Tuesday, March 28, 2006
The winter is soon about to let go for us on the northern part of the planet. But here in Norway there is not any place to kayak yet. So I figured I had to shear the great summer we had last year with you. And for those of you interested in festivals and events around the globe, I`ll say a few words about the Voss Extreme Week.
As you might have heard, this year held the highest waterlevels we have seen as long as I have been in a kayak. The spring was cold and rainy, and the low temperatures made sure we had plenty of snowmelt even in August. And when the snow was gone, it started raining, raining and raining. Thinking about it, it feels as if the rain kept coming untill it started snowing in December
Yes, it was cold and rainy, and it sometimes took an affort to motivate yourself to go out and kayak. When the air humidity usually was above 80%, and the temperatures stayed under 15degrees C most of the weeks of the kayakseason, providing dry gear for the next day was a challange.
The wet weather cost the Norwegian society millions in flood damage and gave me a few nice infections, but it also gave us the most incredible kayaking season so far. Constantly high levels meant that at least 10 different rivers within an hour, was runable at all times. Me and Eirik Øvreeide spent the summer well, and got to run some of the rivers on higher levels than we imagined was possible.
The rain and snowmelt also made the Voss Extreme Week a exiting event. High levels provided spectaclular competitions. The week is held every year in the end of june. It includes, kayaking, rafting, skydiving, base-jumping, paragliding, hangliding, downhill biking and skiing. People meet to compete or just enjoy their sport for one week, only interupted by great conserts and other social happenings, every night. Check it out at http://www.ekstremsportveko.com/!!
Rain prevented us from taking our cameras out all the time. But we used the chances we got, and I thought I would shear some pictuers with you folks. Hope you enjoy them!! (For more info, pictures and videos from the Voss area, check http://www.vosskajakkklubb.com/!!).
Monday, March 27, 2006
If you're a creek boater and Quebec city is not to far from your place, you probably want to look at this website! www.adrenergie.com
We organise a creek race on the Basse Cachee river saturday may 13th
we have a video from the river on our website, have a looklook to give you an idea!
expect a lot of fun
see you on the river
Friday, March 24, 2006
Greetings sports fans,
Well, I'm getting my life back together after a one and a half month trip to deepest darkest Africa. I tagged along with a couple of good friends from Canada and was able to experience the White Nile for the first time!
I'll keep this brief since there have already been hundreds of other posts about the White Nile... All's I have to say is that this trip has truly been a perspective shifting one for me in learning to appreciate just how fortunate I am. In spite of the miniscule amount of money that the people of Uganda live on, their attitudes are some of the best that I have ever seen. They walk for miles in the blazing sun for only marginally clean water, and in many cases are malnourished and not properly sheltered from malaria and other diseases. Yet they're extremely happy and welcoming. I think we all can learn a lesson from them, and I know I will think twice before complaining about any of my petty first world problems. (Dismount soapbox)
On to the boating... The water was a bit low, but we were still able to access Nile Special via a ski rope that Billy, Dave and some others built, and which we all pitched in for. It's still an awesome wave that gives up bow clearing aireals if you're patient.
Another highlight of the trip was certainly running the big rapids of the Nile. It's a much different beast than trying to stick
hard lines on a low volume creek, and it's certainly great practice for keeping your cool in big boils and holes. I'd have to say that Itanda scared the crap out of me when I ran it for the first time, especially since Ben Marr, Ed Smith and I didn't have a guide to show us down. The rapid is about a half a kilometre of sprinting back and forth to avoid some gigantic holes.
Cool, well I hope you enjoy the vid, there will be a full Uganda section on the new video, Enter the Donkey, by Effort Inc. Should be pretty good in spite of the name! ;)
Dave says: you stay classy San Diego!
Download White Nile vid Shaklacky! (22 MB)
See you on a river in the Southeast...
