Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Bad Break and a Broken Heart

Bryan, Laura and I headed to Wausau today. The day couldn't be more beautiful! Laura just keeps getting better and better! So fun to see! Bryan hit his biggest loop yet! I was having alot of fun styling my new helmet and throwing some fun moves. At least until the heart break. I flipped in the rodeo hole and got swept right into the rocks. I tried rolling but the water just pushed me down and onto more rocks. I set up again for another roll while bouncing off the rocks and really got slammed. It knocked the paddle out of one of my hands and I just didn't have the air to regain my paddle again so I pulled out. I pushed my boat into the eddy on the bridge hole. Bryan and Drew immediately had chased me down but I had my yard sale all wrapped up. I got out with Bryan to walk back up to the rodeo hole and I noticed my paddle blade had broke! Split right thru the heart! I couldn't believe my Shogun had broken! Anyway Aaron of Team Papst came thru and had a Seven2 zero offset he lent me. I had been wanting to try a zero offset for playboating and it actually worked out pretty well. The rest of the day I played easy and just had fun. Now the dilemma is do I look at getting a zero offset or stick with my usual...hmmm. Great day on the river and so great to see everyone in Wausau!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

RNC Alternative Action

With the RNC coming to town I have been looking for a protest that most matches my view points and stays within the peaceful parameters that I endorse. Honestly I don't think alot of the protests will be pretty as the last 7 yrs has been a very unbelievable bleak spot in the history of the USA. Emotions are very high right now. America needs a change and it needs to be in a peaceful, intelligent direction. September 2nd is the Ripple Effect Day Festival. "Propelling a new wave of progressive action outside the RNC" Speakers will be Will Steger, Winona LaDuke and Medea Benjamin. There will also be bands playing all day. It will be held on the State Capital Lawn from 12:30 to 7pm. You can check out their web site at

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Vermillion at 20cfs

This is a shot of the falls. As you can see the only flow is from a two foot square chute in the dam above. That's REALLY low! So low the rock you hit if you flip playing the wave below is exposed.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Freestyle Clinic

I'd like to say that Karate is the most disciplined sport but that's just not true. The level of discipline in any sport is largely determined by the instructor. Having trained in Karate and a couple of different styles I can testify that there was a huge difference in the level of teaching. On the other hand students are attracted to the level of discipline that they are comfortable committing to. My last Karate teacher was very demanding and disciplined. We did it right and to the best of our abilities. We WANTED and CRAVED to do it right. When this kind of quality is established between teacher and student and student becomes teacher it creates a bloodline of purity. Tradition and basics preserved. I had Colin Kemp for my instructor. He's paddled for 23 years. These are my impressions of him. I could tell he has had very good formal training by quality disciplined teachers in his background. He was able to break things down to very technical basics and explain it in a very clear way. He also had the knack of spotting those bad habits that you know you do but think no one else can see. Colin's whole personality is a natural teacher. When it came to coaching for the competition he really came into his groove. I watched him with the advanced group Friday afternoon. What I saw was the very best paddlers in the Midwest being given basic discipline and loving it. Colin is a top coach capable of coaching the best our sport has. Most importantly he had fun teaching us and we had fun learning. It was a great experience and I learned alot about competing and what it takes to excel. I didn't have John McConville for a teacher except for a few minutes while Colin brought the late comers up to speed. In the brief time I was with him he gave me some great advice on my double pump technique. He also has the knack to see what you're doing and the technical knowledge to correct you. Only having paddled for two years he is a phenomenal paddler. At 21 years old he has a beautiful future in paddling and teaching ahead of him!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Two photos of me that Pike took. Thanks!!

Just a couple of photos of me from this weekend. . Graeme's brother in law, Andrew took these! Thanks!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Wausau Freestyle Championships 08

