Sunday, December 21, 2008

DP Dash Links & 2009 Date

Outdoor Adventure Center has announced that they'll be hosting the Dash again in 2009. The date is Saturday December 12, with the start at approximately 11am.

Meanwhile here are all the links I've gathered to photo images, videos and news coverage of the 2008 Dash. PLEASE, if you copy and use any of this material, ask permission of the originator, and give credit when you use their material. Thanks, and enjoy...

Mark Whitaker (Red Alder Ranch)
Blog -
Pics - Paddler Magazine's Christian Knight laments his 3-minute beatdown by Sherri Cassuto ...the uber-anticipated edited video of the race from Steve Weileman and Jason Goldstein of Essex Explorations. Dig it! Matt Kelly's writeup of the race Ruby Creek Boathouse blog is Michael Cline's video of the start Michael Lampi's action shots from the pedal boat. thanks Michael! Awesome article in the Skagit Herald by Vince Richardson Rodger Funk's blog Sean Watson's pictures Rick & Nancy Lamb's (& more from Sean Watson) 200+ images. Amazing standing-wave action in Canoe Pass. The Lambs' caveat... "We do ask that if you wish to re-use any of our images that you politely ask us first." Please respect their wishes as they are professional photographers and extremely generous to share these shots with us. Video (pt 1 of 2) filmed by Dubside and Andrew "Dash Point Pirate" Elizaga

Brian Boatman's stern deck video (OC2) -

Stina Larson's pics -

Michael Cline's images on Flickr -

Now THAT was cool... actually warm.

WAY off topic here, but I got invited to the Seahawks' final home game of the season today. My 3 bros-in-law and I got to see a snow game, and I got to check out the value of my Warmers surf hood in extreme land-based situations. Warmers and Stohlquist are sister brands, and the neoprene products from Warmers are about the best value on the market.
I've been upside down in 45-degree water with the Surf Hood on, and rolled up with no ice cream headache, but what about in a 25-degree football stadium in a blinding snowstorm? Even though our current weather made the gridiron look more like Lambeau than Qwest Field, I stayed toasty warm... was it the Warmers, or the closeness of family? OK, enough sappy stuff. It was definitely the Hood.
Something else cool... the Seahawks won, pushing their record to 4-11 on the year. Nice way to start Christmas week!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Dig my Costa del Mar Shades... and a trip to Boston Harbor

I just spent the last two days piloting the Ruby Creek rig around Western WA after a major snowfall. The weather was sunny and beautiful, and all the more so with my Costa del Mar Fathom shades. How do I dig these beautiful specs? About 350 sunny, normally snowblind miles worth of eyes that ended up fresh and ready for more. On my road trip I took no pictures... couldn't let go of the steering wheel since my knuckles were a little whitish on the icy roads... but I met some cool new people and got to wish a Merry Christmas to some old friends in this awesome business.

Tom and Lisa Derrer at Eddyline were digging out from the first couple dumps of snow, with another soon to follow, but they got me loaded up with four new Equinoxes (or is it Equinii?) for Don, Pam, Clayann and the crew at Boston Harbor Marina. Before heading South to drop off their boats, I continued North to Belingham and checked in with Chris Gerston at Backcountry Essentials. Chris has been in business almost three years and he's doing an amazing job serving the climbing, backpacking and ski communities in B'ham. Stop by and say hello at his place on Holly Street, just a few blocks before you get to my favorite Mexican eatery, Jalapeno's.

A "potential killer" storm was scheduled for 4pm today, so I headed South for Olympia in the morning, hoping to beat the next layer of snow on the roads and get Clayann's boats off my racks and into their shop. If you haven't visited Boston Harbor Marina, get out there! Even on a snowy December day, things were hopping by the water with happy folks warming up around a warm fire, downing a cup of chowder and sharing some cheer. I can't wait to run back down there again in the warmer months and actually see the islands that they told me are out there. Thanks for your hospitality, crew, and I'm sorry I bugged out so quick.

Merry Christmas everyone, and thanks for reading!

Friday, December 12, 2008

3rd Annual Deception Pass Dash, December 7th

Many thanks to Rick and Nancy (the Ramblin' Lambs), and to our buddy Sean Watson, for the pics you see here.

And huge props go out to Ruby Creek partners who sent out mucho schwag for the racers' raffle:

A week since the Dash... and it seems some of the racers are still basking in the afterglow. Ahhhh, the afterglow...

... Of 124 paddlers leaving Bowman Bay in a sweet, gentle west swell that was to build into something amazing... of a confused clapotis (don't make fun til you look it up) off Deception Island... of a long push through the Pass, jumping the eddyline at the head of the island, and another mile on to the far turn at Strawberry Island, thinking hey, the worst is over, I'm rumblin' with the current now......

...of a mile back in calm waters, looking ahead at standing waves as high as ooohhhhh ssss(*&!!! ...8 feet or more... of all hell breaking loose running through Canoe Pass...

