http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog Seth Ashworth: Blog
2017-11-07T00:31:00Z (C) Seth Ashworth Seth Ashworth seth.ashworth@me.com http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/11/-video-1-simple-tip-to-improve-your-whitewater-kayaking [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 seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-11-07T00:27:33Z 2017-11-07T00:27:33Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/9/new-gear-love-snapdragon-lips-armotex-spray-deck-spray-skirt New Gear Love: Snapdragon LIPS Armotex spray deck (Spray Skirt)

untitled-0109810untitled-0109810DCIM\100GOPRO\G0109810.

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 seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-09-11T20:00:50Z 2017-09-11T20:00:50Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/9/new-video-how-to-improve-your-boof-stroke 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 seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-09-09T16:43:56Z 2017-09-09T16:43:56Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/8/tapping-out-will-not-be-competing-at-montreal-eau-vive-2017-due-to-illness 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 seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-08-10T23:51:40Z 2017-08-10T23:51:40Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/8/the-hype-is-real-jackson-kayak-nirvana-first-impressions The Hype is real. Jackson Kayak Nirvana First impressions.

untitled-0269218untitled-0269218DCIM\100GOPRO\G0269218.

 

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 seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-08-03T13:45:39Z 2017-08-03T13:45:39Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/6/maniflowba--the-search-for-dream-wave-full-photos 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 seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-06-06T01:10:18Z 2017-06-06T01:10:18Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-11-10-000-miles-later 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.  

 

untitled-02208untitled-02208

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! 

untitled-02300untitled-02300

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 seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-05-23T21:28:06Z 2017-05-23T21:28:06Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-10-more-kayaking-more-competitions-more-fun 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.  

untitled-00812untitled-00812 untitled-00832untitled-00832 untitled-00856untitled-00856

 

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.  

untitled-01699untitled-01699 untitled-01472untitled-01472 untitled-01535untitled-01535 untitled-01643untitled-01643 untitled-01683untitled-01683

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.  

untitled-0088798untitled-0088798DCIM\100GOPRO\G0088798. untitled-0128803untitled-0128803DCIM\100GOPRO\G0128803.

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. 

untitled-0158809untitled-0158809DCIM\100GOPRO\G0158809. untitled-0188824untitled-0188824DCIM\100GOPRO\G0188824.

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 seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-05-16T19:58:22Z 2017-05-16T19:58:22Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-9-unleashed-stage-3-stage-4 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.  

 

untitled-08969untitled-08969 untitled-09420untitled-09420

 

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.

untitled-09808-2untitled-09808-2

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.  

untitled-00048untitled-00048 untitled-00131untitled-00131 untitled-00382untitled-00382

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 seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-05-10T00:44:47Z 2017-05-10T00:44:47Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-8-5-unleashed-boater-x Truck Life Tour 8.5: UNLEASHED Boater-X

untitled-08650untitled-08650

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 seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-05-04T02:22:29Z 2017-05-04T02:22:29Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/5/truck-life-tour-8-unleashed-1 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.  

 

untitled-07648untitled-07648 untitled-07667untitled-07667

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.  

 

untitled-06432untitled-06432 untitled-06540untitled-06540

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.  

untitled-06437untitled-06437 untitled-06752untitled-06752 untitled-06933untitled-06933 untitled-08003untitled-08003

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 seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-05-02T01:47:35Z 2017-05-02T01:47:35Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/truck-life-tour-7-facing-giants-and-searching-for-new-ones Truck Life Tour 7: Facing giants and searching for new ones

#Scale

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 seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-04-25T00:06:52Z 2017-04-25T00:06:52Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/truck-life-tour-6-back-in-canada-eh Truck Life Tour 6: Back In Canada EH!

Ok, here we are back on #TruckLifeTour proper, and now the focus of our tour shifts from hope boat training to big waves as we venture into one of my favourite zones, eastern Canada.  My new home the Ottawa river is going rickter high and this is just the beginning. But how did I get here?

Well like a lot of truck Life Tour we did some driving.  I flew from my parents place in long. Each to Pittsburgh, PA where Brooke collected me and we started driving.  We aimed to drive to the border, sleep and then cross in the morning BUT it after I made a series of wrong turns we ended up at the border too soon and and ended up cruising into Canada around 1:30am.  We slept until 8:30 and then started driving. Passing through Niagara Falls it seemed foolish not to go take a look.  I have been living in Canada 6-8 months per year for the last five years but in all that time I have never made it down to the falls so I had to see it.  Pretty epic out there!

 

After that a long drive over to the Ottawa valley and home! The following day we would hit the water with a running start and hit the Ruins wave in Ottawa. It was a great level and a great weather day. We surfed this wave for the next few days before the level became too high.  We headed back into The Valley to wait for the last of the BIG waves there to come in. As a side note during the first day or so in Canada my laptop gave up the ghost which is why this update is so late and so light on photos!

