Seth Ashworth: Blog
2018-03-19T15:41:00Z (C) Seth Ashworth Seth Ashworth An interview with Nouria Newman


After a vague amount of interest in my first episode of 'Questions you NEVER thought to ask' I managed to get French kayaker Nouria Newman to sit down with me and shoot the breeze for a bit.  We covered all kinds of topics including why she swims so often, baguettes, dating apps and more.  Check it out and let me know what you think. 



Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2018-03-19T15:41:18Z 2018-03-19T15:41:18Z Tech Review: Gnarbox: back up files and edit without a computer


New video this week.  A little different to the usual type of content I decided to review a useful gadget I used on my last kayaking trip to Uganda.  It is a way of backing up files, editing photos and video without the need for a computer.  I found this little gizmo super helpful on my last trip as there were often times when I was not in a position where I could have had my laptop in a secure location.  Plus this was way lighter weight than lugging my laptop around.  


Check the video, see what you think and if you want to buy one then check the link below.  Full disclosure I do make a little $$ if you buy through one of those links.  





Amazon USA:

Amazon UK:


Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2018-03-13T11:32:04Z 2018-03-13T11:32:04Z NEW VIDEO ALERT!! How to improve your front surf skills


One of my main goals for 2018 was to focus more on regular videos, I am hoping to get them out one per week on a range of subjects including tutorials, gear reviews, Vlogs and general kayaking flicks.  This week's video is all about improving your front surf skills.  Check it out, don';t forget to hit subscribe to my youtube channel and as always I would love to hear your feedback and what you want to see in the next tutorial videos.  


Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2018-02-26T11:54:33Z 2018-02-26T11:54:33Z Quick Uganda Photos round up.

untitled-08656Look at this Monkey! As the title suggests I just wanted to share a few photos from my recent trip to the White Nile river, Uganda.  I was there mainly to compete in UNLEASHEDxUGANDA (see last update) but was fortunate enough to be able to stay another three and a half weeks after the competition to do some more kayaking on the amazing White Nile River before its gone.  The impending Isimba Dam project is nearing completion and will likely flood most of the remaining rapids sometime this year.  Perhaps as early as June.  Although there will be a couple of rapids left after the dam, the epic waves like Nile Special and Kula Shaker will be gone soon.  I paddled in Uganda in 2010 before the completion of the Bujagali Dam and definitly had some bittersweet moments on this trip as I recognised places which were now underwater and were once amazing pieces of whitewater.  I am happy to have experienced the river before both of these dams but sad that they had to happen at all as they really don't benefit Uganda/Ugandans very much and are mostly being built because of kick backs and corruption.  In fact I am fairly sure the new dam will be one of the most expensive/least efficient hyrdro projects ever built.  It will displace a few thousand people, do irreparable damage to the ecosystem and increase malaria levels because of the greater amount of standing water. But anyway here are a few photos I took in my time outside of UNLEASHEDxUGANDA.  I have a more shots for UNLEASHEDxUGANDA coming at some point later this spring so stay tuned.  


Thats all for now, I'll hit up a more in-depth blog about my Uganda experiences in the net couple of weeks.  Until Then see you on the river! 



My Accommodation for the last month untitled-03309Multiple Bedrooms untitled-03304My crib untitled-03283-HDRLast sunset at Nile Special-This shot is an HDR untitled-0033034Last sunset surf at Nile Special DCIM\100GOPRO\G0033034. untitled-03155Ben Sandeman from Ottawa going big untitled-03071Future of Uganda's freestyle kayakers. untitled-03046Joseph always looks stoic in photos untitled-02791Dane Jackson at Kula Shaker wave untitled-02787Dane Jackson Airscrew at Kula Shaker untitled-02756Tom Paterson bringing Freestyle River Boarding to Africa untitled-02406Rory from Dewerstone before his first Nile Special surf untitled-02400Bren Orton watching Adrian Mattern Crash on the wave. Pure Joy untitled-02365Regan, one of the Neighbour kids. Loves pressing all the buttons on every electronic device. untitled-02359Typical nosy kids untitled-02333Bren Orton and Adrian Mattern getting food supplies in the Market untitled-02353Picture of a picture. #inception untitled-02346Jinja Market, Uganda untitled-08731Sunset down the river untitled-08696Flowers and butterflies untitled-08666Not sure what these birds are called but they are all up and down the river untitled-08644an Ibis I think untitled-08637More monkeying around




Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2018-02-19T10:42:24Z 2018-02-19T10:42:24Z UNLEASHEDxUGANDA round up. Athlete perspective.





In 2017 I competed in the first UNLEASHED competition in Canada.   A multi stage event testing athletes in both freestyle and racing events.  It was easily the event I enjoyed competing at the most throughout the year and really tested Athletes at the high end.  In my opinion it was the future of High end whitewater competitions and is so visually impressive that all non-kayakers can easily understand it. So when the SEND boys (Adrian Mattern, Bren Orton, Dane Jackson and Kalob Grady) told me they planned a similar event on the White Nile, Uganda I knew I wanted to go.  


The event was super important to me for 2 reasons. 1: The event format is pushing the envelope of what is possible with high end whitewater competitions and I want to be a part of that progression. 2: The impending completion of the Isimba dam project will flood much of the remaining whitewater on the White Nile, so I had to paddle it one more time.  I paddled in Uganda in 2010 before the completion of the Silverback dam, so I was aware before going that much of the whitewater I paddled in 2010 was now underwater.


I travelled to Uganda a week and a half before the competition started to get settled in and get used to surfing waves again. The night of January 5th all the Athletes met at Nile River Explorers base camp for the opening meeting and info on stage 1 (of 4).  


The opening meeting really set the tone for the competition.  4  stages that will test your skills to the limits with the goal to display high end whitewater that a wider audience can understand. Prepare for a challenge and remember to make smart choices as to if you will compete at each stage. 


Stage 1: Cuban Wave Big trick, Itunda rapid.  


The Cuban wave is in the centre of Itunda rapid.  If you have never paddled the Nile the Itunda rapid is one of the biggest rapids on the river. The Cuban wave lies in the middle of the rapid, and behind it are three stout holes (Ashtray, The Bad Place, The Other Place), all capable of dishing out savage beat downs. To catch the wave you have to cross an eddy line which is more like one huge whirlpool.  I had high hopes going into this event but ultimately it couldn’t have gone worse for me. 


All the athletes were split into 2 groups, each with an hour and forty five minutes of wave time. Top three tricks would be scored.  


This stage was the most frustrating for me.  Getting to the wave meant crossing a strong whirlpool type eddy line.  Attempt after attempt I was just getting eaten up by this whirlpool, sometimes held down, sometimes pushed downstream but every time missing the wave.  Finally on my 10th attempt and last of the day I was able to catch wave, but in all my excitement I wasn’t able to score any tricks which would have moved me up the leader board.  After stage 1 I was Tied 22nd with Alan Ward (who also was having a tough time catching the wave.) This still put us ahead of a couple of athletes who chose not to compete in this stage.  


Needless to say, not a great start to the competition.  



Stage 2: Dead Dutchman Boater-X

The in between competition days there was a mandatory practice lap required at the Dead Dutchman Rapid if you wanted to race Stage 2. I had never seen Dead Dutchman rapid, although I had heard it was one of the most challenging and consequential rapids on the White Nile.  


