Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2015 SeaGnar info

Ok folks, the SeaGnar cometh!

Last year was awesome. About 100 of our best friends all crowded into the local kayak shop, in the middle of a rainstorm, and watched kayaking videos. Then we voted for the video we liked best.
Mike Hagadorn stole the show with this video: The Grand.

The Grand from Cloud Level Media on Vimeo.

We had fun last year so let's do it again! Our longtime friends at Silver City Brewery have graciously donated beer to our cause and the boys at Snap Dragon have donated to the prize fund, so get stoked!
We will be raising money for American Whitewater, so bring some cash and a thirst.

If you want to enter the contest, send me a video! It needs to be 6 minutes or less and I need your video the week before the event. The sooner the better.

A panel of judges will review all submissions and submit the 6 they feel are a cut above. We will watch all the videos and vote at the end. The winner will get prizes, or a prize. Probably something.

And an autographed picture of Rob.

Email me for information if you're interested in submitting a film. I look forward to hearing from you. Email me at

If you just want to come watch carnage videos, drink good beer and get awesome; Cascade Paddlesports will be hosting us again in Redmond, WA.
Saturday, December 12th at 7 pm.

Cascade Paddlesports
(425) 430-0111
15143 Ne 90th St
Redmond, WA 9805

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

The 2015 Chelan Gorge Recreational Release

Oh sweet, sweet Chelan.

This year was the largest turnout to date. It seems like I'm saying that every year, but I guess a good thing can't help but get bigger and better over time.

Every September the Chelan PUD gives us kayakers one weekend of recreational release into the Chelan Gorge.

The locals set out some furniture for us. So sick!

The Chelan Gorge recreational release came to fruition on an overcast day, deep in Chelan County. 2015 was the first year that I've needed to wear a drysuit in the gorge, but the cold weather on Saturday just meant the stoke had to be that much higher.

Darren rallies into the first ledge in Entrance Exam.

Nobody ever talks about how fun the first slide is. It would be a named rapid if it wasn't above Entrance Exam.

Entrance Exam gets the most media coverage and the most respect because it's the longest rapid on the run. I would say it's the toughest. And it's the first rapid. So yeah, that's fun.

Entrance Exam consists of four parts: The entry slide.

The first Ledge.

The second Ledge.

Finally the third (and stickiest) Ledge.

The Crowd goes wild.

The combination of a higher than normal turnout and an overall lower number of Chelan veterans on the roster Saturday morning lead me to believe that the carnage reel would be well padded this year. I believe I took the over/under at 7 swims for the first day.

On the contrary, the Chelan virgins absolutely crushed the run. It was awesome to see some new faces and to meet some new boaters, it means the word is traveling and people are seeing the value in the Chelan recreational release

Next year we'll bring the couch too.

Time to move on.

Next up is the Chelan Slide and Meatlocker. A scary ferry to a fun rock slide. Or a chance to op-test your sprayskirt.

The Chelan Slide:

The Meatlocker:

Tom was swiping right the whole time.

Teamwork keeps you out of the Meatlocker. Ben took one for the team and set "Safety" for those who went for the ferry.

But some people look for it.

And give it. These guys all had sicko lines on the Meatlocker. Crushfest.

The Point of no Return. Just past The Chelan Slide is Super Boof. An awesome cross-current right stroke boof into bliss. A fast moving pool puts you right above Throne and Pinnacle. This is one the sickets boofs in the canyon and also the most mellow. It's a nice break from the deathgrip the rest of the run requires.

Darren shows us an alternate Super Boof line.

The Team rallies through Super Boof on their way to Throne.

Dan Rubado.

Ryan Young.

Jeremy Bisson.

Throne awaits.

Throne is a fun move, but still retains some nail-biting factor as a couple of carped rolls means you get to run Pinnacle without a scout.

Todd sporting the new Dagger Nomad.

The Dufey drops in.

Pinnacle awaits just down stream.

Since Rob McKibbon got the first D on this thing a couple years back, the number of peeps running it has steadily climbed. This release weekend was no exception. We got to see some awesome lines... and some lines that make you thank whoever thought of putting a face mask on a kayak helmet.

