The Bus(s)y Season

Yeah, it is a little over done to some degree. Buseater. Bussy. Appearing in every YGP film and more or less every kayak movie ever.

Obviously I was there recently, with Cam, and it was pretty damn fun

But. this isn’t just another “Check me out, I am so sick, look at me on Buseater going big!” photo laden article. So bear with as I set some pretext.

I don’t entirely consider myself a hole boater, but I know what I’m better at. I enjoy a waves and holes equally. But I can throw combo’s in a hole, and not so much on a wave, being limited to right side KY’s and that’s about it. I am pretty consistent on small-medium waves, being able to blunt, backstab, flashback, and helix just about on demand both sides. I placed pretty well at World Cup last year at Rock Island which was more of a wave, in the small/medium size. So knowing all that here’s how Buseater went…

I was brutally horrible at it.

Until the end of the session. Then I got a handle on it. (I also blame poor confidence in my still recovering shoulder)

cam pan-am

Big wave surfing is a different ball game. You have to adjust your approach to it, and realize you’re going to be out of control half the time. Moves don’t happen exactly when you want them to, you just have to roll with it sometimes and take advantage of some surging opportunities. The last time I was at Bussy was a few years ago. I don’t count high tension or skook as the same caliber of big wave (they’re big-ish, but you’re in control). It took me a while before I got always being out of control half the time under control.

neal pan-am
The door swings both ways though. Big wave surfing is it’s own little niche of freestyle, different then normal waves in a way. Looking like a hero on big waves is easy, especially with photographs (as demonstrated by the photos in this blog). Throwing big and sticking it on a big wave is pretty tough. But being deadly consistent on a medium wave takes equal skill. So is linking a split-phonics. They all need different skill sets.

So, I have all the respect for the guys who are good a big waves. Unfortunately that  door doesn’t always go both ways. Stereotypically the big wave guys despise hole paddling and small features. Things are changing though.

That all being said, Bussy is still a ton of fun, and if you haven’t, get out there on it because it’s a ton of fun!

The C-Boating Experience

It came as a shock to myself last fall when I hopped in a C-1 during low water for a little change up and actually enjoyed it a little. I’ve actually done quite well with it so far

I first got in Strano’s LL Vision 56 at the Gull. In typical Boatwerks style, having never done it before, I put in below the falls on the Gull. I also didn’t know how to roll a C-boat either.

It went pretty well, contrary to all expectations.

So later that fall I decided to bring it to the Ottawa for some playboating (the Gull being too low). This also worked out pretty well, I learned to blunt and backstab on side my first day out.

C1 Blunt

I’ve got to stay after being in a C1 I can fully understand its appeal. While it is incredibly unstable and really hard to paddle down river or actually drop in a feature, once your surfing the amount of leverage you have to throw down moves is unreal. My clean blunts in a kayak are inconsistent at best though my flashbacks are dialed. However, as I recently learned, clean blunts in a C1 are wicked easy and flashbacks are about as easy as a flatspin.

I was at Hass over the long weekend and it wasn’t ideal, a little high. I managed to stick some spins, on-side blunts and backstabs, as well as rotate and stay upright (but not stick, it was a difficult little feature) clean left blunts. While these photos might not look stylish I’m pretty stoked on it!

C1 clean bluntC1 clean blunt2

I’m not a prodigy or super star in a kayak by any means. I have to work pretty hard to dial things in and learning new tricks and combos is slow. I still can’t Lunar Orbit (that trick is lame anyway) so because picking up C-1 came pretty easy it leads me to think just about anyone could do it well if they are a reasonable kayaker. It’s a great way to turn a mediocre spot (like Hass) into a lot of fun.

C-1 will never replace kayaking for me. I’m sure some tricks are attainable at the high end like off-side phonics monkeys but I doubt I’ll ever get there. Also most hard-core C-Boaters are a little weird.

I’ve reset my goals with C-1. I’d like to have all the basics on waves and holes dialed by the fall as well as working on advanced tricks. Maybe even take it competing sometime!

So if you see me in a C boat on the river, don’t judge, i’m not really one of them.

Status of the Gull

So I’ve been getting a lot of questions and there has been a lot of speculation on the state of the Gull River after the spring flood of epic proportions.

