here again in Bongo Billy's in Salida. This time I'm hangin' out with Clay, Sam, Josh Oberleas and at least half of Salida, listening to an AWESOME 2 man band. I'm not sure who they are..., but they're AWESOME...a guy named Jonah ? and his brother...
I'm also enjoying a really good Iced Chai... good times!!
Today we started off surfing "just before breakfast"... and "just before Lake Creek" ... which turned into "just before dinner." We were just having so much fun! In the "aftermath" of yesterdays random flashfloods and last nights storms, we were just jazzed up to be back in the hole here in Salida, CO. It started off with me, Samantha, and Josh Oberleas throwin' down in an AM surf session... Lawrence Simpson, Nichole, and plenty of others. Clay was into some serious cleaning on his truck... cleaning out some 'flowage'... and joined us later.
The highlight of the day was the tandom loops (front and back, but 2 at a time) with Josh...

photo of me and Josh by Sammie B... :-)

a few times we crashed... I landed a big one right on top of his boat - ouch! but super entertaining!!! It was really cool getting to throw a back loop and pop up just in time to see Josh throw a big back loop right next to me... it's a cool feeling and new experience for me at least.

It seems like the last couple weeks I've spent in Colorado, I've made more friends than I've ever imagined. Today at the hole, there were like 20 paddlers there chillin' out, throwin' down, smilin' big, and goin' crazy... the best part, most were people I've never seen before this trip and now I can look around and actually know everyone in the hole. The attitude here is pure fun and like no other. No pressure, no egos, just a fun day out with a city of friends... that's paddling...

anyways, later in the day Team Jackson Kayaks was totally representin' today here in Salida... Myself, Clay, Lawrence Simpson, and not to mention Sam and Nichole, also in Stars and AllStars! For some reason the photo feature isn't working right... so stay tuned for more photos from today later...

It's off to find a place to crash and dream about our hopeful trip down Lake Creek for tomorrow... should be a good level and an AWESOME run!!!

Boyd :-)

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Strange surf session in Salida!

So I'm hanging out in Bongo Billy's in Salida with Clay Wright and Sam. Our Colorado trip has been an amazing experience, full of adventure and new stories. Today will be one of my favorites from the trip for sure!

We went out to the Salida hole for some mellow, low water surf in the top hole. The water was as beautiful as always with the sun out and a big group around the hole, including the HUGE Experiences crowd. Out of nowhere, the Arkansas River through Salida rose from a low 900 cfs, to a stomping 1800 cfs in a couple minutes... almost immediately!!! No kidding!!

Clay described it best:

"in minutes - no more 'watch the rocks' and hello blunts and pistol-flip style Mcnasty's! But then some sticks come through. Then some logs. And within 15 minutes the entire surface of the water is covered with pine straw and sticks and the hole is a frothing mass of black and brown debris. We've got scouters on the bank yelling which side the next log is coming down on and the whole line just keeps taking rides. Now someone comes up with a stick through their PFD. Now sombody takes a log to the helmet. Occasional break as a 10'+ tree or 4' diameter stump comes through. And within 30 minutes the water starts to drop again."

Couldn't have said it better myself.

Fun day flash flood surfin' in Salida!!! :-) ... now time for a shower!

Boyd :-)

Monday, July 03, 2006

This one's for the Ladies!...

Shot I took of Sam

My girlfriend, Samantha Brunner finally got into a Hero... she has become a good technical paddler, but like many girls, she lacks the upper body strength that most guys have... the Hero totally compensates for this, allowing her to have the speed and tracking abilities that the strongest of guys have, while having a light boat that fits her just as well. I think she's really enjoying her new Hero! Check out the Video!!!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Big South Video up!

Finally got the Big South video for you guys... There's definitely a story behind this one. After playin' around on Crested Butte creeks for a day, we ate at the Ginger Cafe' in CB... We finally left CB around 11 pm or later? and drove to the Big South Campground to meat up with Clay Wright and Marty Cronin... We finally pulled in after 6 am trying to catch some shut-eye in the cab of my truck - didn't work. So I put on a high flowin' run for Big South with the guys and we had a BLAST!!! The lack of sleep was poundin' me hard this day.... but it was all good because we were on Big South at high water... FUN day!!! Check out the video!!!

