Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Sturgeon Falls, eh?

There was a great group of us that headed North for the long weekend to hit the big, deep waves at Sturgeon Falls on the Winnipeg River. The river was higher than I'd seen it, running somewhere in the neighborhood of 70,000 cfs. That made for some big waves, crazy eddies, and lots of pictures.

Dennis volunteered to ride up with me to pick up the motorboat at my family's cabin. Little did we know that the huge flow rate would make the boat nearly useless as a shuttle and rescue vehicle. But, now we know for next year...

We had beautiful weather, with warm, sunny days and cool, clear nights. Nora, Dennis, and I learned from our cold and wet past experiences there and reserved a Yurt to sleep in. Even though the weather was better this year, I've gotta say the Yurt was worth it.

The paddling was great - Mike M and Scotty were throwing rapid-fire blunts on Surfer's, Alon was gettin' dizzy on Triple S, everybody was getting some quality spins and bounces on the waves. The big eddy behind the island had the twin whirlpools fading in and out, so if you timed it right you got the moving-sidewalk ride back up. Then again, if you timed it wrong, you had a ridiculous and frustrating time trying to paddle up hill through the boils.

The coolest part of the weekend was Sunday evening when the wind died out completely and the water was just like a mirror. You could actually see your reflection while you were on Surfer's. From the island, it looked like people were surfing on folds of mercury. Absolutely awesome.

I also have to give Katie huge props for being able to literally self-rescue after a swim. She can wet exit, grab her gear, drain her boat, and get in and paddle her way back to shore - all completely by herself while floating downstream. It was amazing.

The only problem with going to Sturgeon is that you're never there long enough. For me, it takes about 1 full day to get my brain comfortable in the big water. Unfortunately, by then the body's usually pretty worn out and the two never really get in sync. Next year I think I'll take Friday off to get an extra day, and hopefully do some conditioning as well. Shockingly, it turns out that sitting at a desk 6 days a week doesn't qualify as a training regimen.

All in all, it was a great weekend with some awesome paddlers. We paddled, chilled on the rock, surfed ourselves silly, hung out around bonfires, and told endless paddling stories. Tough to beat that. I'm already looking forward to next time.

Here are some pics from the weekend:
1) The Bomber Gear twins
2) Melissa cruising Triple S
3) Scotty working on blunts
4) Scott bouncing Surfer's
5) Me getting eaten by the foam

6) Alon discovering the silk-surf on Surfer's
7) Mike M setting up for a blunt
8) Mike L in front of Big Mouth
9) Me in a low-altitude blunt
10)Mike L riding the glass
11)Melissa basking in the warm sun

I've got videos as well - hope to get those up tonight, so check back!

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