Kokatat has outfitted a four-member team that just began a whitewater journey of a lifetime, reaching from South Africa into China.
Stage one of Expedition Inception, a two-stage expedition, will take the team from South Africa to Egypt. Over the course of about eight months, the paddlers plan to run and explore multiple first descents and source-to-sea waterways.
For those who woke up this morning with a dream to watch a kayaker going over a 75 foot waterfall while somebody does a backflip dive into the water right beside him, this should make your day complete.
From the YouTube description:
TWO extreme sports professionals take a leap of faith as they plunge headfirst down a 75ft waterfall. White water kayaker Ben Marr and skier Rory Bushfield executed the death-defying stunt at the Mamquam Falls in Squamish, Canada. Bushfield performed a "gainer" - a backwards somersault while still moving forward - from the top of the falls while Marr descended it in his kayak. However, the stunt was not without its dangers - only a few days before their descent a young Vancouver man drowned after leaping into the waterfall.
We have a change in direction for our week-long tribute to vintage whitewater kayaking videos. This time we go all the way back to 1984 and visit Mother Russia.
Back then, the Soviet Army was looking at new fighting and travel techniques when somebody suggested rafts and double kayaks as a method of transportation down raging rivers.
To help sell the idea, officials got together a troop, trained them up and then turned them loose down the river with the cameras rolling. They then turn the footage into a short film so the Minister of Defense can make a decision.
The whole thing is just over 6 minutes long and you can jump ahead to 1:20 to see the whitewater action. Highlights include an authentic soundtrack (whatever that means), lots of flips and spills (looks like they were demonstrating how safe they were?) and plenty of double kayak action rolling in the water.
Make sure you stick around for the mock battle at the end where the soldiers paddle downstream, jump out of their boats then start shooting everything they see. The mock deaths are super dramatic.
No word on what the Minister of Defense thought about the film.
You can watch the whole video below:
Our second clip for Retro Whitewater Week is a fantastic amateur film shot in 1988-89 on the Ottawa River. This film has it all; including great fashions, a wicked awesome soundtrack (including a sexy sax solo halfway through) and more Perception Dancers than ever thought possible.
Keep an eye out for the guy at 2:30 who is having the ride of his life as well as the elusive and rarely seen paddle helicopter spin at 1:20.
Welcome to retro whitewater kayaking week here at the Paddling Headquarters. I dug into the archives and found some real beauties that I will be rolling out all week. So let’s start with a big name first.
Anybody into downhill skiing will have seen or at least heard of Warren Miller and his yearly downhill skiing films dating all the way back to the 1950's. As a kid, I will always remember the thrill of watching skiers tumble off cliffs while at the same time managing to avoid being swallowed up by the avalanche following about 3 feet behind them.
While not as popular, Warren Miller also filmed lots of other extreme sports including surfing, mountain biking and for a brief time, whitewater kayaking.
Here is a short clip narrated in classic Warren Miller fashion. While I’m not sure of when it was released, looking at the boats and the liberal use of fluorescent colours on lifejackets and paddles, my guess is that it was in the early 90's.
Enjoy! Tomorrow we have some classic armature footage of the Ottawa River from 1988(ish). Oh the fashions...
I have got to admit this was the funniest kayaking video I have seen in a very, very long time.
From the Youtube Description:
Join us as we follow the world's greatest kayaker, adventure icon Trip Deacon, while he pushes action sports to new limits and creates the concept of kayaking without a kayak. Follow Trip as he searches for life's meaning and attempts to conquer his dream of being the first person to ever kayak down Lombard Street in San Francisco... without a kayak.
Walk on Water is a very inspirational whitewater kayaking film that you need to watch.
Here is the description on the Youtube:
When a skiing accident left Greg Mallory paralyzed from the waist down, he turned to whitewater kayaking to help him escape his wheelchair. Now he's an accomplished Class V whitewater paddler who finds strength, challenge and meaning in paddling rivers. This is his story.
Walk on Water was directed by Andy Maser who has shot several other whitewater films for both PBS and National Geographic. Check out his website where he has a very good documentary he put together about the largest dam removal project in the US. It’s called Oregon Field Guide Special: The White Salmon River Runs Free. If you are into exploding dams and huge flood water it will be right up your alley.
Thanks for Bryan for the heads-up.
Flicking through a fabulous collection of our supreme leader, Kim Jong-un looking at stuff, I discovered that North Korea is using the latest and greatest in outdoor safety technology.
What do we see below on these fine-young sky divers heads? Yep, those are Pro-Tec helmets circa 1994? It goes to show that a well-designed product that is basically just moulded plastic will last forever. In fact if you go to any good white water paddling school and you are bound to see a bucket full of these bad-boys ready to be rented out to students for $5 a day.
If you are keen at keeping with the latest North Koran trends you can still get one of those classic designs if you know where to look (ahem, Ebay).
Interested in seeing what else our leader approved of or at least stared at? Here is the full collection below.
Top photo credit: Reno_Whitewater_Kayak_0179 | Flickr - RenoTahoe http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/deed.en_CA / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Kokatat is proud to announce that professional whitewater kayaker and 2012 Canoe and Kayak Male Paddler of the Year, Isaac Levinson, has officially joined its team of elite athletes.