Wow!!! What an event!!! Bryan, Laura and I headed to Wausau for the clinic and the Freestyle Championships. This was the third year I've come to the Wausau Championships and it's exciting to see the progression that our Midwest paddlers have made going from great to fantastic. This year everyone was going big! Saturday was the preliminaries. I started the day for our group with the Women's division. This year we had nine women entered which is huge. I was thrilled to find I had made the finals. Checking the scores there was less than 8 points that divided us so the finals were anyones game. I had 17.6. Graeme and Bryan were up next in the expert class. They threw down hard and looked super, but with a very large class they scored out of the top five. John McConville scored an insane 353.2 points!! Since I wanted more time competing I asked to enter the Men's Masters and it was converted to just the Masters division for us over 40 people. I scored fourth with a score of 26. I was having fun with it! I really didn't cover much with my camera as I was competing and watching. I'll have to depend on the kindness of others for the full coverage. Sunday started with Team Rodeo which is the funnest event of them all. Bryan, Graeme and I teamed up. While waiting in the eddy I thought this is just like the Verm and we're tag teaming Donut. We started off jumping in and trying to execute points before being flushed. Bryan had a bit of bad luck getting flipped and pounded on the rocks and flushed past the point of no return. Graeme and I tried our hardest with Graeme throwing a loop and I was getting some respectable cartwheels and spins in. Paddling back up to the eddy the clock was winding down to the last couple of seconds....I knew I would have the final turn. Everyone was screaming LOOP! PLAN B!! I entered the hole missed the set up but got a left hand spin that set me up for the loop and I went for it. Ohhh...just not quite there...yet :) We ended up with I believe 86 points which was great for ninth place. After a few teams had made their runs, Colin, John, and Dave formed up Team Swimmers! After each Team finished their two minutes of comp they would launch themselves off the rocks into the hole and try to body surf it! Anna, Britta and Hailey joined them and then Dan the Rescue Swimmer got in on it and showed us how to do a loop with a boogie board. Hilarious fun!! Next up was the Boater Cross Race. This year they ran it from the top of Big Drop just to the top of the third from the last hole. They also ran in heats of 5. Both were excellent ideas. I didn't join but watched for a bit until it was time to go warm up for the finals. The Women's finals first run was more of just dividing out who was the least tired of us. With the exception of Rachel, we all were surviviors of the Freestyle clinic so we had had three great days of paddling/partying behind us. Lara, Rachel, and Melissa made it to the final three. They really showed their stuff in the last heat! Rachel taking the gold, Melissa the silver and Lara the bronze. Hailey and I tied for fourth place. There were many Canoe U 08 graduates paddling in the comp and also just recreational paddling. I must say I am soooo impressed with this group. Talent and enthusiasm and just great people to hang with! Next year they are going to be serious competitors for sure!! Team Papst. I love these guys! Mike and Melissa were hitting mad crazy airtime!! Fun to watch! Very inspiring! Jim looked fantastic taking second to John McConville! Matt was flashing his white Specialist getting airtime loops. Paul...WOW! Way to finish! Tom...WOW! Aaron!!!! WOW!!! Looking Great!! And Dave Lemke...what can you say.
Always consistant beautiful air, great announcer and fun to watch. Pugs did great fulfilling his goal for competing. Where was Rich? The Schroeter Family! What great people and every one an inspiration and joy to watch paddle! Missed Elsa this year! Craig E looked great through out the comp taking first in the Masters. Tommy was looking soooo great also. He's worked hard this year and it really shows! Scotty did great in his division just out of the final 5. Eric...incredible! Some of the Master paddlers were just wild fun to watch...Doug and Steve! WOW! The list goes on and everyone just keeps getting better. The classiest move of the weekend was done by Hailey who is an incredible C1 boater. She pulled the flowers she had in the side of her helmet and held them between her teeth and did a loop without loosing them! Super Sweet!! I also can't say enough about how great Julie and Cole and everyone else who volunteers are to put this on each year. Chad K works so hard and does a great job as judge each year. The Rescue Swimmers rule! All these people work SO very hard through out the weekend to provide us with a fun time! But by far the best thing of the weekend came at the last half hour. Bryan Z after having a bit of bad luck in the comp won the top prize of a Jackson kayak of his choice!! Whoo Hoooo!! I'll post soon about the clinics.
Whoops...I got the order of women finals wrong. I edited it...I apologise for that.

The video is the last move in the last couple of seconds of my finals run. Everyone was yelling LOOOOOOOP!

Friday, August 08, 2008

Gunflint 08

I spent the last 5 days on the Gunflint with the Marroquin family. It was another beautiful trip up to the NorWester Lodge. Fishing, swimming, blueberry pickin', and eating fantastic food every day. Fish and pancakes with the berries we picked that day! The fishing was great with alot of bass, walleye and northerns. The blueberries this year were very plentiful. We played Euchre every night. A few more years and I may just be OK at that game. I really love going up there each year. Great friends and a great time. One thing I discovered is an iced Breve with a shot of toasted walnut is my new fancy coffee drink. Also if you chop up a nectarine and sweet red cherries, mix with wild blueberries and a little lemon juice it makes a delicious fruit salsa for walleye grilled in butter and fresh thyme...oh yeah...we ate REALLY good!
AJ and Olivia...future kayakers!
Boo chilling.
Our morning visitor.

Wausau Links

Since I was sliding on the photos last weekend here's some links to Bryan Z's and Bryan K's photos from the day. Thanks for taking the great photos!!
Bryan' K's photos
Bryan Z's Blog

Saturday, August 02, 2008

What a Day!

Wow! Wausau! The new course improvements were fantastic! Great job John and Mike! I think just about everyone came today...just about. The Canoe U grads were there in force and it was great to see them playing the holes and combat rolling. The women were well represented today. Laura and Sara both had great days! The men were really showing their stuff also...competition is going to be tough! Personally I was throwing a few cartwheels and darn near a loop...very close. I played the entire day almost non stop. On my last run down, in the last hole all I had left was jumping in the hole and catching an edge. I knew it was time to get out. If you noticed there are no photos from today..I didn't even stop to click. Great day all around! See ya at the Midwest Championships!