Salut mes amis!
Hope everyone's getting on some good water this summer, I can't express how stoked I am to be free for a couple months and getting in my kayak as much as I possibly can. Yeaaaooow!!
I'm wrapping up a two and a half week trip in Eastern Canada, and thought I would share a couple photos of the goings on up here... full coverage will be featured in Lunch Video Magazine's Northeast State Series DVD premiering this fall.
Welcome to Canada.
So I haven't surfed the Buseater waves of the Ottawa river since 2004, and it is so great to be back. These waves, along with the many others that this region of Canada offers, have been and will continue to be one of the primary driving forces behind the evolution of freestyle kayaking. They are super big and dynamic, and allow for upwards of 5 feet of air to throw tricks.
Brooks Baldwin towing out onto Minibus.
I met up with Pat Camblin, Ben Marr, Marlow Long, and the rest of the YGP crew up here, and needless to say the boys are killing it. You'll have to wait for the footage to really understand what I'm talking about, but the consistency and magnitude of the tricks that are being done is impressive. One of my best buds Ben Marr in particular has been absolutely destroying it! Kid is one of the best in the world without a doubt.
Here's Benny on a late-afternoon run of the Main Channel of the Ottawa.
After wrapping up the Ottawa stay it was time to hit some races and creeks in Quebec. I competed in the RIP Cup on the Neilson River, as well as the creek race up in the city of La Tuque, both of which were sick!
The scene at the RIP Cup.
So the RIP Cup is a team race on the B section of the Neilson River. The course is about 6 or 7 minutes long, and is high volume whiteout style creeking. Super fun and challenging. In addition to this it is a team race, in which two people start together and the clock stops when the second person crosses the finish line. The last rapid is a double drop that is intimidating in itself, and even moreso when your muscles are lactic and you're fighting for air!
Looking back at the final drop from the finish line.
The race attracted a bunch of very talented kayakers from around the world, and the 15 or so teams were stacked to say the least. Dominic Chaput and myself teamed up for this race, and we were stoked to find out that we were tied for 1st after the first run with Ben Marr and Dave Neiuwenhuis. Our second run was fast and clean until the second to last rapid, where Dominic caught a weird flake and ran the slide upside down, and then got caught in the hole, taking a little swim! All good though it was a super fun event and these things happen when you're hammering down big class 5 rapids.
RIP Cup starting line.
RIP Cup final results:
1) Ben Marr/Dave Neiuwenhuis
2) Tyler Fox/Joey Hitchins
3) Rush Sturges/Patrick Camblin(i think)
David Laroche was nice enough to put me up at his place during the event, and afterwards we got on the road and took a little mission out to the Charlevoix region of Quebec, where a tonne of beautiful rivers drop from the California'esque granite mountains down into the St. Lawrance River. We were able to paddle the 2nd descents of the Riviere Noir and Riviere du Gouffre, as well as take a first D of a beautiful 30 footer on the Gouffre.
In general, the rivers of Quebec are powerful, rugged places to be in a kayak. They make you feel small.
Very fired up after a successful first D!
The next creek race was in La Tuque on the Petite Bostonnais River. This is yet another sick class 5 race course! If these races were anywhere close to the Southeast they would probably have 100+ participants, but since they're way up north they really don't get the credit they deserve. If you ever have the chance to attend one of these events, jump on it for sure.
Footage of the race from last year can be found here:
Petite Bostonnais Race
The Petite Bostonnais race starts with a bang about ten feet above a slide into a 15 footer, and then directly afterwards a beautiful 10 foot boof.
Shit is stacked!
Vincent Ratte hammering through the only flatwater on the river, directly below the first rapid.
The first rapid is sick, but the real challenge of the course is sticking the 1/4 kilometre whiteout slide at the bottom of the course. This thing is so awesome! Think Space Mountain section of the Toxaway but more continuous... You come skipping out of the hole at the end and the finish line is right there. Action from start to end.
I took two practice runs of the river to frantically try and figure out the fastest lines, and then got my stuff back to the top and got ready to battle for the $1000 first place prize. I hammered as hard as I could on my first run but caught a couple misplaced scrapey rocks and plugged deep into the hole on the 3rd drop. My second run however was one of the best runs I have ever had in my career, in any race. I find that creek racing is really just finding the highest level that you can push your body and still be able to have smooth lines. That run was the closest I have ever come to achieving that, and I freaked out as I crossed the finish line still on a plane from the last hole. Incredible feeling.
Petite Bostonnais Results:
1) Chris Gragtmans
3) Vincent Ratte
It's been a great trip for sure, and I can't wait to come back later this summer. Until then, hope to see you on the rivers of the high Sierra in California.