The Scouting day was intense.  I headed to the rapid with Craig Ayres (GBR) who had run the rapid before.  As well as a big crew of athletes, including Alan Ward (GBR),  Aoife Hanranhan (IRE), Katie Kowalski (CAN), Andrey Pesterev (RUS), Nick Beavis (GBR), Bartosz From Poland and Darby Mcadams (USA).  The mood was tense, from the scouting spot you can see most of the line, but it looks BIG.  In the safety meeting the previous night organizers had outlined where not to go and it was easy to see why.  Some of the hydraulic holes to the edge of the rapids where no go spots.  But there was a line for sure.  Lots of people were on the fence about weather or not they were going, personally I find it best to just make a choice and get down to business as soon as possible,  the more time I spend looking the worse I feel.  Craig, Andrey and I hopped in our boats to fire it up first.  I nervously ran through the line with Craig and Andrey in the eddy one more time, then we fist bumped, exchanged “see you at the bottoms” and went for it.  


The lap went great, much smoother and less stressful than I expected, although I still had some reservations about racing with 5 other people around me I felt much happier with a lap under my belt.  Darby and Alan came down in the second wave.  Both greased their lines.


That night at the safety meeting athletes who decided they would race had to write their name on a chalk board.  If your name wasn’t on the board 15 mins after the meeting concluded, or you had not completed your mandatory practice lap you would not be taking part in Stage 2.  


Race Day


The most nervous I have ever been before a Boater-X race (which are usually not stressful).  The mood amongst all the athletes on the shuttle up was tense to say the least.  This is a truck full of some of the world’s top kayakers and to a one they were all nervous.  One more quick scout with all the athletes then it was game time.  


We would start in a line facing upstream and when David Silk (who had been forced out of this stage with a shoulder injury from Stage 1) yelled “GO” it was game on.  I was in the first heat.  At the “GO” we were all close together as we got closer to the rapid. The last thing I wanted was to screw up at the entrance to the rapid because I was jostling for position too much, besides I was pretty sure all the placing would change mid way through anyway, as the course was a decent length. I dropped back into 6th place and entered the rapid.  First making the critical right turn, passing the fist big hole to the left.  At that point I could see all the other athletes in my heat with Dane breaking away from the crowd heading left and the other 4 going more right. I decided to play smart and tail gate Dane through the middle part of the rapid. I passed into second place, then a rogue boil flipped me.  I rolled up facing upstream, a quick look around and I knew I was about to go into the big Wave/hole in the middle on the Rapid.  I took a deep breath.  Then I was upside down, it was dark. When it calmed I rolled up and looked around.  I was perfectly online and Dane was just rolling up slightly behind me. We both started racing the last 400m to the finish.  He pulled slightly ahead of me but I kept charging, not daring to look over my shoulder and check how far away the others were.  Anyway the top 3 from each round would advance so as long as I kept up I could make it.  I finished round 1 in second with Tom Dunphy (IRE) just pulling ahead of Andrey to take third. After snapping a few pictures of the other heats I walked back to the top, ferried across ready for the Semi finals round.  This time I had more of a plan to try and replicate what I had done in round one.  


I started deliberately at the back of the pack, entered the rapid and started making overtakes.  The water was getting higher, it was noticeable at the entrance of the rapid.   Yuesf (UGA) and Dane had pulled way out in front whilst Tom and I were tight around the corner.  Tom and I were still close at the big wave hole section in the middle of the rapid, side by side in fact with Tom downstream of me.  I shouted at him “GO GO GO TOM” just as we were about to hit the biggest wave/hole.  Tom flipped as we rode up the shoulder, the down current of the shoulder grabbed at my stern and started flipping me too.  I braced on Tom’s boat but it was pointless.  The next monster wave/hole was on us.  I felt being pitched up with Tom’s boat beside me, on top of me, underneath me.  I could feel our boats hitting one another.  I tried to tuck my head between my arms to avoid being hit in the face.  When I rolled up I was hit by a new wave that had not been there in the first round.  It surfed me but I was able to stay in control and get to the edge. I could see Yusuf and Dane out ahead of me and I started hustling to catch up.  I was closing, I could make the finals and turn around my miserable perforce from the stage one.  Then out of nowhere I hit a boil and slowed down for just a second.  In that second Kaelin F. (USA) got ahead of me.  I was hustling to get back into third place.  My bow was touching his stern.  I was working as hard as I could.  I could see Craig in my peripheral catching up too.  In the end Kaelin stayed ahead and I tied 7th place with Tom Dolle in the other semi final.  


After stage 2 I was 15th overall.  


Stage 3: Best Ride Competition, Nile Special Wave


The mood amongst the athletes took a significant turn toward being relaxed through this stage.  A best ride comp on Nile Special wave, where athletes would be scored on the tricks they pulled off, with multipliers for style and use of the wave. I had been hustling all morning trying to snap photos and by the time I had gotten back to my boat for my first 3 rides (of 6) I was exhausted.  My first 3 rides were a write off.  Luckily only one counts so I had a snack, some water, shot some more photos and then got back in for round 2.  Fortunately the snack paid off and I was able to get one reasonable ride, although I definitely wasn’t able to pull off all my tricks I was able to net 12th place in this event pulling me up into 13th overall after stage 3.  




Stage 4: Mass Start Race, Hair of the Dog Rapid


The final round of the competition.  All the athletes Men and Women Would start at the same time and race down the Hair of the Dog Rapid.  A long race made much crazier by having all 21 men (4 out with injury) and 5 women for a total of 26 kayakers all trying to get down at the same time.  


This stage was nuts, there were people ahead of me, behind me, to my left and right.  As we entered the rapid the pack started to split but being on a rapid as wide as this one there was not enough space.  We were on top of each other, some people were flipped whilst others paddled over them.  Rogue eddy lines and boils changed the order constantly.  After not having the best start I kept charging trying to get back to the front, but the front racers were ahead by a bit.  I tried to make a pass at the end but crowded finish line held me out.  With only one shot at this one it was a tough blow to not make the top five that I so badly needed to crawl back into the top 10 overall.  







At the end of the Competition I was 15th Overall.  



I had been aiming to come in at least the top 10 of this comp but after a miserable results of stage 1 I struggled to make a Rocky Balboa style comeback. Even still I am always stoke dot be a part of the UNLEASHED Competition series.  In my opinion this competition is the future of high end whitewater competitions and is pushing whitewater more and more into the public image with visually stunning content that is easy for ‘non-kayakers’ (muggles) to digest.  I hope to be apart of the next event this spring.  




Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2018-01-20T10:25:47Z 2018-01-20T10:25:47Z [Video] Adventures in Argentina Ep 4 of 4


Its finally here.  Final instalment from my Argentina travel Blog series.  This one follows the finals day with some coverage of the kayaking, hilarious commentary from Nick Troutman and some choice interviews from people like JNR mens world champ Tom Dolle and whitewater legend Clay Wright. Check it out and don't forget to hit SUBSCRIBE over on my youtube.  




Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-12-11T15:42:06Z 2017-12-11T15:42:06Z [Video] Adventures in Argentina Episode 3 of 4?


The Adventures continue in episode 3, this one covers the Event opening ceremonies, a useful Life Hack and follows one of my buddies Anna Bruno through her progress in the Women's Squirt Kayak Category from the first few days of the competition.  Hoping for ep 4 some time next week!


Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-12-06T00:20:15Z 2017-12-06T00:20:15Z [Video] Adventures in Argentina. Episode 2 of 4?


Next episode in my Argentina Video Series online now.  This one takes us through the epic Thanks Giving feast I was invited to a couple of days ago.  Epic feast with a ton of epic humans! Huge thanks to Kristine and EJ Jackson for hosting us.  Don't forget to hit subscribe on my Youtube channel to see episode 3 first. 


Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-11-25T14:06:54Z 2017-11-25T14:06:54Z [Video] 1 Simple tip to Improve your Whitewater Kayaking


Hey Everyone, 

Training and preparation for Freestyle Kayak World Champs is getting more and more frantic, but before departing next week I wanted to get this new tutorial video out there.  Give it a watch, try it out, let me know if it helps you or not in the comments. I am thinking about cheffing up more videos like this so be sure to hit that SUBSCRIBE button on Youtube to see the next one as soon as it comes out.  



Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-11-07T00:27:33Z 2017-11-07T00:27:33Z New Gear Love: Snapdragon LIPS Armotex spray deck (Spray Skirt)


I got my hands on some new gear a couple of weeks ago that I have been pretty stoked about so far.  A randed skirt from Snapdragon designs.  Named the LIPS deck it has the classic Snapdragon 'Armotex' top for better durability.  So far I have been really impressed with 'dryness' of the deck, I have done full play sessions with barely any water entering my boat.  The rand fits my boat(s) snuggly but without being a hassle to put on (fits Rockstar M 2014/16 and Nirvana perfectly), it has an easy to use pull tab/loop to take off which replaced the bulky plastic handle that the last Snapdragon skirt I used had way back in 2013 (which sucked because it was loud and heavy and unnecessary).  The rand look like it is glued under tension which gives the best fit, and the deck is just one piece of Neoprene so it doesn't have a bunch of seams that can start leaking on you.  Two weeks in I am very happy with it, although I haven't used it on any stout creeping missions or big drops yet I am pretty comfortable it is going to be a bomber deck (skirt).  Check them out if you are looking for a new spray deck  The only thing I would recommend is going a little smaller on the tunnel size than you think as it stretches a bit. I got a Medium tunnel but wish I had gone for a small as it is a bit baggy around the waist.   untitled-0129820untitled-0129820DCIM\100GOPRO\G0129820. untitled-0119817untitled-0119817DCIM\100GOPRO\G0119817. untitled-0119812untitled-0119812DCIM\100GOPRO\G0119812.

Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-09-11T20:00:50Z 2017-09-11T20:00:50Z New Video: How to Improve your Boof Stroke.

I haven't busted out a new video for a while but thought it was about time to flex some instructional muscle given than I just got a new Creek boat the JK Nirvana (which is sick btw). Anyway check out this video, give the advice a try if you want and let me know if it helps you or not.  Thanks a lot to Mike McKay who filmed some of this for me on the Rouge river, QC and the Racquette river, NY.  Enjoy!inst


Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-09-09T16:43:56Z 2017-09-09T16:43:56Z Tapping out: Will not be competing at Montreal Eau Vive 2017 due to illness


Bummed to say I am going to have to miss MEV 2017, after spending the last week basically either laying in bed or laying on the couch with what turned out to be Strep Throat (which I am currently taking medication for) I won’t be able to make it to MEV 2017.  But I am BUMMED to miss out on one of my favourite events of the year, Jetski access surf waves and a Boater-X like no other thanks to Saute Moutons Jet boats.  


Good luck to all the competitors this year.  Will Bren Orton retain his title? Will Dane Jackson actually break into top 10 this year after having a very bad time on the Boater-X in 2015? Will Kalob Grady reclaim his title? Lots of excitement and tons of other stuff sign on around the comp so if you are in Montreal, or even nearby swing over and check it out on one of the days.  It’s gonna be AWESOME!!!

Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-08-10T23:51:40Z 2017-08-10T23:51:40Z The Hype is real. Jackson Kayak Nirvana First impressions.



I was lucky enough to hear about a new Jackson Kayak Creek boat a little over a year ago, on the drive back from the ‘Search for Dream Wave’ trip, Dane Jackson showed me the CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawings on his phone.  Through the winter as the prototype phase was happening I was keenly following Dane, Rush Sturges, Alec Vorhees and a few others who were involved in the prototype testing.  Whenever I heard something from them it usually started with “Dude, this boat is gonna be so sick"  but it is natural for them to be hyped about it, after all they are helping to improve it.  

untitled-0218919untitled-0218919DCIM\100GOPRO\G0218919. untitled-0218902untitled-0218902DCIM\100GOPRO\G0218902.

Then earlier this spring I had the chance to paddle the final prototype whilst I was staying with Clay  and Stephen Wright (no they aren't brothers) in Tennessee.  I was blown away at how easy it was to paddle.  Although it was a 9ft boat it felt nimble and easy to turn.  Acceleration was off the charts, it was super stable and had enough bow rocker to comfortably rocket through almost every boof on the river, with no effort.  But I was still wary.  I know that the things can change between the final prototype and the finished product due to tiny changes in the mould, plastic cooling time, etc etc so I did my best not to be too pumped about it before I received my finished boat.  

Well, I got my new boat on the weekend and wasted no time on getting out and using it on some of the limited creeking options we have here in eastern Canada in the summer time.  I paddled it first on the Seven Sisters section of the Rouge river, and then a day on the Racquette river in upstate NY.  This boat is even better then the prototype. The knee position is a hair lower and the edges are just a bit easier.  It boofs easily, accelerates like a dream, turns easier than the large Zen that I am moving out of.  It is a lot of boat at 9ft long but it doesn’t feel like a lot.  The thing I enjoyed most was the feeling of ‘ease of use’ feeling that the Nirvana made me feel.  I have only paddled my freestyle boat for almost 10 weeks on only bigger volume whitewater, but the Nirvana made it easy to hop straight back into some class 4/4+ creeking like I hadn’t missed a day in my creek boat. So far very very stoked on paddling this boat and can’t wait to paddle it a lot more.  untitled-0309388untitled-0309388DCIM\100GOPRO\G0309388. untitled-0228969untitled-0228969DCIM\100GOPRO\G0228969. untitled-0289278untitled-0289278DCIM\100GOPRO\G0289278.

Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-08-03T13:45:39Z 2017-08-03T13:45:39Z Maniflowba- The Search for Dream Wave. FULL PHOTOS

Epic Northern lights at hour 35 of the driveEpic Northern lights at hour 35 of the drive

A highlight trip for me in 2016, a trip that was years in the making, uncertain from the outset but once we set off was better than all of my dreams.  I wanted to try and put the trip into words but there aren't enough adjectives in the dictionary. I decided to just publish my highlight reel photos as a kind of essay on the journey.  The gallery is in roughly chronological order, somewhat.  Through the course of 12 days I took over 3000 images and whittled them down to this set of just over 100 of my favourites.  Hopefully I will be able to write something down about it eventually but for now enjoy these images, let me know if you love them or hate them.  Prints available? Maybe someday...


The trip was supported in part by Ottawa Kayak School/Wilderness Tours who helped us with gear, a vehicle and getting out there.  Thanks for the help!

