Well, I know it's been a while since I last updated the old blog here, but to be honest there hasn't been much to write about. Thankfully, the season has changed, and after a long, hot, dry summer here in Cali, a few rivers are coming back to life. Mainly because they are dam controlled and the reservoirs upstream need to be lowered for the winter rains, which I greatly anticipate!
This year, like so many years, I made my annual pilgrimage to the mighty Gauley river in West (by god) Virginia. My brother was keen on the mission, so we bought his some racks from Rock/Creekfor his silver 4-runner, aptly named Sylvester, and started the long drive north from Chattanooga. On the way, I tried to make as many copies of my new film called We Be Charging. It's a strictly kayaking movie, showcasing the classic rivers of Cali during one of the highest runoffs in recorded history, 2011! I only got 2 copies made, so I didn't exactly spread the gospel as hoped at Gauley Fest. But we did have a damn good time!
On the river, Bryce Evans let me borrow his General Lee painted squirt boat. My brother borrowed Bryce's Nomad, and before too long we were happily cruising down the Upper G baby! My brother hadn't paddled in a few years and the hardest thing he had paddled before the Gauley was the Ocoee. We were all a little nervous for his safety, but he made it very apparent he was ready for action when Adrien took him through the meat of the hole in Insignificant. My brother, Andrew, fought out of that hungry hippo like a kindergartner racing for recess! He was doing great until we reached the hardest rapid on the run, Lost Paddle.
People had been going him all sorts of conflicting and confusing beta about the rapid. So, unlike Insignificant, I had him follow me down. Well, we got to Hawaii five-o wave and he flipped, taking a massive shot to the face in the shallow slide downstream. It was a knockout punch that forced a wet-exit and lost paddle. Luckily, some fellow boaters lended us some hand-paddles, and Andrew finished the run strong!
After a long hard night of keg-stands and party antics, we made it back to river and started our second voyage down the river. Bryce put on quite the show at Pillow by splatting the Room Of Doom and stalling there for a while, laughing at the crowd the whole time. He was amped to say the least. Once again though, Lost Paddle had its sight set on Andrew, and he took another massive hit to the face in the 2nd drop. However, this time he took it like a man, and rolled up! On the shuttle ride out, we were making good use of Team Jib's new rig, Vandura, by cramming 12 people in there.
What goes on at Gauley-fest, stays at Gauley-fest. Enough said. When I returned back to my home town of Chattanooga, the skies closed and began to dump rain like it was going out of style! An event that calls for great celebration amongst my brethren, as our favorite waterways become primed for a good charging! Bryce, Taylor Martin, and I routed an old favorite, Little Possum creek. Bryce forgot we were at the 25'er and almost re-inacted the first descent, which gets it it's name Immodium because they almost pooped their pants upon free fall.
We then moved south to the local favorite, Bear creek. We had a nice medium-ish flow of 16''. Our good friend Jeff West had just passed away on the Stikine river in BC a week prior. So, our thoughts were definitely with Jeff, as he had more consecutive laps on this creek, and many others. Bryce and I didn't eddy out before Fishbowl, and upon landing the drop, Bryce said "let's go"! Knowing that we were going to have a spiritual moment blue-angelin' Stairway to Heaven, I gave Ryan Allen the look to follow suit. Paddling into Stairway, Bryce and I called to the heavens above, where we knew Jeff was looking down from, and dedicated our charge to him. We will always miss his contagious passion for kayaking!
As soon as I flew back to Cali, it was time for another paddle festival. Feather-fest! After a few warm up laps, I was feelin a bit tired but anxious o put down my time on this fun racecourse. Eric
Giddens was on hand, so I figured he would be the winner, being an ex-Olympian and all. I had a good fun run, and to my surprise, passed my friend Rusty Sage, someone I looked up to as a kid. The party started with a surfer band keeping people entertained until the award ceremony started. Macy put on quite a show for everyone, as the winners of the different classes in the Tobin race were forced to funnel gross alcoholic beverages. And the crown winners were flogged by a girl wearing black leather. I was forced to take a Felch MacGregor, Old English mixed with whiskey, for getting third behind Giddens and Patts tied winning time. Good times there for sure!
Next weekend was slated for Gnarlfest. So,Nick Murphy and I loaded up the Greenboats, and drove from Grass Valley to Little Grass Valley reservoir, which is still a 2 hr drive. Anxiety was a bit high as the run is pretty intense and we hadn't heard of anyone taking longboats down besides Nick's unplanned Corsica S run the week prior. The Greenboat ended up being incredible on the river, but brutal on the hike-out. Come race day, others were inspired to bring there Greenboats, and we had one hell of a good race! Justin Patt ended up chuggin the OG Four Loko, and raging late into the night. I somehow got second place, besting Nick by 6 seconds. Surprisingly, Jason Hale got last and was also forced to chug a 4 Loko. Inspiring him to put on a skin-tight gold suit and making everyone laugh until their face hurt. It was a great, grand, and wonderful time!
The next day we did what is so great about our sport, the actual kayaking! With that said, don't let the side facets of our small sport get in the way of getting out and enjoying a nice piece of whitewater. Until next time, keep this batteries charged!!!
Cheers-- Will Pruett
7 months ago