Safety is key, as a significant portion of the run-out of Pinnacle Falls flows directly into a massive boulder sieve pocket on river right.

How's it look fella's?

Jeremy Bisson, Pinnacle Falls.

Todd Wells, Pinnacle Falls.

Pinnacle Crushfest.

Jeremy and Tom Marley decided to give Pinnacle a go in the raft. Video to follow...

We all know it's not over until the Fat Lady sings! Nick charges the last nasty spot before the takeout while Darren stands by with a helping hand.

The Fat Lady is less of a rapid and more just a sieve-pile you get to kayak over.

So. Another year in the books. Another sick canyon kayaked. Thanks to everyone that made this weekend possible. I love it!

Thank you to American Whitewater for gaining us kayakers access to this amazing river. Thank you to Chelan PUD for the warm welcome and hospitality. 

While I find time to finish editing all this carnage footage, Check out a teaser from this year's release.

2015 - Chelan Teaser from daniel patrinellis on Vimeo.

Until next September, gnome what I'm sayin?

Monday, July 13, 2015

Video - Cherry Creek of the Tuolumne

Good ol' Cherry Creek!

2015 has been a dryish year so far and as I've had to sacrifice quality for quantity for most of this season, it's led to a lack of new material. But, to be honest, I've been looking for an excuse to edit some of this Cherry Creek footage.

Way back in 2013, when the west coast had so much snow and ice we thought Spring would never end. Scott and I made the drive down to Cali. yada, yada, yada... While waiting for Upper Cherry we ran into a friend of a friend that worked in Groveland and he offered to show us down Cherry Creek of the Tuolumne. We obliged over the next three days and I fell in love with this slice of heaven.

I do not have the flows for each day, but the trusty river log says:
"... CC Tuolumne, 2100-1800. The higher the better. Super sick run!"

Music: Bee Gees - Stayin Alive
Stereocool 'To The Death' (remix)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

The 2015 Xavier Engle Memorial Robe Race

Spring time means you get to find out how bad your wrist and neck gaskets have degraded over the winter.

Spring time also means Robe Race.

There were murmurs that the race might be shifted by a weekend, as there was no rain in the forecast  the week leading up to the race. But level bumped up to just below 5.2 feet and by Friday afternoon we knew how we were going to be spending our Saturday; racing Robe Canyon and praying not to take home the Gnome!

It's an easy template for a race: paddle as hard as you can for roughly 3.5 miles and crush around 40 rapids with as little carnage as you can manage. Then, just for shits giggles, throw a hideous portage in the middle of the course to see just how flexible those ankles really are...

The flow range is 5.0-6.0 feet. Teams of two, as you set your own safety... The race starts in the eddy below T1, above T2 and ends in the pool a quarter mile(ish) downstream from Mrs. Robinson

With water levels low, the stoke was high. We had a large turnout with 14 teams and scores of safety boaters, we also had two Robe Race "firsts".

2015 gave birth to the inclusion of the first female participants as well as the first long boat entries.

Ellie Wheat and Hillary Neevel are not the first women to paddle Robe, and they certainly will not be the last. They are, however, the first to step up and chase the glory that goes hand in hand with swimming in front of your friends. There was no carnage on their part; instead they shut out a couple male teams and came out the gates hot!

Joe Keck and I decided to take our love of long boats and our fear of fatal pins and combine them into one stressful morning.

 I had never taken a boat longer than a Dagger Mamba down Robe prior to the race and despite several spinouts in and below rapids; it went way better than I thought it was going to go. The Dagger Greenboat is quickly becoming the only kayak I want to paddle. I had so much fun in that boat!

David Spiegel & Will Grubb went the fastest and took the most chances this year; taking home the Robes and dominating the field with a 30 second lead over reigning champ Ben Hawthorne and Brian Fletcher. Sam Chesley and Jordy Searle came in third place.

