Monday, October 29, 2007

Riot Kayaks on the CBS Early Show


Recently CBS' "Early Show" was broadcasting live from the US National Whitewater Center, here in Charlotte, NC. The show's weatherman, Dave Price, was on-hand to lead the chaos on a soggy Friday morning.


Yours truly was also on location, representing in my Riot Astro 58, on national television. With all the spotlights, crowd noise and excitement in the air, it was hard not to get fired up to go boating, "in the name of kayaking."


On-water, complete and utter chaos ensued. When you offer free kayaking in an environment where it usually costs $15+, this is what happens. People are also stoked be on TV.


The banks of the ditch were lined with mad folks all screaming and yelling like kayakers were the modern day equivalent to The Beatles landing in America. Kayaking to America, we are here.


America, this is a kayaker...And your weatherman, see it's not that hard after all. Get U Some. Dave jumped into a boat and tooled around the eddy, to show off his skillz. Kayaking skillz. Weather predicting skillz. Num-chuck skillz. Liger drawing skillz.


Among the masses were some representatives from the Charlotte Bobcats. Troy couldn't focus.


Dave Hepp, water sports head dude-man at the Center, gave the event a thumbs up!!!

Thanks to Jeff and Lance out at the Center, for use of the pics!

Oh boy, smells like Bojangles. After the event, we hit the road and caught the last of the water on the Green that day. Paddling is fun, paddling and then paddling again at the Green is exceptional.

See ya'll on the tube.


-Cooper Lambla
Downstream Movement

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Riot Karaoke Tour '07 wrap up

Well, the fat lady didn't sing... oh well. Lots of other people did sing and many more were entertained. The final three Riot Karaoke stops occurred at the AW Gauley River Fest, Diamond Brand Outdoors and the NOC GAF. Enjoy a video from the Gauley that team member Andy Gates put together.

Many fabulous prizes including an Aquabound Carbon Shred paddle, Mion shoes, IR & Shred Ready gear, and H2o Audio housing, Astral Buoyancy t-shirts and more were given out.

Karaoke followed the world premiere of THE GREEN RACE MOVIE by Chris Gallaway at Diamond Brand in Asheville NC on October 5th. 150+ folks turned out for the viewing. You can watch the trailer and read a bit about the movie at http://TheGreenRaceMovie.com

Riot Team paddlers, Chris Gragtmans, Nathan Silsbee, Cooper Lambla and myself, among several of other talented athletes, were very pleased to be featured in the film. It is well worth viewing and an incredibly inspiring film for any kayaker trying to set goals for themselves, whether it's racing the green or learning to roll. One notable quality of the film is its ability to capture the undivided attention of non-paddlers and paddlers alike. Not many kayak films have that attribute. Everything about the film is done well from the editing, music, smooth and seamless narration and beautiful footage. Chris Gallaway hit a homer for his first kayak film ever.

Speaking of the Green Race, good luck to everyone who competes this coming weekend! If the hype is any indicator this year's race will be the largest to date. We finally have a little bit of extra water to pad things out a little. One thing to note: if you are hiking into the narrows as a spectator please remain on the trail and be mindful of the environment around you. I was speaking with a friend recently who was very concerned of the environmental impact of 500 people walking into that gorge on one day. It's something to think about for sure.

It was hard letting go of the tour this past weekend but our good friends at NOC helped make it a bit easier. MC, Jason McClure, was truly inspirational to any and all NOC and Riot Karaoke guests. Here you see him in the background with open mouth, backup singing for one of our most talented contestants, Bryce Bryce Baby.

You might notice that Bryce is already wearing a Riot Karaoke Tour t-shirt. That's because Bryce is what I refer to as a repeat offender. Not only did he butcher one song, which was so beautiful and mesmerizing that I can't even remember what song it was, but he came back to maim the absolute dickens out of Vanilla Ice's "ice ice baby". Wherever you are out there Bryce, we love you. Come home Bryce Bryce Baby.


