Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Cold Water and Air Loops—Z-Style

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.

Z-Spot Video (8.9mb)

Z-Spot Video (740kb)

(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,

-Adam Johnson

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