Thursday, May 31, 2007

Riverhouse Section of the Deschutes

The Riverhouse stretch of the Deschutes was Jay's (my housemate) and my bread and butter run this winter. The put-in for this stretch of river is in downtown Bend and the shuttle is about a five minute drive. The Riverhouse allowed Jay and I the opportunity to get many days of skiing and kayaking in the same day. That's a good day!

The Riverhouse stretch is now dewatered for the entire summer. The water is diverted through another stretch of river and also through a series of canals. The canal system runs into the desert where it is used for irrigation. This opens up the question, Who has rights to the water? The nice thing about the Riverhouse being dewatered is that it does open up other opportunities for different kayaking options. However, this isn't always the case.

Here Jay is enjoying himself on a cold winter day in Bend. Jay has a nice write up about the dewatering of the Riverhouse at Check it out if you want more.

The Riverhouse is a great stretch of river for keeping those edges sharp. If you're in the Bend area during the winter or early spring and you have the skills, check out the Riverhouse stretch of the Deschutes. In the meantime do your part in the fight for water rights. I know this is a growing problem throughout the U.S. and the world. The last two summers I was traveling in CO and was amazed to find some river beds completely dry due to the diverting of water. That reminds me, it's time to renew my American Whitewater membership. You should too!

Have a good one. -J. Aytes

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pimp my Ride: with Knee Blocks

On this edition of Pimp my Ride I'll be making the suggestion of knee blocks. The use of foam knee blocks will greatly improve one's boat control and comfort while kayaking. Knee blocks allow both legs to work together as a team. As one knee is lifting up to lift an edge the other knee is able to push down. This allows greater boat control because the knees are always in contact with the boat. I use the analogy, "If your knees are not in contact with the boat it is the same as driving a car without your hands on the steering wheel." In addition to performance, foam knee blocks will greatly improve the comfort level of your boat. Having the knee rest against a piece of foam is much better than the knee resting against the boat plastic.

Why Knee Blocks?

-Greater boat control due to the knees always having contact with the boat.

-Knee blocks allows ones knees to rest in an, "engaged," position. If you aren't using knee blocks you will use more energy by engaging your abdominal muscles to hold your legs in place. Basically you are always doing a sit-up. Knee blocks will allow you to use less energy for holding good posture so you can save your energy for maneuvering the kayak.

-Knee blocks will help resist the urge of straighting the legs when one goes into a defensive position.

-People with smaller builds will find it makes the boat a custom fit. I have a small build and often times I feel like I'm swimming inside a creek boat. This takes care of that problem.

-Foam is much more comfortable than boat plastic.

-With foam everyone can make a custom fit.

Riot provides a pair of knee blocks with their creek and river running boats. I like the knee blocks so much I have also installed them in my playboat. If you don't paddle a Riot boat you can still make a pair of knee blocks and glue them in your personal boat. Try it and I promise you'll love it.

Installing knee blocks:
1. Cut out and shape foam to look like the knee blocks in the photos.

2. Sit in your boat with good posture pulling up slightly on your knees. Place the knee block in position so that it is holding your leg in place. Once you have it where you want it take a magic marker and outline all around the knee block.

3. Add glue, (I use DAP contact cement) to both the knee blocks and the boat. I like to add one layer of glue, let it dry for about five minutes then add two more layers. I find that three layers is perfect and will almost always hold the foam in place.

4. Once the glue looks dry place it inside the kayak where you outlined the position of the knee blocks. I will usually go about 1/2 inch higher than the outline because I like a snug fit.

5. Let it dry about 24 hours, go kayaking and enjoy a custom fit boat.

Hope this helps.

-J. Aytes

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Breitenbush River and Hot Springs

The Breitenbush River is Located about half way between Portland and Bend, near a small town named Detroit. The Breitenbush River has a big bonus, there are wonderful hot springs just upstream of the put-in. These are some of the nicest hot springs I've ever been too. They are private hot springs you can access through the Breitenbush Retreat and Conference Center. You can check them out at

The river runs mostly in the spring time and is about ten miles of continous class III-IV whitewater. The river starts with a canyon rapid that includes a five foot boof followed by a narrow chute for the exit. This was my personal favorite rapid on the run. If you make a run down the Breitenbush be on the lookout for log jams. The river is a class III-IV river but has two Class VI log jams that could pose a problem for groups paddling on the cusp of their ability. It is best to scout from the road and know where the wood is located because you will paddling into them quickly if you aren't looking for them.

Hope to see you at the Upper Clackamas River Festival for some Karaoke.

-J. Aytes

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Twin Falls Riot Juniors First D

Well it’s was a bright and sunny Friday afternoon I had just driven four hours from Rochester New York to Lehighton Pennsylvania. I am with Junior Riot Team member Danny Doran; we are sitting in our second weekend of our ACA certification class. I am listening to our instructor talking about all the ins and outs of ACA insurance when behind me I hear in a whispering voice “holy crap that was huge”. Danny Doran who is sitting behind me just received a movie message from fellow Junior Riot Team member Aaron Roney. Danny taps me on the shoulder and says, “We need to run this”. I tell him “be quite and learn something”. After about fourof class lecture the instructor calls it a night. Danny goes to me right away and said, ”Will you freaking look at this, and we need to go home”.

I watched a 30 second video clip of Aaron running a huge slide that seemed to go on forever. He nailed a first D that I have been looking at for the past 8 to 10 years. I new it was good to go but I just never was able to catch it at the right water level. So to make a long story short we finished our class and met up with Aaron Roney and his friend Matt Simpson couple days later in Avon New York to run the drop while it was on its way out.

