Wednesday, April 08, 2009

LL Biscuit 55

Liquid Logic's newest playboat, the Biscuit, is one radical machine. Named after designer Shane Benedict's crazy hyper dogg Biscuit, this boat doesn't let down the dogg in its plastic form.

Thanks to the friendly folks at Rock/Creek outfitters, Jamie and Taylor, for letting me borrow their fresh Biscuit SS demo for its inaugural run of Rock Island. The dam was releasing; so, we decided to Charge off the Mill Side of the Falls. The Mill Side is a straight up waterfall, and I was surprised how tall it was after cresting the lip. So, I went for a reverse McNasty and nailed it with style. Check the Vid. After that, we hiked up to the Spout, the one everyone hucks off in LVM, and threw a freewheel into the foam. The Biscuit was treating me well.

The hole next to the put-in waves was good at this level. I forgot my overthruster, and wasn't able to get as high as I would have liked to, but the boat cartwheeled smoothly and looped good for not having an air dildo. Super stable in a side surf. You could sit their all day.

The main hole was beefy, but the Biscuit's no fear attitude gained control of the Maw and sat rather smoothly and gracefully in the pit. I couldn't believe how much pop this thing has. I missed my blunt stroke because it goes so big.

The Brave Wave was sitting tall and proud at this level. Not much foam to keep you, but the Biscuit had plenty of energy to catch and rip up this haystack. Very fast, loose, and controllable, I was able to wear myself out surfing until I felt like getting off the wave. The Biscuit also rode up on top of the turbulent waters following the wave, which is where the name Brave Wave comes from, and allowed me to catch the eddy everytime. No walks of shame for me.

I went back to the Rock at a regular 3,600 CFS day in the Biscuit and couldn't believe how easy it was to catch the finnicky Brave Wave. Of course, the Main Hole was hungry for Butter Milk and ate me and Biscuit whole a few times. Good training.

For reference, I'm 6' tall, size 11 feet, weigh 165 lbs, single, and looking for a good time. The Biscuit is loose and easy to go big. I think I won't be the only one looking to take her home in the future. Charge on.

Heres the vid.

Suck Creeking

Suck Creek is Chattanooga's local roadside gem. If you are wondering why its called the Suck, its not because it literally Sucks. The reason lies in the history of the Tennessee river before it was dammed. Back when the Tennessee river was wild and scenic, some considered it the Grand Canyon of the East. The river was, and still is high volume, gorging out the surrounding sandstone mountains to create a magnificent canyon perfect for rock climbers, hang-gliders, mountain bikers, and of course kayakers. Now, I'm not saying the Tennessee is good for whitewater boat riding today, but in its pre-dam stage, I'm sure it had some Big ole' Burlers in there at the right water levels.

That being said, this is how the name Suck Creek came about. When the river was still wild, and the river was the best form of transportation around, many a boat captains challenged the mighty Suck rapid on the Tennessee. There are stories that say 100' long barges were know to get sucked into this knarly hydraulic and flip, causing all passengers and cargo to go for a swim. Suck Creek supposedly flows into the Tennessee right where this rapid used to be.

I can't say that the Suck Rapid dishes out its fair share of beatings anymore because its now flat-water, but Suck Creek sure does. When they built the road that runs parallel to the creek, workers blasted and hucked huge jagged ricks into the streambed. During some road repairs, they even chucked peices of scrap asphault infested with rebar into our beloved Suck. As you can tell, this gave our local gem quite a knarly character.

Nonetheless, Ron Stewart, Mike Culberson, and my dad Paul Pruett were planning the first decent in the early 90's. Ron was one of the greatest whitewater pioneers around. He claimed first D's on most of the steep creeks in the Chattanooga area in boats like the Cosrsica and Freefall LT. When the rain arrived and the time came for the first D of Suck Creek, my dad was forced to work and bail on the mission, but warned Mike and Ron that 2 people aren't enough poeple to set proper safety in the case of a pin. Hungry to slay the beast, Ron and Mike put on by themselves anyways. Unfortantely, Mike got pinned on one of the first rapids we believe is now called Road Construction and Ron wasn't able to free him. Mike died that day on Suck creek. Ron was especially remorseful of the situation, as was my Dad, and neither or them ever paddled the run again.

Ron Stewart also recently passed away this past Spring after battling Cancer for many years, still teaching Calculus at Baylor, my High-School, up until the very end. I want to give my greatest respect to Ron and Mike for paving the way for all the Chattanooga Chargers. I dedicate this vid that I shot on a low water day to both of them for Given'er Full Throttle.

My Dad always warned me that Suck Creek is not to be taken lightly, and I didn't my first time down in a Space Cadet. But with people achieveing such crazy feats as running 100' waterfalls, and the Middle Kings in a day, its hard to step-back and realize that without the old-school chargers, we would never be where we are today. I hope we will continue to make them proud.

Heres the vid. Charge on Brothers and Sisters.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Ridge Riding

Howdy Ya'll

The element of life once again fell generously from the skies attempting to lure the Bear out of its den, but was only capable of catching a Lil' Possum off gaurd. Misled by the amber colored aqua I found at the take-out, I gave word to Team Jib that the Possum was high, but was quickly corrected at the put-in when we found a minimal flow of 4 tubes @ 60% capacity. Nevertheless, we were there and ready to Charge. So, Nick Murphy fired up a first D on the left tube, and we paddled down to Biggy Smalls formerly known as Immodium. Various entry angles resulted in various levels of pain/pleasure from the low aerated 25' waterfall. Double Drop comes quickly after Biggy, and I showed by example that the river right flume is good to go at this flow. Burl Master Bryce felt obliged to show the youngens that the old-school, high-water, left-line is also open for business at low flows. White Out is the last big rapid of the run, and dished out a fair amount of Carn for the Team. We narrowly avoided the rubicon of trees that plague the lower section of the run, and were stoked to have succesfully scraped down Walden's Ridge in relatively good time.

Being just 3:00PM when we finished off the Possum, Bryce baited us to go and get a taste of Henderson, which he was certain would have more water. After a quick stop at a up-scale dining establishment in Dayton, TN, we climbed the Ridge once again in search of a small trib with some stout drops. The gauge at the put-in read -7'' which doesn't sound like enough, but it was. The 3 miles of flatwater aren't exactly scenic when you're stroking for broke to make it to the steeps before the sun falls in the west. However, we made it to the sweet boof above Spinal Adjustment, and performed a mini-stomp technique to preserve our Cords of Nerves. Adioslave pulsed through my mind as we approached Spoonman, Jeremy's stylish line gave us confidence to Burl-On. Next up, the hardest rapid in the greater Chatt-town area, Fire Escape. This rapid is a multi-tiered, complex, and highly consequential rapid that has served more carnage than any other rapid I've ever seen... besides that angry low-water monkey. Jeremy's Jefe got a little impatient while we were scouting, but wasn't very succesful without Jeremy's jedi master skills guiding it and got stuck in a sieve. Determined to finish the run, Jeremy jumped across the creek, and rescued his kayak. We escaped the wrath of Fire Escape safely and continued downstream to the juicified Richland portion of the journey. We got off the Rio right at dark, and had to call our buddy the Sheriff to open the gate for our final escape. It was quite an endeavor we completed in a day for us to run Possum and Henderson in a day, and we had alot of fun. Lessons were learned from our epic day of Charging, and we all walked away braver men from the experience. Keep on Charging!

Heres some vid I got from the adventure.