Boyd :-)

Thursday, June 29, 2006

From Samantha... Day 3 update

Big South

After we left the Crested Butte area on Saturday night, kind of late I must add, we thought that we were in for a little 5 hour drive. Nothing bad remembering that we drive 7 hours for a great run regularly; however our drive north to Big South was longer than we had thought. After pulling in at 6:30 in the morning, Boyd and I "slept" sitting up in the cab of our truck. Three hours later we were awake and talking to the other guys about the run they were about to do.

With 11 miles of hard class V/V+ at high water, Big South is considered to be within the top five runs of Colorado. The gate was open by Sunday and, although it was at high water, quite a few boaters showed up to enjoy the run. Some of the guys that Boyd met up with were Marty Cronin, the co-founder of Jackson Kayaks, and Clay Wright- a world class kayaker from middle Tn that also paddles for JK. A very good group of people to run this river with.

Since I am not a solid class V/V+ boater yet, I wound up being a shuttle bunny for my first time ever. I gave Boyd and Clay a ride up to the put in and then drove the truck back down to the take-out so that they could get to the truck when they get off of the river. After dropping off the truck, I hiked the Big South trail with Flow(Clay's doggie), one of the best dogs I have ever met. The Big South trail follows the river, so I hiked it hoping to catch up with the guys. Flow kept me company on the trail as she warded off evil bears and mountain lions!

After hiking 8 miles, the trail started to veer a little too much from the river. If the paddlers came down I would have missed them, so Flow and I decided to turn around and hike to a cool rapid that I could definately catch them at called Slideways. While waiting on the guys to come down Flow and I played fetch and hung out in the sun.
With 11 miles of class V/V+ creeking I was a little worried about Boyd. Driving all night and no food can knock someone off of their A-game. I knew that he was stomping the river- I had just hoped that he wasn't too worn out. By the time that the group came to Slideways they all looked tired, but they were still doing well.

After Big South Boyd and I headed over to Fort Collins to grab a hotel so that we could get some rest and take a shower since we had not had one in five days. During the five minutes that it took for us to get a room a stray bullet hit the back window of Boyd's camper top causing it to shatter. Already tired from no no sleep the night before, we were both in a pretty bad mood. We spent a lot of the night cleaning out glass form the back of his truck. We duck taped the window for now so that we could sleep while still feeling safe. I must say that it is quite a good ducktaping job! Boyd and I decided to spend the next day resting a little bit; so we worked on editing our footage and vacuuming the glass out of the back of the truck. That night we headed back over to the Big South area to meet up with some other boaters that were going to run Big South the next day. We camped there and wound up running shuttle for them the nthat morning before heading out to Salida, Co.

At Salida we got in some good surf. Sorry guys no pictures, but I will tell you that I got some awesome surf! Boyd still played, taking it easy in the hole while still managing to land some beautiful loops and even an incredible space godzilla. We are planning on heading back over there soon so you can bet that we will have the cameras out! After surfing we headed back over to the Crested Butte area. Today Boyd managed to get two good runs in on the waterfall section of Oh Be Joyful before the storms hit.

As of right now it is 3 in the morning in Gunnison, Co. I haven't had a shower since Sunday night So Imma need to hit that up before I crash.
Fun Times


OBJ Vid up...

Photo by Samantha B.
Check out our vid from OBJ! click Here
Hope you enjoy!
Boyd :-)

Colorado Update Video #1

Photo of me on Big Wood Falls, Daisy Creek, CO by Samantha B.

Check out this little video from Slate and Daisy Creeks in Colorado...
Our trip is going amazing! Fun times.... hope you enjoy the video!


Monday, June 26, 2006

Colorado Update - Days 1 and 2

photo by Samantha Brunner

So me and Sam finally left for Colorado the 21st... and like most of our adventures, even the driving is entertaining. When we hit Kansas City it started to rain and the next day we drove through several tornados on our way from Limon to Colorado Springs... one of the funnel clouds literally passed above us, directly over the truck... obviously not having touched down. It was cool to watch though. About that time we switched to the local radio stations and heard about the tornado warnings that had been issued to all the counties we had been driving through. Fun times right! With us, it seems like the adventure of traveling is just as action packed as the whitewater destinations we're striving to get to. On that note, I'd like to share the first couple days of our trip with you guys!

With the San Juans dried out, we went straight through Cottonwood Pass to the Town of Crested Butte. Our first stop was Oh Be Joyful Creek, known simply as OBJ.

Photo by Samantha B.

