Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Astro takes Silver in Japan and gets donkeyed in Charleston, SC

click here to see video of Japanese Riot paddler, Kenichi Ito, aka "ESPA", ripping it up.
Last week we received great news from our friend Hiroshi Enomoto in Japan. Japanese Riot paddler, Kenichi Ito, aka "ESPA," took 2nd at a big wave freesyle event in the Astro. Good job ESPA! Looks like a fun play spot. Apparently he was throwing huge aerial back stabs and pistol flips.

Watch Kenichi's video click here

Other news...
Over the weekend I was down at the East Coast Canoe & Kayak Festival in Charleston SC. I happen to be out in my Astro in the lake, doing some flat water cartwheels and whatnot. The funniest thing happened. These people came riding by me on a donkey.

Then this other guy passed me on a smaller donkey. He was in a hurry and I didn't have time to really get to know him. Good thing Kyle Lynch was there to capture the moment in photographs. Otherwise you might think I was lying.

Man. Lot of donkeys out there.

Spencer Cooke, Team Riot

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Another Riot First descent in Afghanistan!

I recently did another solo first descent of an Afghan river, this time ticking off the Daryo-i Ghorband (Ghorband River) which flows from the pass leading from Kabul to Bamiyan, the place where the massive Buddhas were blown up by the Taliban. Following my successful first decent (and first ever kayak descent of a river in Afghanistan) of the Panjshir River in September, 2005 (for an account of this descent, go to ), I scoped out the Ghorband on the way back from a field mission with my work for the United Nations Environment Programme and decided that the time was right to get on it. Two days later, my wife Lelania, who shot the pics and vids of the descent, and I were back in the Ghorband Valley to hit it up.

The run was fun class 3 and 4, with about 7 solid class 4 rapids and the rest fun class 3 boogie water that was just a joy to get down given the perfect weather and awesome scenery surrounding the river. I boated the best 11 kilometers of the river, putting in at a village named Bagh-i Afghan (Garden of the Afghans) and taking out at the village of Pul-i Mattak (Mattak Bridge), which was alongside the main Salang Highway route going towards Kabul from the north of the country. Along the way, I passed blown up Soviet and taliban tanks and armored personnel carriers, as well as mine fields and mud homes that have changed little since the 16th century.

The locals were stoked to watch the action and whole villages would turn out to watch me boat by, with kids running down river trying to keep up and old men constantly calling out asking me to stop and have tea with them in the homes. The security situation in the valley was very good and made for an extremely pleasant trip and the river awaits other boaters that are willing to brave the travel to Afghanistan to check out the endless whitewater possibilities throughout the country.

For more info on Central Asian and Afghan Whitewater, check out my website:
(it is new and material is being added daily, so check back frequently)

Cheers Y'all,


Thursday, April 13, 2006

New River Dries at 24,000 CFS

New River Dries @ 24,000cfs (8.9mb)

New River Dries @ 24,000cfs (896kb)

Welcome to the New River Dries. One of the world’s greatest waves when the water runs. This past weekend, Billy Boylan and I originally planned to hit Five Boat Hole on the Lower Gauley at 7,000 CFS; however, upon viewing the gauges the following morning, we decided to change our plans.

I noticed that the Dries were at 24,500 that morning, a little low, but still good. So, I met Bill in Weston, WV at the local Wal-Mart, dropped his car, and we headed down I-79 and Rt. 19, the whole two hours to the New River Dries.

When we got to the put-in, much to Bill’s dismay, the put-in waves appeared lackluster. The top wave was the only wave in, and it pulsated, occasionally greening out completely. We watched a few people surf and do roundhouses before we decided to put our gear on.

Needless to say, the wind had been taken out of Bill’s sails. Alas, the semi-local was not discouraged, as bad days on the Dries of the New are incredibly rare. So, we unloaded the boats out of the bed of my black Nissan truck, put on the gear (Bill’s was wet and cold ;-), and headed down to the river.

