Sunday, December 24, 2006

Chile Update Numero Uno

Happy Holidays Ladies and Gentleman,

After a long, arduous jounrney through Argentina, I have arrived in the town of Futaleufu. I spent a week getting pummeled in the surf of Pichilemu,and now I'm definitely ready for some river running, and no more salt water. Today, myself, Tyler Curtis, Marianne Sather, Jaime (don't know his last name), and two dutchies (can't even begin to spell their names) paddled the Rio Azul. The Rio Azul is a class III-IV tributary of the Futaleufu, and is about ten minutes from town. There's a been a ton of rain here recently, so the Futa is a little washed out. While the Azul isn't super steep or difficult, it was definitely a extremely beautiful river. Actually, everything down here is extremely beautiful. Tomorrow, christmas day, we plan on paddling the bridge to bridge section of the Futa.

Rio Azul Putin

But enough about that. The past week I've been at Pichilemu, which is definitely one of my favorite paddling destinations I've visited thus far. If you like big waves, and especially if you like tremendous beat downs, pichilemu is the place to go. First of all, let me get this out there: I have very limted experience in the ocean with my kayak. In fact, I have practically none. And the waves at Pichilemu are enormous.

Before I continue, let me apologize for the lack of kayaking pictures. Pichilemu is a point break, and the break is way, way out there. I didn't bring the right lense to be taking pictures from 300 yards away. Sorry. Anyways, I continue. These waves were enormous: from the backside, I would say they were 8-10 feet. I'm not sure how big from the front because whenever I was close enough to closely measure them at their peak, I was scared to death. Having those waves crash on me was not fun. At times, they would push you down so deep that everything would be black and silent. Then you would resurface twenty feet behind the wave. Extreme.

My favorite move on the waves was definitely the helix. If you got the boat upside down right as the wave was beginning to break, then you could fall with the break and get some preet good air under you. That of course usually ended in a spectacular flurry of under water cartwheels, combo-ed with some aerial window-shades. The biggest moves, however, were definitely the "down-river" moves. Clearing the bow and landing on the stern was common when we did a wavewheel. Enormous kickflips, too.

Shore break...getting past this is the easy part

So that was fun. I recommend that everyone go visit the town if you're in the area. In addition to the kayaking, the beach and ocean are beautiful, and the people are definitely some of the nicest that I've met. Stay tuned for some futa video and pictures.

The beach

Catchin some dinner

Until next time, I'm...

Dave Finney

And here's some more random photos I've taken

Like father, like son

A boat

Footprints in the sand

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