OBJ is an absolute gem! Dropping about 400 ft per mile and being a mile long, OBJ sports a sweet section of waterfalls and a lower section of constant, big slides. This creek is super clean and super high quality, and now one of my absolute favorites! As if the creek isn't incredible enough in itself, the personality of the paddling crowd there is like no other. These guys are motivated, relaxed, and of the nicest paddling crowd I've ever had the pleasure of meeting.

The run starts out on Ankle Breaker Falls, a big drop that lands in a rocky pool. It was a bit low for Ankle Breaker so we put just above Heart Attack Falls, a super sweet 15'er...

Photo of yours truly on Heart Attack Falls, OBJ by Samantha B.

Shortly downstream, the creek slides over a cool 10 ft drop and into the most action packed section of the "waterfalls" section of OBJ. Multiple fast slides and rocky ledges come up fast just below, including 25 ft Deadzone Falls, my personal favorite on the run. Below Deadzone, a couple more great slides leading into the lower "slides" section of the run, composed entirely of slides with occasional log jam rapids. More pics to come!

I also had the pleasure of running Slate Creek. Slate is a 2 mile, class V micro creek that packs its punch in the numerous tight slot moves and constrictions on the run. It was a bit on the low end, but totally good to go! That evening we heard rumers from Marty Cronin of Big South going and the gate being opened for the weekend, so we made plans for our last day in Crested Butte and just our second day in Colorado!

The first creek on our list for Saturday was Daisy Creek, the highlight being Big Wood Falls, a 20 ft waterfall landing between 2 rock shelves and a wood pile before gliding over a short slide on the right. From there it was back to OBJ for steep slidin' Fun and Big South for Sunday!

Boyd :-)

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wise words from EJ... Something for ALL of us to think about

From EJ:

Being a good kayaker, being a cool kayaker, adding value to kayaking…

June 18, 2006

Just about all kayakers can remember getting encouragement from another paddlers in the form of compliments, or simply learning about new opportunities that they didn’t know existed and how to find them (like the creek that flows after the big rain, 10 minutes from their house, or how wonderful and easy Costa Rica is to get to.) These paddlers make kayaking more fun for everyone.

The past few years many top kayakers have outwardly positioned themselves as a certain type of kayaker, dissing paddling and paddlers that don’t specialize like them. This breaks the rule we all learned in Kindergarten, “Don’t try to make yourself look good by putting others down.” It is a little more gray for some boaters because they tend to generalize instead of pointing fingers at specific boaters that aren’t like them. It was apparent to me just yesterday just how destructive it is from the top down while here in Bremgarten, Switzerland. I was paddling on a wave/hole here in downtown with Nick, Dane, Emily, and I, and one other guy who is 21 years old. When I got there he was smiling and having a good time and we were all playing away. At this particular level there are both hole moves and wave moves available. Nick and I were mostly doing lefty air blunts and working on our clean and back blunts, while Emily was doing cartwheels, and Dane was trying Tricky Woos. This guy was cartwheeling. I asked him his name and how he was doing. I then said, “Sweet Spot” and pointed at the wave. He said, “It isn’t really my style, I like surfing big waves”, and then went in and did some more cartwheels. I was thinking, “humm, the guy lives in Switzerland, where there isn’t much for big wave options (Europe in general). I have seen a lot of this type of thing and my impression was that he felt that by telling me that, I would put him in the “big wave surfer” category and I would think he was cooler than if I just figured he was a local guy having a good time on the best spot in Bremgarten.

So what does this mean? Well, for starters, I have paddled my share of “big waves”, small waves, big holes, small holes, big rivers, little creeks, steep creeks, and class 2 and have spent many years trying to find the best places to paddle, some hard to get to, some in my back yard. When somebody goes out of their way to explain how what they are doing at the moment isn’t what they like to do; that they like to do something else, I simply pity them and what they are doing to themselves in regard to the best sport they may ever partake in.

People who think what they do is the best, and therefore what other people do or have is of lesser value are acting like snobs, the best word I can find to describe their actions. High society snobs are not n to be with unless you are also just like them. Wave snobs, creek snobs, playboating snobs, or slalom snobs are a relatively new occurrence. The good news it that they are new enough for the majority of paddlers to learn to identify the actions and attitudes that turn a paddler into a paddler snob before it happens to them and ruins their paddling and the paddling of those around them.

