NYT on Dam Removal & New Whitewater

A lot of folks have brought an article from the NY Times Travel section to our attention this week. The article discusses the national trend of dam removal and waterway restoration – an exciting time for environmentalists and whitewater paddlers. With the removal of Condit dam on the horizon, those of us who paddle the White Salmon river are soon to be among the lucky beneficiaries of this trend.


“There’s also the excitement of the unknown,” said Tao Berman, a professional kayaker who lives in White Salmon, Wash., not far from the White Salmon River, which is known for its whitewater runs by kayakers the world over.

Mr. Berman has good reason to be excited these days. The Condit Dam, a 125-foot-high hydroelectric dam that has plugged the White Salmon River for 96 years, is expected to come out as early as next year. When that happens, a mile-long section behind the dam, which had been submerged under the artificial lake, will once again flow freely. There could be a series of gentle rapids or something more exciting, like a boat-flipping cataract.

“I just can’t wait to see it,” Mr. Berman, 30, said. “Is it going to unearth a great play spot, or is there going to be one really steep, difficult rapid? I have no idea.”

That said, I’d like to remember all of the work that has gone into the Condit removal (and, I’m sure, the other dams mentioned in the article). The effort of local paddlers, conservationists and American Whitewater to see through the removal of the dam has been an amazing, long term commitment. We were talking around the shop and are guessing that this has been in the works for approximately 12 years. I’m sure AW could give us a more solid number, but regardless – it’s been a long time.

So, here’s to the dedication of those of you who were involved in the discussions, the studies, and the meetings that has made the removal of Condit dam – and the subsequent opening of some new whitewater for us and the fish to enjoy – possible. Many thanks from us and future generations!

Kayak Shed . http://www.kayakshed.com/blog/ . http://www.kayakshed.com

Outdoor Retailer : Day 2 : Immersion Research

A few additions and updates to Immersion’s Research line of paddling gear. As always, in addition to doing a great job across their line, the IR team is spearheading technical women’s paddling gear that the usual “shrink it and pink it” methodology can’t touch.

Starting with their dry gear, IR is moving all of their 4 layer garments to a new, heavier duty 4 layer fabric. Many of their existing pieces are already in the new material, but they’ll continue to roll out those that aren’t.

The 2010 drysuit gets a new zipper this year that is drier and feet that are treated with an extra layer of polyurethane to improve durability.

If you require the driest of the dry, IR makes a stitchless drytop, the X Jacket, that is the dry top for you. Made of entirely glued construction, there isn’t a place in this top for the tape to peel up and leak. White Salmon paddlers, you asked for – they made it!

We’ve been looking for some good splash pants and IR’s version with neoprene gaskets, reinforced abrasion locations, and a well placed hidden pocket is a strong contender.

Ladies – this year’s Comp LX in Butter looks great! Made with 4 layer Entrant, it’s the closest thing to X-Jacket-dry this side of the X jacket and will have the great women’s specific fit that has become the hallmark of IR’s ladies line up.

Also with the ladies in mind: the union with the drop seat. Between these and products like Go Girl and Whiz Freedom, the women are getting some options!

Skirts are the only thing to receive a complete overhaul this year. With Jackson taking the boat market by storm, IR redesigned their skirts with every JK boat from the All Star to the Hero in mind. That said, don’t worry all of you Liquid Logic, Pyranha & Confluence fans – they made sure they fit your boats too! Two of the skirts we really liked are the Lucky Charm, a great rand skirt, and the Shockwave, a bungee skirt. Brand new to the line up, the Lucky Charm will be great fit for the intermediate/advanced boater while the Shockwave, with it’s user friendly bungee and user friendly price ($100), will take care of the someone just getting into the sport.

In addition to their dry gear, layers & skirts, IR always does a great job with paddle wear. If you’re familiar with it, the Guide Short gets its grommet back this year and everything from the surf trunks to the business casual shirts (paddler style, of course) looked really good.

On a side note, John Weld – who along with his wife, Kara, owns/operates IR – called us ninnies and said he thinks the cold water of the PNW is over-rated. He promises to leave his balmy East Coast bath water and come out with a Silk Skin, a Shorty, a Speedo and some sun screen and show us how it’s done. If we can hold him to it, I promise some entertaining pictures for the blog.

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KayakShed.com Sponsors White Salmon Riverfest with a Jackson Kayak Give Away!

