3.20.2008

Mixing it up on the Green

This post (like so many posts on other blogs) is dedicated to the Green River. Cooper Lambla did a great post on his blog, Downstream Movement, a few months ago that highlighted a few ways that he was keepin' it real on the Green. That post kind of inspired this here post of mine, because I had been trying to think of a way of posting some pics and video for my family to see, but at the same time, I didn't want the post to be just another Green River post for kayakers.

Due to its proximity to Asheville and its frequent release schedule, this river gets run a ridiculous number of times. Since I started school in Asheville last year, I've logged 55 runs on the Green and that's without skipping class to go paddling. Because it gets run so often, many people experience a feeling of familiarity that borders on boredom. In his post, Cooper mentions some new ways he's found to "scare" himself on the Green. This post describes some of the ways that I've found to mix things up on the river.

Enjoying the bumpy ride down Rapid Transit with the man who showed me down the Green for the first time, Nathan Silly-bee. Photo: Ryan Moore

On a funny side note, when Nathan was showing me down the Green for the first time a year and half ago, there was a miscommunication concerning how to sneak Go Left which resulted in me running Go Left on accident and very blind. Needless to say, I was very surprised! He and I have worked on our communication skills since then.

Sunshine. Photo: Ryan Moore

What's amazing about the Green is that it never gets old, no matter how many times you run it. Between the quality of the rapids and the pristine beauty of the run, I always feel blessed to have the opportunity to experience what this place has to offer. Recently, I've had a bunch of new experiences and "firsts" on the Green that have shown me that there's always a way to rekindle your love for your favorite run.

This year was my first time participating in the Green Race. I once heard a local boater say that his two favorite days of the year were Christmas and the Green Race, and now I understand. There is nothing like running the Gorilla with 500 people standing there watching and cheering. My approach to the race was pretty lackadaisical. I was just trying to have a good time and good lines on the river. Although I missed more lines than I would have liked, I had a great line off the Monkey and was all smiles at the finish.

Here's me running Gorilla in the Green Race. Picture is courtesy of Ben Edson of Downstream Photo. Ben is a super nice guy and will be out snapping photos at this year's Jerry's Baddle. Here's another Downstream Photo shot, this time of Boof or Consequences during last year's Jerry's Baddle.


A little over a month ago I had the pleasure of taking my brother, Taylor, down the Green for his first time. This was something I had been looking forward to ever since my first time down, and I felt so honored to show him down. I was super stoked to watch him stick everything! It was my first time taking a newbie down, so it was a very different dynamic to go slow instead of bombing down like usual. This run reminded me what it was like to be a newbie, when all the rapids become a blur and you don't know what's beyond the horizon line. Hell yeah bro! Get you some!

Taylor gettin' his boof on at Groove Tube.

In a little over a week is the 3rd annual Jerry's Baddle. This kayaking/biking race is in honor of Jerry Beckwith and is put on to raise awareness for ALS. I competed in it last year and must say that it is a great event and a lot of fun. Partly in anticipation of the race, and partly because I found myself without a creek boat, I asked my brother to bring my old Corsica up from Atlanta so I could have a boat to paddle and start training some for Jerry's. So last month I got my first taste of the Green in a long boat, which was super sweet of course.

Although I was a bit intimidated at the put-in, I had smooth lines all day, with Go Left (above) and Sunshine being the highlights. Cruisin' down the river in a long boat is smooth and fast, and I can't get enough of it.

Riding that pillow at the lip of Sunshine. Get that bow right!

Spanking the monkey never gets old...period. If you don't have time or shuttle for two runs, lapping Gorilla is a great alternative to ensure you get your fix for the day.

This picture illustrates another way to make things interesting. Recently, people have been running the right side of Nutcracker and then carrying up to do a seal launch into Groove Tube. It's especially great to run Groove Straight direct into Sunshine, what Cooper describes as a "hot-hot" move. The line is cool because it affords a little 8-footer if you choose the correct door. It's best not to choose door #1 or #2, or else you'll end up in a nasty situation such as the one depicted here. Apparently no one told him what was behind door #2. It took us about 15 minutes to get him out safely. You can see his black helmet directly above the wood against the rock. Needless to say, the pin could have been a lot worse.

Here is Mr. Daniel Windham looking relieved that the situation is over. With his long arms and extensive rope knowledge, this is a man I'd like to have around if I get in a tight spot.

This past Saturday I met Daniel Windham and Robin Betz to get some early morning long boat runs in. We arrived at the put-in to discover a wonderful gift of two units running at 100% load, which turned out to be 18". Daniel and I had never taken long boats down at 200%, so it was like Christmas morning for us. Go Left at 18" in a long boat makes for some interesting lines...and I'll leave it at that. We were having such a blast that we finished two runs before I knew it.

Robin Betz showing how to get 'er done on Sunshine at 250%.

Here's a quick video from a year ago of Chris Gragtmans and Nathan Silsbee running Gorilla at a similar level:
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It's been an amazing season of paddling for me. Since September I've been able to get my first runs on Linville, Horsepasture, Big Creek, and Raven Fork. I couldn't be any more stoked or any more grateful to the river gods for allowing (mostly) good lines for me and all my paddling peeps.

The last thing I'll add is one of the first videos I edited last year. A glance back into the past. It has a shot of my second run of Gorilla (I was so stoked) as well as some footage from the Birthday Eddy Bash in honor of Daniel DeLaVergne.

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Be easy.