Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How to Outfit your New Creek Boat

How do you outfit your new creek boat?

This post outlines my suggestions as well as approaches to outfitting a new creek boat. Most of these approaches are applicable to a play boat as well as river runner, however some are unique to a creek boat.

New citrus and old faithful Diesel 80's.


There are two bolts on each side of the hip pads that are for moving the seat.

There is one bolt on each side, in front of the seat bolts, that is used in conjunction with the bolt on top of the thigh braces, to move the thigh braces.

The rest of the bolts on the boat are structural, so check for tightness, but otherwise there is no need to mess with them.


One of the first things to do is to play with seat position.

I like to start in a new boat with the seat in the center of the boat. This is a good "happy place" and it will be easy to tell if the seat needs to move forward or backward upon paddling it.

From the factory, seats come in different positions. In order to determine where it is at and where the "center" is, I suggest loosening the two bolts on each side of the hip pads (see photo above) 2 to 3 full turns. Once loosened, press the bolts down toward the boat so they sit flush with the plastic (There is a metal plate holding the bolts, which will stay tight and prevent the seat from moving UNLESS you press the bolts down into the plastic once you loosen them). Once the bolts are loose, sit on the back of the boat and the seat should easily move forward and backward. If it doesn't, loosen each bolt another full turn, press the bolts down, and slide the seat all the way forward and backward.

Depending on what you prefer to do, I like to mark, using a knife to make scratches in the plastic, the all-the-way-BACK position, and the all-the-way-FORWARD position. I do so by cutting lines where the front of the seat is relative to the rail (where the water-bottle is placed) when the seat is in these positions. It is then easy to find the "center" and tighten the bolts. If you don't want to make scratches in the plastic, consider using duct tape or a Sharpie marker, however be aware these tend come off with time.

For perspective, the bungee cord in the photo above is the water bottle holder between your legs. If you look closely, you can see the scratches I have put in the rail, noting seat position.


Now that the seat is in the correct position, move on to adjusting the thigh braces.

In general, when paddling, you want your legs slightly bent, with knees out toward the sides of the kayak. You want the thigh braces to wrap around your thighs, contacting them as much as possible. If there is a gap between the thigh braces and your thigh at all, try moving the thigh braces forward or backward to minimize it.

When adjusting the thigh braces, there are two bolts you want to play with (see photo above). First you will want to loosen the bolt furthest to the outside of the boat (the big one) 2 to 3 full turns. This bolt has a nut on the end of it, so try not to loosen it much past these 2 or 3 full turns, as you'll be getting close to losing the nut. If you do, it's not impossible to get it back on, but takes some time. Next, remove the small bolt (at the row of holes) completely.

You should now be able to slide the thigh brace forward and backward as it moves on the outer bolt. You will also notice you can pivot the thigh brace as well, and that there are two holes or positions for your thigh brace. The hole more toward the inside of the kayak allows your knees to remain more relaxed, compared to the hole farthest to the outside of the boat, putting your knees in a more aggressive position. Try them both, and whichever feels best and fits your style of paddling, go with it. I like the aggressive position.

In regards to forward-backward placement, play with the small bolt, and place it in the hole (in the row of holes) you feel best fits your position. Hold the thigh brace in place, and screw the small bolt into the hole on the thigh brace, detailed in the above paragraph that is most comfortable and best fits your paddling style.


Once you have the seat centered and thigh braces in position, move on to adjusting the bulkhead and placing foam at your feet.

First, while sitting in the boat, look down toward your feet and you'll see a silver rail running along side your leg, as well as a yellow wing-nut tightened onto a stud on the side of the boat, on each side. Loosen the yellow wing nuts (1 per side), pull the silver rails toward the inside of the boat to free the holes of the stud, and slide the bulkhead either toward the front of the boat, or the back of the boat.