Who were the original paddling snobs? Slalom racers for sure. They didn’t pay value to anything anyone did outside of the slalom boat and it took 10 years of a downhill trend in slalom and the explosion of freestyle, expedition boating, and creeking before the next generation of slalom boaters were able to see eye to eye with the rest of the paddling world. Now, slalom boaters truly see other aspects of paddling as an equal to their endeavors (in general).

Now the paddling snobs are a little different in that they simply see the other areas of paddling that they don’t specialize in as being a threat to their time in the sun. People who like to run creeks are awesome, until they call themselves “creekers” and pretend that people who like to flop around in holes, waves, or simply run class 3 rapids are anything less than they are. Big Wave Surfers, who, if they only paddled on big waves, would for the most part, not get to paddle very often. Freestyle boaters who think slalom boaters don’t have any real skills that apply on a real river are just as ignorant and hurtful to themselves and the sport in general.

You do what you do and that is awesome. Approach paddling with a broad open mind and don’t limit yourself by your own prejudice. If you paddle but can’t roll yet, good for you, you know that a lot of paddlers are better than you, but you can still help a newby learn to do their first ferry. If you are one of the top steep creek boaters in the world (either in your own mind or the minds of others) that is something you should be proud of and I hope you will treat each outing from the point of view that you have many years left in a normal mortal life. How many of those years you will live depends on making the right decisions regarding safety and leaving margin for error each time you hit the water. How you treat others who decide to watch you from the bank, but enjoy other areas of paddling, determines how well you will be treated in return.

My challenge to all paddlers out there is simply this:

Know that you aren’t cool if you aren’t nice, period. When I select a team member to represent Jackson Kayak, for example, I look first at how they treat others. Those who: Argue, complain, or can’t treat a beginner with as much respect as their personal hero, have no place on Team JK. Paddlers who can’t have fun on the Chattahoochee, at a play hole, at a slalom race, on the Nile, or on a creek, or even in a swimming pool don’t truly love paddling, they are looking for “what can paddling bring to me”. REMEMBER THAT ANY TIME IN YOUR KAYAK IS SOMETHING TO BE ENJOYED TO THE FULLEST, (IF NOT, GO BACK TO WORK OR SCHOOL), YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE ON THE WATER, MAKE OTHER’S TIME IN THEIR KAYAK AS ENJOYABLE AS YOU CAN TOO.

Try different types of paddling. Get in a slalom kayak, a playboat, or a creekboat. Get on different water, and if possible travel! Mark Twain once said, “Travel is the cure for prejudice.”

Join a club and volunteer: If you are good at what you do, you will be a big help to others that don’t have the skills you have and you will be a club hero. Don’t try to sell the club on how what you do is better than what the other club hero does, but allow each person who brings something different to the club their chance in the sun. There is no right or wrong way to enjoy your paddling, it is too individual for that. Me, I like my paddling straight up. I get the river and want to get in the boat and not stop until there is no more paddling to be had. Dane is the same way. Clay likes to hang out and will be the one who will talk in the parking lot about boating for hours on end. Which is better? Neither, everyone has their place.

Beware of the magazines, and definitely beware of the kayaker forums. Magazines and forums are awesome and offer everyone something worth reading or looking at, BUT, they also are often printing stuff that isn’t too far off the enquirer in terms of looking for the “trends” what is “hot” and what is “not”. Paddling is too big to be a fad, and being a “fad paddler” is a waste of your potential and won’t make you cool. Forums take it to the extreme.

If you are 60 years old and bump into an 18 year old in an eddy and he is wearing all of the latest gear, and you are in your Dancer, Hurka paddle, Seda lifejacket, etc. and you don’t need to be stressed about what that kid is thinking, nor do you have to defend yourself and why you don’t have the latest stuff also. You are on the water, having a great time, just like we all did back in 1983 when the Dancer came out and we went hog wild paddling it, thinking life couldn’t get any better, nor could boats. Relax, smile, and enjoy the rest of your day. Strike up a conversation with the kid and he’ll probably be impressed that you paddled when he was still a baby.

Jackson Kayak is committed to the concept of each person involved taking it upon themselves (as well as the company as a whole) to “Leave the World a Better Place”. We hope you will take a look inside yourself and determine whether you are an asset or liability in kayaking in regards to improving other’s paddling as well as your own.See you on the river!