We are pleased (and stoked!) to announce that we’ll be helping to sponsor the 2009 White Salmon Riverfest and Symposium March 30th. The region’s premier river education + celebration event, it promises to have something for everyone and will be a really ridiculously good time with great classes, fun events in the afternoon & a wrap up BBQ! More info at: http://www.wsriverfestandsymposium.blogspot.com/

Oh yeah – and did we mention that we’re working with Jackson Kayak to give away a Jackson Kayak of the winner’s choice? More details to come, but here’s a hint: start workin’ on your mad Ro-Sham-Bo skillz!

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Wednesday Night Happy Hour

We went out paddling with the Wednesday Night Happy Hour crew last week, had a GREAT time (thanks again for the hospitality, Scott!) and thought that with the sun coming out more and more these days, this might be a good time to send out a reminder in case some of you don’t know about it.

What: Kayak Shed Wednesday Night Happy Hour
Who: All skill levels welcome – there’s typically a group on the Lower White Salmon (II) and the Middle White Salmon (III)
Where: Meet at the Husum bridge
When: 5:15pm-ish
Bonus round: Most of the group heads to Beneventi’s for pizza afterwards

We’re always stoked to help new paddlers into the sport… but if you feel like you need some extra one-on-one time before hoppin’ in with the group, give our friends over at Columbia Gorge Kayaker a holla’.

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Gorge games kayak results:

Gorge games kayak results:

Thanks to all of you that helped make this happen. It was the first year for the Gorge Games in quite a few years. Consequently, it’s great to have them back and obviously a successful rebirth of the games.

Kayaking events successfully went off with very, very few issues. They were well planned and executed safely and fairly. Thanks to those that helped make them happen.

First off we didn’t have a single injury. Safety being our main goal, we can say we easily met that goal.. Thanks for all the help from Absolute Safety via Jeff Prichard, Safety boaters, Klickatat County Search and Rescue, On Shore Safety Volenteers, Cave Safety Crew: Dave Grove, Dr Durkin, Val Shal, Brandon Backman, along with many others.

Second we had fun. The games are a good time and they’re designed for each event to carry the spirit of each specific sports genre. I’d say we also easily accomplished that.

Third we competed. We held a very fair and open event for all paddlers to test themselves against some of the worlds best. We did have to narrow down the field of competitors in the extreme race to only 15 men for safety reasons – sorry to anyone who did not qualify that wanted to. Timing accuracy was questioned by an athlete or two. However the timing was spot on accurate. Period. Thanks to the help from all the timers. We did have an issue with the ‘laser finish line’ at Top Drop Pool. Turned out we had tested it several times prior. However the tests were done after work in the evening – not mid day in high sun conditions. So day of the time trials we had an hour delay due to testing of timing equipment. That was our only hiccup of all events. A one hour delay. There was some questioning about Head to Head heat finishes. Any issues we discussed as organizers then discussed with the athletes and making decisions involving all parties to mitigate any bias view points.

Event results:
Time Trials:

Heather Herbeck bib 101 first run 46.19 second run 42.39
Austin Rathman 103 bib first run 40.24 second run 38.86
Tony Skrivanek bib 102 first run 44.23 second run 39.30
Andy Maser bib 106 first run 38.71 second run 38.27
Lane Jackobs bib first run 37.59 second run 37.58
Moninca Gokey Saturday racing only
Tao Berman bib first run 37.19 second run 36.80
Toby Robertson bib first run 39.83 second run 39.17
Samuel Sutton bib first run 35.69second run 38.40
Bradley Lauder bib first run 38.56second run 37.75
Honza Lasko bib first run 38.29second run 37.80
Evan Garcia bib first run 38.08second run 39.08
Benjamin Hawthorne bib first run 41.08second run 40.03
Rob Virostek bib first run 54.41second run no2nd run
Ross Henry bib first run 39.27second run 37.97
Todd Anderson bib first run 37.13second run no 2 run
Jon Jansky bib first run 47.70second run 42.30
Lana Young bib first run 49.19second run 50.01
Tristen McClaren bib first run 37.48second run 39.41
Ian McClaren bib first run 38.01second run 40.19
Jamie Wright first run 41.61 second run no 2 run
Greg Hoskins first run 45.60 second run 39.00
Stan Prishard first run 41.43 second run 43.17
Brendan Wells first run 43.35 second run 40.66
Todd Wells first run 46.05 second run 46.24
Cooper first run 50.09 second run no 2 run

Mens Extreme Race:
1 Tao Berman 127.47
2 Samual Sutton 131.13
3 Honza Lasko 132.69
Ross Henry 134.28
Andy Maser 137.34
Evan Garcia 138.24
Todd Anderson 138.78
Lane Jackobs 143.90
Toby Robertson 147.58
Tony Skrivanek 149.87
Ian McClaren 150.76
Tristen McClaren 163.62
Austin Rathman 163.69
Bradley Lauder 164.67
Greg Hoskins DNF

