Monday, April 11, 2016

Karangarua River - New Zealand

In 2015 Jordy Searle was awarded the North Face Expedition Adventure Grant - 2015, with the objective of paddling the Karangarua River, NZ. The expeditions goals were:

(i) to paddle the Karangarua from it's source, adding 12km to the lower Karangarua and being the first people to paddle the entire river. 

(ii) To highlight the importance and value of rivers on the West Coast, by illustrating the beauty, recreational value and fruitfulness of the Karangarua Wilderness Area.

(iii) To provide sufficient social media, through our blog, Facebook page, NZ Adventure Article and potentially a news article, to contribute to point (ii) and ultimately to inspire other young New Zealanders. In essence, to illustrate that people can achieve their goals if they’re willing to sacrifice and work hard towards them. 

In late November Jordy, Ari Walker and David Bain scouted the entire river, leaving with the impression that is was a possible and worthy adventure. 

 David scouting the section just below Christmas Hut

We used a drone to help with scouting, incredible scenery

 Jordy and Ari scouting the 'Serpent Gorge'

Trying to see as much as possible...

Less than two weeks later the team, this time with Barny Young, returned to the Karangarua and paddled it from it's source at Christmas Hut down to the confluence with the Copland River.

 James leaving us at Christmas Hut, the trip was all go.

 The team committing to the Upper Gorge
 David putting a lot of faith in 3 sapplings.

 Not the usual scene for a couple of kayakers

 About 1/4 of the way through the first cascade portage

 Working and being rewarded at the same time

 The drop below the First Cascade portage

Barny cashing in too

Barny and Ari stoked to link some moves

 Ari is a big guy, but is dwarfed by the Karangarua

Barny accepting his reward

 The 'Reward Falls', after the second cascade portage

 Paddling the section below Cassel Flat with the added water from
the Douglas River.

This definitely wasn't a classic but was a worthwhile adventure and would be worth doing again, for a crew with the right skill-set and mindset. Get after it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gradient & Water Calendar 2016

We're back again and stoked to be sharing the past years experiences through another picture calendar! And it has been an EPIC year all around, starting with an expedition to Brazil, spring in the Pacific North-West, Summer in Norway and other bits and pieces thrown into the mix. Contributing photographers are Ari Walker, Barny Young, Blair Trotman, Jordy Searle and Shea Kitchin. We're lucky to have the support of Liquid Logic Kayaks, Kokatat, Werner Paddles, Snapdragon, Earth Sea Sky, Watershed and the NZ based Performance Paddling, thanks team! We appreciate the support over the last 6 years while producing this calendar and thank you again for you support in 2016! 



NZ Sales Only

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Norway 2015 - High Water and Big Lines.

Norway has always been that destination for me, the one I have always wanted and the one I was always nervous of. Its reputation of pushy, stout, 'high-volume' creeks was always alluring, and 2015 would be all that and more. With a near record snow pack in Western Norway, everything was going to be high... but we didn't realise exactly the extent of what we are about to drop in to. Ari Walker and Sam Grafton were also keen to escape the drought of the Western USA, so we booked tickets and gave ourselves 26 days in country. This would turn out to be more than long enough. 

Ari Walker - Myrkdalselva

Sam Grafton - Lake to Lake

 Ari Walker - Eskingdalen

 Dag Sandvik - Branseth

Jordy Searle - Money Drop

Jordy Searle - Tyselva

Adrian Kiernan - Tiegdal

Ari Walker - Teigdal "Double-Drop"

Jordy Searle - First D of Upper Hildalselvi

Jordy Searle - Bottom Tora Slide

 Ari Walker - Matze's

 Anton Immler - Gaula #3

And these are just some of the highlights. High water made things scary and somethings impossible. We didn't even manage to get on the Rauma or Raundelselva, but there is always next time, right?

Monday, June 1, 2015

Seattle Area

If you’re in the Seattle Area and want to charge, you will quickly meet Sam Grafton. I met Sam last year up at the Stikine but unfortunately it didn’t line up to paddle together. But once he knew I was planning on spending the last part of winter and spring in the Seattle area he/we began hatching plans. Initially my back injury was holding me back but it wasn't long before Sam and I were charging hard. The water didn’t really give us everything we wanted, but we definitely got some juicy flows on most the classics in the area, and there are plenty of those! Robe Canyon, Deer Creek, Ernies Canyon, Icicle Creek, Tumwater Canyon, Top Tye and more. All within 2 hours of Seattle. Here is what we got up to...

Icicle Creek

Dawn Patrol on Robe Canyon

Sam Chesley and myself during the team Robe Race

Sam at home in high-water Robe, 'Hole in the Wall'

More Robe

Over 7ft, and I am out taking photos. 'Face-Plant'.

Tumwater's first challenge, 'The Wall'

The Brits, scared, coming through low water Chaos

Sam Chesley with a good flow on Chaos

 Todd Wells following Aniols lead down Exit.

Sam trespassing on Sean Lee's territory, Ernies Canyon.

 Nate showing everyone. 'Jacuzzi', Ernies Canyon.

 Sam Ellis smiling, you cant see it but you know he is!

This would be the extent of my paddling in the Northwest, just going between these runs as they came in and out. There were a couple of LW weekends are lower flows but it seems people don't really take photos down there nowadays. As flows began to drop, Ari arrived back to the US and the NF Payette came in, it seemed the stars were aligning to head to Idaho. But one quick trip to the Northern Cascades would keep us in Washington for another few days. Will post about that soon.