...of John Sindelar riding the building ebb like a roller coaster through those standers...

OK, looking pretty good...

Whoa... half of me is gone...

Uhhh... I'm invisible!


OK, gimme more of that!

...of rescues by jet ski, power boat, safety kayakers and fellow racers, of chaos at Deception Island on the return trip around...

...and of 93 racers actually finishing the course but everyone coming back to the beach safe and sound, for a hearty BBQ from our friends at Outdoor Adventure Center. Oh yeah, the afterglow is fine!

Huge thanks to the Corson family and to Outdoor Adventure Center, and especially to the safety crew and all the volunteers who helped pull this one off. Next year, Saturday December 12, 2009, the 4th Annual Deception Pass Dash goes off at 11am. Come be a part of it!

Division winners who finished in the top-20 overall of the 3rd Annual DPDash, hosted by Outdoor Adventure Center:

  • Jean Rillard, Rennes France, 51:41, 1st overall, 1st in High-performance kayak-Men
  • Larry Goolsby/Shaun Sullivan, Bellingham WA, 55:12, 3rd, 1st in double HPK
  • Alan Goto, Seattle WA, 57:22, 5th, 1st in outrigger OC1-Men
  • Heather & Brandon Nelson, Bellingham WA, 57:43, 6th, 1st in double sea kayak
  • Brian Boatman & David Williams, Bellingham WA, 8th, 58:30, 1st in double outrigger
  • Chuck Curry, Seattle WA, 63:44, 11th, 1st in Fast Sea Kayak-Men
  • Sherri Cassuto, Seattle WA, 69:40, 18th, 1st in Sea Kayak-Women
  • Matthew Nelson, Orcas Island WA, 70:03, 20th, 1st in Sea Kayak-Men

Slough Slog Saturday

So my buddy Christian Knight at Paddler Magazine sends out the following note to his 200 closest paddling friends on a Monday...

MEET: 10 a.m., Saturday
Wilmot Gateway Park, Woodinville
Class I down- and upriver race
Stagger: Long boats: +6.3 minutes
Sea kayaks +9.5 minutes
Weather forecast: Partly sunny, 50 degrees No registration fee

...and he bills it as a practice race for the Deception Pass Dash. Hooo yeah right, more on that later. So since I'm managing entries in the Dash, this sounds like a great way to connect with some racers and why not race too while I'm there.

So who amongst Christian's homies do I see when I get there but Tao Berman, still hangin' in his jeans while the rest of us get all serious in dry suits, pfds, helmets (no rocks, but plenty of flying paddles to be found in this race), gloves, & what-not. After Christian explains the course to the crowd that includes whitewater legends Rob McKibbon and Jennie Golberg, side by side with Greenland kayaker & instructor Henry Romer, I say hey Tao, aren't you suiting up?

Naaa man, I'm just paddling in board shorts.... dude, you got a boat?

So Tao ends up in my sweet little Eddyline Fathom LV... a pair of board shorts. Remember that "partly sunny, 50 degrees" BS? More like drizzly and low 40s. As a Red Bull paddler, I believe Tao is permanently on overdrive. Hence no sense of cold.

We took off from the start, heading down river to the small rapid that would be our crux move attainment on the way back to the start. It was just fun and fast as we screamed along. The field strung out in the next mile as the good river-readers figured out the current patterns and eased past those of us who took the name "Slog" seriously and just muscled along. A week later, Christian would get a dose of this surreal feeling of watching a boat slide effortlessly past him on a different ribbon of current, but that's a story for the Dash.

Rounding a buoy and heading back upstream, shoulders burning, muscles screaming, looking for any advantage along eddylines and behind curves, the pileups started as a boat would overtake another, bump its stern, and broach it across the paths of 3-4 more racers. Eventually the former pack-leader is left pointing backwards downstream, jammed in the weeds along shore, wondering "what the hell just happened?"

On to the crux move. With a quarter mile to the finish, the current picks up where a small stream comes in from the left. Gravel from the stream makes that tempting slow water on the left reeeeeallly shallow, while that nice deep water on the right is too fast for most of us to make the attainment. And an error in ferry angle puts you in the tree branches overhanging on the right bank. No appealing options here, and we had a couple of swimmers as they got shot into the trees by the cross current at the creek mouth.

When the dust, spray and mud had cleared, a bunch of us had walked the crux (Henry "knuckled" it, a skill he said he's developed doing surf launches) but Tom Weir had won the overall crown -- with just one blade, even -- and I'm proud to report that Team Eddyline picked up the Sea Kayak division piloted by none other than Tao. I have no idea what that thing is that he won. And Rob picked up some props for fastest whitewater boat.

Christian plans another Slog soon. This could become a regular thing. Meanwhile someone needs to sneak down to the river and trim some trees. Hey Bernie, bring your clippers next time so we can all stay in our boats.