Pre-trip planning before leavingPre-trip planning before leaving UncertaintyUncertainty Satellite image inspectionSatellite image inspection Optimism on the never ending driveOptimism on the never ending drive 27 hours driving, finally in Manitoba. Still 10 hours driving to go.27 hours driving, finally in Manitoba. Still 10 hours driving to go. Food prepFood prep Liquor prepLiquor prep Second epic sunset of the drive thereSecond epic sunset of the drive there sunset stokesunset stoke LP Rivest Pensive at the Put inLP Rivest Pensive at the Put in Prepping the boatsPrepping the boats Prepping the motorsPrepping the motors Prepping the foodPrepping the food RiggingRigging Boats packed, ready to leave Cross lake, Manitoba.Boats packed, ready to leave Cross lake, Manitoba. Boat fortressBoat fortress Send off meal from the People of Cross LakeSend off meal from the People of Cross Lake SmileSmile Rowing outRowing out Tom Paterson horsing around at the last bridge we will see for two weeksTom Paterson horsing around at the last bridge we will see for two weeks Dane Jackson TrollingDane Jackson Trolling Crossing some flat water lakesCrossing some flat water lakes Joel Kowalski CastingJoel Kowalski Casting Kalob Grady taking a shift on the helmKalob Grady taking a shift on the helm White Mud fallsWhite Mud falls Bren Orton heading out for a scoutBren Orton heading out for a scout Looking for a portageLooking for a portage Scouting at Eve's fallsScouting at Eve's falls Lining the boats at Eve's fallsLining the boats at Eve's falls Lining the boats at Eve's falls  2Lining the boats at Eve's falls 2 Lining the boats at Eve's falls 3Lining the boats at Eve's falls 3 Camp 2.Camp 2. Dane getting his morning oatsDane getting his morning oats untitled-06425untitled-06425 Kalob Grady practicing with the shotgun incase of Moose attackKalob Grady practicing with the shotgun incase of Moose attack Benny Marr practicing good foot healthBenny Marr practicing good foot health Dirty FeetDirty Feet Huge Pelicans, everywhereHuge Pelicans, everywhere Launching thew drone (for almost the last time)Launching thew drone (for almost the last time) LP getting his first sight of Dream WaveLP getting his first sight of Dream Wave First raft descent of Dream wave rapidFirst raft descent of Dream wave rapid Bren Orton Heading down Dream wave rapid, first or second?Bren Orton Heading down Dream wave rapid, first or second? Hal Monkan modellingHal Monkan modelling Bren Orton catching airBren Orton catching air Benn Marr getting his first taste of Dream Wave airBenn Marr getting his first taste of Dream Wave air Kalob Grady catching his first surfKalob Grady catching his first surf Benny Marr describing the waveBenny Marr describing the wave Dane Jackson throwing this first aerialDane Jackson throwing this first aerial Benny Marr launchingBenny Marr launching Benny Marr getting invertedBenny Marr getting inverted Dane Jackson Dropping inDane Jackson Dropping in Kalob Grady getting hang timeKalob Grady getting hang time Parking the raftsParking the rafts The loading bayThe loading bay Sunset over the loading baySunset over the loading bay Dane Jackson taking it all inDane Jackson taking it all in First sunset at paradise campFirst sunset at paradise camp First Campfire at Dream campFirst Campfire at Dream camp First alternate spot campfire at dream campFirst alternate spot campfire at dream camp Tom Paterson Front flip at Dream WaveTom Paterson Front flip at Dream WaveInterested in Human Flight? Enjoy swimming? Yea I have a guy you can call about that. @freestyleriverboarding on custom @earthveins boards. That and some wild gymnastics abilities, sick swimming skills, and a seemingly fealess attitude that I still do not understand. // #travel #adventure #explore #fly #igers #instadaily #instawow #instagood #riverboarding #sonya6000 #freestyle Kalob and Dane stoked after build a huge driftwood fire for two hoursKalob and Dane stoked after build a huge driftwood fire for two hours Paradise Camp. Benny and David's tentParadise Camp. Benny and David's tent Fresh fishFresh fish untitled-08342untitled-08342 Delicious filletsDelicious fillets Tea time with Ben MarrTea time with Ben Marr When David Jackson is finished filletingWhen David Jackson is finished filleting David Jackson chiffon up another teaDavid Jackson chiffon up another tea Dane through the woodDane through the wood Hal and Benny Yoga timeHal and Benny Yoga time Dane soaringDane soaring Dane paddling out for another surfDane paddling out for another surf Tom throwing down as Benny watches onTom throwing down as Benny watches on Benny throwing down as Tom watches onBenny throwing down as Tom watches on Bren Orton rallying for another surfBren Orton rallying for another surf Kalob Grady with a dreamy pan amKalob Grady with a dreamy pan am Tom Paterson Can Can 1Tom Paterson Can Can 1 Tom Paterson Can Can 2Tom Paterson Can Can 2 Bren Orton STOKED!Bren Orton STOKED! A big crowd in the standsA big crowd in the stands Joel Kowalski watching his dream [wave] come trueJoel Kowalski watching his dream [wave] come true LP Dialling it inLP Dialling it in Early morning sun at Dream Wave 1Early morning sun at Dream Wave 1 Early morning sun at Dream Wave 2Early morning sun at Dream Wave 2 untitled-08920untitled-08920 Joel getting his fish onJoel getting his fish on Rod handsRod hands Bren grabbing that sunset light shot. #nophotoshopBren grabbing that sunset light shot. #nophotoshop Bren Orton laying out a fattyBren Orton laying out a fatty Stern Tap!Stern Tap! Benny Marr upside down againBenny Marr upside down again Paddling back inPaddling back in Joel Kowalski getting a ride in Hal's brokeJoel Kowalski getting a ride in Hal's broke Tom grilling Benny on ideas for his next trickTom grilling Benny on ideas for his next trick Kalob Grady Creek boat airscrewKalob Grady Creek boat airscrew Tom Paterson in beast modeTom Paterson in beast mode Paddling with Dolphins 1Paddling with Dolphins 1 Paddling with Dolphins 2Paddling with Dolphins 2 untitled-09328untitled-09328 Defying gravityDefying gravity Moon riseMoon rise Sun set at paradise campSun set at paradise camp Sport ShootingSport Shooting Faint northern lights at paradise campFaint northern lights at paradise camp Another of many campfiresAnother of many campfires medium northern lights over 'Boogie Board Bay'medium northern lights over 'Boogie Board Bay' Ben Marr flying at the last morning at Dream WaveBen Marr flying at the last morning at Dream Wave untitled-09626untitled-09626 Hal Monkman throwing HUGE at the last morning of Dream WaveHal Monkman throwing HUGE at the last morning of Dream WaveEver wondered about how to fly? I know some people you can talk to about it. This is Hal (OFTEN mistaken for @bennymrr ) he can fly. #fly #travel #adventure #explore #Manitoba #ManiFLOWba #igers #instadaily #instagood #instawow #picoftheday #fun #smile Packing up to leavePacking up to leave Joel Kowalski ready to peel outJoel Kowalski ready to peel out Not even the biggest wavesNot even the biggest waves Decompressing at the Air Cadet hut in Cross Lake, MBDecompressing at the Air Cadet hut in Cross Lake, MB Joel explaining where we went to an elder of the communityJoel explaining where we went to an elder of the community The same elder explaining to LP why more people should come to Cross LakeThe same elder explaining to LP why more people should come to Cross Lake A friendly bear we saw on the drive homeA friendly bear we saw on the drive home One of MANY gas stopsOne of MANY gas stops 40hr drive home life40hr drive home life LP Rivest throwing down as the fire ragesLP Rivest throwing down as the fire rages Joel hiking back up for his next rideJoel hiking back up for his next ride Dane getting aerialDane getting aerial Moody skies at dream waveMoody skies at dream wave Benny Marr in flight againBenny Marr in flight again Hal Monkan showing his signature Left Pan AmHal Monkan showing his signature Left Pan Am untitled-08193untitled-08193 Party surfingParty surfing Tom on his way up for another lapTom on his way up for another lap Dream Wave stokeDream Wave stoke Kalob Grady sending a big Flip TurnKalob Grady sending a big Flip Turn Prepping some good eatsPrepping some good eats

Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-06-06T01:10:18Z 2017-06-06T01:10:18Z Truck Life Tour 11: 10,000 Miles later


untitled-02180untitled-02180Flying toward the weekend like WWHHHHAAAATTTSSSUUUPPPPPP!!!!! Kind of like what @danejacksonkayak is doing here pictured at Big Bus wave, Ottawa river, Canada. #freestyle #kayak #igers #instawow #instadaily #travel #adventure #explore #kayak #igers #instawow #instadaily #travel #adventure #explore

I cannot believe its all over.  Two months of travel, over 10,000 Miles driven, Im not even sure how many rivers paddled and waves surfed.  More fast food stops than is probably healthy, lots of coffee and now I am back on the banks of the Ottawa river, Truck Life Tour’s last stop.  