As mentioned previously, when sitting in your kayak, you want a slight bend in your legs. You want your thighs wrapped by the thigh braces and you want your feet to be touching the bulkhead with your feet. That said, you don't want to be so tight up against the bulkhead that there is no room for foam and that your legs cramp up before you are even done outfitting. Therefore, when outfitting, I suggest pointing your toes, and bringing the bulkhead toward you to the point where your feet barely touch the bulkhead. Place the silver rails back on the stud in the correct hole relative to this position, and replace the yellow wing-nut.

Next, you will need to adjust the height of the bulkhead to prevent your feet from slipping between the bulkhead and the boat. When you are out of the boat and look down into the boat at the bulkhead, you will see two bolts on the surface of the bulkhead, that are holding a sliding plate stationary on the bulkhead (see above photo). Loosen each bolt about 2 to 3 full turns, and slide the top plate upward toward the top of the boat as high as it can go. Tighten these boats, and you are good to go.

Finally, take the foot foam that came with your new creek boat out of the bag (what I am pointing to in the very first picture). The left ones curve outward to the left at the top, and the right ones curve outward to the right at the top. They have a sticky back to them and can stick directly onto the bulkhead or to each other. I like to stick two or three of these together, and then glue them will gorilla glue to the bulkhead itself. I suggest doing the same. Reason being, by giving yourself a thick chunk of foam at your feet, you are giving yourself that much more room for your legs to move once the foam collapses in the event of a piton, thereby protecting your legs and ankles **. Rule of Thumb: The more foam the better!

**Remember, this is a creek boat and you will more than likely piton something HARD during the time you have your boat. You want to give yourself enough room at the feet to place enough foam for padding, and give yourself enough room for "flex" so that you don't injure your ankles or legs in the event of a piton.


Last but not least, take the hip shims (what I am holding in my left hand in the very first picture), out of the bag, and start putting them in your hip pads.

To do so, loosen your hip pads via the straps toward the back of the boat on each hip pad, and unzip the zipper hidden beneath the hip pad and the side of the boat.

Take your shims, and place them in the zipper. If you can't close the zipper, don't worry. As long as the shims are a tight fit, they should be okay.


Lastly, do a once over on all the bolts on your boat, making sure they are tight (grab loops included)!


Your boat is now outfitted for your first time on the water. Take it out on an easy local run and try it out. Play with the seat position and bulkhead position if you feel like you need to be a little forward or back of your current position.


If you are a small person in a large kayak, read on for some helpful hints:

1. Add another seat pad!

If you feel as though you are completely swamped in the boat and can barely see over the cockpit rim, consider adding another of Wave Sport's seat pads. Not only does it give you some added height, it gives you some extra cush, and since the seat pads are so elegant, no one will even notice there are two in your kayak!

2. Add a strip of foam under the seat pads, under your thighs!

If you feel as though you are now fitting in the boat height-wise and
can finally see over the cockpit rim, but you're having to hold your thighs up in the thigh braces, consider putting a strip of one inch

thick foam under the seat pads at the edge of the seat. The seat pads will velcro to the bottom of the seat, keeping the foam in

place. A little leg lift will lift your legs upward into the thigh braces, improve your paddling and give your legs a rest!

Keep in mind that every one is different, and what works for me may not work for you. If you have any suggestions or cool ideas on how to outfit a boat, chime in and let's hear it!

For information on what to carry in your creek boat, check out the following link:


See you on the Rio!

Kim Russell

The Crooked River is IN!

The Crooked River is one of those rivers that typically only runs for one week each year, if that. This year hasn't been an exceptionally great winter, so we were all more than a little surprised to look at the gauges and see the Crooked was running.

The put-in above Smith Rock (Photo from American Whitewater)

From Smith Rock State Park to the take-out below China Dam, the Crooked River is continuous class IV for about 15 miles, with a couple of miles of flat water at the beginning. I never though I would say this, but the flat-water section makes this trip worthwhile! Check out the view!

On a warm, sunny day, there are always climbers to watch as they make their way up the cliffs!

Smith Rock, Oregon (Photo from American Whitewater)

After the flatwater section around Smith Rock, the river begins to pick-up and the rapids begin!

