Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Back in the game in time for VKC Fest 2011

You may or may not have noticed that I haven't made any blog posts in about a month now...this is because I came down with a horrible case of Uveitis, which is a really bad eye disease that kept me out of action for about three weeks! I still have another 8-10 weeks until my eyesight is fully restored in my right eye, but I've started boating again on easier runs or runs I'm familiar with to get back in the game. Nothing was worse than going from 60 to 0 in regards to boating time, instantly what occupied pretty much all my free time I couldn't do. The only saving grace is the amazing playoff race hockey that's on right now in the NHL! Enough about my flirtation with blindness...it sure was nice to get out in Chilliwack canyon though after almost a month without! Awesome to boat with University of British Columbia Varsity Outdoor Club as well, including someone who hadn't boated since last April and had no trouble in the canyon in his river runner!

Just prior to the onset of my disease I out and pre-ordered a new camera, so I will finally have a camera with witch to take pictures and video for my blog...kindof essential, but I've gotten on without it for awhile so far...I ordered the new Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS, so we'll see how that is, it should arrive within the week!

The last thing I was doing before my down time was starting out a search for a new small boat since selling The Medieval...so far I've tried the Dagger Rx 6.7 and Pyranha Varun Medium, both amazing boats (though The Varun definately takes the cake here, largely due to it's upturned snout with a less steep top entry angle), and somewhat similar, but unfortunately for me I'll have to step up to a large size small boat as I have a tall 34-36" inseam begging for lots of legroom. The unfortunate part of this is I will be at the bottom or below the weight range for my boat and have to deal with longer, heavier versions of the boats with more displacement...but in the long run for something I intend to spend a lot of time in, comfort trumps those factors.

I still have not 100% decided on whether to get a full on playboat or a river-runner. A river runner is the logical choice in many ways (easier to boat, easier to learn basic moves, more stable, faster, better for rescues), but now, especially since it looks like I'll be limited to larger frames I might be looking closer at a playboat. I intend to give a go at a few anyway if it's possible.

I've roughly narrowed it down to:

Pyranha Varun Large
Pyranha Molan Large
Wavesport Project X 64

I'm open to suggestions and will obviously consult with the experts, but I'm thinking that at the moment...

I've also got some surprises lined up for the coming months so stay tuned!

In other news, the new whitewater season is upon us almost! Let the festivals begin! The 2011 Vancouver Kayak Club Festival takes place the weekend of April 29 - May 1 in The Chilliwack River Valley.

This year will be my first VKC Festival, but from what I hear it's the best thing going early in the season up here. Come out, have a drink and do some boating!

Info at:

VKC Festival 2011


and check out spring boat specials at:


(all the actual links are on the side of the blog here, under 'links').

Friday, March 4, 2011

Lynn Creek at a High 28

I ended up having a free Monday off from work a couple weeks back as my friend from the island didn't come out, so naturally after a weekend full of Chilliwack canyon runs with some very good boaters I was eager to hit something not on my home turf. I was headed to Vancouver for the Monday night Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival Whitewater Night anyway so I thought I'd join some friends for a run on Lynn Creek and then The Capilano beforehand.

As I drove into Vancouver that morning after failing to convince fellow non-Vancouver boaters to make the trip the rain started to really pick up from barely a trickle in Chilliwack to a complete hard downpour once I hit New Westminster just outside Vancouver...my heart was racing with excitement for another (hopefully this time successful highwater run), and when Annie texted me to say the Lynn was at 20 at 10 o'clock asking if we could meet at noon, combined with the downpour, I knew the math added up to awesomeness.

I pulled into the takeout early around 11 to find the level already at 23, once everyone was assembled and we were heading up it was closer to 26 and into the red (high on the gauge). Crossing the bridge over the lower double falls, they and the rapid below looked incredibly juicy, much bigger than the only previous time I did the run at a level of about 17 (as low as most people will run it from what I hear). The double falls were just starting to develop that single fall from overflowing the lip at the top on the right.

