Parents Unleashed 2019: Stage 4, Technical Creeking on the Basse Cache

After finishing up the technical freestyle, boater cross and big wave trick competitions, Unleashed moved on to wrap up the event with a technical creeking section. The plan was to head up and do an Unleashed event on the Nielson River just before the Nielson race, but after running the course it was apparent that the river level was just a tad too low and the rapids not quite up to snuff for a giant slalom race. But we all ran it anyway. Andi got stuffed under a log in the class two, Josh almost dislocated his shoulder, Billy (from Quebec) broke his elbow and Darby hurt her shoulder. It was a rough evening for many. I had a pretty good time on the run - it had been a long time I ran something I didn't know like the back of my hand, so the novelty was great. Darby was pissed because she had just rehabilitated her shoulder and this meant that she probably wasn't going to race in the morning. Kind of a bummer.

Anyways, the call was made that night to run the Basse Cache in th…

Parents Unleashed 2019: Stage 3, Technical Freestyle on White Dog, Rouge River

This freestyle event was held on the White Dog wave on the Rouge. For many people, this feature felt like kind of a small feature for a Stakeout Unleashed event, but given uncertainty with water levels we needed to make sure we could fit in another event and it was a perfect wave for a technical freestyle, completely different than the Rib wave from stage one, and logistically easy since it was just upstream of the Stage 2 boater cross. The wave was easy to get set up on with a smooth face where you could basically throw all the tricks in your repertoire. I think if the goal of the event is to crown the best all-round paddler, than this wave was a perfect addition because it highlights different strengths than a more classic rowdy wave. Plus, I think that Dane was super excited to have us compete using his well thought out technical freestyle scoring system (explained below).

This event proved to be a very historic moment for me. It is the first time that I have beat Leif (me-13th, L…

Parents Unleashed 2019: Stage 2, Rouge Boater Cross

Stage 2 of Unleashed was held on the Rouge River on a rapid called the Gauntlet. It is a super fun and rowdy rapid with lots of good waves and then a tough move at the end into an eddy guarded by a hole. It is a great boater cross course because it can really shake things up. The person in the lead coming into the finish doesn't always finish first, and if you missed the eddy you couldn't advance. There were a lot of upsets.

The night before the event, Leif and I had our big night out (15th anniversary of being together) at a super super fancy restaurant in Ottawa (think five course meal with words 'chaga demi-glace' and 'bonito cured duck egg' and 'cucumber mango-gin emulsion'), which meant that we rolled in around 1 am and missed Kalob's athlete meeting.  Kalob is really good at making you feel like you are disappointing him if you show up late or miss a meeting.  I felt bad, but I did ask permission (sort of) and was forgiven (I think). The next …

Parents Unleashed 2019: Stage 1, Big Trick on 'Rib Shack'

Unleashed (formerly White Water Grand Prix- WWGP) is a multi staged event held in Quebec/Ontario and has been an elusive one for me. When I applied to compete to the WWGP in 2012 and was accepted, they moved the competition to Chile and instead of competing in big wave surfing (my specialty) I got to scare myself on a bunch of creeks and flooded rivers (Rio Gol Gol, Rio Puesco, Rio Nevados, and the Futaleufu). Then, in 2014, both Leif and I applied and got accepted as alternates, but only Leif was moved up to be an actual competitor (see blog list Live from the Grand Prix). After that, the WWGP went through a hiatus when Pat Camblin decided he needed to do some more soul surfing and less organizing.  Recently, the event was re-invented and re-named Unleashed and is now run as a team by SEND. (Dane Jackson, Adrian Mattern, Kalob Grady and Bren Orton). The younger generation has picked up the torch that the visionary Pat Camblin lit and I am so grateful to both Pat for starting the ev…

Women's Freestyle Development Camp 2019!

Brooke Hess, Ottilie Robinson-Shaw and I are excited to offer a women's freestyle development camp  on the Slave River this summer!  Check it out.

Stakeout with the gals

What has been particularly great during stakeout 2018 is that most times when I was surfing, I could count more women than men surfing with me. For those not familiar, 'stakeout' is the term for the action of 'staking out' (waiting for) big waves in Ontario and Quebec to come in during the spring rise and fall, and typically occurs from late April through the end of May. That's right, some of the tallest and fastest river waves have been paddled this spring by women all pushing themselves to go bigger- whether or not they were just pushing their limits by paddling through the wave, just getting started learning to surf waves coming from creeking disciplines, or working on throwing their personal arsenal of tricks with more air.

While I have the Send boys (@wearesend Dane, Adrian, Ben and Kalob) to partially thank for drawing some great women boaters to stakeout to surf with me as 2018 Unleashed invitees (Darby McAdams, Nouria Newman, Mariann Saether, Nicole Mans…