There are some big holes in Rapid #1!

Wap-de-Doodle! (Photo off American Whitewater)

"China Dam," the take-out. (Photo of Oregon Kayaking)

Once at the take-out, we had a quick mile hike back to the car before a delicious BBQ dinner!

Our view on the hike-out (Photo by: Jesse Becker)

Hope to see you out there! The Crooked is still in at 2200 cfs and holding! Get it while it's good!


Kim Russell

2010 Northwest Creeking Competition

This past weekend was the 2010 Northwest Creeking Competition on the East Fork of the Lewis in South-eastern Washington.

Typically, this event takes place on nearby Canyon Creek, Washington, but due to a massive logjam a couple of years ago, the race was moved to the more-friendly, EF Lewis River, about a half hour away.

Boater's Meeting (Photo by: Capefalconkayak)

The event consisted of two main races: the downriver race and the mass start.

The downriver race started off with a bang in a pool about 50 yards above Sunset Falls, as racers sprinted one at a time downriver through rapids such as "Screaming Left", "Dragon's Back", and "John's Swimming Hole" to the finish at the confluence of Copper Creek.

The lip of Sunset Falls (Photo by: Capefalconkayak)

Racers at the start (Photo by: Capefalconkayak)

Kim Russell taking the middle line at Sunset (Photo by: Jenna Watson)

Jesse Becker airing out off Sunset (Photo by: Jenna Watson)

Christy G entering the gorge (Photo by: Allen Satcher)

Kim Russell in the gorge (Photo by: Allen Satcher)

Kate Wagner at Dragon's Back (Photo by: Allen Satcher)

Unloading back at the put-in (Photo by: Paul Kuthe)

Downriver Results:

K-1 Women Pro

  1. Kim Russell 10:38.33 (Diesel 80)

  2. Christie Glissmeyer 10:52.20

  3. Katie Wagner 11:26.63

K-1 Men Pro

  1. Tao Berman 10:00.45

  2. Darren Albright 10:12:45

  3. Ross Henry 10:17.52

  4. Todd Anderson 10:23.24

  5. Paul Kuthe 10:25.84

  6. Luke Spencer 10:42.38

  7. Dave Hoffman 10:43.84

  8. Jesse Becker 10:51.31

  9. Nate Herbeck 10:53.27

  10. Marco Colella 10:57.20

K-1 Men Expert

  1. Drew Eastman 10:27.24

  2. Nick Hinds 10:32.84

  3. Dan Rubado 10:33.91

  4. Scott Waidelich 10:34.56

  5. ? Bib #24 10:38.77

  6. Josh Knap 10:48.06

  7. Danny Young 10:51.95

  8. Matt Kurle 10:54.27

  9. Kenny Kiley 10:57.64

  10. Willie Illingworth 10:59.45

  11. Tom Decuir 10:59.51

  12. ? Bib #26 10:59.63

  13. Dan Parnell 11:02.41

  14. Chris Bensch 11:03.55

  15. Michael Gordon 11:09.88

  16. Shaun Rasmussen 11:12.00

  17. Eric Foster-Moore 11:12.98

  18. Pat Lynch 11:15.34

  19. Joel Fedar 11:17.49

  20. Ryan Young 11:21.85

  21. Paul Kelly 11:31.64

  22. John Cramp 11:46.66

  23. Bart Hemminger 11:51.90

  24. Phillip Kast 11:52.37

  25. Brian Schulz 12:15.51

  26. John Edwards 12:45.24

  27. Ty Overeem 16:02.95

  28. Josh Grabel 21:28.52

  29. Rob Anderson 50:?

Next up was the mass start, of which about 15 of us kayakers (male and female) started a couple rapids above Sunset Falls and sprinted to the location of the finish of the Downriver Race at Copper Creek. It was mayhem... awesome mayhem.