People have been preaching doom and gloom and how it will never be the same again etc. So I’m going to put out there what has actually happened.

Mike getting some amplitude

From a kayakers perspective, and the way the water moves, it’s the same. Visually speaking, it’s a little different.

The biggest thing being a concrete wall river left below the dam has blow out. But there is maybe 1% or less of the flow diverting down it during normal summer flow (now, at 8.2)

All the same eddies we like to catch are there. There is one missing on river right above whitehorse falls beside slot rock but it was pretty crap to begin with.

Earls has subtly changed. I doubt many people will notice unless you frequent the spot. I put in my first session there yesterday and threw some pretty good rides and stuck when I got it right, including some combo moves.

There are a few rock walls that have been displaced but it doesn’t effect the normal water flow.

The only real major thing missing is the lack of a predictable bottom wave. Not that it was any good to begin with in recent years but occasionally it was.

Entry McNasty. Stoked!

So there you have it, the Gull is more less the same river with all your favourite little eddies and a few minor changes. Tell your friends to come and playboat! We’ll be there.

Shoulder Recovery

So back during the ski season I separated my shoulder (type 1). In the park, which figures because I’m too old for that $4!t anyway. Trying to keep up with the athletes I coach. People kept telling me “at least it’s the end of the season” not realizing that it was prime playboating season in the Kootenays. The best playwave (Brilliant Wave) was in for a while.

Not only this, I missed creeking my favourite local creek, the Drag. It’s too low now. I also missed high levels of EPIC proportions on the Gull and other creeks. There was a state of emergency for the township due to flooding and it all looked pretty kick ass for kayaking.

But as they say, $4!t happens. Normally you try to learn something from being injured but all I really learned was it really is only a matter of time when you play the odds, and being injured sucks. I’ve been inured before and it was nothing new. You find a way to get over it and something to do in the mean time. At least I could keep skiing for the most part (not the first 2 weeks anyway).

But I did put in some solid paddling before hand on the Trail Wave (aka Rock Island. But not the one in TN).

The good news is the Boatwerks Boys are back in action, Terminator is coming in, and we’ll be back playboating and creeking this weekend. We’re going to be making a hali creeks compilation at some point when we get around to it!

Edit is below.

Stay safe out there!

February – Trail Wave from Team Boatwerks on Vimeo.

Catching Up

So it’s been a while since a blog update. No big deal. We’ve got content that needs posting.

Recently our Boatwerks website went through a transitional period. Our website was hacked, our emails deleted. And then our site got revamped as well. With a lot of issues, I might add.

Like not knowing how to use the blog software, and that it was actually attached onto the website coding among other things. It’s safe to say it took a while to figure out.

Some things we are working on:

– A place to reg as a new user!
– Avatars that actually show up on Boaterboard
– Moderators that know how to prune spam and inappropriate posts (still learning)

Please drop me a message if you’ve seen some issues come up on the site and we’ll get them fixed!

And for your reading and viewing pleasure, more blog updates.

So for your enjoyment, here is 2 days of paddling we did last fall with the Team.

Ottawa Fall 2012 from Team Boatwerks on Vimeo.


Ok yeah, I’ve been training a little bit, for Team Trials – in what is essentially a goal not to completely embarrass myself, and to maybe get on the team. All that aside (there will be an update about that…) I’ve been trying to work on combo moves to keep learning new things and not just focus on training cause that would be boring. So, Combo Moves. They are #$%#ing hard.

In this paddlers opinion, combo moves in a hole have more potential then a wave. Why? Well because you can link more then just two moves together. Recently I was lucky enough to link up a KY sequence on Baby Face (blunt to pistol flip). Stoked. But somehow that just doesn’t seem as hard as a backloop mcnasty. Nor as hard as a space godzilla->cartwheel->splitwheel->phonics monkey. That last combo is just to show you that you can link 4 different moves together in a hole. You could probably link up an entire 45 second ride if you were good enough. Probably not possible on a wave.

Don’t get me wrong though, I love wave boating. There is nothing like throwing a biiiig move on Bussy. But I also enjoy hole boating.

Ben Brisbourne (the new guy at the paddling school) is British, so that means he watches all kinds of British kayaking updates and those paddlers, which are also unreal hole paddlers. They link up the most ridiculous combos possible. James Bebbington, Bren Orton, Sam Ward, are a few names that come to mind.