We spent our last week of #TruckLifeTour paddling at the Ruins wave in Ottawa for the final time this season as the levels finally dropped too low for this high water wave.  Spring flood on the Ottawa was ridiculously high this year, some news outlets were saying a one in hundred year flood, some were reporting more.  Ruins wave is usually one of the waves that comes in earlier and it is so unusual that we are able to surf it in not only nice weather (one of the days last week was 28C).  Personally my paddling has had to take a bit of back seat as I have a minor shoulder injury at the moment that I am babying until it is better.  But I was able to shoot plenty of photos.  To be honest we have such an unusually high number of Ruins days this year I would be pretty content not shooting any more airscrew photos there but thats just me, they do still look cool.  

untitled-02280untitled-02280 untitled-02222untitled-02222Walla walla walla. Big Bus Power with @davidsilkkayak #travel #adventure #explore #explorecanada #igers #instadaily #instagood #instawow

The last two months has been high highs and some lows, but hardly.  Sleeping in the back of the truck as snow fell in Utah (or one of the joining states), anytime it rained whilst we were in the back, the realisation that the leaks were continuously getting worse and that most of the stuff in the back would be getting wet if we didn't put our gear into drybags, banging my head on the truck topper three times a night whilst getting into bed and two times per morning everytime I got out of bed. All in all a small price to pay.  



Really the story here is to say THANK YOU to a bunch of people who were main helpers along the journey of this tour.  Clay Wright who's idea it was for this blog story in the first place (we were doing the trip anyway) and also his hospitality for hosting us in the South-East, letting me borrow a boat(s) whilst in the area, The Jackson family for their southern hospitality whilst we were there, Nick and Emily Troutman for letting us crash in their house, NOC rafting centre who at least didn't complain about us posting up in their staff parking lot (whether they were OK with it or not was never clear), Stephen Wright for looking out for us in Columbus, GA, The SEND lads who went above and beyond to create the amazing UNLEASHED event which was absolutely the highlight for me of our two month tour,  New World Rafting for housing us during the Boater-X event, Emrick Blanchette who hosted like 30 people at his house in the pouring rain after the Giant Slalom, Wally at Quebec Raft/Wallys Photos for letting all of us sleep at the rafting base before the event and afterwards in the build up to Defi des grande Riviere (which is another epic event that I am excited to return too), the lads from Quebec Connection that mastermind Neilson race (which was a lot more satisfying this year as I finished the race without a swim, and on the podium).  

untitled-02573untitled-02573 untitled-02668untitled-02668it was great to see @nicktroutmankayak back on the his home waters of the Ottawa river, even if it was just for a few days. #homewaters #myottawa #explorecanada #igers #instadaily #instawow

And finally biggest thanks most of all to my tour partner Brooke Hess for putting up with me for the last two and a bit months, I am sure it hasn't all been plain sailing, but through all the long drives, long conversations, long arguments, it has been a lot of fun.  Brooke is now on her way to USA team trials in Buena Vista, Colorado so good Luck Brooke! 


And that is it.  Done.  There won’t be anymore #TruckLifeTour updates for a bit, although I have a few supplementary blogs I may get around to eventually but its not happening today.  I have one more week before stuff starts getting really busy with my real job as Director of Ottawa Kayak School, so I plan to enjoy some more kayaking time, catch up on other blogs and video editing projects and get ready to work hard because as fun as summer on the Ottawa always is, it is ALWAYS a lot of work.  


Follow me on Instagram @seth_ashworth

Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-05-23T21:28:06Z 2017-05-23T21:28:06Z Truck Life Tour 10. More kayaking, more competitions, more FUN.


untitled-01815untitled-01815 The Stakeout continued in full swing last week as we brushed off our hangovers from the UNLEASHED after party with some Mistassibi laps on Sunday.  We sent it with a big crew many of whom were running the river for their first time.  Mistassibi is a crucial river on the STAKEOUT radar, it holds many of the best surf waves in the world at high water including H2O wave, UCats2BKittenMe, Guantanamo, Black Mass and Ginormica all in the rafting section as well as Molly further downstream. When the level is too high or low for the waves we usually just runs laps of the river as it is a fairly short section.  The style of the river is pool drop, over 4km it twists and turns through 5 long rapids which are enormous volume. Towering overhead waves surround you and there are often times when you feel completely alone, with water all around you and no possibility to look around and see where the rest of the group is because of the height of the waves.  There are some big holes too and whilst most are easily avoided that doesn't mean you won’t see them and feel fear.  

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Traditionally you're first time down high water Mistassibi means you have to paddle all the rapids blind and first.  I remember my first lap down vividly.  Actually I don’t remember particularly the lap itself but the feeling of utter terror when Ben Marr told me of the tradition as I was putting my spray deck on. I remember feeling that terror grow as I was given loose beta for the run and sent on my way as the others gleefully watched me, and I remember being so confounded by the size of the river, the size of the waves and the size of the holes. Most vividly of all I remember the satisfaction of getting to the end of the run with good lines and a face which hurt from smiling.  Although it was scary it was totally worth it, and honestly you only get one chance to have your first time down a river.   But this time the shoe was on the other foot and I was the one gleefully sending my friends out in front to have the same experiences I had, happy in the knowledge that I had given  them enough information for them to successfully find their way down but still keep an air of mystery about where we were going.  And at the end of the run I was happy to recognise the same look of satisfaction as I had experienced my first time down the mighty Mistassibi.  


Monday we had prime levels at a challenging wave called UCats2BKittenMe, which is steep, green, hard to catch (which usually makes it frustrating) and so much fun when you catch it.  Last year I ended up paddling just one day as I had strained a muscle in my back the weekend previous during a swim during my Nielson race lap (more on that later), and as a result I had few surfs at this feature, and many attempts.  This year I was determined to keep an upbeat attitude and after 2 hours, 15 attempts to catch the weave, 15 tours back to the top I had notched up 2 rides.  Now I know what you are thinking, 2 rides  in 2 hours? You must suck, but honestly this is an improvement for me on last year and better luck than some other people had during the same session. The key is just keeping your chin up, altering your approach tactics slightly and trying again.  


The levels rose the next day and we sent more Mistassibi laps as well as a quick surf at Detonator wave in Alma. We ended up at Detonator the next three days which is unbelievable as all of the previous stakeouts I have been on we have never had good levels on this wave. It is a huge, fast wave that takes work and a little bit of luck but dishes out monster air.  