As we put on and got practiced up my heart was racing not really knowing what to expect, but happy I'd done the run once previously. We set out.

The first few drops were easy, easier with the additional water than last time I think, it also made a difference being in The Pure this time around whereas last time I was in The Medieval. Triple drop wasn't bad, a nice boof and a mild hole, after that the canyon walls had eaten you up and you were fairly commited. The water was brown and with the small space it started to take on the feel of the high water Chilli canyon in the narrow space of a smaller creek. Like Keyhole canyon on Slesse Creek with lots of water would be maybe.

We made our way through the canyon without much difficulty, lots of eddies formed on the sides which were easily caught to calculate our way down the run, we got out to scout one drop before we came to 'picket fence' which we got out to take a look at. Picket fence is a 3 slot drop with wood clogging the slot on the right that leads into 'Sky High Drop' which features a large hole in the middle of the canyon at the bottom before it gets easier and then opens up to a valley.

We headed into picket fence with Geoff leading and me second followed by Andrej and then Annie. Geoff eddied out on river right above the log jam, where I remember eddying out my first run down. I started to head over for the same eddy then realizing by the time I decided to do that and with the wood just below the eddy it might be better to just take my line down the left of picket fence, in my brief moment of indecision I was thrown a bit off line and ended up heading down the middle boofing what I believe is normally the middle rock of picket fence. Shortly after is when I realized I'd miscalculated.

I was coming up on 2 horizon lines thinking the second one was the hole, to my amazement and not a lot of surprise I saw the hole eating itself up right in front of me, and it was big. Having no time to maneovre I quickly straightened out and threw down some power strokes for speed and luckily pulled off a rather decent boof stroke to jump most of the hole, but I wasn't in the clear yet. I was downstream of the hole, but the backwash was feeding me back upstream straight into it, I leaned forward and started reaching down at the front of my boat as much as I could to try to grab the water outflowing and pull myself free, while at the same time angling slighty left so I could either escape straight or ferry far enough to get out the side of the swell. Then BOOM!

I was suddenly jarred free, blown forward into the clear. I knew exactly what happened and as I caught the next eddy saw Andrej being eaten in the hole, he'd struck my stern following my line I believe and the shift in momentum shot me free while stalling him at the worst possible place! I saw him getting maytagged in the hole, he rolled up 2 or 3 times but couldn't get out, by then Geoff had come down to my eddy so I hopped on to the next one so as to not overcrowd the area. Andrej came down before his boat, along with his paddle and had managed to get himself onto an outcropping on the canyon wall on river left. Annie was now in the eddy above mine and Geoff had gone down after the paddle. Andrej's boat came floating down and he managed to grab it. Annie and I headed to the eddy below Andrej and his boat and got ready to get his boat with me on the shore and Annie in her boat. This didn't work and his boat went down, I reckoned Geoff would have little trouble rescuing his boat downstream. Annie proceeded to set up in her boat with me on the shore with my throwbag and Andrej let go and tried to swim over to the other side of the canyon. He managed to swim almost all the way over when I hit him with the throwbag and pendulumed him into the shore.

He was shaken but alright. Luckily we found a place where he could hike out right there. Annie and I headed down the rest of the run, passed Andrej's paddle on the shore then shortly ran into Geoff with search and rescue. Someone had apparently called in after they'd seen the empty boat floating down the canyon. Everything was cleared up and we thanked them for the prompt response. The river wide sweeper log was still in play at this level unfortunately begging a portage near the end of the run.

At the end of the run the gauge was just over 28 (you could tell the water was rising through the run), it was now too late to hit the Capilano with Dave as he'd left, Geoff and I were contemplating another Lynn run but I didn't want to take the chance in light of the days events so far, I still managed to hit Mounain Equipment Co-op to pick up some pin-kit items and other various things as well as go to the film festival later that night, which was amazing! I highly recommend it.