The wave was not bad; however, the level was dropping to a point where it was slowly going out. We were greeted by David Hughes and company, Brian Jennings, Shane Groves, LJ Groth, and Michael Crenshaw, among others, in the eddy (all of the usual, Fayetteville local rebels).

So, Bill and I took a few rides, and then found out that Brian Jennings, Michael Crenshaw, and Shane Groves were headed downriver. Kindly enough, they let us tag along. So, after a short session at the hole on the left below the waves (where Shane was lucky enough to enjoy a thorough beating, having his nose-plugs ripped off and his life jacket shove up to someplace around his eyes), we chose to head down to Big Kahuna Rapid.

Big Kahuna is about a mile downstream of the put-in, and, at this level, had an amazing wave on the river right hand side. For the short time it was in (as the water was going up and down mysteriously), the wave was fairly incredible. Any move was possible there, anything from curtsies to massive, water tossing aerial pan-ams. Check out the video, as it will give the perspective:

New River Dries @ 24,000cfs (8.9mb)

New River Dries @ 24,000cfs (896kb)

Mad props go out to Michael Crenshaw for shooting the video, thanks bud. Later, Shane and Brian decided to head downstream while Bill and I could not leave the spot. Unfortunately, soon after they left, the wave got flat with a big pile, and was not as good as before. No matter though, because when it was good, it was really good.

Bill and I proceeded to head downstream and got to the take-out without any climactic events. Since we didn’t have a shuttle set, and Brian and Shane had already left (as we told them to), I decided to hitchhike. Almost as soon as I put my thumb out, a car stopped and I hopped in. It was a maroon VW Taureg with leather interior, driven by a man named Dick. Thanks to Dick, a lawyer from Fayetteville whose leather car seats I got totally soaked, for giving me the ride back up.

Bill and I decided to do one more run, and found it to be good, but the wave at Big Kahuna had gone out; nevertheless, still a great run on the Dries. Later, we headed back home, chatting about the Upper Blackwater from the previous day and the run on the Dries from that Sunday. All in all, a great weekend.

Enjoy the spring,

-Adam Johnson

PS- The Astro is unbelievable on waves! It's almost too easy...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Tallulah River and the phantom water drop

Hey Folks,

This past weekend I got the chance to paddle with my buddy Coop and a bunch of other cool people riding around in Sanders' newly acquired "Huckabego" RV... We had sweet runs on the Cheoah on Saturday and then on Tallulah Sunday; thanks for all the food and shuttles boys!

Anyways, a bunch of my other friends were out at Tallulah, so we shot some cool video of Oceana and some POV headcam footage through the rest of the river. I am constantly amazed at how many people are running Oceana... it's a super dangerous rapid(especially the left line), and deserves some serious respect.

The headcam footage includes most significant rapids of the Tallulah, but unfortunately my lense is not shedding water as effectively, so there's a big fat drop right in the middle of the frame for alot of the rapids below oceana... Sorry about that, I'm gonna hit it with some rain-x today.

Hope you enjoy.

Download Tallulah Video HERE (22 mb)

Chris Gragtmans

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Jesse Browns - New Riot Dealer in Charlotte NC

Last week I visited Jesse Browns in Charlotte NC. They were very excited that the US National Whitewater Center is being built just down the road from their shop. They are performing crazy acts of exuberance because of it.

Rob felt that he needed to show us how to dump water out of a boat.

This made Karey angry so he gave Rob a knuckle sandwich to the spleen. Rob found it humorous.

Later they were so happy that they both continued to wear the same grey t-shirt, jeans and sandals. They celebrated

Jesse Browns employees are now accepting fan mail. Call them at 704.510.0089 or go visit them in Charlotte at 8929 JM Keynes Drive, Suite 400, Charlotte NC 28262

Don't litter!

Spencer Cooke, Team Riot