Many other brave competitors belted out tunes ranging from "pretty woman" to "sexual healing". Astounding as I'm sure you can imagine.


In the end all were bested by that silly penguin. I kept saying it was too hot for a penguin to be just walking around but there he was, aaagain.


Make sure to visit Diamond Brand and NOC this winter when Riot's two new boats, the Big Magnum and Thunder are released. More on those later...

Thanks again to all the sponsors of the Riot Karaoke Tour. We probably won't hit as many events this coming year with karaoke but maybe a select few. At any rate, thanks also to everyone who participated.


Later,

Spencer Cooke, Team Riot

Friday, October 26, 2007

Final Riot Karaoke stop of 2007 - NOC GAF


Tomorrow, Saturday, October 27th, at NOC GAF Team Riot makes their final stop on the 2007 Karaoke Tour. We will proceed with the chlorophyll at approximately 12 noon and continue until 5 or 6 or until all the prizes are gone. All our most famous team paddlers will be present to humiliate themselves with you and not sign autographs. Come belt out your favorite tune and win some prizes. For the last time of the season we thank all our kind and gracious sponsors for all the rad prizes: IR, Mion, Shred Ready, Astral and of course, Riot.

Don't quit your day job. See you at NOC GAF.

Spencer Cooke, Team Riot

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Waterfall Tour of Quebec

As creekboaters, there are a couple of destinations that we hear a lot about as being the holy grails of extreme kayaking. Norway, Mexico, California, and Chile come up time and time again as the places to visit when you can gather the funds and the crew. I love traveling to locations such as these that are well-established and documented, but once in a while it's fun to get off the beaten path a bit. That is what Quebec is to me... a fairly undocumented mecca of absolutely everything that you could want as a kayaker. But you've gotta work for it!



A typical Quebec waterfall...

Photo: Kelsey Thompson

This July I took a week long trip with my buddy Kelsey Thompson, and we paddled some incredible rivers in the Laurentian Mountains.

First stop... Les Sept Chutes de Saint Anne, Drop 1.

Photo: Kelsey Thompson

The Sept Chutes of St. Anne are located east of Quebec City, and are 7 absolutely incredible park and huck waterfalls on the St. Anne du Nord River. These drops were first-d'd by Dominic Chaput and Dominic Fournier(Dom and Domer) a couple years back at low water, and to my knowledge have only been run a handful of times by them since then. I've been researching and wanting to run them for the past three years, and I finally got a chance. After the 4.5 hour drive from Montreal, Kelsey and I met up with Steve Arns, Krusty Thompson, and Bob Butler and got to paddle these sick cataracts. Incredible day at a flow somewhere around 200 cfs.

"Big Water" Bob Butler styling it while I film and Krusty shoots photos.

Photo: Steve Arns.

Steve Arns, Drop 5.

Photo: Kelsey Thompson

Bob mid-bounce on Drop 1.

Photo: Steve Arns

After the Sept Chutes, we made the big drive northeast into the middle of nowhere to paddle the Malbaie River. In spite of it's remoteness, it is well worth the drive, and provides a great day of high volume class IV/V creeking and the sweetest 30 footer you'll ever run! The whitewater immediately took my mind off of the long drive and rainy night that we had just spent, as well as the fact that I had 1/4 tank of gas about 120 kilometres from the closest gas station!

Myself enjoying the zen moment.

Photo: Steve Arns

Kelsey rolling off the lip.

Photo: Steve Arns

Kelsey boofing another cool Malbaie drop.

Photo: Steve Arns

Upon completion of the Malbaie, Steve, Bob, and Krusty had to make the 11 hour drive back to the city of Ottawa, and the real world. Kelsey and I decided to rally back to the Sept Chutes and spend another day running those bedrock wonders. Upon arrival, we discovered the river had increased exponentially in volume because of the rain... and the Sept Chutes had now entered the realm of truly world class whitewater.

