Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fantasy Falls

Check out our trip down Fantasy Falls in California from this summer.

To see the full write up go to

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Making an Improvised Stretcher

Last summer in New Zealand we watched this video: At minute 3.30 there is an accident where somebody hurts their back pretty bad. While we were watching, we were cringing at their extraction method and asking the question "is there a better way"? I think that the best resource that we have for packaging someone with spinal issues for transport is a (their) kayak. It can be dragged, lifted, modified and destroyed. 

If I found myself in a situation where I though that my back was broken, I would want my friends to look after me and do what ever they had to make sure the situation didn't get any worse. If this means chopping up my kayak, then I would say go for it. 

During some downtime this week in Canada, we tried out what system we would use (on a kayak that was broken and retired). 

First we chopped out the cockpit to make a hole big enough to slide a person into. We did this using our river saws.

The next step was cutting some holes in the bottom to thread our slings through the kayak. We made the holes with a small pen blow torch and a knife.

The slings are used to keep the patient in place. 

Slings are used to make a full body harness

The end loops of the kayak can be used to make an attachment point for hauling. I would use a separate safety line that goes directly to the victim as a back up. 

Rata was secure in the stretcher and didn't move at all.

Handles could easily be added to the sides to allow for easy carrying. You can use the center pillar to make a neck collar and head support.

Once we were done, Lief had a chainsaw which made it very easy to finish cutting up the kayak to recycle it.

Rata enjoying it a bit too much. Safety first. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Rogers Creek, British Columbia: One Year Later

At the moment, we are kicking about in Whistler, BC. We are with our friends Phil and Rata (Two Dash Productions) and have picked up a couple of Idaho boys by the names of Sam and Mike. There is an abundance of paddling to do around the area, from quick Cheakamus laps to full day adventures like Tatlow Creek, and everything in between.

A few days ago, we got on Rogers Creek which is a couple of hours north of here. It is a tributary of the Lillooet River and is famous for its' triple, back-to-back 20-footers. Daan and I had our first foray into Rogers Creek about a year ago. With just the two of us, it made for a pretty good adventure. You can read about that trip here: Dreaming of Whitewater Magazine (Issue #4).

This time round, we had a team of six. Having spent the evening prior soaking in the Tsek Hot Springs, we were ready to go. The road up to the put-in is pretty steep, but in way better condition than last year. One of our vehicles is more of a low-clearance and low-gradient cruiser, so we did a couple of trips up in the other rig to save hiking up with our boats.

Driving up the put-in road, we checked out the falls and were pleased to see that the flows looked great down there. Once you are at the top of the hill, it is a hike-down into the river. Daan picked a stellar line through the second generation forest, which had us at the river in good time.

Picking our way down through some (manky) boulder gardens, there were a few fun drops before we got the the last eddy before the three waterfalls. Scouting from river left, we got a phenomenal view down into the gorge and everybody got pretty excited. The drops look amazing, clean and pretty friendly. Not to mention, the lighting made it all look even better.

Rata Lovell-Smith charging #1.
Photo//Daan Jimmink

The three drops are each around 20 feet high. Once you are into the gorge, you are committed until you finish the third drop. The first drop is a spouty-ledge into an aerated, moving pool. The second drop is run left of middle, into a beautiful green pool. The pool is spectacular, as you look up around at the gorged in walls and lush green forest above. The third drop is a near vertical slide, best run on the right, which fans out into a friendly pool below.

Daan Jimmink making #2 look way too easy (as always).
Photo//Jess Matheson

The author (Jess Matheson) looking for air on #2.
Photo//Daan Jimmink

Boise Boy Mike Thurmond getting "amongst it" on #2.
Photo//Daan Jimmink

Phil Palzer on #2 repping it for the Kiwis.
Photo//Daan Jimmink

Rata making her exit move, a ferry to the right to line up #3.
Photo//Daan Jimmink

Looking back up at the series of drops is truly breathtaking. Such good waterfalls in such a fantastic environment. The drops were so good, that a bunch of the team went back for more (you can hike up river left).

Daan enjoying #3 for the third time!
Photo//Jess Matheson

The other Boise Boy Sam Wells with "The Line" on #3.
Photo//Jess Matheson

Rata hucking #2... Such an awesome place.
Photo//Jess Matheson

There was just the one kerfuffle. Rata lent her spray deck to Sam (his one is prone to implosions), via Mike carrying it back up to the top. Getting his boat across to the left back saw the spray deck fall out and start making its' way downstream. With all available people searching every possible nook and cranny, we eventually found it a few rapids downstream where it was gently beached on a rock, happily rocking side to side in the current. It was a good save!

While we were searching, the team also cut out a log that was in the run-out of one of the last good rapids. You still had to limbo move under the massive log just below (think head-height) but it cleaned things up a lot. A few more moves saw us at our exit point, where we hiked a short distance back up to the road.

I was initially a little underwhelmed about going back into Rogers, having been on the gruesome-twosome mission originally and finding that a little stressful. But it turns out with a great team and a beautiful warm and sunny day, Rogers is an truly an incredible place to be. What I remembered as being manky in there, still was, but there was much more good stuff than I remembered. The drops are well worth going for, and I would love to get back in there for trip number 3.