This drop was really straight up a couple of multiple boof ledges with a mix of slides. This location was real tuff to shoot film on so I just shot the center section because it was so walled in. These young guys ran it over and over; they did about 10 laps on it, before they got tired. The carry back up was crazy; it took a lot of teamwork and muscle to get fro the bottom to the top.

The landowners where super cool about us using their property as long as we do not tell the world where it is located. Sorry for not offering any beta. Here is a short video of Aaron Roney in a Magnum, Danny Doran in a Thunder, and Matt Simpson in a Booster 50 (the booster is still killing it).


See you on the water

Paul Twist

Weekend of Races and Karaoke - Charlotte & Asheville

It's hard to believe that you could be online right now instead of watching Saturday morning cartoons. Just in case you ARE online I have provided a glimmer of hope, something to set your standards by, a benchmark if you will. Ladies and Gents, let me present to you... Riot Karaoke Tour stop #2...

On May 4th Team Riot co-hosted a race in Charlotte NC with the US National Whitewater Center. Starting the evening off we had each competitor run an individual time trial through the competition channel. Coming out on top was John Angermeier in a Riot Magnum.

Time Trial Results
1:11 John Angermeier
1:16 Daniel "Talley" Stewart
1:18 Will Berkley
1:22 Andy Travis
1:31 Adam Seacrest
1:33 Joshua Parker
1:50 Brently Metcalf
1:51 Ashley Watts
2:03 Clinton Koontz

Using the finishing times from the time trial we set the heats for the head 2 head finals. After running three heats of three in the prelims and advancing the top placer of each to the finals we had John, Daniel and Will battling it out. Again, John victored over the pack in his Riot Magnum and took home the gold, the glory and the bragging rights. John also won a pair of Mion Flood Tide shoes for his victories. We also ran a consolation heat to hash out 5th-9th place. Andy Travis took it away. Likely the face mask was a big intimidating factor. Later he celebrated with a flaming version of "ice ice baby" during the Karaoke Tour.

Head 2 Head Results
1 John Angermeier
2 Daniel "Talley" Stewart
3 Will Berkley
4 Andy Travis
5 Ashley Watts
6 Adam Seacrest
7 Brently Metcalf
8 Clinton Koontz
9 Joshua Parker

On the podium from left to right are our winners, John (1st), Daniel (2nd) and Will (3rd).

We created a final race for the night called Charlotte's Web. Our team and Sarah decided to jump in for this one. The race started at the top pond running all the way through the wilderness channel, up the conveyor belt, through the race channel and finished at an island in the bottom pond. This was a really tough but really fun race for all. I'd personally like to thank Will and Daniel for running into me every time I tried to pass. Ahh, the spirit of the head 2 head race. Supposedly, Silsbee had the win in his grasp and was spun out by Gragtmans about five feet from the finish. Don't mess with Canada... I suppose.

Charlotte's Web Race Results
1 Chris Gragtmans
2 Cooper Lambla
3 Nathan Silsbee
4 Sarah Harper
5 Spencer Cooke
6 Daniel "Talley" Stewart
* not sure from here out. someone email me if they know.

Then, ladies and gents, things got a little squirrelly. Yes, we broke out the Karaoke machine. I'll let the video do the talking.

Thanks to the Mecklenburg Regional Paddlers for showing up and making it a great event. Not only did the Charlotte locals light up the race course but they tackled the karaoke machine like nobody's business.

Here is the Riot crew and Sarah Harper. Big thanks to Sarah for organizing a fun race series and to Garrett Bryant for the unconditional love and couches to sleep on.

Two days later Diamond Brand hosted the first ever attainment races at the ledges park on the French Broad River in Asheville. Organized by James Trombley, this event was added as part of the already popular, growing and annual Mt Sports Festival. Thanks to Jon Leidel of for the use of the photographs.
If you have never attained in a kayak it is something to experience. Attaining is almost a different form of play boating. I've never done a whole lot of it myself but I understand that a lot of people use attainments as resistance training for downriver races. The ledges on the French Broad happen to be a Green Race training ground for a lot of folks.

This was me struggling through one of six attainments of the day. Let me say that my body was very unhappy after these races. Though quite fun, this race whipped me up and down. Not only were the competitors tough but this is a hard competition anyway. I will have to practice next time. I got a motivating compliment from James which was, "I've never seen you look like you were trying so hard," which to me means, "you need to practice." Thanks James, I might practice next time... or maybe I'll just go fishing with you again. The point is that Chris, Toby and Chris were quite impressive out there, and fast.

There were three classes in the race which were short, long and glass/high performance. Most everyone races all three classes. They ran a time trial for each class then took the top placers to a head to head final. This shot shows the first and hardest drop of the course.

Here's the starting point.

This was about half the folks who turned out for the event. It was a good solid group and I hope to see even more people turn out next year.

This fella I did not know. I think his name is Leki and he was apparently a former US Slalom team member, possibly olympic competitor. I don't remember the exact info I was told about him. He was really fast anyway.

Robin Betz won the women's division.

Ross Ryan and James Trombley (left to right) presenting Chris Gragtmans with the 1st place prize for winning the long boat and short boat time trials and both head 2 head finals. Toby MacDermott (far right) won the high performance category with a sneaky time saving technique on the first drop.

Other racers included Nathan Silsbee, Chris Gallaway, Caleb Coaplen, Keith Sprinkle and others.

Good wholesome fun with good people on a good day. Good golly.

Check out the video once again if you please.


Spencer Cooke, Team Riot

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Race and Karaoke tomrrow night - May 4th

Don't forget, Riot is hosting a race at the US National Whitewater Center tomorrow night at 7pm.

Later you can enjoy the second big stop on the Riot Karaoke Tour. Sing a song and entertain your friends for a chance to win some prizes from Riot, Mion, IR and Shred Ready.

We hope to see you there.

Watch this video: