Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Bulls Bridge at about 1 on the paint (video of the Flume)

Benjamin Michael Trister showing us how high and dry that last gen Option from BlackFly Canoes really is.  He runs the classic line, and stays dry enough to keep his ferry angle and hit the eddy.  This is the correct line for kayaks.  Most of the time, however, kayaks will just keep going down stream when they hit the V hole.

Bhupi taking the modified boof line.  He did this on purpose.  Of course he did.  I only say that because many Bulls Bridge beginners take this line by accident, as they just sort of randomly drive towards the horizon line.  Unfortunately, the often get punished by the hole at the bottom (because they can't boot). The hole is backed up by some very shallow rocks on the right.  Most beginners should take the same line as the OC-1 above, and drive left.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Bulls Bridge a bit above 2 at noon Nov 22

The powerplant is still under construction,
so all the water goes into the river
Putting in below Stairway,
turn the corner and run The Flume.

 Brap   Braap  Braaap!!!..

Surfing at George's, Georgia's, Georges

Monday, November 02, 2015

Operation Zulu (back in the day.....)

In the Fall of 1997 I was working in an outdoor store, and designing a small freestyle boat for myself.  It was super short (very short by the standards of 1997) and I wanted it to be flat, stable, and spin on a wave.  I ran into some posts by Corran Addison, started an email correspondence that turned into an offer to join up with Riot in January of 1998.  I was happy to get involved with someone who was far ahead of the curve with what I wanted to do with a boat, but had no idea I would be witness to the start of a revolution in whitewater kayaking over the next five years.

Operation Zulu - Unsponsored from Unsponsored on Vimeo.

I remember the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City in which crowds gathered at the Riot booth to see the final sequence of Nico wave wheeling on the Zambezi River.  Very few people in the U.S. had seen water that big, and nobody in the show had seen anyone throw wave wheels into features like that.  Many have done similar feats since, but at the time it was an amazing site to behold.

(one fun fact:  my friend still owns the same yellow Riot Hammer that was used in that sequence)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Canal is off, and it rained

Keep an eye on the gauge as the water comes up.  It all goes into the river and not the hydro project.  They are replacing the penstocks.

The photos below are from noon today.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Boof move at The Flume (at 1' on the painted gauge)

1 on the painted gauge opens up some light creeking practice at Bulls Bridge.  One particularly fun move is to catch the last-chance eddy on river left above the Flume, then cross the horizon line and launch into the river right eddy at the base of the Flume.  It's a move that can only be done when the gauge is on either side of 1; too low and the river does not have enough water, too high and you'll boof into a sticky hole with rocks barely below the surface.

The first sequence shows me doing it in my LL Stinger.  The photos were taken from the river right side, by Tom Coker, standing on the ledge that makes the rapid.  Later sequences show angles from the river left eddy, then the angle seen from the landing eddy at river right.

approach the rapid from center and angle left to the last-chance eddy

There is a little rock just beneath the surface at the top of the eddy so you have to enter the eddy just a little off the top.  Be careful.  If you enter too low, you'll run a very rocky drop backwards.

Peel out and paddle hard across the main current.  The goal is to cross the current as far as you possibly can and boof at the far right edge of the horizon line.

Boof the drop heading about 45 degrees into the eddy.

A little hip and leg kung fu to make some micro adjustments to the boat and you're in the eddy.

Of course, the only way out of this eddy is to surf across the hole at the base of the main drop.

Here is Ted showing us how it's done in a shorter boat.  The photos were taken from the river left side staging eddy that is at the lip of the main drop.

You can see how last-chance the river right eddy really is.  

Ted driving across the current at the top of The Flume.

The crux of the move is to continue driving across the current.  The current at the far side of the move starts to push you back towards center.  The move takes a couple of more strokes than you might thing it does.

Ted making his boof stroke and landing in the eddy.

As mentioned earlier, the only way out of the landing eddy is by surfing across the hole at the base of the drop.  

Here is a sequence of Winston doing the same move from the same angle (river left eddy).  The last five pictures show the reverse angle; standing in the landing eddy (river right), looking back up the drop.

Below is the reverse view of the same move.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Safety Hazard at Bulls Bridge (ongoing construction debris)

The old wires that work crews had used to work under Bulls Bridge were cut and allowed to fall into the river when the crew set up new ones.  Be very careful about these wires.  They do not give the same indications when they are just below the surface as a log would.

Ted and I put on the river today around 4 pm.  The level on the paint was just above 1.  We saw old cables draped across the concrete abutment and decided to clean up the debris that the work crews had not.

One of the cables was stuck, and is still in the water.  The second one could be pulled on to shore completely (river left) and placed above the 3' mark.  Both are still attached to the bank, so need to be cut with a torch or cutoff wheel.  I may approach the work crew this week to see what their plan if for this stuff.

One thing to note is that this does not mean that the work crew was being lazy or purposely irresponsible.  Most people do not know that things falling into the river present a hazard to the boating community (and it is our job to educate them).  There are some cables on shore, by the road, indicating that the crew was replacing old cables with new ones so they could safely work under the bridge.  The arrows show the new cables used to support the work platform.  

To summarize:  one cable is still in the water as of tonight.  More debris may fall into the water as the bridge is repaired.  The work crew has a quitting time, and whatever is not finished at that time is left for the next work day, so the whitewater community has to be alert around this job site.


Update (June 30):
I spoke with the work crew yesterday.  They understood the hazard that debris would present to boaters, particularly cables, and promised to remove them all.  When a few of us paddled at the end of the day, it was apparent that they only removed the cables that were easy to access and left the ones that Ted and I had clean up on the shore and still extending into the water.  Be very careful about these.  They are on river left side.  They are high enough that they should not be a problem at levels of 3 and lower, but conditions change daily.  

If anyone knows of the State of CT department that approves these kinds of operations and/or the contractors that got the work for Bulls Bridge, please post a comment.  They need to be made aware of the danger that they are presenting to the boating community, at a designated boat launch, where it is widely known that boaters navigate that waterway on a regular basis.