Monday, June 15, 2009

Lyons Outdoor Games 2009

I have no idea how this happened, but somehow, I finished the Lyons games without a single photo of myself. I took a handful of photos of other people, but nobody stepped up to the plate and took photos of me. I'm baffled. Last year, we ended up with literally hundreds of photos of me and Natalie. This year, zero. It's probably because Natalie wasn't there.

Fortunately for you, loyal fans, I am now a pro photographer. That's right. I sold a photo. For twenty bucks! Obviously I won't post it on the blog, sorry, but this is just more evidence of my amazing skills. Clearly the other photos are also on par. Check out this work of art.

Lyons games EXTREME! Full album

Everyone loves photos of cute kids, so here's a handful of those.

Sage and Henry. Full album
Legit slalom. Full album
Next I'll be posting photos of kittens or something. Full album

Alright, that's about enough of that. Wouldn't want the folks at home to think that I was not hardcore.

After the slalom race, Ty hopped into my large Nemesis and I took some photos of him. The boat was a little too big for him, but that just meant that he was getting great pop on his loops. I waded out close to the hole to get some interesting shots. The photos made the cold legs worthwhile.

Ty launching. Full album

How did this get in there? Where's the hardcore kayaking? Eric Bissel. Full album

Pretty good, Ty. Full album

I thought this shot was very dynamic, even though it's not really a huge loop. Full album

This was the angle that I liked Full album

Leif, do you have a boat sponsor? What were they called again? Full album

Pat Keller borrowed an RPM and showed us all how to tricky wu. Full album

Another interesting shot. Full album

One last loop. Full album

That should put a stop to Ty's complaints that I never post photos of him.

Finally, I always like to have at least one photo of the boatercross, since the Lyons games' boatercross is one of the wackiest races that I've seen. It's a relay race. Traditionally, the competitors start with pushups, run through some tires, paddle downstream, go through a slalom gate, toss their paddles over another slalom gate, punch the play hole, and run back to start to tag their next teammate. The paddle toss is usually the most exciting part of the race. Since it can take anywhere from one to twenty tries, this is where the race is won or lost. Also, the gate that they're tossing their paddles over hangs under the bridge where the spectators wait, which can make for some great photos.

Photo by Ty Newton. Full album

All photos (except the last one) by Leif Anderson.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Tragically Serious

As a preamble to this post, I want to acknowledge the fact that usually my blog posts are almost completely untrue. I mean, they will include facts, but I will usually present them in a quite obviously biased and often intentionally confusing manner which makes the post almost entirely fictitious. My intention is that this post will not be like that.

What I'm working my way down to is this. A fellow paddler lost his life while paddling with myself and Eric Bissel. His name was Drew Hunter. We were running a class IV section of Black Gore Creek, called the Fish Ladders. This was Drew's introduction to creekboating, and it was a step that he was ready to make. Basically, what happened was that about halfway down the run, Drew missed a boof, and got stuck in a hole. He had a rougher swim than we expected, and near the bottom of the series of drops, he hit his head, which probably knocked him unconscious. We had a reasonable safety setup in place, and tried unsuccessfully to get a rope to him many times before he hit his head. Right after he hit his head, we did get a rope to him, right across his chest, but by that point it was too late; he didn't respond at all, not even turning his head towards me. He disappeared downstream, and was only found thanks to the heroic efforts of Search and Rescue.

Eric and I wrote a very detailed narrative of the accident, and I am trying to figure out how to upload the pdf file to blogger. In the meantime, I have selected a few photos from this weekend.

Leif and Eric on the Fish Ladders section, having a blast. I think everyone would agree that Drew would not want this tragedy to deter anyone from kayaking. Let it be a reminder to practice the most thorough safety techniques possible, but as a tribute to Drew's life, please, please, continue to have fun out there.

Leif and Drew headed up to the putin.

Drew passed away in a beautiful place, while doing one of the many sports that he loved. I tried to get a sense of the beauty that with this photo.

On saturday, Eric, Natalie and I retrieved Drew's boat from the spot where it had pinned, just upstream of the gorge. We took pride in the rigorously safe manner in which we unpinned the boat. For example, note that there is a rope attached to me, so that I would be safe in the (unlikely) event that I slipped while attaching the second rope to the grabloop of the boat. All in all, it was a gratifying amount of preparation for about 5 seconds of pulling. Everything went perfectly smoothly.

Eric and I, with Drew's boat.

You will be sorely missed, Drew.