Professor Paddle: Long Fiberglass Boats and Steep Creeking...
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JayB
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  Quote JayB Replybullet Topic: Long Fiberglass Boats and Steep Creeking...
    Posted: 02 Nov 2009 at 10:15pm
No one told these guys that the two don't go together:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sNckpwnGNgE

I'm sure that this vid has been posted before, but it's pretty cool to see some of the lines that they were laying down with the best gear that they could get their hands on back in the day.
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  Quote Wiggins Replybullet Posted: 03 Nov 2009 at 5:47am
That is some pretty stout water to be tackling if you are still dependant on a extended paddle roll!
 
I like their method for getting boats out of holes to!
 
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  Quote Jimmy Replybullet Posted: 03 Nov 2009 at 7:09am
That was fun to watch.  My first kayak was the same one as the red fiberglass one in the video.  I was fun to paddle those long boats.
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  Quote septimus prime Replybullet Posted: 03 Nov 2009 at 7:16am
That was rad. Almost as cool as this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUhuPn8_d0Q&feature=player_embedded
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  Quote septimus prime Replybullet Posted: 03 Nov 2009 at 7:18am
whoops, one more time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUhuPn8_d0Q&feature
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 03 Nov 2009 at 10:02am
WTF, John? I'm gonna start refering to you as "the Worst Witch"! Does that guy paddle a longboat?

JayB- Thanks for digging that up. I don't think I've seen it before, but I'm not surprised.

In the summer of 1984 (the year of that film) I finally got my roll after a few years of paddling class III and IV in fits and starts. I had a fiberglass slalom boat. I heard all sorts of tales about local guys (eastcoast) "firing up" (that wasn't the slang used then) all sorts of steep sh*t that people still aspire to run today in creekboats.

In 1986 I got a fiberglass squirtboat. It was actually a chopped , shortened slalom boat, one of a kind, called "The Mousebat". It was derived from the Laserbat mold and built by Jesse Whittemore. His designs were more surface oriented than the scooped out Squirtboats designed by the Snyder Brothers. In 1986 I began running the Upper Yough in it, and I had my hands full. I was pretty white knuckled about it. But then again, back then to find a 16 year old on a class V run was still somewhat of a rare thing. Of course, my big brother and his friends had been tearing it up much more than me in their early teens. But then again, they were bound for Europe on the international racing circuit (slalom). Just about all of those young Slalom guys were the opitomy of hardcore at the time, and so were the Ex-hippy/redneck esoterics who lived in the hills and put squirtboating and creeking on the map.

Me? I was too timid for most of that sh*t. I just wanted to keep my head dry, run class III and IV and maybe do some stern squirts and rock splats. Run Ohiopyle Falls when the Park Rangers weren't lookin, ect.


Edited by jP - 03 Nov 2009 at 10:09am
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  Quote septimus prime Replybullet Posted: 03 Nov 2009 at 10:27am
JP, boredom is a burden no one should bear. lol.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 03 Nov 2009 at 10:31am
Keep in mind that those guys who ran stuff like you showed in that video did routinely break their boats. Therefore they knew how to repair them. But back then the paddling community was supported and bolstered by the experts who built and repaired not just their boats and paddles, but sprayskirts, helmets and life jackets as well. There was a robust cottage industry and it was truly a counter culture.

You think today's paddling culture is counter culture? fu*k That! We're all a bunch of consumers and sheep compared to those guys (I'll site the people I know who I personally saw advance the sport lightyears forward throughout the 80's:)

The Snyder Brothers, Jesse, John Sweet, The entire U.S. slalom Team (not just Lugbill and Hearn), Kieth Backlund, Tom Love, Phil Coleman, Dave Demeree, Dan Isbister, Charley Walbridge, Ed Gurtler, Can't forget Boo Boo- hell she lives right here today! There's one woman who has a long history of SHREDDIING the river UP! Kara Ruppel (Immersion Reseach), Kara O'Brian, Rodger Zbel, John Reagan. Lance Martin and his son Eric. Stevie Martin (no relation to Lance and Eric), Needle Daniels, Nolan Whitesell (I didn't really know him)...
I could go on... These are just the people around me when I was a kid who influenced me. But ask anyone who knows their history, and any one of those names helped to shape and define the sport as we know it in ways big or small.