 

At the end of the Aprilthe first UNLEASHED Competition is taking place, a multi stage event showing extreme kayaking at its finest. Over the next couple of weeks we will be trying to train for that as best we can.

 

Levels here in he valley are climbing crazy high and the melt has barely started. This will be an interesting spring to see how high the level will finally go to! 

 

Seth Ashworth seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-04-19T14:50:43Z 2017-04-19T14:50:43Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/truck-life-tour-supplemental-2-holiday-from-a-holiday-whales-dolphins-segways-n-planes Truck Life Tour Supplemental 2. Holiday from a holiday. Whales, Dolphins, Segways n' Planes

untitled-04995untitled-04995 #TruckLifeTour Supplemental 2 is a brief recap of something keen readers of episode 5 will have picked up on. 

If you were reading carefully you will see I mentioned taking a break to go visit my parents.  Now you might be thinking things like “Is Brooke really that hard to live with?” and “You have only been going for a couple of weeks, why the sudden break?”.  The answer to these questions is simple.  No she is not that bad, and the short break was already planned.  

 

untitled-04618untitled-04618

Originally I was supposed to be in Colombia until the end of March and then hang out with my parents for a week or so over easter before heading back to Canada for Stakeout.   But when the opportunity to join Brooke for what is now #TruckLifeTour, it felt like the right move and I changed tickets and cut my time in Colombia short.  But I am a terrible son, I always choose going kayaking instead of making time to see my parents, I rarely see them, I never call, I often forget to reply to my parents’s frequent email’s checking in on what I am up to.   And if my younger sister didn’t always have a good idea for joint birthday gifts that she usually sorts out I would probably have missed a couple of birthdays too!  It isn't that I do it all on purpose, I just often get caught up in gong kayaking all the time and then forget.  So I really had to not miss my scheduled time to see them this easter. Which is why #truckLifeTour had to take a little intermission.  

 

So what did I do whilst on a holiday from my holiday?  Well my Dad currently lives in Long Beach, California where my Mum was visiting whilst on Easter holidays from her work as a teacher in England.  So as places to hang out go, this one was pretty nice.  My mum had cooked up some fun activities for me and her to undertake whilst my dad was working in the day times.  She is a bit of a ninja at finding things to do in a given area using yelp/google/and her own witchcraft and usually at a good discount.  We went on a sick whale watching tour, which yielded epic results, we saw a ton of dolphins, fin whales and a mating pair of grey whales which is very unusual according to the crew members of the boat.  We also rallied a fun Segway tour of the beachfront area which wasn’t that informative as the ‘guide’ was pretty new on the job.  But it was sweet ripping Segways around at as high as speed as they would give out (around 12mph).  One of the top highlights came from my dad though.  Through his work he uses a high-tech simulator to teach people to fly some kind of small Gulf Stream jet.  I am not actually sure of the specifics of which jet. Once you get inside the machine it is basically exactly the same as being in the actual aircraft.  It uses theme park style technology to accurately pitch and yaw exactly like a real plane and then it uses large screens in the windows which render very accurate images of your surroundings.  This does mean you can fly some things which you wouldn’t usually want to attempt in a multi million dollar aircraft.  We took off from one of the New York airports, took a lap of Manhattan and flew under the Verrazano bridge.  Then after landing in Manhattan we reset the simulator for London Heathrow, did a few take offs and landings.  It was a super fun experience.  

 

We also had a couple of killer meals out, found a really good Italian place. My mum did a lot of epic cooking and of course a lot of tea drinking.  Below are a few photos.  Now I am back on tour and back on the way into Canada, with levels around the Ottawa just coming into the very high range there is a lot of exciting kayaking to come.  

 

Stay tuned for more on #TruckLifeTour and don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @seth_ashworth for more regular updates.

 

untitled-0033486untitled-0033486DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-04731untitled-04731 untitled-04742untitled-04742 untitled-04832untitled-04832A breaching grey whale yesterday. We were lucky enough to see a mating pair just outside of #longbeach harbour. Workers on the whale watchign tour had never seen this before. #neato #neature #whale #greywhale #wildlife #travel #adventure #explore #USA #merica #igers #instagood #instatravel #instawow #instadaily untitled-04849untitled-04849 untitled-04867untitled-04867 untitled-05015untitled-05015 untitled-04911untitled-04911 untitled-05052untitled-05052#natureAF Dolphins are neat-o. #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instanature #instatravel #dolphin # untitled-05137untitled-05137 untitled-05142untitled-05142 untitled-05198-Panountitled-05198-Pano untitled-05165untitled-05165

