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...

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