Womens Extreme
1 Heather Herbeck 179.18
2 Lana Young 218.00

Boater Cross Head To Head:
1 Samual Sutton
2 Tao Berman
3 Bradley Lauder
4 Ross Henry

1 Kate Howell
2 Heather Herbeck
3 Monica Gokey

1 Devin Morton
2 Brendan Wells
3 Rob Verostek

Kayak Shed . http://www.kayakshed.com/blog/ . http://www.kayakshed.com

Gorge games kayaking information

Mother Nature has cooperated and the White Salmon River is at a great level for racing on the Green Truss section! There has been a lot of discussion as to where the extreme race will be and yes it is going to be from above Bobs Falls to below Double Drop this Saturday (Men’s and Women’s Categories). For Saturday’s race we will be holding a qualifier Friday below BZ Falls on the Maytag section of the White Salmon (put in for the Middle -Men’s, Women’s, and Junior, Categories). Sorry if this is inconvenient for you it’s what we could get from the Forrest service and what works for the raft companies. On Saturday after the extreme race there will be a head to head Boater Cross Race on the same stretch as the trials race (Men’s, Women’s, and Junior, Categories). We will have a $1000 cash purse for prize money split between the Down River Extreme Race and the Boater Cross.

We will have same day registration but we might run out of space so register on line at www.gorgegames.net. If you want to compete in the Truss Race (Down River Extreme Race) only register for the qualifier. No need to register for the Truss Race you will be registered when you qualify.

Time Trials Qualifier:
11:00am Mandatory Competitors Meeting
11-1 Friday
River location: Maytag Rapid
Men’s, Women’s, and Junior, Categories

Extreme Down River Race
9:00 am Mandatory Competitors Meeting
10-2 Saturday
River location: Bobs Falls to Double Drop
Men’s and Women’s Categories
Cash purse for top 3

Head to Head Boater Cross
2:00 pm Mandatory Competitors Meeting
3-5 Saturday
River location: Maytag Rapid
Men’s, Women’s, and Junior, Categories
Cash purse for top 3

We are looking for safety boaters! If interested please call 541-386-4286. It will be the only way to see the Down River Extreme Race.

Any questions please call
Kayak Shed 541-386-4286

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Adventure on the Columbia River

Crazy story I found in The Dalles Chronicle :
Kayaking pair survive, reach Pacific Ocean Harrowing ‘high seas’ adventure doesn’t stop duo
By ED COXof The Dalles Chronicle

Alex Inclan and Chris Bensch, the kayakers featured on the front page of the Jan. 23 edition of The Chronicle while on their winter float from Idaho to the Pacific, arrived safely in Astoria Sunday night. But not before Bensch survived an adventure. As reported on Jan. 25, the 30-year-old whitewater kayaker capsized and had to swim to shore after losing his boat and gear the previous Monday. Bensch, who contacted The Chronicle by phone from his home in Vancouver, Wash., recalled his ordeal in the 35-degree waters in bone-chilling detail. After portaging around the Bonneville dam, they’d been pushed nine miles in an hour — more than twice as fast as usual — by strong winds and a swifter current. Then, just opposite Dalton Point on the Oregon side, they encountered stormy conditions. What Bensch was later told may have been 60-mile-per-hour wind gusts created 4- to 7-foot swells that prompted the boaters to hug the Washington shore in case they needed to make landfall. But the wind pushed them sooner than expected toward some wooden pilings, and when they attempted to shoot what appeared to be ample gaps between them, those gaps were revealed as broken pilings that had been hidden beneath the waves. By a stroke of luck, Inclan got through with just a bottom-scrape, though he was pushed another mile and had to avoid a second set of pilings before he could land. Bensch’s boat, however was thrown full-force by a wave onto one of the shorter pilings, flipping him out before it disappeared downriver. Pulling himself out of the frigid water onto a piling, Bensch contemplated his situation. He was about an eighth of a mile from shore with no one to help. His wilderness training told him he would have to self-rescue. Picking his way across the ice and moss-covered pilings and swimming the gaps between them, he came to a point where there was nothing to do but swim for it. Finding the breast-stroke too exhausting, he rolled over on his back and frog-kicked as his legs tensed up in the cold. “I had to just keep moving,” he says. I knew if I got to the shore, I’d be fine.“ He did and dragged himself up onto the rocks. It was a couple of minutes before he could stand, he recalls. Then he climbed up a steep dirt slope to the railroad tracks where he found Inclan, who had run back upriver. They swapped clothes, getting a chilled Bensch out of his wet ones; then Inclan called 9-1-1. After, a brief, precautionary visit to the emergency room at Legacy Salmon Creek hospital in Vancouver, Bensch was picked up by his family. But the two experienced kayak instructors, both educated in outdoor recreation leadership and tourism at Mt. Hood Commuity College, were not about to give up. They spent all of Tuesday looking for the boat and gear, finding only a single, prepackaged cookie that had floated out of one of the dry bags. On Wednesday, they visited Alder Creek Canoe and Kayak with tales of their trip and trials. That led to a sponsorship in the form of a new loaner boat for Bensch. Inclan had already been sponsored by Seattle’s Cascade Canoe and Kayak, where he works. Looking to take up where they’d left off, the boaters found conditions at Dalton Point unchanged — and less appealing than ever. It was more of the same downriver at Rooster Rock. So, deciding they weren’t trying to prove anything, they cut some 11 miles off the nearly 505-mile trip, putting in at Lewis & Clark State Park on the Sandy River. No sooner had they re-entered the Columbia than they found Bensch’s original boat, now riddled with holes and bent in half, but with almost all the gear intact he’d spent two years gathering. A friend came to get that equipment, and from there it was much smoother paddling to the Pacific.