Seth Ashworth seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-04-14T11:35:16Z 2017-04-14T11:35:16Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/trucklifetour-episode-5-last-days-in-south-east-caney-fork-and-high-water-rock-island TruckLifeTour. Episode 5. Last days in South East. Caney Fork and High water rock Island

untitled-04036-Edituntitled-04036-EditNew serial blog coming at my website soon, probably episode one dropping inthe next week or so hopefully. stay tuned to keep up with the adventures of @brookehess and myself through 'Merica. #trucklifetour #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instatravel #trucklife #truck # Heading back toward Rock Island, TN, in driving rain was a mixture of both ominous worry (because of the previously mentioned leaking truck topper) and excitement.  We were heading back because I had return a boat I had borrowed from Stephen Wright and also (mainly) because the waterfalls at Rock island were flowing and they looked like a fun way to spend the last days in the South East before #TruckLifeTour would be taking a short break.  I had to go visit my parents who were in California for a week and Brooke had to go to Ohio for her grandma’s 95th birthday. This gave us just two more kayaking days before having to pack it in for a week.  

 

Rain fell in Rock island all night accompanied by an EPIC lightning storm.  Luckily we were inside Nick and Emily’s house again so were not enduring a miserable wet night with Brooke’s leaky truck topper. Thanks Nick and Emily!!!  Next morning brought sunny skies and the excitement that every kayaker sees when they look outside to see both blue skies and a flooded garden (yard) in the same frame. 

 

I had a frantic back and forth text discussion with Stephen who told us that the RI falls were now way too high but there were lots of other options.  First on the list would be to check out Cane creek falls.  A South East special 60fter, if that wasn't good we had a few other paddling options for river runs. 

 

We loaded up Brooke’s truck and also Clay’s and headed to the water fall.  Although there was probably enough water for a right line, I wasn’t feeling the love for it, I wasn’t sure on the landing which seemed like it was awfully close to a wall.  Although I am told Dane has run it much lower and the falls regularly gets run at this flows.  I wasn’t feeling it and neither was Stephen, Clay or Brooke. So as quickly as we could we rallied over to Caney Fork.  

 

We drove down the steep takeout dirt road for a ways, as it got progressively steeper and more muddy. After a while Clay stopped his truck at a pull out and came over to speak to us.

 

Clay: “The road gets quite a bit worse here, but we have the vehicles for it so it shouldn't be a problem”

 

Me: “Oh this truck doesn’t have four wheel drive”


Clay: “Oh it doesn’t”

 

Me: “No”

 

Clay: “Do you like hiking?, Its uphill from the takeout, but it’s not too bad”

 

So we got changed, loaded up Clay’s truck and set off for the put in.  We were then treated to two hours of fantastic South East style class 4, with a couple of bigger rapids.  Fun slides, slots and little boofs everywhere.  This river, I am told is different to almost all the other runs in the South East in the sense that is is fairly remote (in relative terms).  If you try and hike out it could be days before you find a house or a road and will certainly be unpleasant.  Luckily hiking out wasn’t on the program for us.  Stephen and Clay knew the run well, as well as many of the funnest moves.  The level was high medium and there were plenty of trees in the river luckily no new wood or serious problems for us to contend with. 

The river concluded with a not too bad uphill walk lasting around 25 minutes.  I was disheartened to watch ‘Old man of the river’ Clay Wright motor pass me and beat me back to the truck.  Clay and I paddled the new Jackson Kayak Creek boat, which is in the pre-production phase after many prototypes.  I am not supposed to say too much about it yet, but it is next level wowwww!!!  

untitled-0023155untitled-0023155DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-0033201untitled-0033201DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-0083408untitled-0083408DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-0073384untitled-0073384DCIM\105GOPRO

The next day would be our last paddling day on the South East leg of #TruckLifeTour, the levels had come down a bit but not enough to paddle the Rock Island waterfalls. Clay, Stephen and I suited up for some big water play at Rock Island.  I could not believe how much the bottom hole changed at high water.  When we had paddled there previously this feature was a kind of fun, kind of trashy hole.  It now formed a fun, fast, big wave.  With sunny skies to boot this was a fun day of paddling.  Brooke had to take a rest day as she had a wicked migraine.  She missed a really fun paddle, but I tried not to rub it in as we drove north. 

 

untitled-04500untitled-04500

 

That afternoon we drove onto Ohio.  I flew out of Cincinnati the following morning and Brooke went on to her Aunt’s house, somewhere else in Ohio, not sure where. 

 

Next week after a quick break #TruckLifeTour is going to Ottawa and beyond for high water, big wave action.  It is going to be a blast.  Don’t forget to stay on instagram for daily updates @seth_ashworth

 

See you next time.