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untitled-02012untitled-02012 untitled-02024untitled-02024A sense of scale. Jon Paterson taking abreath before jumping in to ride Detonator wave, Alma, QC. #small #travel #adventure #explore #explorecanada #igers #instadaily #instagood #instawow untitled-02032untitled-02032

The weekend there were two competitions in Quebec, The Nielson Race near Quebec city on Saturday and Defi des Grandes Rivere in Dolbeau on Sunday. At 5 hours apart most people would choose one or the other but for Bren Orton, Dane Jackson, Kalob Grady and myself this was more like a ‘Challenge Accepted’ situation to see if we could make it to both events and enjoy the legendary Nielson race party on Saturday night.  So Friday night we paddled at Detonator the rallied the five hour drive in Dane’s Sprinter van.  We made it to the river in time for two practice laps that morning, before racing in the afternoon. Now earlier I mentioned I swam during the race last year and all the Quebec Connection lads had not let me forget about it all year so I was itching to get redemption here.  I had swum after a rowdy pin half way through the race course, and almost had a similar pin during the practice but luckily avoided it this time and after reviewing gopro of the run was feeling pretty good about the race. This one is a partners race where you work as a team to look out for each others safety as you go down the river. I had the same partner from last year, Kalob Grady and together we were able to pull off a smooth race run and scoot into third place with Emrick Blanchette and Charles Arsenault ahead of us in Second place and Bren Orton and Dane Jackson taking first place. That night we hit the party, attempted to speak french and generally had a good time. Kalob took the hit for the team and slept in the van until around 5am when we started driving back north. I took over driving at around 9am for the last hour of the drive and we arrived in Dolbeau ready for comp 2, Defi des Grandes Rivere.  

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Comp 2 was a freestyle throw down at Pillers wave, Ashuapmuchan river. This is a big wave that is backed up by a smaller wave and then a BIG hole, which is flanked by a medium sized hole which would probably look big if it wasn't positioned next to a huge hole.  Through this event I mostly felt scared and intimidated.  This was my first time paddling at this wave and right after my first ride I watched whitewater pro paddler Nouria Newman get absolutely beat in the smaller of the two holes and swim then loose her paddle.  It didn't look fun. I paddled conservatively and not my best until I finally got pushed into the smaller hole myself.  Luckily for me I was able to keep my cool, get in control and surf out but after that I decided to call it a day. During the second half of the day I saw a few more people go into the hole including Stakeout veteran Paul Palmer which ended in another swim.  Overall I took 14th in this comp, my worst result of the year but still happy I put on and stoked to go back to both events next year.  Thanks to Quebec Connection and Raft Quebec and all the individuals who made each event happen. 

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So a busy weekend followed by a long drive back to the Ottawa valley on Monday as Ruins wave is coming in this week and I have to work on the weekend anyway.  Next week will probably be the last week of #TruckLifeTour.  Hopefully it will be as fun as this week was. Stay up to date on Instagram @seth_ashworth

Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-05-16T19:58:22Z 2017-05-16T19:58:22Z Truck Life Tour 9. UNLEASHED Stage 3 & Stage 4

untitled-09145untitled-09145This week at #UNLEASHED has been all time. But now I am exhausted. This shot from Stage 3, @danejacksonkayak flying into a winning race lap. #flying #inflight #travel #adventure #explore #competition #intothewater #instatravel #instagood #instawow #wow

Truck Life Tour continues in Canada, and so does the UNLEASHED tour.  We ended up having two full downtime days between stage 2 Boater-X and Stage 3.  The extra layover day was due mainly to super high water across eastern Canada.  Everywhere was too high, most of the big waves in Northern Quebec weren't in yet because it was still freezing cold up there.  There was uncertainty about if it would be a freestyle or creek event next.  Water levels were just dictating an unknown quantity. So when event organisers said drive to Quebec city for a Giant Slalom race on the Basse Cache the the next day, I was sceptical.  Friends from the area had told me just a day before that the Basse Cache was richter high and had been for days.  Checking the online gauge confirmed this, but I kept an open mind, the weather was for clear and cold which often leads to a level drop on that section.  


I have paddled Basse Cache just one time before, it is a stout but fun section of classic Quebec whitewater.  Fun slides and drops with big holes everywhere.  If the levels came good it would be the perfect Giant Slalom course.  


When we arrived at the course the weather was perfect and so was the level.  Before the pre race meeting the Truck life tour team set out for a course walk.  The trail beside the river went to thigh deep snow in a few spots.  The race course section would be a short but stacked section with three fairly straight forward gates just before a tricky section of sliding holes, a stout cascading double drop and a super spicy ledge hole finish.  A short but sweet race. I was stoked.  After the meeting I geared up and spent a couple of hours hustling photos before taking my one allowed practice lap and then my two race laps.  

untitled-09466untitled-09466Hectic but fun day on the Basse Cache yesterday. Took home 10th plav in the Giant Slalom race, wasnt able put the smooth parts of each lap into one lap. Suchj a fun river though and great to see lots of Quebec homies come out to spectate. #awesome #fun #scary #kayaking #igers #instadaily #instagood #simming #instatravel #travel #addventure #explore #UNLEASHED untitled-09546untitled-09546

Practice lap didn't exactly go to plan, I almost missed one of the gates, had to eddy out a couple of times, had a terrible line out of the biggest drops and was forced to work pretty hard to make the final line.  On the walk back upstream I checked the course carefully to see my mistakes.  Race lap one went somewhat better, I bumped a few more rocks out of the start than before and lost some time, I styled the gates which was sweet but then it started to go a bit downhill, a bit too much left angle through the first of the slide holes squirted me into a small eddy on the side of the river, I quickly got back in the main flaw but had lost a decent chance of time.  I thought about packing it in right there and saving it for the next run but after I had the greasiest (best) line through the tricky cascading double drop I sprinted as fast as I could for the finish.  Room for improvement certainly. Lap 2 had some smooth spots and some mistakes, different smooth spots to lap one, different mistakes too.  In the end I was stoked and exhausted to reach the end of the day and get into 10th place in the event.  That night after a stout Poutine for dinner we headed over to Emrick’s house in Quebec city where good intentions to party turned into a lot of sleepy kayakers pretty much on all of the floor space his house had.  


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Excitement was high the following day, although everyone felt tired the word had come through from the event organisers that we would be heading north to Dolbeau for an event on either Saturday or Sunday, on one of the big waves of the Mistassibi river.  Levels up there were just starting to rise which meant we could expect cold water and plenty of ice, but fingers were crossed all round.  Before we could travel up we had to get an oil change and alignment for the truck, this turned out to be a broken part and an expensive repair which had us wandering around for half a day.  But undeterred we finally got on the road and headed up to Dolbeau, home to some of the biggest waves on the planet.   


Saturday morning the plan was meet at Molly Wave at 11Am.  I was incredibly sceptical. In all of the Stakeouts I have taken part in Molly is the most elusive of all the waves, its an hour and fifteen minutes outside of town and there is no cell service out there so you have to drive out there to see if the wave is in.  Because of its location in relation to the online gauge it is hard to predict if it is in just by looking at the gauges, which is something we usually do fairly reliably for all of the other waves.  From the gauge it looked like we would be either too early, or there would be too much ice to surf.  The usual graph of spring melt shows a sharp spike up as the ice breaks, a prolonged period of high and then a decline back down, which can be at various speeds depending on an number of factors.  Since the discovery of Molly wave in 2014 we have never been able to catch it on the way up, usually surfing it as the levels drops back down.  BUT stars seemed to be magically aligning for this event so maybe, just maybe we would be lucky.