Kelsey's and my run that day was one of the best days of the summer for sure, and I was fortunate enough to end it with possibly the biggest/sickest/most fun rapid that I have ever run in my life... a burly cascade starting with a boof over a huge hole at the top, then down a whiteout curler-filled slide dropping about 30 feet, immediately off a 40 footer at full speed(trying to get right, because the left half of the boil pushes into a nasty kiwi-in-a-pocket type place), and then down another Toxaway-style slide dropping about 30 more feet.

The forty footer from the overlook.


After finishing our run on the Sept Chutes, Kelsey and I headed back in the direction of Montreal, and scouted the infamous Steve Fisher rapid called the Chutes de la Sainte Ursulles. I've been looking at this one for a couple years too, and the damn South African superstar had to crush my hopes and dreams when he first d'd it last year. Punk ass! Haha... just kidding, didn't want a piece of it in years past, and that didn't change during this trip.

The sickest thing ever run in my opinion...

Photo: Kelsey Thompson

After our grand adventure, Kelsey and I were treated to two days of sessioning the Lachines Waves in Montreal. Couldn't ask for a better place to mellow out after scaring yourself a bit.

Kelsey doing his Canadian National Champion thing...


Well that's all for now folks, hope you enjoy the video, and see you at the Green Race!


Peace.
Chris Gragtmans

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Photos and a Clip of Worldly Travels 2003-2007

Here is a video from some of my travels from the past few years. It documents travels from Africa, the USA, Chile, Canada, Ecuador, as well as several other places. Enjoy! (Note: if you are unable to see the embedded video, click HERE) videoDropping off of Big Brother, White Salmon, WA
World Class Kayak Academy Van in the home state, West by god Virginia.
Adam Johnson boofs #5 on the Zambezi, Zambia, Africa
Adam Johnson looping in Right Side, Ottawa River, 2004.
Flipturn on the Dries of the New, Gauley season 2004.
Epic shuttle driving in Mexico for a playrun. 4 hours in, 4 hours out, +1 to the takeout.
Adam on Sunshine, Green River, 2003.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Great Falls Waterfall Gallery

Dug up some freeze-frames from this summer's Potomac Festival, you can lay your eyes onto more photos, video and stories on my information highway page, Downstream Movement.


The Nastiest Nathaniel breaks off a piece of that Kit-Kat bar, in his Orbit 47.


Spencer Cookes-a-lot-of-spam, points and plops. That's just how he rolls. Noted on this trip was the fact that the Thunder, his craft of choice in this photo, needs to be pronounced Tun-DA, the way Arnd would say it.


Andy Gates-of-paradise takes on the gravitational pull of the moon, in one large boof for man-kind. The motion of boofing is the Magnum's zen state of being. To be or not to be, is not the question. When and where are not the questions, either. It WILL scoop up more servings than your local Ben and Jerrys. Can you eat them up? Now that might be the question.


Eat or be eaten.


-Cooper Lambla
Downstream Movement

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

blunting..

Okay, so you are comfortable on a wave, and you want to start to expand your wave play abilities beyond spinning. Well, a good basic play boating trick is the “blunt”. It is a great skill to build upon to learn more difficult wave moves. An ideal wave for blunting can be defined in two basic ways one is a wave that has a defined high side or where the water curls back in the trough of the wave. The other is a wave that is fast, steep, and has a good amount of power. The other day I was at the USNWC with Andy playing on their “M Wave”, which is a very fast relatively powerful wave. Okay, to begin to blunt you need to get as far back on the wave as possible by either spinning or dropping an edge. Next, accelerate toward the trough of the wave, once you hit the trough stomp your feet at the same time you drop an edge (drop the opposite edge you cartwheel on), while simultaneously with the same blade as the edge you used launch your self forward with a quick powerful stroke. This will get you the speed and bounce you need to get into the air. Immediately after, switch your edge hard while you’re still going up and pull your other blade down (like a cart wheel) pulling your boat up and out of the water. Then, simply land in to a back surf, and spin forward.
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Hope to see you on the water soon
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