 

untitled-04593untitled-04593 untitled-04578untitled-04578 untitled-04519untitled-04519 untitled-04611untitled-04611

Seth Ashworth seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-04-11T05:11:10Z 2017-04-11T05:11:10Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/-trucklifetour-supplemental-1-how-to-camp-in-a-truck-which-has-all-of-two-peoples-stuff #TruckLifeTour Supplemental 1. How to Camp in a truck which has ALL of two peoples stuff

untitled-04042untitled-04042

 

How to Camp in a truck that also has ALL of two peoples stuff in it.  

 

Alright, so I wanted to add a few little supplementary episodes into the #trucklifetour story. These are little info bites of knowledge I have gleaned over the first part of #trucklifetour.  One of the biggest hurdles is how to sleep in the back of the truck (which has a bed built in) and figuring out what to do with all our stuff to accommodate that.  When I came into the truck Brooke already had some pretty strict rules about where she sleeps with her truck which she has developed over a long period of time being a single lady living in a truck.  SO here are Brooke’s basic where to sleep in a truck rules and then I will run through how to make it work with more people and much more stuff.  

 

Brooke’s ‘Places to sleep in a truck” Rules

 

-Only sleep in designated sleep spots like a rest area or camp ground.  If those are unavailable choose a spot that is unlikely that anyone will drive by eg. a side road in the middle of nowhere.  

 

-Only sleep at rest areas and campground as that are monitored by CCTV

 

-She keeps Mace next to the bed.  Just in case.  

 

-Don’t sleep in parking pull outs on the highway

 

-Don’t sleep in weigh stations, even though it looks like a good idea.

 

-If a spot feels sketchy move on

 

 

So with these rules as our basic guidelines Brooke can easily fit in the back with all of her stuff in there, but to fit a second person, and all my stuff we would have to move some bits and bobs around at night to make it work. During the day/driving days the back of the truck has two paddle bags with almost a dozen paddles, my big gear bag with all of my stuff/clothes/paddling gear, Cooking equipment, food, small cooler, bouldering pad (more on that later), Brooke’s bed, and a few sleeping bags, one of which Brooke has generously let me sleep in as all I have is what I brought from Colombia, suitable for the jungle but temps on the tour so far have been a lot cooler. 

 

Now obviously that is too much stuff for two people to fit around.  So here is how we move it all around to make it work.  My bag bag goes into the truck cab.  Brooke’s gear bag is already behind the seat along with her shoe/boot/climbing shoe collection as well as her Library and my camera bag.  But the seats are vacant as we aren't driving anymore, so we capitalise on all that space by putting my bag on one seat.  The food box, cooking equipment box and cooler fills the other seat and foot well. Paddle bags make their way under the truck, safely out of the way and kind of out of sight.  Brooke and I are friends but not friendly enough to share Brooke’s tiny foam mattress.  So the first few nights of #trucklifetour I slept miserably on the bouldering pad that is designed to take rock climbing falls not be used as a full sized bed.   One of the first things I purchased from good old Walmart was foam mattress topper for under $20 which has made my side of the truck very comfortable.  Brooke sprung for an over $20 foam topper which is a little bigger and more comfortable than mine but I am not too worried, I am still way better off now than trying to make my 5ft, 11” self fit onto a 4ft climbing pad (which now goes under the truck too).  On paddle days wet gear can usually be found drying on the front of the truck or just scattered close by drying out.  

untitled-04286untitled-04286

untitled-04280-Edituntitled-04280-Edit

We usually set up a kitchen, either next to or behind the truck and have a separate box for dried foods, as well as a small cooler which we try to keep cold with ice but we quite often forget. 

 

In summary, think carefully about how to use your space and how to repurpose your space when driving vs not driving.  Keep Brooke’s basic rules in mind and hopefully you should find yourself easily able to accommodate a lot of stuff and still sleep comfortably.  Good luck and feel free to post comments if you know something to improve our situation. 

 

untitled-04289untitled-04289 untitled-04369untitled-04369 untitled-04275untitled-04275

Seth Ashworth seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-04-06T17:49:23Z 2017-04-06T17:49:23Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/4/truck-life-tour-episode-4-cheoah-river-and-the-nantahala-outdoor-centre Truck Life Tour. Episode 4. Cheoah River and the Nantahala Outdoor Centre

untitled-04036-Edituntitled-04036-EditNew serial blog coming at my website soon, probably episode one dropping inthe next week or so hopefully. stay tuned to keep up with the adventures of @brookehess and myself through 'Merica. #trucklifetour #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instatravel #trucklife #truck # Time spent in the Columbus whitewater park in Georgia, was super enjoyable but the weekend brought a release of a so called “South East Classic” the Cheoah river.  So Brooke and I loaded up her #TruckLifeTour truck and rolled out of the car park/Gpysy camp we had been living in, along with pretty much everyone else who had been there to head north into North Carolina to arrive at the Cheoah river in time for a Saturday release. 