Here’s an example of Bren Orton’s paddling. Ridiculous Combo’s near the end.

So after struggling with some combos, it’s time for some Q&A:

Q: I paddle almost every day. Not just at Earls but other places too (Ottawa). Do these guys paddle that much?
A: If no, then it’s probably just me not being talented enough. If yes, then:

Q: Is it just that the holes in the UK are nicer for this type of thing then say Earls or Pushbutton?
A: If no, then i’m probably just not talented enough, if the answer is yes then I feel a lot better about myself.

So after expressing my pointed opinions, the combo’s I’ve actually managed to pull off are
– Space Godzilla to Carthweel
– Carthweel to Phonics Monkey
– Cartwheel to Loop
– Very close on the Backloop Mcnasty

So, how might combo’s apply to the average joe? Well the learning lesson here is that 2 or 3 seasons ago I would have laughed at the idea that I would ever get to this point. So really, don’t limit yourself mentally. You can probably do things you couldn’t imagine if you gave it a shot.

Here’s a short clip to show you what I’ve been working on. Threw in some other filler moves there too. On this nights session I only threw two different combo moves, but I’m pleased to say I nailed both every time I wanted to

Some Combos from Team Boatwerks on Vimeo.

G.N.A.R. and its Appliacations to Kayaking (And Why Skiing is Cool)

What is G.N.A.R.?

If you are a skier, you probably already know. And if you are a skier, and don’t, you probably should.

G.N.A.R. is best explained by watch the movie about G.N.A.R. It’s aptly named G.N.A.R. the Movie. It’s about an hour and 10 minutes, so set aside some viewing time, it is worth the watch, even if you aren’t a skier. I’ts free too…

You’re probably going to read this before you actually watch the movie, so to give you the coles notes, the game of G.N.A.R. refers to Gaffney’s Numeric Assessment of Radness. Essentially while your out skiing, you get points (50, 100, or into the thousands sometimes) for skiing a specific line at Squaw Valley. This is the basic way to score points. The fun part comes with the extra credit points; so while skiing doing stupid things like skiing naked, calling your mom while skiing a line, peeing mid line, snowblading in lingerie, farting loudly in a gondola line and claiming it, and my favourite, pro call outs: “You’re (pro’s name here) right? I can’t believe you’re sponsored/won x-games etc, I am WAY better then you!”. The more rad you get, the more points you get.

The gist of the movie is, go out with your friends and be stupid, have fun, get rad, and enjoy the sport. Don’t take the sport so seriously. Far too many people take it (skiing/kayaking, whatever) way too seriously. They legitimately think they are better then everyone, and are quite often full of themselves. (As opposed to calling someone out as a joke).

So how does this apply to kayaking? I’m sure you have all run into the type of boater that takes themself way too seriously. If you show up and try to talk to them, they aren’t interested because you’re probably not as good as they are. And if you are in fact better, that’s not cool either because now you just showed them up in front of anyone else there. So basically they don’t like you either way. Especially if you’re an open boater.(there is a mutual absence of respect that goes both ways here)

So, after watching GNAR, what message can also be taken into kayaking? In my mind, if you’re not laughing hysterically at several times throughout the day of kayaking, you are missing the point. Instead of standing by petty rivalries, dislikes of an individual person or group, and the seriousness of paddling, do something completely ridiculous, silly, stupid, and funny more or less every time you go boating. Working on that blunt or spin is fun too, but so is rip and dipping your buddy on a wave (steps: 1. tear off skirt 2. push bow down to pearl) or jumping into a hole with no boat but instead a giant inflatable manta-ray.

Mustache at Mackfest…

Kayakers are usually pretty good for this type thing, and I’ll hand it club paddlers, they are some of the best sometimes (but some of the worst other times when it comes to being cliquey). But next time you see that paddler that is too cool to have a ridiculous type of fun, I would recommend taking the piss out of them: tell them about how you just farted really hard on that bounce or boof. Or claim that you’re the best kayaker on the river right now. That one is especially fun with raft guides.

So, after watching GNAR, (as I will repeat often), go get Rad and have fun! But you do have to ask yourself: If you’re getting rad and there is no one around to see it, are you really getting rad?