Saturday, July 27, 2013

West Coast, NZ: The Wangapeka

Think lush, green temperate rainforest. Add recent rain, a hungry-for-paddling team and (finally) some free time... And you have a deal. In March, amongst our busy stretch of teaching kayaking, we managed to escape to the Westport. In all honesty, there are possibly better places to escape, but on the back of some rain and rumours of some pretty fun paddling, we headed over for the day.

Picking up Mr, Matty Coles - our Westport tour guide, and in between driving shifts - we planned our day. A Wangapeka in the morning, a Ngakawau in the afternoon, then back to Murchison that evening.  Too easy! 

The Wangapeka came to easy fruition. It is a short journey north of Westport, and then a short walk (30 minutes or so) along an old mining trail to the put-in. The Wangapeka is a bit of a local staple, keeping people honest and inspired between dry spells. The river needs rain. It's a sweet Class III-IV trip, runnable at a range of water levels and tucked into classic West Coast bush. There were five of us: Matt, Rata, Soph, Daan and myself.

All Photos//Daan Jimmink.

 The walk-in follows an old mining trail.

 At some point during the walk-in, the trail changes sides of the river!

 Everyone needs a local. Enter Matt Coles. We miss you!

 Girls on the mission... Soph and myself.

 Classic West Coast rain-run colours.

 Soph steezin' it up.

Colesy on a hot date with his Nomad.  

Rata... What is that?

The Wanagapeka was a good little mission... Happy days! Jess.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Two Days on the Upper Whitcombe, New Zealand

This year has been a very busy one for all of us at the New Zealand Kayak School. Lots of cool people and awesome courses - river rescue, playboating, advanced groups, intermediate groups and beginner groups. Because of the busy months, we did not have much time to get our much needed fix for adventure. So the first chance we got, we headed down to the Best Coast (West Coast of the South Island, New Zealand) for the two-day trip on the Upper Whitcombe. 

We had a great team with Ben White, Jess Matheson, Phil Palzer, Rata Lovell-Smith, Soph Steezy Mulder and myself. 

We called up Danny Reedy (the helicopter pilot) for a price and to see if he was available for the morning. Everything pieced together nicely. 

Recent floods have left their marks on the Whitcombe, changing some rapids a little bit and changing other dramatically. Most of the changes were for the better, which is always a good thing. The rapids keep coming on day one, and don't stop until just before Prices Hut. 

Unloading at the put-in.
Photo//Jess Matheson
Rata probing the centre line.
Photo//Daan Jimmink
Phil finding out what the Whitcombe is all about.
Photo//Daan Jimmink
Rata on her first Boof To Swim.
Photo//Daan Jimmink

A full-on seven hours of kayaking got us to the hut. This is where the rest of the hard work started! As we flew into the Upper Whitcombe, we got the pilot to drop off our food and over night gear at the hut. The bags weighed a lot more than they should have because of all of the awesome food, wine, bacon, eggs, milk, snacks and treats. Everyone suffered from multiple food comas trying to eat as much of the food as possible. 
Rata serving up breakfast in the morning.
Photo//Daan Jimmink
Just before the food comas set in.
Photo//Daan Jimmink
Day two has more fantastic kayaking, and also contains my favourite section of the run - Prices Gorge. Lots of very clean rapids that just keep coming at you and only one short portage. At the bottom of Prices Gorge you still have the regular Whitcombe day trip to paddle, which is where we got into a great rhythm as everyone in our team had been down this section a number of times. 

Phil skirting (what used to be) the Toilet Bowl.
Photo//Daan Jimmink
Ben about to enter the light.
Photo//Daan Jimmink
Jess, waiting for her crucial stroke.
Photo//Daan Jimmink
Soph, loving her nomad.
Photo//Daan Jimmink
Rata, just before her triple fist pump.
Photo//Daan Jimmink
Me on the on of the big ones on the second day. 
Photo//Jess Matheson

13 hours of kayaking and four rapids that weren't run by our team. A great couple of days. Can't wait to get on more of the two-day heli trips on the coast. 
Till next time... Daan.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

We are pleased to bring you Issue #4 of Dreaming of Whitewater.

This issue is a bit later than expected, we have had a really busy summer. We hope that you enjoy this issue - we have had a lot of fun shooting pictures and putting it all together. 

In this issue you will find.
  • The Crooked River, New Zealand
  • Chelan Gorge, WA, USA
  • Rolling
  • Gear to carry in your rescue vest
  • Rogers Creek, BC, Canada
And of course some of our favourite shots in the Gallery section.

We value your thoughts, feedback and support so please get in touch with us. We are always looking for more ideas!

Please help us share Dreaming of Whitewater with more people by clicking "Like" on Facebook 

And finally, a big thankyou to everyone who has helped us out during this issue... The people we have paddled with, recreated with, taught with and stayed with; those we free-loaded from, travelled with, used internet from and everyone in-between, to help bring Issue #4 to the world! 

Happy paddling,

Daan Jimmink and Jess Matheson
CEO's, Editors, Gophers, Photographers and Stunt People.