 

As is the norm on #TruckLifeTour so far I have had no idea about what we are doing or where about we are going, what the river will be like or any other information like that.  Brooke hadn’t been to the Cheoah previously either but I guess she had been reading about good stuff to do in the South East on American Whitewater and this one had been highly recommended.  On the drive up we managed to stop in for a quick oil change and get a shower at some kind of public tennis centre in Atlanta, AWESOME! We arrived  at the river around dusk on Friday evening and drove along the river for some time before arriving at the takeout.  As we drove along I thought we must have been driving along the tributary to the river we were going to, from the truck we could see plenty of wood, root balls and sharp rocks abound.  When we arrived to the take out to find many other South East boaters I was shocked to find out the small, rocky, very woody stream we had driven by was actually the river we would paddle the next day.  But they all assured me that once the dam released it would be a different picture.  I thought fair enough, no sense in rushing to conclusions.

 

Morning came after a rough nights sleep.  The cause of said rough nights sleep was Brooke and I’s laziness when we arrived and parked the truck.  Although we had a fairly level spot front to back, we weren't super level left to right and some time around the middle of the night Brooke woke me up in something of a panic that the truck must be sinking and we had to switch sides (implying that I am carrying a little winter weight which may or may not be true, either way I was on the downhill side). In my tired state I just said ok and awkwardly switched sides of the truck bed.  This improved my situation considerably as Brooke has the better mattress. The other thing which we didn’t take into account when we parked was that we were right under a street light which lined the take out road as it ran alongside a small lake.  So as well as a mid-sleep move, we weren't quite able to position ourselves with the light not in our faces all night.  Obviously in the morning we found the truck was totally fine and the slight change in Brooke’s equilibrium whilst she slept had lead to her having this weird sinking dream. It’s not like we were parked in quicksand.

untitled-0073347untitled-0073347DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-0023161untitled-0023161DCIM\105GOPRO

Next morning after a wicked breakfast of boxed mac n' cheese (Brooke chose/made breakfast but it turned out good) we headed up the put in of the lower section of the Cheoah.  The river has two different sections, an upper class 2/3 section which stretches approximately 7 miles and a lower section of class 3/4 which goes for around 2 miles.  The section was more class 3 than 4 but had a few bigger rapids. On the whole a really fun continuous length of whitewater with few gaps or stops.  I would have described the run as low volume but I guess that is a relative term as fellow Team Jackson kayaker Garrett Madlock told me this was pretty much a big water run in the area.  

untitled-0093388untitled-0093388Cross Bow Life. Too fun not to really. This @gopro photo is from the Cheoah river last weekend. Fun time out there getting lots of laps and seeing some familiar faces. #TruckLifeTour // The #gopro is mounted on my paddle then set onto timelapse photo mode taking a photo every 0.5 seconds, then I spend forever pouring through all the photos to find one good one. // #travel #adventure #explore #kayaking #whitewaterismagic #brandofthebrave #intothewater #dewerstone #dewerstonemens #wernerpaddles @wernerpaddles @jackson.kayak @kokatatusa @fiveten_official untitled-0113418untitled-0113418DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-0113423untitled-0113423DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-0133473untitled-0133473DCIM\105GOPRO untitled-0143481untitled-0143481DCIM\105GOPRO

Organising shuttle and setting one up takes more time than running the section but we still managed to jam four runs into the day with plenty of time to spare to make tracks to our next destination, site of the 2013 Freestyle Kayak World Championships Nantahala Outdoor Centre (NOC).  

 

A quick 45 minute drive over to NOC after a bite to eat a mediocre Mexican restaurant and we arrived at NOC in search of somewhere to set up camp for a couple of nights.  We found a suitable spot around the back, nestled in between rafting busses which rested dormant, waiting for rafting season to get started again.  (N.B I am not sure if it is ‘cool’ setting up a little camp spot here but since nobody from NOC came and told us to move along I imply that we were fine, but as always take care in choosing where to sleep)

 

That night I slept pretty well as I had paddled a decent chunk of the day.  But heavy rain in the night brought a new set of problems for TruckLifeTour.  The cracks in Brooke truck topper hadn’t magically disappeared and at the first hint of rain, Brooke (or so she told me) was out of bed and putting a Tarp all the way over the back.  Some rain had penetrated the back of the truck and the edge of our foam mattress were a little damp but on the whole Brooke’s middle of the night tarp move probably prevented the worst of the water getting in.  She told me she had stayed up for a while to keep checking on it, but I slept on pretty much blissfully unaware. 