We’ve been busy this season at Boatwerks. Things are moving along quite smoothly at the shops and paddling school… but what is the Team Cooking up?

Lots of awesome filming. And photos. Lots of it.

-Freestyle Team Trials this season (expect videos about it)
-New cable camera
-New Canon DSLR Camera
-Local film guys on board…
-Better boating then ever

Just as a quick teaser, check out what we’ve been up to

Hali Creekings In!

Recent heavy rains have started bringing some of the local runs up. Most recently we hit the Hawk Lake log chute, along with Hollow Creek. These are up the highway 35 corridor, and provide some great local hucks.


We first made a stop at Buttermilk Falls. Levels were low. So we made the decision to hit the Log Chute, as that was first on our way after Buttermilk. The level was a solid medium. Enough water to make everything smooth and fun.Oddly enough, MNR happened to be there pulling a half log off the dam. Perfect. We had to drive up the road to wait them out, as they may not have liked us bombing down the chute. Ironically enough, when we took out, Parks Canada rolled up and started questioning us.

A rock paper scissors had myself going first. A smooth run down the chute, a quick eddy out for mike to reset with safety and the camera, and a boof off the last drop. I landed solidly but my edge picked up a little bit and rolled out of it.Typically, the Camera stopped rolling as I was lining up for the drop, and no still shots were taken.

Next up was Mike. He’s a first timer on these runs, so was pumped to hit it. A smooth ride down the chute, and one of the best boofs off this drop I’ve seen made for a completely clean run.

We packed up, and headed further north to Hollow Creek. A quick scout revealed levels had significantly increased over night. Hollow creek has some interesting moves to it, and was on the most technically demanding runs in the area; it’s one of the few true Class V’s in the Hali area. Hollow consists of roughly 700 meters of continuous rapids and 3 major elevation drops. The first stage is an easy line following most of the water, and there isn’t much to it. The second stage is the setup for the crux move. The water squeezes past some shallow rocks, and pushes right. Typically, you need to be left. There is a sneak line on the far left in higer water, so Mike opted for that line. Once your past this, you have 3 munchy holes to get around, followed by the third drop, AKA the Toothpaste Tube. A large slide on river right that ends in a hole with little chance of getting through, or a very narrow band of water pushing off river left that squeezes through.

Once you get past all this, you still have the worst part: it’s a very terminal hole with 15 or so feet of powerful towback. This one is called the Headless horseman hole. There are lines on the far right and left, and an eddy right above if your quick. A mistake here would mean a gaurunteed rescue; there is almost no chance of paddling out, and absolutely zero chance of swimming out.

So, 3 drops, 3 bad holes, and one terminal hole. Some tight lines, and linked continuous moves. Mike styled it. This was his first class V rapid, so he’s definitely chalking that up on the accomplishments list!

We checked the gauge for Oxtongue afterward, and drove by buckslides, but they weren’t meant to be.

The levels are still on the rise, so hopefully there will be more coming up in the area!

The Busy Season

So… why hasn’t the blog been updated?

The truth is, we got into our busy season. August is a busy month at Boatwerks. So is July. Any free time we typically manage to scrounge is spent paddling rather then typing up a blog or editing a video update. So, what happened over the last month?

We hit up Ottawa:


Cam going MASSIVE on a clean pan-am 

Finishing up an air screw

We also had our annual anything but a kayak night! This resulted in some minor carnage. Sue from KWP ended up with a sprained ankle, and Maz’s girlfriend had a couple good bruises and a glimpse of whitehorse falls before she swam into the eddy.

The Crew.

Isaac rockin’ the Gator!

Other exciting things:
– Laura D. finally became a play boater.
– Neal’s skirt imploded freewheeling fenelon, resulting in a very embarrassing swim. The funny thing is was Mike was lecturing him before hand on why he should take an overthruster and blew him off.
– Cam learned how to KY. Very angrily.
– Isaac shotgunned a can of cola after eating 8 slices of pizza, after getting off 6 hours on the water. You can imagine how that ended.
– Mike got a throat infection from too much paddling that only 2 people in Canada have ever had before. His remedy was just to paddle more, but wear earplugs so the water didn’t percolate to his throat.

Not to mention everyone improved a hell of a lot this summer.