Thursday, September 30, 2010

How to: The Bow Stall

How To: The Bow Stall

The bow stall develops great boat control and boat awareness as it involves balancing on the bow of your boat. It's also the first step in learning the flat water loop, bow pirouettes, split-wheels, as well as other advanced tricks.

To bow stall, you must first know how to throw your bow down.

Step 1: Throwing your Bow Down: In flat water, paddle forward in a straight line. When you are ready, put your boat on its right edge, while taking a large forward stroke on the right. This will cause your bow to lift into the air. Almost immediately, while keeping your boat on edge, follow up the forward stroke with a reverse stroke, smashing your bow down into the water. Continue the reverse stroke all the way to the bow of your boat. At this point, you should be almost vertical.

Tip: During this entire process, visualize your body being the center of rotation with your boat pivoting around you. Focus on using technique and torso rotation rather than force to bring your bow under the water.

*The lower volume the boat, the easier to throw it down, and the better for learning.

**If you are having trouble throwing your bow down, try filling your boat with some water.

Step 2. Stopping the Boat: Once you've got your bow down in the water and you are more or less vertical, you'll want to stop the momentum of your boat and put yourself into a bow stall. To do so, simply use your right paddle blade as a low brace and stop your reverse stroke, or give a small pull on your right paddle blade to slow yourself down.

Step 3. Balance: Now that you've stopped the boat, and you're sitting vertically in the water, it's time for position and balance.

The ideal bow stall position keeps your center of gravity low and in front of you, with your paddle far out in front of you near the surface of the water. Imagine your kayak and paddle blades forming a tripod. The farther each part of the tripod is from the other, the more stable the tripod will be.

In addition, try to keep your body centered, and make small movements. Once you learn the balance point of your boat, you can make large movements and move on to other tricks.

Fore and Aft Control:

If you feel as though you are falling forward, lean farther forward. Don't be afraid to go "snorkeling" and put your face in the water.

If you feel as though you are falling backward, lean farther backward.

Side to Side Control:

If you feel you are falling to one side or the other, try pulling on one paddle blade to center yourself.

Step 4: Bask in the glory of your first bow stall!

See you on the River!

Kim Russell

Little Girl, Big Boat Syndrome

Photo Copyright: Robin Carleton

Why are there so many people out there paddling boats that are "too big for them"?

I'm 120 lbs, 5'5, paddle a Diesel 80, and absolutely LOVE it. It drives a line, boofs like a dream, resurfaces in little to no time at all, and carries speed amazingly well. I couldn't imagine a better creeker.

According to the "weight range," I should be paddling a Diesel 70. So why do I choose to paddle a Diesel 80?
My Top 7 Reasons for Paddling a Big Boat:

1. Big boats with little people in them float higher than if we were in little boats. This is sweet when it comes to cruising through shallow sections. Scrapey sections becomes less scrapey.

2. Big boats with little people in them resurface FAST and boof BIG!!

3. Big boats have lots and lots of storage room for those fun multi-day river trips.

4. Big boats with little people get up to speed fast and hold their speed.

5. Big boats offer an added security feature of more surface area and plastic to take an impact. Lets us add more foam at the feet to protect our ankles too!

6. Big boats allow river runners to turn into creekers for us small-folk.

7. Big boats look cool in citrus ;)

Thanks Wave Sport for making Big boats so comfortable, easy to outfit, and awesome on the river for us little people!

Kim Russell

How To: The Loop

Looping is one of those tricks that isn't all that technical, but it sure can be frustrating when you're trying to learn! It's one of the coolest feeling tricks out there and I'm psyched to be able to share it with you!

The ideal place to learn to loop is a flat, deep hole.

Step 1: Get to know the hole: Surf out into the hole, and get familiar with it. Find where it's deep. Find where its shallow. Each hole tends to have a sweet spot where its deep and retentive, yet still friendly. This is the ideal place to loop.

Step 2: Now that you're familiar with the hole, spin or surf your way to the top of the pile.

Step 3: From the top of the pile, square up to the hole, lean your body forward, and allow the bow of your boat to enter the green water where the pile meets the seam of the hole.The deeper the bow goes into the water, the more potential you have for catching some big air.

As you sink the bow, be sure to bring your hands up in front of your body and out of the water. Otherwise, it is very easy to get your paddle stuck in oncoming green water or the pile.

**Step 3 is more about letting the water "pull" your bow under rather then forcing your bow down using power and speed**

Step 4: As the boat begins to "Ender", stand up, and bring your hands above your head. Just as your boat hits its peak in the "Ender", do a big sit-up, and tuck forward and onto the front of your boat.