That's just the eastcoast. And due to it's metropolitan density, the presence of the U.S. team (washington D.C.), and lots of awesome whitewater, it was the mecca in the 80's.
But while that fertile genetic soup of whitewater culture and evolution was occuring, out west you had other, quieter, more isolated pockets of developement....

Rob Lesser had been studying under the tutilage of Walt Blackadar, Doug Ammons, ect. I don't kknow as much about the West. Lars Holbeck in Cali... I didn't get out west until the early 90's. But the geology is fresher, harsher, and sharper out here, which slowed down progress and discouraged fiberglass.

Anyway-- things have advanced, but much has been lost.


Edited by jP - 03 Nov 2009 at 10:32am
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  Quote Old Fart Replybullet Posted: 03 Nov 2009 at 2:11pm
Damn JP  Makin yourself sound pretty old
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 03 Nov 2009 at 7:04pm
although JP does like to rant he has some interesting things to say.....

John Reagan is a legend and I look forward to the next time I can paddle with him! If I ever get to boat with a snyder I might just melt to the bottom of the river. Not because they are celebrities worthy of glamor but because they are masters that might unlock the mystery in the moves!!!
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  Quote JayB Replybullet Posted: 03 Nov 2009 at 7:36pm
I didn't realize that Chinouard was a paddler. Interesting.

Turns out that Royal Robbins also took up paddling after arthritis pushed him away from climbing, and apparently he charged pretty hard in his boat as well.

"Among his first descents multiple rivers in Chile, the San Joaquin Gorge and Upper Kern in the Sierra Nevada, and the Tuolumne Grand Canyon in Yosemite."

Seems like there's a pretty extensive overlap between climbers and paddlers (although it seems like there are way more paddlers climb or climbed once than climbers who paddle or have paddled) - makes me wonder who else is on the list.  Will Gadd is one that I can think of off of the top of my head, but I'm sure there are others.
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  Quote huckin harms Replybullet Posted: 04 Nov 2009 at 12:57pm

This video footage shows just HOW MUCH you can get away without a boof stroke.

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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 05 Nov 2009 at 9:57am
Originally posted by Old Fart

Damn JP  Makin yourself sound pretty old
Scott G


Yeah, well there's biological years and river years. I'm approaching 30 years on the river. That takes me back to 1980. I hope it doesn't insult the legitimate "Old Farts" out there, lol!
And you know what Scott? some of these guys make me feel old, one way or another.

When I get back down south, It would be cool to boat with you again.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 05 Nov 2009 at 10:07am
Originally posted by slickhorn

It's pretty amazing what people did and the gear they did it with. Drysuits? game changer. Self bailing floors, planing hulls, low profile pfds, I mean it's just no contrast.


ok-- DEFINITELTY agreed. But I think the focus is misplaced. Here's what I mean: The gear has changed, but the river hasn't!  The river is the same river. It's the rating system that needs to adapt to accomodate the advances of skill and gear. This is why I agree with Doug Ammons: Downgrading rapids and runs is the wrong way to go about it!

Originally posted by slickhorn


I think my favorite of the stories I've come across, though, is Blackadar fiberglassing a .45 into the cockpit of his boat for bear protection on his first d of turnback canyon. The water is huge, he's not certain it goes, and then he runs out of whiskey mid trip ... no choice but to clean the lines and get the f*ck outta there.


Blackadar was such a BADASS!! (even if his technique was crude-it proves that the whitewater world takes all kinds)


Originally posted by slickhorn


Also high on my "amazing" list is the first D of the Clark's Fork Box, which was a team including Yvonne Chinouard. Took me years to find his report of it, and he writes about it the way we write about a Truss lap. Heck, boating was never even his main sport! Truly humbling.