 

I made coffee the next morning (Sunday) and made Brooke’s a little stronger after hearing her heroic tale. We spent the morning catching up with Ottawa Kayak School student Maddie Kimmel (age 12) and OKS Keener Kaelin Friedenson (age 13) who were both slalom racing in the Junior division of the US open which also taking place on the Nantahala river that weekend.  After seeing them on their first runs we headed down to the freestyle hole to crush out some much needed training. 

untitled-04157-2untitled-04157-2 untitled-04219-2untitled-04219-2 untitled-04286untitled-04286

 

After paddling the ‘Workout hole’ In Columbus I felt like I had lost a lot of my hole boating skills but I did not feel as bad after paddling the NOC feature.  Whilst it had its own set of challenges to acclimate too I was able to remember at least how to do all the tricks I used to be able to do, although granted after a winter of not hole boating I certainly had lost that sharp feeling that I usually have in my playboat.  Mostly my tricks were a little sloppy and my pace was way off but the foundation was there so I am optimistically looking forward to training more and smartening up my hole boating in time for World Championships in Argentina this November.    

untitled-04441untitled-04441

Monday morning we had planned to paddle at Eternity hole but after finding out about a levels change at 7am we stayed for one more days paddling at NOC.  

 

#TruckLifeTour continues, check back in soon for another update.  

 

Seth Ashworth seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-04-05T02:01:00Z 2017-04-05T02:01:00Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/3/truck-life-tour-episode-3-columbus-georgia Truck Life Tour. Episode 3. Columbus, Georgia

untitled-04036-Edituntitled-04036-EditNew serial blog coming at my website soon, probably episode one dropping inthe next week or so hopefully. stay tuned to keep up with the adventures of @brookehess and myself through 'Merica. #trucklifetour #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instatravel #trucklife #truck #

After a tiring weekend on the Nolichucky I was excited for another change of scene, and Stephen Wright suggested we join him down in the ‘dirty south’ of Columbus, Georgia where the USA National Championships will be held in April.  At first I wasn't super excited about a 6 hour drive down there but Stephen promised warmer weather and a fun selection of whitewater.  So once again we loaded up Brooke’s #trucklifetour truck with all of our belongings and headed down there.  Google maps gave us an optimistic 4.5 hour estimate to get there but Atlanta traffic adds the extra hour and a half.  When we finally arrived on Monday evening I was exhausted after driving a little over half of the way.  It turned out the previous weekend had been a little more tiring than I expected.  Stephen gave us a tour of the local area, he had organised a good spot for us to set up ‘gypsy camp’ in a local car park (parking lot) near the wave.  He also new all the good places to eat and get the best coffee. 

 

On first glance the ‘play park’ has but a trickle of water going down it, but thanks to regular releases from Georgia Power there would be water releasing every day.  Different amounts of water were released at different times and there were different features depending on how many ‘generators’ were releasing. 2 generators gave a fun but flushy happy hole.  3 generators produced a really fun and powerful wave downstream of the hole which was SICK.  The hole gave me a great opportunity to hole boat again and mainly served as a reminder that I have not been training all that much this winter and will really need to step it up if I hope to even do reasonably well at World Championships later this year.  

 

untitled-03631untitled-03631

The wave feature in Columbus, named simply ‘Good Wave’ is where they will be holding USA National Championships and I’m sure that will be an exciting event.  The wave allows for all the wave tricks and even a few hole tricks. If you are heading to Columbus to compete or spectate in National Champs here are some of my top picks for places to eat/drink. 

untitled-03622untitled-03622 untitled-03650untitled-03650 untitled-03667untitled-03667 untitled-03690Photo: Brooke Hess. Paddler: Tom Dolle untitled-03728Photo: Brooke Hess. Paddler: Stephen Wright untitled-03744Photo: Brooke Hess. Paddler: Tom Dolle untitled-03750Photo: Brooke Hess. Paddler: Tom Dolle untitled-03775Photo: Brooke Hess. Paddler: Clay Wright untitled-03780Photo: Brooke Hess. Paddler: Seth Ashworth untitled-03781Photo: Brooke Hess. Paddler: Seth Ashworth

Coffee

 

I tried two different spots for coffee and light breakfast.  (If you are looking for info on a more substantial breakfast place, ask somebody else because I do not know)

 

-Iron Bank Coffee: Good coffee, food was good, wifi. This is a coffee shop that used to be a bank, the old vaults have been turned into little booths complete with SUPER heavy doors (although the doors don’t actually close)

 

-Fountain City Coffee: Coffee was a little better here, bigger selection of sandwiches.  Generally a lot more run of the mill coffee shop.  I generally found their menu to be a little overwhelming/confusing although they did have a much wider selection of coffee which I preferred. 

