So, the Slave is very high right now, the highest we've seen it and I found this new epic epic epic wave with John Blyth. Fast big and furious. See below. Yet unamed. (options: intimidator, medusa, fear itself, terror, hyra, leviathan, the punisher, panty snatcher)
This wave actually has eddy service, which is odd for such a large feature. If you flush it just takes about 10-20 minutes to navigate back to the wave depending on how many times you mess up the multiple ferries.
To get on the wave, you just have to enter surfers right through that big aerated pile of goodness.
Like this (see above). I was able to get on the wave with no problem about half of my tries with the other half starting and ending rapidly in some nose flushing. Unfortunately, on one of those nose flushings I got pulled halfway out of my boat and my skirt imploded! But all was not lost because I was still able to roll up with my right leg, which was still securely in the boat. I started paddling for the eddy and this decision was my downfall.
|Me paddling for the eddy vortex. MISTAKE!!! don't do it Natalie, stay in the current!!|
What you may not be able to tell from this photo is that while I am technically still in my boat, I am actively paddling a swamped craft into a vortex. Leif is just off frame in his boat to the left. I am exiting some current that continues on downstream and the section of river I am going into is hemmed in by two lateral currents that come in from the left. As I pirouetted around in my swamped craft yelling help! help! Leif valiantly tried to come to my rescue, but the ferry from where he is at is harder than it looks and he missed the move and had to go on tour for another go. In the meantime my boat finally gets sucked off of me as it is pulled deep under the water. I then try swim paddling with my paddle but am just getting tossed by the water and sucked down and up just barely catching my breath between submergences. John on shore upstream (way too far for throw ropes) is putting on his gear as quick as he can. I decide that maybe I'd have better luck without my paddle. Leif is still trying to get to the eddy vortex area- I told you above it is a long tour... I'm not sure that letting my paddle go was a good idea since after I let it go, I was no more effective at swimming and now I was getting sucked deeper into the undercurrents. At one point I get sucked so deep that I was almost out of breath and wondering if the surface would ever come. It was a long time, and I've got some pretty big lungs. Finally I pop up and go for some more somersaults. At one point I see that I am closer to the current and I make a big push to swim into it and I am free!!! As a last offering, the river took my pants just as I broke out to the main current. Leif gets to the area I was at just as I was leaving it. He races after me downriver and I gratefully grab his stern as he paddles me to the nearest Island (no small feat, it is a good thing Leif is incredibly ripped). John says that my boat stayed in that vortex for a bit longer than me and just as he was getting there it got flushed out and he was too late to chase it or my paddle. To get to take out on this big river, I doggy paddled the stashed Pirouette (which is strategically placed on one of the islands for situations just like this) down the nice easy class III lines.
It is a good thing that I brought two boats to the Slave this year. My Dope (now lost forever) and my new Medium Element. Tomorrow I'm going to take it easy in the element on a nice gentle wave named Chico. Can't wait. The Slave is big and powerful and still incredibly awesome.
|Me putting my gear on in the morning. Notice the track pants from my college volleyball days. They were very effective at blocking the bugs, I'm going to miss them.|
|Me taking out doing the bug dance all smiles. Saskia has already told me she's got some extra pants I could have.|
If you come to the Slave, don't worry, we won't make you do the scary stuff. There is plenty of fun easy things to do as well (see paddlefest promo and jackie's video below). In fact, we are taking someone out tomorrow in the Anvil (It is a river board with flippers). That should be pretty fun.
Slave River Paddlefest Promo (Come on up!!!!)