Keep in mind that those guys "cheated"-- they climbed around most of the gnar. Of couse I'm not serious about the "cheating" allogation, so don't cruxify me. They explored it and made the first D, and that's that. Still my favorite run I've ever done, BTW.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 05 Nov 2009 at 10:11am
Great discussion, guys. There could be all sorts of  discussions like this here all the time.
My way of trying to spark them up is to stir the pot, and sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. I don't mean anything personal when I sling doo doo.

What sucks the most is when I log on here and there is nothing valuable going on in the forums at all. History is a good topic to take a look at.

I mean, I don't know jack about California's early rafting history, or Lars Holbeck, ect.
There's a lot I could stand to learn form people if they would bring it up.
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  Quote dblanchard Replybullet Posted: 05 Nov 2009 at 10:17am
So jP,

Are you going to tell us where to find the description of the first Clark's Fork Box descent?

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  Quote dblanchard Replybullet Posted: 05 Nov 2009 at 10:18am
Sorry, I meant Slickhorn.
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  Quote JayB Replybullet Posted: 05 Nov 2009 at 11:44am
For those who haven't read it before, here's the story of Blackaddar's descent of Turnback Canyon on the Alsek, as told through his journal entries:

http://www.wetdawg.com/pages/whitewater/blackadar_alsek/index_ww.php
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 05 Nov 2009 at 1:05pm
I own a copy of Never Turn Back (Blackadars' biography)- it's a good read.
I also have a hardcopy of AW that features the Clarks Fork of the Yellowstone (namely "The Box"). It was published back in the 90's. The write up interweaves two different trips including one of the trips I was on with Bob Gedekoh and Mark White (who wrote the article). That was a good time.
 
The article is called: "Wilderness Whitewater- Wild West Style
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 05 Nov 2009 at 1:11pm
If it is only in print you could scan it and upload it but it would be nice to include a link to the author for credit and maybe a link to buy the physical text if available.

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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 05 Nov 2009 at 1:24pm
Originally posted by slickhorn


I'm curious what ammons has to say about the right way to approach it.  Does he advocate an open scale like the addison scale? 

 
Man, I can find many of his other articles online, but no the one that talks about the rating scale. Rainpaddle did recently set me straight on the title though-- it's called something like "The Art And Artifice of Rating Whitewater.
 
Doug Ammons is a very accomplished whitewater kayaker, and his essays deserve to be read by any avid boater, whether you agree with his opinions and ideas or not. I agree with his take on the rating system: Numbers should be added as more difficult stuff gets run. Class V can't be an infinite container to keep stuffing full of harder and harder rapids and runs. No system will be perfect, But it's not even remotely helpful when people sandbag stuff to the degree they do.
 
Like I said. The river isn't drasticly changing, so why should the rating? If the gear and skills advance, allowing people to run harder sh*t, then they should be just comfortable saying "Me and only 5 other people in the world just ran that class VI drop".
 
Down on the White Salmon this year I was talking to some seasoned, EXCELLENT guides, who, despite their years and years rafting (and kayaking), didn't even seem to know there was a VI on the scale. Anyway, this is getting off topic.
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 05 Nov 2009 at 1:47pm
It's certainly beautiful. Can't say I ran it in a glass boat though!
I got my first plastic boat (corsica S) in '93 and It sure opened up doors in a comforting way.


Edited by jP - 05 Nov 2009 at 1:47pm
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  Quote JayB Replybullet Posted: 05 Nov 2009 at 10:29pm
Speaking of old-schoolers and pioneers, here's an article about Wolf Bauer:

http://www.mountaineers.org/NWMJ/05/051_Bauer1.html

First D of Boulder Drop (AFAIK), in a wood-and-canvas kayak, and quite a bit more...


-Jay
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  Quote jP Replybullet Posted: 06 Nov 2009 at 11:30am
I wouldn't want to trouble you with it, really. But some other time if it was convienient it would be cool to take a gander at it.
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  Quote James Replybullet Posted: 06 Nov 2009 at 11:41am
Not wanting to be the only turkey, I won't trouble you either... of course if you were to post it I would not duck the opportunity to gander at it either. 
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