Ross the Boss, Tao, the author and Darren Albright charging toward Sunset (Photo by: Paul Kuthe

"Ross the Boss", Tao, and Kim Russell charging toward Sunset (Photo by: Jenna Watson)

And then there was... (Photo by: Jenna Watson)

Overall Mass Start Results:

Tao Berman
Ross Henry
Darren Albright
Kim Russell
Christie Glissmeyer

Check out the debauchery at Sunset Falls as us racers came through: Ross Henry is first off the falls, followed by Tao Berman, Kim Russell, Darren Albright and Christie G. Note the last paddler, Jesse Becker, off the falls who managed to pass three people in the process! YEA! He kept on passing his way toward the front of the pack throughout the race. That's what I'm talkin' about!

After the races were over, Next Adventure served up a wonderful BBQ,
while awards were passed out.

Cattle Call (Photo by: Paul Kuthe)

Glass mugs engraved with 2010 Northwest Creeking Competition as awards. Awesome!

(Photo by: Paul Kuthe)

All in all, it was a great weekend! Thanks to Luke Spencer and Next Adventure for putting together such a great event!


Til' next time!

Kim Russell

How to: The Boof

The Boof is one of the most important things to have in your bag of tricks as a kayaker. It can be used in almost any situation, but in general is a maneuver used when going off a drop or through a rapid, if you want to keep your bow up to go over something your bow would typically go under.

There are three main things to consider when boofing: Approach, Stroke and Body Position, and the Landing.

The Approach:

Bryan Kirk off the put-in falls on the Cheakamus River, BC

Just like any other stroke in kayaking, you want to plan where you want to go. At the top of a rapid or drop, when planning your boof, think about where you want to finish your boof and in what direction you want to be moving. Typically, if you are wanting to finish the boof right its beneficial to start the boof on the left, so you have some left to right momentum, and vice-versa.

A lot of people tend to struggle with finding the right balance in approach speed. Typically, speed is your friend and will allow you to clear larger holes, or ride up higher on obstacles, however it makes timing more difficult. Some paddlers choose to have only the momentum they need and no more, so as to ensure perfect timing and placement of the boof stroke. For some waterfalls, people choose to move faster than the water, however most choose to move at the speed of the water or slower to ensure control. Once you start boofing things, you'll develop and idea of how much speed and approach angle you need.

During the approach: 1) Have an idea of where you want to be at the end of the stroke, and plan your attack from above 2) Set your speed according to what you're boofing.

Stroke and Body Position:

The author off the put-in falls of the SF Feather, Ca

Timing of the boof stroke can be somewhat difficult, but a good rule of thumb is to never boof before you can see the bottom of whatever it is you are wanting to boof. If you boof before then, chances are you will boof too early and plug the drop. As you're approaching the drop, you want to take that last stroke just as you see the bottom: Reach as far forward as you can with a nice vertical stroke, shoot your hips forward, and before the end of the stroke, sit aggressively forward, (imagine crunching your knees to your chest) in order to raise your bow. This last part is crucial! If you don't sit aggressively forward and bring you knees up, all you did was go over the edge faster.

The Landing:

Jesse Becker leaning forward about to land off Sunset Falls, Wa

Depending on the height of the drop, the aeration in the pool below, and the strength of your boof stroke, flat landings can be very hard on both your back and your face. In general, you want to be careful boofing anything over 20 feet to avoid compression of your spine. After you've taken your boof stroke, you're body position is forward over the deck of your body, as you're in the air waiting to land. The ideal landing is to be leaning forward (to prevent back injury from landing sitting upright--spinal compression) take a forward stroke the second your boat hits the water, both for stability purposes, as well as to propel yourself out and away from the hole you just boofed over.

Now that you know step-by-step how to do a boof stroke, take your time and experiment with timing and approach. After a few, you'll quickly get the hang of it and will be boofing every rock on the river.

See you on the river!

Kim Russell

Middle Owyhee Self Support

Owyhee River Canyon

"You better have your s**t together," the words of a gas station attendant before we began our drive down the maze of dirt roads into the Owyhee River Canyon.