1.) Dave & Will                                29:50
2.) Ben & Brian                                30:20
3.) Sam & Jordy                               30:42
4.) Sam & Benn                               31:00
5.)Henry & Adam                            31:29
6.) Darren, Scott & Christian           31:40
7.) Brad & Evan                               32:15
8.) Trevor & Chase                          33:20
9.) Joe & Dan                                   33:39
10.) Chris & Chris                            33:56
11.) Hillary & Ellie                          37:14
12.) Jon & JD                                   38:45
13.) Chris & Leif                              39:37
14.) Steve & Conor                          53:54

Eric Mickelson is an awesome photographer, great paddler and an all around decent dude who operates out of Bellingham. Eric took some awesome shots at T1, T2 and Last Sunshine.

Enjoy these great photos that Eric sent over:

You can see more of Eric's work right here:

Tammy Ritchey set safety at Catcher's Mitt and grabbed some sweet shots of the teams as they dropped into the Mitt.

Good ol Faceplant.

This years event follows the loss of a Seattle transplant boater in Robe Canyon.

 27 year old Xavier Engle tragically passed away on Robe Canyon this past winter. Xavier grew up in Alaska and moved to Seattle and enrolled in the UW school of medicine after attending Dartmouth College.

After the race was over, everyone paddled over to the Lounge and sat around drinking beers and dissecting race lines. Earlier in the year a couple folks took it upon themselves to haul an amazing tribute to Xavier into the canyon for kayakers and rafters to enjoy. It's definitely worth a stop to sit and reflect on why we do this incredibly rewarding and sometimes dangerous sport.

Once we paddled out of the canyon it was back up to Paca Pride at the putin. David had offered to allow us to host the event on their property and we obliged. These guys are amazing. They let us park on their property and they put up with all the shenanigans that go hand in hand with kayaking all the while running a successful business.

 If you're in the area or looking for a great non-paddling weekend adventure, take the time to check out Paca Pride. And if you paddle Robe, go in and say hello; they would love to meet you.

Leif stands by to name the winners and the rest of the losers.

Joe and I assumed that we were going to take home the Gnome this year, but due to a broken paddle, we were saved. This year the Gnome will be traveling with Conor and Steve as they boat in and around the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy it boys!

Leif does the honors.

The crowd waits with baited breath.

Will and David.

That kayaker life.

I have to say that in years past, I've paddled Robe so often that I'm surprised I don't have the combo for the gate at Paca Pride. This year however; the combination of out of country travel for work, school and a shoulder surgery had me dreading that phone call. I practiced my excuses for not racing in the shower, on the drive to work, in class. Every day my ability to say that I wasn't going to race was getting better and better. By the time I could say it with a straight face, without sweating, I got the call from Joe Keck.

"Hey bud, how's the shoulder feeling? Lets just get wild and let it all hang out. Lets race long boats. C'mon man, what's the absolute worse that could happen?"

That's a quick summation of the conversation that went down on, I think, the Wednesday before the race. Joe was motivated to rally the longboats down the Canyon and do it while completely out of breath. I was terrified and thought it was a horrible way to spend a perfectly good day.

 But it was awesome. My biggest fear was screwing up the line at Sunshine and going into that left wall, smashing my shoulder and potentially my face on the lovely undercut that waits to reward those with a poorly timed boof stroke. As level was on the lower side I was very concerned that some of the more vertical drops would present more of a pin potential.

But it actually went pretty well. I still buried my nose in the pile at Sunshine, but it didn't kick me as hard as I thought it would. Hole in the Wall got a bit sportier than I usually prefer and I am still kicking myself for not wearing the GoBro to catch the amazing gaze of terror that Joe and I shared when our eyes locked, mid carnage. But if it's not on camera; it didn't happen.

Good times.

Thank you to everyone that raced. Thank you to all the safety boaters. Thank you Leif Embertson for taking charge and herding these cats. Thank you David Capocci and Paca Pride for hosting us and just being awesome in a general way. The Washington kayak community appreciates your generosity and help in gaining access to this incredible streambed.

Until next year. Go fast and take chances!