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Kayak Registration in Idaho?!

Petition Opposing Kayak Registration in Idaho

This is crazy! we need your support. I took this from Grant’s site
Check it out and help us stop this crazy bill!

Created by Grant Amaral Oct 26, 2007 Uncle Butch
Category: Taxation
Region: Idaho
Target: Idaho State Legislature
Contact Govenor Butch Otter
Description/History:Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter says boat owners who have to register their vessels are being unfairly singled out to bear the state’s boat-related costs, and he wants to discuss extending the burden to others, such as kayakers, canoeists, rafters and even windsurfers.

Otter’s form response letter to letters sent by concerned non-motorized boaters states “[i]t is my position that all users of waterways should pay their fair share of the costs of maintaining and improving that resource. I have concerns with the inequity of registration requirements between motorized and non-motorized watercraft…will be meeting with industry representatives to discuss possible changes to Idaho’s watercraft registration requirements.”

This should be a major cause of concern for kayakers, canoeists and rafters alike – we all know our usuage of state facilities to be NONE.

SUMMARY: This is an unfair tax, impossible to administer, targeting a group of users for something they don’t use and already pay for. Non-motorized boat users such as canoeists, kayakers and rafters already pay taxes on the facilities and public lands they use in the form of parking fees along the Payette River that go to the U.S. Forest Service, as well as a $5 per person fee for boaters who float world-famous rapids on the Salmon, Snake and Selway rivers.
The Petition:
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Last day to register and win a Stohlquist GPOD drysuit!

Last day to register and win… a Stohlquist GPOD drysuit!Fall is the time of year to start thinking about drysuits and this year Stohlquist is coming out with a brand new three layer breathable drysuit with Relief Zipper and socks. It’s called the Stohlquist GPOD . The Stohlquist GPOD isn’t even out in stores yet and when it does come out (a month from now) it’ll retail for $619. That’s a smokin’ deal considering the top of theline features – but an even better deal is the one the Kayak Shed is giving away! How do you go about winning this sick new drysuit? Easy! We’re bringing in a bunch of Patagonia jackets and Arc’teryx jackets this winter and want to form a “kayakshedblog “club” so we can give you guysspecial deals and discounts. All you have to do to be part of thisand enter for a chance to win the new Stohlquist GPOD is sign up for our newsletter at kayakshed.com . If you’re super cool and you’ve already signed up for our newsletter, we’ll need you to register again – because this is how we’ll know you’re our Blog reader: in the box on the registration page under “How can we improve our site”, tell us the name of wrestler that died in the movie “Old School” (hint it’s 2 words ‘aged’ and a color’ and also the oldest member of the frat). We’ll do a random drawing on Nov. 15th out of all the correctentries/registrations and custom order your new Stholquist GPOD for you (yoursize, men’s or women’s) so that it’s here in time for that firstwinter run down the Hood or White Salmon. And even if you don’t winthe GPOD, remember – you’re still a winner! We’ll be sending out Kayakshed BLOG special discounts on Patagonia jackets and Arc’teryx jackets once amonth or so (NO SPAM, WE PROMISE! and it’s easy to unsubscribe – if you want to), all winter long. Shoot me an email (john at kayakshed dot com) if you have anyquestions or need any hints on the llama’s name.Check out the drysuit at: Stholquist GPOD John

We have a winner Stholquist GPOD Drysuit

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