:) EJ


We're all guilty of it. I never look down on others for what they are doing, but I've definitely been on the defensive plenty of times. Sometimes I feel judged by other paddlers in the eddy like I'm supposed to prove myself or something because I have sponsors... not as an ego trip, but because I feel like I'm being judged by some other group on the water. And if I'm not having a spectacular day on the water (or trying some new things out that aren't working for me yet), I've found myself trying to explain why I'm not as good today as I "should be"... That's no different than the guy in the eddy claiming to big a "big Wave surfer." He probably wasn't trying to sound badass, he was more likely trying to justify why he wasn't performing as well as he thought he should be that day (in his mind) hoping maybe he would be judged differently, or wouldn't be judged for it. I bet this same guy on a big wave day, would have said "I don't really get that much access to these big waves, I'm better on smaller waves."

I know I've found myself looking awkward in a hole at times for whatever reason, saying in the eddy "well, I'm mostly a creeker" to simply mean that I don't get to play as much as you do, so please don't judge me like I'm EJ or something.... make sense? It's always true, but it's rediculous to spend a great day paddling and on the river defending yourself to others perceptions the whole time. What happened to just everyone being pumped that we're even sharing a river together and the awesome "boater wave"???

We've all done it and we've all been on both sides I'm sure. Usually, I catch myself trying to defend myself and so I try to just smile big and remember why I paddle... I'm completely in love with the water. Think about it.... super wise perceptions and words coming from EJ. While our sport grows into the mainstream, we have to decide how we want it to be. We have to grow with the sport, not just as athletes, but as people... it's the only way.

Boyd :-)

Monday, May 29, 2006

Home Chillin' with my family and girl...

Photo by Samantha B.

Today I got to finally just hang out and chill with my family. With so much to do and get done, it's hard to find time to spend with them... Sometimes I just have to put everything aside and try to relax. I thought I'd give you guys some insight into my day at the house though. After a nice, big cup of coffee, I pulled down my dad's new Jackson Rocker that I got for him. It wasn't long before he was fully set up and tryin' it out in our pool.

Photo of my dad, Boyd R. Sr., rollin' his new Rocker by Sammie B.

After Chillin' on a camping chair with Sammie and finishin' up my second cup of coffee... Sam decided she wanted to get her new Jackson Hero in the water again too... So she hopped in and paddled around and let me play with her camra for a while...

Photo of Sam in her new, pink Jackson Hero by me

I couldn't take it anymore... haha I just had to try out her new Hero. At 5'9" and 150 lbs, I'm a bit big for it, not to mention that it's pink... but I hopped in and paddled it around just for kicks.

Photo Sam took of me bein' goofy in her new pink Hero

A shot I took of me and Sam...haha by timin' the camra...

Well that's enough for now... have an awesome M. Day everyone!


Memorial Day Trip Report

Sunset photo by Samantha Brunner

Me & Sam pulled out at 1 pm Friday heading east... settin' us up for an interesting ride through M. Day traffic. We stopped at Walmart for some food in Jackson, and ate at Moe's... With our full bellies we hit Nashville at 5:00... just in time for rush hour traffic. We made it out by about 5:30 or 5:45 and were off on 70 to Rock Island, where we picked up Sam's new pink Hero and my dad's new orange Rocker... We decided to use the rest of our time to outfit Sam's boat. We got everything outfitted and loaded up and were off again by 8 pm... with a recent call from Drew about Tellico levels we took off to the Tellico for a nice long sleep in our car and good water for the coming morning... yeah right!

We got to the tellico late and it was crankin' at ~3 ft and Bald River was goin' off...but unfortunately, ALL the camping sites were full! The Baby Falls lot was stuffed with fishermen in big RVs. All the boaters who'd flocked for the rain, were crashin' in there cars at the Takeout and the other pull-offs... it was getting late so we crashed at the Tellico put-in... sort of. About 1 AM (we hadn't even really been alseep yet) a 2 spotlights and a pair of headlights flared into the back of my truck and blue and white lights flickered around us. I got my shoes on and stuff...and climbed out of the back of my truck, completely blinded by the lights. lucky for us, he turned out to be a good friend of ours and he asked about Memphis and we talked for a bit... but we still had to leave. With no other real options, we went back to Tellico Plains and checked out the KOA... but of course it was full... long story & LONG night short... we ended up in a Save-a-Lot parking lot... disturbed through the morning by an 18 wheeler unloading in the back (where we were parked)... needless to say, we got like NO sleep...At ALL! The night before that I maybe slept 4 hours and before that only 2 hours...etc... literally.