The twenty-three year-old Atlanta native began his paddling career as a whitewater slalom racer. Levinson’s strong foundation of slalom skills has brought success on the extreme racing circuit, where he has been a fixture on podiums over the last several years.
“Everyday on the river is an adventure for me; I’ve been able to kayak in some amazing places and push my personal limits on challenging whitewater,” Levinson said. “I’ve always been a big fan of Kokatat gear, and I’m excited to be joining their team and representing the company.”
Most recently, Levinson was given the coveted Canoe and Kayak Male Paddler of the Year Award at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2012.
He was the 2011 Green Race champion and North America’s top finisher in the inaugural AWP Whitewater World Series. Keeping close to his slalom roots, Levinson competed in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials and finished ninth in the highly competitive K-1 class.
Levinson will be wearing and providing feedback on various Kokatat products including the new Kokatat Maximus Prime. The Prime is the Type 5 rescue version of Kokatat’s latest and most advance PFD platform.
Levinson joins Kokatat’s distinguished group of paddle sport athlete ambassadors that includes among others such luminaries in the sport as Dane and Eric Jackson, Jesse Coombs, Paul Kuthe, and Adriene Levknecht the Canoe and Kayak Female Paddler of the Year.
For the full roster of Kokatat athletes and ambassador team members visit http://www.kokatat.com/team.
Jackson Kayak will formally unveil two new whitewater kayaks and a Stand Up Paddleboard (SUP) at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City, Utah. Jackson Kayak’s new Star series, now production ready, the groundbreaking Karma creek boats alongside the new SUPerCHARGER Stand Up Paddleboard were designed and manufactured at the company’s factory in Sparta, Tenn., and will be on full display throughout the expo.
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For the latest line of kayaks, Jackson Kayak returned to the successful partnership in design of David Knight and Eric “EJ” Jackson to produce a full upgrade to their leading freestyle Star series as well as adding depth to the creek/river running line leaning on the success of the 2012 Zen hull design with added creek-savvy innovation. Leading designer Tony Lee teamed with whitewater industry veteran Ken “Hobie”Hoeve to bring Jackson Kayak to a new stage in river craft with his introduction of the SUPerCHARGER, a SUP designed for running rivers and whitewater play.
Kayak: Star Series
Ready for World Championships Freestyle Kayak- Three sizes, like our past Star series, Star, All-Star, Super Star. Going for more user friendly than the Rock Stars but super high performance. Main differences from past 2010 All-Star, or 2012 Rock Star will be having a longer boat, again, with some of the benefits being slicier smoother feel, but still huge loops and aerial moves. Visual will be a very sexy boat, less stubby. The Stars will focus on lighter weight, fast, smooth, balanced and easy to paddle.
STAR Length: 67” Width: 25-3/8” Volume: 51-1/8 gal
ALL STAR Length: 70-1/2” Width: 26-5/8” Volume: 59-3/8 gal
SUPER STAR Length: 73-5/8” Width: 27-3/4” Volume: 67-5/8 gal
"Star Quote - EJ"
Jackson Kayak’s Fourth Generation Creek Boat in the past 9 years takes a big leap forwards. The Karma takes a turn towards speed, stability, and carving. Following up from the success of the 2012 Zen hull design, the Karma takes the speed and performance of it’s sister craft and is built for the tight lines and drops of the creek. Fast, stable, and forgiving, with predictable turning, boofing, and a bow that rises over anything in its way. The Karma will be released in October, 2012 in two sizes.
KARMA M Length: 8’6” Width: 26” Volume: 83 gal
KARMA L Length: 8’11” Width: 27” Volume: 96 gal
"Karma Quote - EJ"
This board is by far the most stable, stiff, durable and versatile river running SUP ever made. Constructed out of the same material as our whitewater kayaks it gives riders the ability to surf standing waves and paddle the most difficult rapids with ease. Its channel bottom hull and removable fins allow it to track yet spin quickly. It’s the board that will outlast and outperform in the river environment.
MSRP – $799
Length – 9’ 8” Width – 36” Weight –45 lbs
"I have paddled every type of SUP in whitewater and the SUPercharger is BY FAR the most stable and river worthy board I have ever used. It has it all. Superior stability, incredibly durable and versatile and it punches thru holes and waves yet allows the paddler to turn quickly. It makes any section of river more fun and instills confidence in it's paddler. This is the one board that anyone can hop on and immediately feel the stability and charge the river." – Ken Hoeve, JK SUP Guru
About Jackson Kayak: Jackson Kayak was founded in 2003 by Eric Jackson. Currently located in Sparta, Tenn., near the Caney Fork River, Jackson Kayak designs, builds, and manufactures a multitude of models. Their products are all made in the USA. Their line of high quality kayaks includes whitewater, creeking, touring, environmental, and fishing. Converting an old Levi’s Jeans factory into their manufacturing headquarters, Jackson Kayak has assisted not only in furthering the kayak industry but also promoting the economy of Sparta.