We had already driven seven hours, leaving Hood River, Oregon at about 9:30 am, and were ready to be at the river. After another hour and a half or so, we had reached the put-in, where we would camp and prep for the river the next day.

Christie G and I documenting our trip (Photo by: Jesse Becker)

The Owyhee River Canyon (Photo by: Christie Glissmeyer)

The Owyhee River is a tributary of the Snake River, its source located in Northern Nevada, then flowing into Southwestern Idaho and finally, Oregon. The 200-mile river is divided into three sections: the Upper, the Middle and the Lower. We planned to paddle the Middle section from Three Forks to Rome, a 37-mile long class II-IV (V) stretch in three days and two nights as a self-support. Typically, the Owyhee has a short water window, with prime levels being around 1500 cfs. The day prior to leaving, the level hit 1800 cfs, and we decided to rally. Having never done a self support, I was psyched to get on the river and try out my fully loaded Diesel 80.

Three Forks (Photo by: Kim Russell)

Once we arrived at Three Forks, the put-in for our trip, we immediately unloaded the car and set up camp. Or let me say we set about trying to make camp, as the tent poles that were so wonderfully packed in my boat slid out sometime during our 9 hour drive. Cool. Did I mention the Owyhee River Canyon has the highest concentration of Rattlesnakes in Oregon and it was forecasted to rain. Yeah, not too stoked. Thankfully we had brought a tarp and set about rigging up a sleeping shelter for the next few days. (Pictures later of the awesome ghettoness that was our home)

Day 1:

Drew and I "about to perform a Miracle!", as Christie would say. (Photo by: Jesse Becker)

Once the sun came up and our bellies were full of eggs and hashbrowns, we each performed a Miracle of our own and packed our boats for the next three days. Putting on at about 11:30, we were able to paddle 15 miles to "Bombshelter Cave" where we camped for the night.

Entering the Owyhee River Canyon (Photo by: Jesse Becker)

Jesse in the Heart of the Canyon (Photo by: Kim Russell)

The gang (Photo by: Christie Glissmeyer)

Just above camp (Photo by: Jesse Becker)

Bombshelter Cave (Photo by: Kim Russell)

Christie and Drew overlooking camp (Photo by: Kim Russell)

Chillin' around camp (Photo by: Christie G)

Unloading boats inside the cave (Photo by: Jesse Becker)

Fire-logs make for an awesome fire (Photo by: Kim Russell)

Day 2:

Day 2 we woke up to grey skies, which opened up into a full blown snow-storm within minutes. Talk about a temperature swing! Mid-sixties and sunny the day before, snow and mid-20's the morning after! By the time we put on, the storm had subsided, but we were left with fairly strong wind for the rest of our adventure. Putting on around 11:00, we made it to mile 32 where we made camp along a sandy plateau. Notable rapids along this section include Widowmaker, the only class V rapid on the run, featuring two big holes in a row.

Christie G (Photo by Kim Russell)

Leaving the Canyon (Photo by: Jesse Becker)

Widowmaker (V)

Christie G and I at Camp: Night 2 (Photo by: Jesse Becker)

Jesse and our shelter for the night (Photo by: Kim Russell)

Day 3:

We finished the trip off with a five mile flat-water paddle out of the canyon, making it to Rome, Oregon at about 10:30am on Friday.

The crew (Photo by: Kim Russell)

Here's one of the last pictures from our trip. We were psyched to have just completed our first self-support in the Owyhee Wilderness.

I have to say that my Diesel 80 performed to the highest of my expectations as a kayak for self-support trips. I was a little nervous about being able to fit all of my gear, however the Diesel 80 has plenty of room and I even ended up with some leftover space! To my suprise, the boat was easy to paddle when it was fully loaded! I highly recommend the Diesel 80 for self-support trips: it has a lot of storage room, which is easily accessed, it paddles well under load and is comfortable for those long days on the water!

Hope to see you on the river!

Kim Russell