We drove the hour and fifteen minute drive up the road.  It is a dirt road mainly used for logging, surrounded by frozen lakes.  As a result of recent hard rain this road was in rough shape. I was happy we had the high clearance of the Tacoma but I would have LOVED to have the option for 4x4 as the road was soft in places and a single mistake by Brooke behind the wheel would have got us stuck.  The weather was driving rain with no sign of stopping which would have made being stuck extra bad.  Luckily no such mistake was made and we arrived at the wave in time for the briefing.  Stars had aligned, levels were prime.  The ice flow however was heavy and flowing exactly where we would be surfing.  After an athlete meeting the decision was made to wait and in 2 hours see if there flow of ice subsided.  As the two hour window progressed the amount of ice was decreasing and the number of fallen trees passing through the wave was also subsiding.  At 2 o’clock the first heat begun, ice was still a factor but not as dangerous as when we first arrived.  There was an appointed ice spotter on the bridge with a whistle who would let you know if you had to surf off for ice/wood etc.  So off we went.  The athletes were split in half, for two sets of one hour heats, same biggest three trick format as at Ruins wave just a week before.  The comp went off without a hitch and after a little after comp surfing the level was rising fast. By the time we left the level was almost too high and would surely be too high to surf in another two hours.  Probably the luckiest water levels for a competition possible.  


That night we had a final awards ceremony and athlete party at Quebec Rafting base, huge thanks to Wally for letting us get indoors and dry out after a day of just being completely soaked at Molly.  I wound up 11th place in stage 4. I was unfortunately having some boat issues which was causing me to sink, despite getting out of my boat to empty the water out after every ride there was still enough water in my boat that I could feel it rolling around and pulling my boat around whilst on the wave.  I still pulled off a few tricks but definitely did not achieve my full potential at this stage.  I was stoked to walk away in 9th place overall.  I actually tied with David Silk for 8th place on points but the tie was broken with the best place in a single event.  We each had an 8th place finish but he had a 7th where my next highest was another 8th.  If I had placed one place higher during Stage 2 it might have gone a different way but next time I will try harder.  Dane Jackson took the win after winning all four stages, fellow Team Kokatat paddler Kalob Grady took second in mens and fellow Brit (but basically a fellow ex-pat) Bren Orton took third place.  Women's was actually not such a tight comp after Darby McAdams stormed ahead after stage 3 as she was the only women to race. Which put Brooke Hess in second and Jordan Slaughter in third.  

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UNLEASHED competition was probably the competition highlight of this year, nothing else I have been a part of has been as fun/scary/challenging as this event and on top of that I was hustling photos so hard throughout the event which you will probably see some of through Kayak Session mag later this year.  I will release the full album later in the year, but stay tuned there were some real bangers this week.  


Another great week of #TruckLifeTour but not to many more to go now before I have to get back to work proper.  Don’t forget to stay up to date with my Instagram @seth_ashworth 


Check in next week.  




Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-05-10T00:44:47Z 2017-05-10T00:44:47Z Truck Life Tour 8.5: UNLEASHED Boater-X


So last update dropped on Tuesday but I finished writing it on Monday evening right after we completed UNLEASHED Stage 2, a Boater-X run on the Rouge river.  I really wanted to add it in to Tuesday’s update but the day was exhausting and I really couldn't crush out the extra writing so here is how that day went down in a bit more.  


We arrived at the Rouge river on Sunday afternoon, tried and cold from the previous day.  The weather was cold and it had been raining heavily for half of the two hour journey there.  We arrived at our base camp for the stage, New World Rafting, where we were generously being hooked up with cabins to sleep in.  Upon arriving, literally as I got out of the truck, I ran into another group heading up for a practice lap.  They had shuttle set so I grabbed my gear and headed with them to the put in, the girls were all still feeling tired form the previous stage and decided to spend the time utilising the hot tubs at New World.  


I have paddled the Rouge river previously but only in the autumn at very low flows.  The level right now was around 400cms and I have previously paddled around 40-50cms.  The lap of the whole section took just 20 minutes and the main section we would race on was visually amazing.  Approximately 1 kilometre of massive volume whitewater.  Huge over head waves pushing you around like a piece of driftwood.  Despite its enormous size it was very low stress, only a few big holes and no bad ones.  The race would be exciting here. 


That night at the athlete meeting the idea of a slalom gate in an eddy mid course was discussed and voted on, most athletes wanted the gate so it was provisionally decided.  Heats would be drawn in the morning but for mens it would be 3 heats of 5 people.  2 Advance to the finals, all the rest go onto a lucky losers round where the fastest 2 would advance to finals. 


The weather on the race day was just as bad or worse than the previous day.  driving rain had gone through the previous day, night and was continuing into the race day.  We drew heats and headed for the put in.  My heat was myself, LP Rivest, Arthur Paulus, Raoul (dutchie) and Andrew Oxley.  After a solid course walkthrough we were the first set to go.  I really wanted to secure a finals spot early on because walking back up to the top was long, and tiring.  I got away from the pack early alongside LP, I passed him in the first big waves then was neck and neck with Raoul coming into the bend before the big rapid.  The a big wave slowed him down and I had a sizeable lead coming into the biggest part.  BUT i pretty much wasted that lead at the very end as I made a mistake entering the finish eddy, Raoul got there first but luckily for me the rest of my heat was spread way out and I was able to attain back up a small channel to take second place.  Through the rest of the day I ripped around getting photos as much as I could, all my camera gear was wet by the end of the day and although I was dry and layered correctly, my body was fighting to stay warm and by the time I got my boat to the start line for finals I felt exhasted.  We had been out there much longer than I had expected and I hadn’t brought enough food. Getting in my boat I felt weak and tired.  My goal for finals was just to get through without getting injured.  Right from the get go I was strugglingg t keep pace with Kalob, Bren and Dane who were leaden gate pack.  Usually when I boater-X race I try and tailgate the person ahead of me and look for a place to pass but this course was big, with so much possibility of goinginto/onto/under someone that I eased off a little. A couple of close calls with James Rowlinson at the biggest part of the course and right at the finish I made a mistake again and had to come up the little channel.  I still touched the finish banner, and the only other person to miss the Eddy, Emerick Blanchette did not, but I guess the organisers has decided some rule about missing the eddy where if multiple people missed the eddy, of those people the first who hit the hole at the top of the eddy would place higher.  I thought this was bullshit, kind of like if two people are running a marathon and both go off course and miss the finish line then one runs back for the finishes and thew other goes home.   But that is that so I ended up 8th.  Shouldn't have messed up at the end.  

untitled-08433untitled-08433 untitled-08616untitled-08616 untitled-08846untitled-08846Stoke level was all time high, despite miserable weather, after a very fun Boater-X competition for stage 2 of #UNLEASHED cannot wait for stage 3. #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #intsatravel #instagood #whitewaterismagic #stoke #stoked

So thats what was up with Boater-X.  I made a short video showing some behind the event content, and that is posted below as well as the official event video.  Bren and Adrian are killing the event videos and getting them done through the night, often staying up until 4AM to complete them.  Props to them. 


Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-05-04T02:22:29Z 2017-05-04T02:22:29Z Truck Life Tour 8: UNLEASHED 1

untitled-07935untitled-07935 This last week has been a rapid whirlwind of kayaking in the final build up toward stage one of the UNLEASHED competition.  After the water level came down a little we were able to get back onto the Ruins wave in Ottawa.  Last year I had a real love hate relationship with Ruins wave.  As in I mostly Loved not going there and Hated getting beat down in the reactionary wave whilst surfing out onto the wave, which happened often.  But this year I was making a real effort to improve there and after a few LONG days paddling there I was finally starting to feel a bit more consistent although after three days on the trot paddling there by Friday I felt exhausted.  


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So Friday we took it fairly easy as it was the final day before the start of the competition, just a few quick surfs and then back to the Ottawa Valley where the athlete meeting/opening party would be held at Whitewater Brewery.  I spent Friday afternoon mostly napping and trying to get my energy back in time for the first competition which was rumoured to be Saturday. 