Sunday, March 19, 2006
Watch the 2006 NAWF video
Chris arrived in Atlanta from Uganda on KLM Airlines on Wednesday afternoon. When I picked him up his white Riot t-shirt, seemingly laden with hash browns and hershey swirls, looked like he had used it as underwear for a month without washing. He mentioned something about laundry service in Uganda... Could have fooled me. Other signs of his barbarianism included a partially grown, sparse, blonde mustache and beard. Looked like something out of Narnia or Lord of the Rings. I half expected his feet to be grown over with hair as well.
Ah, a great photo op of the bad hair. Pitiful if I do say so my damn self.
After hugging the kid (he's been in Africa for over a month) and throwing his stuff in the truck we headed westward for dixie land. Pink houses here we come.
NAWF, the North Alabama Whitewater Festival, was the purpose for our trip. We attended in '05 as well and had a real good time. This year proved to be bigger and better, rivaling the size of Cheat Fest, for example, but more focused on the competition aspect.
Friday, March 10th was the Short Creek Falls event close to Guntersville, AL. Here they hold a freestyle off the waterfall and a Boater-X race.
Two pics of Chris and I doing tricks off the falls... Keith Yell, local Alabama boy, took first in the freestyle of the falls with several really sick moves, primarily the rock spin to kick flip (can be seen in the video).
Chris paddled his Turbo 52 and I decided to try out the Nitro 58. We figured these would be great boats for this event. To our surprise we had great results in the Boater-X race. After making the cut from the prelim round we were faced with a 10-man mass start finals, which was scary enough off of a 15 foot falls.
Chris and I edged out Dave Finney in the prelims.
I lobbied for two, 5-man semifinals but got shot down. We were competing against Eric Jackson in this heat so hopes were low in my mind for winning a race against him. You start backwards and spin as quick as possible before hammering out 100 yards of flat water before the lip of the falls. I found myself co-leading the pack, side by side with EJ, clanking paddles on every stroke. About 20 feet above the lip I submissively decided it would be best to let him lead instead of both of us crashing and being landed on by 8 boats. As soon as I gave him the go ahead he swung around my bow at the lip of the drop, and to my surprise, got thrown off line. I stuck the boof and took the lead. As I was coming back up the eddy I looked over my shoulder to find Chris right behind me. We took 1st and 2nd in the race and I must say it was an honor to win, but most rewarding to beat EJ. It is a chore to beat him at any kayak contest, and a first for me.
Here we are in the finals, right above the lip of the falls.
Day two was the freestyle hole riding and big trick contest at the ender hole on the Locust Fork of the Warrior River. Chris took 2nd at this event.
Here are a couple shots of him throwing his nasty Space Gorriler.
Final results... Chris was crownd the NAWF '06 overall Champion. They gave him this zingy blingy trophy/cup thingy and $200. I got $100 for the Boater-X. Twas a good showing for Team Riot and a super fun event again this year. We will be back next year.
Ater we sent him this photo, Chris' Dad, Mike Gragtmans, emailed us back saying, "Spencer & Chris, Congratulations on your sweep at the big event......I am looking forward to collecting my cut of the winnings. That beautiful cup looks exactly like the cup that Louis XIV and Napoleon Bonaparte drank from when they conquered most of Europe. This cup has been missing for centuries and it may be worth millions if it is authentic. An old wise tale talked about it being stolen by half-witted red-necks from the West (much like the one's that were in the pictures). Drive safely home. - Mike"
Sunday morning we woke up at 6am, a la Punk Rock blairing from a neighboring camper's car (nice touch), rolled to Rock Island Tennessee for two days of surfing, then headed back home to rest and recharge.
I-40 East, coming into Asheville under the full moon.
Watch the 2006 NAWF video
Enter the Mustache Growing Contest, win fabulous prizes - Start date is April 1
Spencer Cooke, Team Riot
Thursday, March 16, 2006
See the thigh brace video...CLICK
Made of hard plastic, it is very rigid yet it still has a soft piece of foam on the bottom for comfort.
Slots are predrilled giving the thigh brace over an inch of back and forth adjustment.