 

Overall Winner: Iron Bank Coffee.  I hung out here a bunch as the water often wasn't releasing until the afternoon and generally preferred it as a place to hang out, drink coffee, do internet stuff etc.

 

Dinner/Lunch

 

Being a dirtbag I cooked a few lunches and dinners but I did eat out twice.  Here is the low down. 

 

-My Pie Pizza: Create your own Pizza, unlimited toppings under $10 for a meal.  Great value for money, delicious and made fresh.  I would eat here again for sure. 

 

-Barberitos. Burritos/fajitas/tacos/quesadillas.  Good bang for your buck in terms of money spent vs full stomach.  Again full belly for under $10.  

 

After around a week in Columbus #trucklifetour is on the road again this time to Cheoh river, North Carolina.  Another new river for me and for Brooke too.  #trucklifetour be sure to keep up on my Instagram @seth_ashworth

 

Some great photos from Brooke Hess in this update!

 

untitled-03794untitled-03794 untitled-03950untitled-03950 untitled-03905untitled-03905 untitled-04019untitled-04019 untitled-04074-2untitled-04074-2 untitled-04080-2untitled-04080-2 untitled-04104-2untitled-04104-2I've been trying to keep up with this kid in a hole for the last week or so @garrettmadlock is crushing the hole boat game right now and he is only 16. I need to try harder! #training #isuckatholeboating #hedoesnot #kayaking #whitewaterismagic #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instawow #murica untitled-04119-2untitled-04119-2 untitled-04133-2untitled-04133-2

 

Seth Ashworth seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-03-31T14:31:31Z 2017-03-31T14:31:31Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/3/truck-life-tour-episode-2-nolichucky-river-clean-up Truck Life Tour. Episode 2. Nolichucky River Clean up.

untitled-04036-Edituntitled-04036-EditNew serial blog coming at my website soon, probably episode one dropping inthe next week or so hopefully. stay tuned to keep up with the adventures of @brookehess and myself through 'Merica. #trucklifetour #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instatravel #trucklife #truck # Shortly after arriving in Rock Island Brooke was offered the opportunity for us to go help Dane Jackson do a river clean up on the Nolichucky river.  Jackson Kayak had a few demo boats that needed driving out there so we said sure, sounds like fun.  Friday night we collected the trailer of boats from the factory in EJ’s old Toyota Land Cruiser.  He was adamant it would easily be able to tow the trailer over the three hour drive, despite the Land Cruiser easily being my age or older.  First stop a hotel stay over in Knoxville, an hour away to meet up with Dane then next morning head to the river.  

 

Well that was the plan at least.  The engine started having problems around twenty minutes from Knoxville.  We pulled over and hopped out, smoke filled the cab.  I opened the bonnet (hood) and smoke billowed out, oil was everywhere.  Brooke was already calling Kristine to get help. Half an hour later we were being towed into Knoxville.  Dane met us at a McDonalds where we hung out and waited for Kristine to show up with another truck that could tow the trailer.  Luckily it started to rain after we had gotten inside.

 

Next morning we rallied up to the Nolichucky river where we found the river pretty much at flood stage.  I was pretty surprised as I didn't realise it had rained that hard. As well as very high water, it was not at all warm.  The aim of the event (which had been organised by Red Bull) was to get lots of people from the local area out and about and get the river clean.  Unfortunately due to the weather and the water levels there were less people than hoped for but we still spent two days collecting ALOT of rubbish out of the river. The first day probably had 10-15 kayakers as well as a bunch of raft guides from local company USA Raft who paddled the ‘trash boats’ down the river.  Day two was a little less, maybe 7-11 kayakers, it was much colder.  The rubbish boats got FILLED up.  I think we took over 50 tyres alone, probably tons of rubbish with much more we weren't able to get. 

 

The coolest part of the weekend was paddling the upper gorge at high flows which was around 15km of fun, bouncy, big volume whitewater. AND I got to paddle both sizes of the new Jackson Kayak Antix.  It is a boat that lived up to the hype.  The medium was a fun long playboat and the Large (which was my favourite) was a playful creek boat, enough volume to run almost everything confidently but small enough in the tail to be playful. 

untitled-2902untitled-2902 untitled-2895untitled-2895 untitled-2899untitled-2899 untitled-2900untitled-2900

