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! 


New Zealand 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.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Back in the USA - Recovery and Charging

Once I made my way back to the Seattle area I was forced to rest for another 3 straight weeks before my next examination. So I was restricted to walking and cooking, that was about it. But once I had my progress x-rays, to my surprise, I was given the all clear to paddle again with the caution of 'avoiding trauma.' My plans to recover on Lake Union quickly were wiped away and I set out to paddle the Skykomish. With the exception of lost flexibility, I was feeling pretty good after 45+ minutes of paddling. 

 Stoked to be back!

The next day I would paddle Tumwater with Ari, and again felt great. Which was incredible as my initial consultation said I would be out for 9 months or more. From then it didnt take long before I was convinced to head down to the quickly dropping LW to catch its last days. No laps of spirit but that doesn't matter, I was paddling the LW at 3.3 only 6 weeks after severely breaking my back.

It feels good to be back

The LW, Nick Murphy's playground.

Cuzza rounding off an afternoon lap

 Chris Topher really laying it out

After a solid working week in White Salmon, it was time to head back to Seattle for Ari to fly off to work in Mongolia and time for me to get my body back in proper working order while taking advantage of the short spring Washington was about to have.