Jun 21 #29473
Hot, flat, 2 lap triangle course. 7.5 miles.
Big thanks to Carter, the Castleberrys, Tom and Mimi S, and Brian F and Marc Blake for all the logistics and timing.
I'm sure there will be many stories of the chaotic start & the mayhem at the first turn.
Jun 21 #29474
Internet is not super fast where I am, so I can't share video from the non-race on Saturday when wind conditions were in the 98th percentile, according to locals. But here's a shot that captures the relaxed (and shade-seeking) vibe on Sunday. The Bellingham crew represents once again.
Jun 21 #29475
Denise’s ability to handle those conditions is inspiring. Amazing!
Jun 21 #29476
The Non Race conditions were absolutely epic. The river rockin' from Stevenson. The race started with a two person boat carry at Viento, with the climax at White Samon.
There was a gusty section, 48 mph, before entering Swell City where I was tentative to paddle but thanks for the breaking waves behind me to push me into the wave ahead then the wind pushing into the next one.
At White Salon the waves are so huge and steep you needed power to catch the waves to survive. The waves were so steep if you went straight down I think you would pitch pole the boat. I caught a couple, one so huge I was surfing sideways, broached, at about a 45 degree angle downward. I was looking at the wall next to me and the trough below figuring I'm going to roll when I hit the bottom. I was so surprised and stoked when at the bottom the Flex just ran out and caught the next one.
Passed the green bouy, got my not so pretty photo, then needed to cut right to cross the river to Hood River to get my van and Max. I considered bailing at White Salmon to get a ride but went for it, quite challenging. Finally making it to the Marina, crossing the sand bar. I was wondering how others were going to make that section. Others were coming in saying they saw and skipped the green can.
Then I see Denise and Paul coming, asked them if they skipped, they say no, they went thru it. You had to go by the green can to get the photo.
Amazing conditions and amazing we survived, I heard there were swimmers.
Definitely waves to remember.
Saturday Gorge Non-Race
Jun 21 #29479
Dennis already gave a good report of the conditions, and I've seen better video footage from Bruce @ Epic Kayaks, but here's my minor contribution. Locals offered different opinions on which would have been the better way to go down the river to reach the green can; I ended up pretty much in the middle of Swell City. The camera died before some of the biggest waves of the ride, but this shows a few of the roller coaster rides we all went on.
gorge report 6/2021
Jun 23 #29483
So many stories. The 'non-race' was too big for little reivers. A couple of us did the home valley run once or twice. That was heavy enough for me. Even the tough guys from big water places got “a real race” (ref.) One notable “dry paddle” was Greg B. A couple days prior He had braced against the car to change shoes or something and the wind took that opportunity to blow the door closed. So he got stiched up in time for the scheduled race on Sunday, but missed the apocalyptical Saturday. We heard some even more ironical irony: broken bones on the safety boat. It was that rough. And then next day dead. And then I saw East winds there for the first time. Did some reverse downwinders from Home Valley to Stevenson.
Lots of other weird news. Max has a new haircut. He's going for a warrior mohawk with dreads going down his back. LB brought a knife to a gunfight. He's sitting at a Starbucks halfway to Stevenson looking at his boat in the parking lot saying to himself, “I don't have a rudder like that on my phat boat!?” Braincells begin to fire up and he calls around for someone who has not left B'ham yet. Finds Dmow and gets him to bring his phat boat. Life goes back to normal for LB. Duncan is behind the curve a couple of days, but still grabs the big van and the trailer and jumps out of B'ham at 5am. Halfway through Seattle he notices all the other drivers honking and waving at the stream of blue smoke behind. Blown tire on the trailer. These are fairly new tires from a good shop. He throws on the spare and throws the smoking steel rim with the strands of rubber into the trailer and fires on South. Next day he re-tools the tires in Hood River and we are again doing runs like teenagers. Meanwhile we met a couple (the Limbergs) who had done a hot run to Stevenson straight from Wisconsin. They were immediately one of us. The special Wisconsin cheese curd was passed around - some kind of odd bonding ritual I think. Uhm, a moment here, I ate those just before doing well at Vortex #3. Hmmm. Maybe Goldilocks had something with these curds. Then somehow late one evening everyone piled up at Duncan & Gwen's. Paddle-people. Listen here. You think you know somebody. I'm still working out some of the cool conversations that went down with the great food. But I promised you some weird. How about 30 or so paddlers sitting around in 90 degrees listening to a poem about freezing to death in Alaska? And to spike this image: it was JD reciting. I had no idea he was such a raconteur. We're all sitting there getting chills from this ghost story about some sourdoughs on Lake LaBarge. Here's a link, but it reads dry. You need to hear it with JD's voice.
The Cremation of Sam McGee by Robert W. Service | Poetry Foundation
Jun 23 #29485
Edited Jun 23
If I remember correctly, your group squeezed in a Sternwheeler surfing run too, didn't you Reivers?
The fellow, Colton (Brian Kummer's son, right?), who was piloting the photo boat for Carter's camera work at the end of the non-race on Saturday also recently shot video for one of the cooler videos of Sternwheeler surfing I've seen so far. I think Van Douglas edited the footage and added the stills from Carter and Vortex Events. So I am guessing that is Brian, Val (OC), and Van on the waves.
Jun 23 #29486
woah. That is excellent. videe me glams on that.
OK, that was a very lame, obscure reference to the slang used in “The Clockwork Orange”. Specifically the part where they strap the main character down, tape the eyes open and force him to watch scenes of violence. The twist is that he loves Beethoven and they play his beloved music along with the “Aversion Therapy” vids. Thus ruining something he loves (along with curing his reckless delinquency). Oh horror.
Jun 24 #29488
As a follow-up to the last few days down there at the gorge all I can say is the old boys left it all on the river and I left it all on I-5 middle Seattle. Didn’t catch on fire though. Some goldilocks days for June at the Mighty Columbia river.