Seth Ashworth seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-03-28T14:25:24Z 2017-03-28T14:25:24Z
http://www.sethashworth.co.uk/blog/2017/3/truck-life-tour-episode-1-trucklifetour Truck Life Tour. Episode 1 #trucklifetour

untitled-04036-Edituntitled-04036-EditNew serial blog coming at my website soon, probably episode one dropping inthe next week or so hopefully. stay tuned to keep up with the adventures of @brookehess and myself through 'Merica. #trucklifetour #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instatravel #trucklife #truck # If you are a regular follower of my blog you will know that I was recently in Colombia, Ecuador before that.  But Whilst I had a great time in both of those locations, my Jackson Kayak team mate Brooke Hess called me up and offered me a spot in her truck to cruise around the south eastern USA and do some kayaking.  Since this would be a perfect opportunity for me to do some training in a hole for Freestyle kayak world championships this coming November I moved some things around and hopped a plane.  Well a couple of planes actually.  Since Brooke is based out of Missoula, Montana I originally looked to fly there.  But she decided Salt Lake City, Utah would be a good meeting point as she has a friend who lives there.  From there we would drive cross country our first stop, Rock Island, Tennessee.  Home of Jackson Kayak factory and freestyle Kayak OG’s Stephen and Clay Wright.  

 

Salt Lake city to Rock Island is a drive of 1700 miles that would wind up taking Brooke and I through many new states over the course of  two and a half days and two nights sleeping in the back of Brooke’s truck.  

 

To set the scene for our story a little better lets take a more detailed look at/in Brooke’s truck.  First off having a truck is SICK and something which I do not have.  But Brooke’s definitely has a couple of draw backs.  The truck itself is a 2003 Toyota Tacoma, Extended cab (two small back seats but you have to climb past the front seats to get to them), 2.5L petrol V6 engine.  Two wheel drive, Sick roof rack, Topper on the bed, Bed built in to the back).  Brooke also doesn't know when she is going home next so her truck has basically ALL of her stuff in it, add most of my stuff and it is pretty full up in there.

 

PRO’s first; Great clearance, bomber design of truck, well built, generally speaking this make and model of truck has few problems if any, SICK roof rack, (Brooke sourced this from her local Whitewater rescue Institute in Missoula, they were planning to throw it out!), Topper, built in Bed, great gas mileage (for a truck).

untitled-04042untitled-04042

It does have a few CON’s though; No cruse control (this really sucked through Nebraska which is maybe the flatest place I've ever seen), no 4x4, 2.5L engine is a bit dinky and we were often getting passed by big lorries (semi’s) and sometimes by vehicles which looked much slower than us, final con and maybe the biggest, the topper is not designed for this truck and is riddled with cracks. Although Brooke has taken the time to fill these cracks and used expanding foam to make the topper fit the truck better its not quite right.  BUT it does work to a fashion.  so thats great.  Brooke HATES when I point out the cons of her truck, like an ostrich with its head in the sand. 

 

After two days of driving, sleeping in rest areas in reasonably cold weather, driving through snow, eating too much gross fried food, and listening to a pretty cool podcast called Serial (check out season 1 its great), we finally arrived in Rock Island.  Clay had left the heater on for us in his trailer and it was SO nice to crash somewhere warm when we arrived at his house just after Midnight.  

untitled-03498untitled-03498 untitled-03504untitled-03504 untitled-03509untitled-03509Started going through a few photos from my tour of the @jackson.kayak factory yesterday. Some neat stuff, here is Stephen Wright showing how boats cool in a mould to get the correct hull shape, some even have weights added to ensure they get a flat hull. #learning #fun #smile #informative #whitewaterismagic #itwaslikehogwarts untitled-03515untitled-03515 untitled-03541untitled-03541 untitled-03549untitled-03549 untitled-03555untitled-03555

Our first day started late, being tired from driving is real.  Stephen Wright gave us a tour of the jackson Kayak factory (which was awesome) then we blasted a paddling session at Rock Island with Clay and Stephen.  To top off our epic first day Christine Jackson invited us for dinner. And finally Nick Troutman & Emily Jackson (who are in Idaho currently) let us stay in their house for the few days we were in Rock Island. Their place is amazing!

 

A few more days of paddling there, after which our tour moves on. Look out for episode 2 soon.  

untitled-03580untitled-03580Bluebird days at Rock Island, Tennessee. Not the highest water in the USA right now but still a pretty fun place to be. And it sure is pretty! @brookehess sending a sweet Front Loop on the top wave here. #freestyle #butnotstakeout #kayaking #whitewaterismagic #travel #adventure #explore #igers #instadaily #instagood #instatravel #happy #smile untitled-03617untitled-03617Pzcking up from Rock Island today nad heading over to Columbus, GA for a few days with @brookehess If anyone is there and wants to paddle HOLLA at me! #travel #adventure #explore #whitewaterismagic #igers #instadaily #instagood #brandofthebrave @fiveten_official

Seth Ashworth seth.ashworth@me.com (C) Seth Ashworth 2017-03-23T13:58:16Z 2017-03-23T13:58:16Z