"Kiss the deck" so to speak.

Step 5: As you kiss the deck, you will feel your boat begin to move into the air above you. Rather than using force to get the boat around, think about the boat moving around you as you keep your body at the center of the "loop".

Quickly move your body to the stern of your boat, and do one big kick of your feet down and away from you, while thrusting your torso onto the backdeck of the boat. You'll feel your stern land. If you have good pop, you'll be able to land the loop no problem as-is.

For smaller spots, or for loops with less "pop", you may need to land the loop on a stroke in order to pull the loop through and stay in the hole. To land on a stroke, simply move one blade toward the stern of the boat as you kick your feet and move to the back of the boat. The rest simply happens.

VOILA! You've done your first loop!


If you hit the bottom of the river in a place that you know is deep: Try sinking your bow higher up in the foam pile

If you stand up too early: this prevents the bow from pearling and causes the boat to plane into a surf

If you stand up too late: little-to-no air and a bottom-of-the-hole calamity

If you land on your head: Chances are you didn't tuck up hard enough or didn't kick your feet/move your torso to the back of your boat hard/fast enough. Be aggressive!

And of course, video:

Check out WS's Jonny Meyers and his Carbon Air:


Hope to loop with you soon!

Kim Russell

Wind River, Washington

Myself on the slide

There is no better way to spend a Saturday evening than running laps in a waterfall playground with friends.

The Wind River is located outside Carson, Washington and is home to Shipherds Falls, a series of 2 waterfalls, a sweet slide, and a good sized weir, all right next to a fishladder that is there for the sole purpose of walking up to run the falls again. Really, it is...

Cheyenne Rogers, Jesse Becker and Cody Howard take a break overlooking the waterfalls

Ryan Scott on Falls #1

Myself on Falls #2

Cody Howard boofin' the weir

Cheyenne Rogers, Ryan Scott and Jesse Becker hanging out at the hot springs below Shipherds Falls

Hope to see you on the Rio!

Kim Russell

Wausau Whitewater Park

Wausau Whitewater Park is a play-park right in the middle of downtown Wausau, Wisconsin. With about ten sweet features, the Wasau Whitewater Park is the Midwest playboater's home for the summer.

In early July, Jesse and I were fortunate enough to make it to the Midwest just in time for one of the releases. With busy eddies, awesome features, and some wonderful new friends, we made a full day of it and can't wait to go back! Special thanks to Scooter (Scott) and Steven Smits at Bear Paw Outdoor Adventure Resort for bringing us some sweet boats to use while we were there. You guys rock!

Bear Paw is a
destination adventure center for Northern Wisconsin featuring everything from mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, canoeing, tubing, and rafting packages on the river to quietwater trips on a nearby lake. In addition, Bear Paw offers cabin and chalet rooms near White Lake and Boulder Lake, Nicolet-Chequamegon National Forest and the famous Wolf River, as well as on-site camping for those fun family outings. Be sure to check them out if you're in the area.

Bear Paw Outdoor Adventure Resort

N3494 Hwy 55 ~ White Lake, WI 54491

715-882-3502 ~

Located on Hwy 55 ~ 3.5 miles south of Langlade

See you on the rio!

Kim Russell

Washington has the Goods!

Kim dropping into Double Drop in the Diesel 80

(Photo Copyright: Robin Carleton)

Freshly graduated from the University of Oregon, I am off to the Columbia Gorge for the next year or so for some quality paddling before grad school.

I know the Green Truss has been seen in virtually every paddling magazine and online forum, but the following pictures offer a new glimpse of the run.

Taken by Robin Carleton of Infinity Mountain, Robin is a photographer as well as a whitewater kayaker with an eye for the "next best photo."

On a recent Truss run, he came away with some quality images that intimately capture the whitewater we in the gorge know so well.

Chances are you have never seen the Truss from these angles before...

A new look at the run-out of Meatball and Bob's Hole: Jesse Becker and Kim Russell

(Photo Copyright Robin Carleton)

Kim Russell Below Bob's (Photo Copyright Robin Carleton)

Below Bob's (Photo Copyright Robin Carleton)

Jesse Becker at Double Drop (Photo Copyright Robin Carleton)

Keep an eye out for more photos from Robin!


Kim Russell


While everyone was in Colorado at the BV Pro Rodeo, I decided to stay home, get a head start on studying for my last finals EVER at the University of Oregon, and spend a wonderful Friday afternoon at a world-class hole 15 minutes from my house. Did I mention I was the only one there?

Oh yea!

Can you ever loop too much?

Pray for Rain!