So completely wiped out at the start, we headed over to the put-in and to meet up with Lauren Burress and her parents, Nathan and Kathleen. With the Tellico at 2.5 feet at 7 AM, we decided it was our best..immediate option. We ran the ledges to the take out and had a GREAT run down! Sam tried out her new Jackson Hero and apparently LOVED it. At that point, we were running a bit late so I got some gas and took off to the Cheoah, trying to meet up with Drew, MW and everyone... as well as my friend Nate. The traffic on the "Tail of the Dragon" (the road we took) was Terrible and SlOW!!! Usually I can make it from the Tellico to Cheoah in 1 hour... took a bit more this time. We missed everyone at Cheoah and put on with Lauren and her dad a bit later and cruised on down.

Photo of Lauren Burress by Samantha B.

Photo of Nathan B. by Samantha Brunner.

For those that don't know, Lauren Burress is a 10 year old girl sponsored by Fortress, Jackson, Werner, Stohlquist,Keen, Sweet, and others? ...girls got the hook up! Well anyways, it was their first time down Cheoah so I led them down and showed them some fun lines and sweet spots... Lauren completely styled cheoah, being the youngest kid I've seen on it yet (Dane is 12). She walked Bear Creek Falls with the wise descretion of her dad, but she styled the West Prong Line on the lower 3rd of B.C. Rapid like it was nothing. I was a bit impressed. Sam led herself down it (only boat scouting) shortly after... I was super impressed with her too...

I guess the closest thing we got to carnage was at "God's Dam"... where I got to watch (from just below), Nathan, Lauren, and Sam Surf the hole at God's Dam... luckily they all surfed it out to the "pin rock" side and pulled their way through the froth over there. The pin rock was already clogged with a girl's blue boat so it wasn't as much of an issue They all made it out in their boats and without breaking too much of a sweat...and more importantly, with big grins of relief.

After Cheoah Everyone was beat and had way more than enough, but me and Nathan decided to check out the cascades (only 30 min. away). We showed up to "The Horns of God"... "the horns" for short" ... and found a very very low flow... really a no go. A third run looked hopeless, but I decided to check out Whiteoak Falls anyways. Amazingly enough, nearly ALL the volume in the cascades was only coming from Whiteoak Creek. I found out later that because of the new scheduled releases on the Cascades, the don't release the minimum runnable level anymore.... AT ALL... Did we really get the good end of the deal on that one? anyways... Whiteoak was actually at a GREAT level for the falls... not bad at all. I fired it up and then decided to give it another go... Great lines both time and it felt sweet. I never really get tired of that drop if I'm already in the area.

Photo by Samantha B.

Close up of me by Samantha B.

So Day one: Tellico @ ~2.4 ft, Cheoah @ 1200 cfs (felt like less), and for me - Whiteoak Falls twice... not bad for one day.

From there we ate Mexican in Andrews (always say Murphy for some reason...but it's in Andrews)... We hung out there until around 9 pm local... and my Friend nate called and reserved me a site with "Club Sack" at Wesser... So we decided to hang with them. And get a... say it together... "GOOD NIGHTS SLEEP"... YEAH RIGHT!!!! Well.. this time we forked up $15 and we were legal, safe, and in a campground...what could possibly happen!?!?!?!ALL night long... a small dog yelped and barked NON-STOP... ALL NIGHT real close to our site. Someone eventually tried to move the dog and his bark turned into even higher pitched yelps... We got no sleep again... it sucked. seeing a trend here???

We were completely determined to meet up with memphis Whitewater THIS time and convinced Nate, Evan, and Bert to meet up with us for the Upper Ocoee too... We forced our self out of my truck and I peeled my eyes open, trying to ignore the SUPER annoying dog.. and we took off to the Ocoee. Long story short we were ALL together by the time we hit Alien Boof... And had an AWESOME time down the ocoee. At that point, I was completely worthless but it was fun to be on the water and paddling with so many good friends. Me and Sam finally took off for Memphis again (asleep before we even started I think...) but we made it back before 11 pm... and Sam spent the night at my house so she wouldn't have to drive home. SOMEHOW that girl woke me up early this mornin' and now I'm finally about to go to bed... as soon as I eat my 4th meal of the day - cereal... I'll probably finish off a box or two

It's looking Like I'm leaving again in 2 more days...gotta love it!

- Boyd

Photo by Lauren Burress