Friday night all the athletes gathered for the opening notes and information from UNLEASHED event organisers.  Bren Orton, Adrian Mattern, Kalob Grady and Dane Jackson are the brains behind the event and their goal is to create the biggest event in Whitewater kayaking.   They outlined the rough layout for the event, a four stage competition taking place over the next 10 days.       The four events will be a Biggest Trick event, Boater-X, 10 Trick Big wave and a Giant Slalom.  The goal for each event is to be visually stunning and showcase the high end of kayaking.  Stage one would be held on Saturday at Noon on Ruins Wave Ottawa.  I had pretty mixed feelings about attending a competition on my nemesis wave, but was a little more optimistic after the last week of paddling there.  The other stages were still to be confirmed as to when and where as the organisers were waiting on water levels to be best.  This time of year the rivers fluctuate a lot so I thought that was pretty savvy on their part. We enjoyed cold beers at Whitewater Brewery for a while after the meeting and spent time catching up with all the old friends who were just arriving.  We also confirmed the last wild Card athlete Arthur Paulus, who just arrived from France a couple of days before.  


Saturday morning our crew made good time, getting up and heading out to get started on the hour and a bit drive to the wave.  Our TruckLifeTour family has doubled in size for the duration of the event as we took on Darby McAdams and Jordan Slaughter and somehow managed to fit all of our stuff and kayaks into Brooke’s relatively small Tacoma. Luckily they have pretty short legs and after we dumped a bunch of Brooke’s climbing gear and spare clothes and shoes we were able to squeeze in the two new girls pretty easily. Anyway, we made it to the morning meeting on time (Event organisers Adrian, Bren and Kalob were all late) and the details of the event were outlined.  Two 2 hour Jam sessions half the competitors in one and half in the other.  I was set to go in the first set.  


Now let me give you a little important background on the Ruins Wave.  It is a huge wave in the middle of the river, formed by an old logging mill.  It is a tricky to catch wave, Super fast, quite steep, quite green, guarded by a big reactionary wave hole to surf across and with a small eddy to catch if you miss the wave.  If you miss the eddy you are ‘going on tour’ and this involves paddling back to shore, hustling back up the bike path and ferrying back out to the wave. Usually a Tour takes around 25-30 mins, so if you had 4 tours you might only have 4 rides in 2 hours.  


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Heat one started out fast and frantic,  Dane Jackson and Devyn Scott were destroying our heat, a few others had good rides and early tours. Brooke had a great first couple of rides and then took a tour.  I was having a very frustrating first 40 mins.  Every time I surfed across the reactionary I would just get denied from entering the wave.  BUT I had managed to stay in the eddy every time.  I had 18 attempts to catch the wave in the first 40 mins and every one had been unsuccessful.  I had gone all the way through an emotional rollercoaster of frustration, anger, annoyance, apathy and finally on attempt number 19 I caught the wave.  I have surfed here on a number of occasions but I haven't ever experienced such a long period of not catching the wave.  I managed to secure a few tricks during my rides in the next hour but by the end of 2 hours, 2 tours and countless times entering the wave from the eddy, (or attempting too) I felt exhausted.  I headed back out to watch the second heat throw down. 2 hours later and everyone looked as broken as I felt. I was so happy to eat some Poutine  then drive home and go to sleep.  

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Waking up and getting moving Sunday morning was not easy task. I felt like I had been in a boxing match the day before but luckily the full TruckLifeTour family managed to pull together and get moving in the direction of the Rouge river where the Stage 2 boater-X would be held on Monday. I will probably roll up the Monday race into next weeks update or do a mid week update with the Boater-X run down.  Because right now I am way too tired after a stacked day of racing. 


Keep an eye on the Instagram @seth_ashworth for more regular updates.  Things are heating up here and every river seems to be on its way to flood stage.  Good times ahead. 


Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-05-02T01:47:35Z 2017-05-02T01:47:35Z Truck Life Tour 7: Facing giants and searching for new ones


This week of truck Life Tour has been the most static of any week so far.  But when I say static I mean we have slept in the same place all week, we have probably still clocked up another 500km of driving.  Brooke and I have been based in the Ottawa valley all week and finally joined by most of the rest of the usual stakeout suspects such as Kalob Grady,  Bren Orton, the Paterson bros, Joel and Katie Kowalski, Hal Monkman and Dane Jackson as well as stakeout first timers Adrian Attern and David Silk.  All together or in various combinations of people we have been combing the area for the best waves to surf. After a couple of days just rallying Ottawa river main and middle channel laps the Patersons sent word that the Bryson waves were looking good so, over the course of a couple of days we paddled a small but fun wave there as well as looking for a new wave in the same area.  Alas that search proved fruitless as is so often the case at stakeout but we still had a good time at the small wave which I named 'workout wave' as it had a tricky eddy with a big attainment back up to the wave or a short walk around.  

After a couple of days in Bryson the Ottawa river levels had finally seemed to reach its first peak and was starting to drop back toward Gladiator wave flows. 


Gladiator is an absolute monster of a wave that forms in the middle of the biggest rapid in the river, Coliseum.  The full face of the wave is hard to see from shore and approximately 100yrds behind the wave is an almost river wide ledge hole.  So to say this wave is high consequence is pretty accurate.  I have surfed here before in 2013 and I remember vividly being scared then.  That feeling had not gone away four years later.  But after a few tries I finally managed to at least catch the wave. Now on paper this doesn't seem like much of an achievement.  But honestly to catch a wave almost 15ft tall, that requires between 6-800metres of ferrying to get out to and then a manic sprint get back to the eddy followed by a 5min hike back up the island to go try again, catching this wave is a lot of the battle.  Whilst my achievements weren't much to see I was stoked to see the other lads throwing down well here.  Dane was throwing two and three trick combos often and Bren was not far behind him.  Really amazing to watch and honestly the videos do not do this wave justice at all.


Travel wise this week we decided to give Brooke's truck a break and get my car out of its winter hibernation, since much of the driving we are doing is just short shuttle runs.  My beater 2004 Hyundai Elantra has definitely seen better days and its low clearance isn't ideal on the dirt roads going to the various put ins and take outs (especially with the weight of a few people an boats etc) but it seems to be getting by right now although the banging noise in the front end has been growing louder.  Fingers crossed it will get a little visit to the mechanics soon and maybe a few of the problems will get dealt with.  We will probably switch back to Brooke's reliable old Toyota Tacoma soon though.  


This has also been week number two without a computer, I'm actually typing this on my aging iPhone 5 and have been using the Sony PlayMemories app on my phone to get photos from my camera,(some of the technology my current Sony a6000 has is incredibly useful, I'll try and get another supplement about some of the most useful features).  I have also been manually eleting junk photos from my camera one by one which has been time consuming.  It has not been ideal but it has made me appreciate how useful having a computer is for so many tasks.  Hopefully this will be the last update I have to write on my phone as my new laptop should be arriving this week.  Fingers crossed! 

Scary highlight of the week was absolutely seeing Hal Monkman come off his Jetski in the middle of Coliseum, an then taking a pretty rowdy swim, luckily all turned out ok an the Jetski turned back over and fired up first time. 

Biggest accomplishment of the week came from Jon Paterson who caught Gladiator on his river board twice, it looked violent and was scary to see but he did it.  

The First annual UNLEASHED competition is starting at the end of this week and I am feeling slowly happier to back in my freestyle kayak, although even after almost two weeks it still feels like I am missing a lot of boat around me. This event has two freestyle events and two creek race events over the 12 days depending on water levels to allow for the best water levels for each event, so next week is going to get really wild.  


Stay tuned to my Instagram for more updates @seth_ashworth


Seth Ashworth (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-04-25T00:06:52Z 2017-04-25T00:06:52Z