Up to six additional inches of back and forth adjustment are allowed due to the four predrilled holes in the thigh brace tab.
All you need to adjust or move the thigh braces is a philips screwdriver.
Slightly loosen the bolts to adjust the angle of the thigh brace. To do so you may need to put your finger in the round hole to hold the nut on the bottom of the screw.
Easily adjust to your personal comfort.
For safety make sure you can easily get your legs and feet out of the boat.
After that you should be ready to go have fun.
See the thigh brace video...CLICK
Spencer Cooke, Team Riot
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
Back in January, Billy Boylan and I decided to head out to Z-Spot. Z-Spot is a uniform hole created by a break in a dam on the James River in Richmond, Virginia. It was designed to allow fish to swim upstream; fortunately enough, it also allows paddlers to do almost any hole move possible.
The word on the street is that the spot is “in” between the levels of 4.8’ to 6.0’ on the James River at Richmond gauge. I have found that the ideal level for the spot is right around 5.4’. The day we went, the level was roughly ~5.6’; not exactly ideal for the spot, but pretty good nonetheless. The only catch: cold water. I don’t think that it would have been that bad at any other spot, but, with January ~40 degree temperatures, and the constant douching of the head in freezing water, there was only so much that one could take.
As a side note: A giant log has managed to lodge itself on the river left side of the hole. It has changed the hole by creating an extended surfers right shoulder and decreased the width of the hole itself. The log is big enough that it gives paddlers a place close to the hole to get out of your boat and chill, shoot video, or take photos.
So, despite the cold water, there was still some time for loops in between the ice cream headaches. Check out the video. (I added a teaser from a dries session at 30g’s for more viewer enjoyment). The video was shot by my man Bill (Z-Spot), and wonder-man himself Brian Kirk at the dries.
(Problems with downloading the video? Click here)
The weather is getting warmer, and it seems spring is on its way. Prey for rain, warm weather, and less work. See you on the river,
Saturday, March 04, 2006
hope your all having a good Winter season, whilst Ed and Jon are back on the Nile I have been at home working to save my money for a super busy season me and the Pommie Crew have got planned and sorting music and ideas for our first Film we're in the process of shooting over the next year.
Me blunting on Newark weir (courtesy of the Shep bros)
Even with all that going on I have managed to get out plenty at the weekends even with the lack of water in the UK at the monent so if you'd all like to read more about it and see some more pictures visit,
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Front and Side Profiles...
A look at the top and bottom. Notice the flashy "flames" on each of the sides. Very cool...
The foot area of this boat is actually quite roomy. I had heard rumors of it being smaller and not for bigger people. This is not true.
In fact, this boat is very comfortable . I have size 11 feet, 32" inseam, and find this boat to be amazingly comfortable with lots of room for the feet.
Notice the new design for the rails. Somewhat of a combination between the Air's side-cut edge and the Inferno's more traditional underside edges.
A couple noticeable improvements for the outfitting: On the left, notice the backband has been attached to a large black plate. This makes it very easy to adjust and move in order to access the storage area in the stern of the boat.
A small change with the supplied hip pads: Now the Velcro attachment on the bottom of the pad attaches to the sides of the seat, instead of under the seat pad, where the Velcro was easier detached from its female counterpart.
It is obvious that Riot put much time and effort into the design of the boat, and made a few key tweaks to the outfitting. Overall, a very solid design. It seems to be a combination of new ideas blended with the classic Disco. Riot has created a boat that will air it out as well as throw down in whichever hole you choose (this boat is easy to huck and loop).
Also, check out the Astro review in Canoe & Kayak's new issue of Whitewater.
For a look at the Astro in action, check out this video that Spencer made Monday; it's a 45 second video of the Astro at Quarter Mile Rapid on the Nolichucky River in Tennessee. VIDEO LINK!
So, now I wait for winter to end. Maybe we will have some warm (spring) days in March where there will no longer be ice and snow on the riverbanks and we all can get out and paddle. From West ‘By God’ Virginia, this is Adam Johnson signing out. See you on the river…