Monday, August 31, 2009

Last Day before Competition

Hello people of the World Wide Web. I am here in Thun Switzerland still, they havn't kicked me out yet thankfully. We have one more day of team training's until the competition starts. Most of us have been hanging out and just wandering around Thun finding little random things like the never ending well that is by the HUGE castle in the middle of town. Since we only get a half hour to train every day we have a lot of down time to sleep, walk around, and do push-ups..... or just sleep.

The last two days of practice have been pretty rough. The wave went totally out on us two days ago so we did a flat water session for a half hour. Yesterday the wave was there but getting really green so finally today we got a real wave and we were able to do our tricks and get our rides down pat. Oh ya the other people who paddle Liquid Logic Biscuits are three other C-1 ers. So there are going to be lots of pictures of me and all the C-1 ers!!

This is just an example of what the eddy looks like during an open session, I counted 36 people in the eddy for a 30 minute open session between team training's. Ya not everyone in the eddy got a ride.

So finally this morning we got in knowing that the wave had come back and we were all ready to rip. I felt like I had my first training session that was worth while.  Maybe I am starting to get used to the wave? Everyone is crunching since competition starts tomorrow.

This is the castle that is in the middle of town. So as everyone might know, Switzerland is a neutral country. But they also have mandatory time for all of the men over the age of 17 to go into the Army. One of their bases is here so we see them all over the place. They have to come for three weeks a year until they hit 100 days, then they can keep coming or they can go on with their lives. So this also means that every household that has a male over the age of 17 has an
M-16 just laying around the house. This might be a reason why no one wants to invade Switzerland.

Hopefully I don't end up in chains before the end of this, represent the Liquid Logic!!

And now for the news that everyone has been waiting for, the newest team member to the Liquid Logic Team; KC Jackson. Not only is he the newest member but he is the youngest at just a few days over a year old. Happy Birthday KC!! He told me he wants to rebel against the Jackson over taking and paddle for a down home company!! Really, he told me that.
We have opening ceremonies tonight and the men start competing tomorrow.
So until a few days from now. I will keep everyone posted. Hope all is well wherever ya'll are and go get on a river, or go do flat water.
Peace, love

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Training for Worlds

Hey blogging community, its been a while since I have been on here. I have had a pretty busy summer between working for Green River Adventures in Saluda North Carolina, going to the Skookumchuck Narrows with World Class Kayak Academy or training on the Ottawa River with the US Freestyle Kayak Team.

I made it to Thun, Switzerland last week on the 24th of August and I was ready to get on the wave to "thun" it in. We didn't start training sessions until Wednesday so we had all day on Tuesday to just hang out and get over the jet lag. The training sessions are one hour a day for the US Team, that puts every paddler on the wave for 3 minutes a day.

The women are all working on dialing in their roundhouses, blunts and attempting air screws every once in a while. The wave has a nice lefty shoulder and almost no righty shoulder. In the middle the wave gets pretty steep and nice, but people are flushing off of the side of the feature a lot.

I have been getting up at 230 am to get to the wave when there aren't a lot of people paddling. But last night I got out there and we had 30 people in the eddy. Lots of people are enjoying the late night kayaking

with the lit up wave.

All photos by Brian Jennings during the US team training sessions. I will have more photos up in a few days of the area and all of that sort.

Until next time.

Caio and Happy Paddling


Monday, August 24, 2009

Queen of Gore Canyon '09

My name is Maria Kallman and here's a little about me and kayaking that I realized recently when work obligations forced me to take a break from boating.
The sensation of floating and gliding on water, combined with the exhilaration of facing challenges both as an individual in my boat and with a group as a team is, for me, the definition of true joy.
This sport is full of power, self-discovery, challenge, and gratification.
I grew up racing slalom, and while it brought me all over Europe for five summers when I was younger, competing eventually caused me to associate kayaking with pain from ongoing injuries, nervousness, and sometimes even failure if I didn't achieve a goal I'd set for myself. As you might imagine, this was not a very fun relationship with kayaking. While I wouldn't trade this past for anything because I learned the technical skills that allow me to run hard rapids with style (some of the time) and I got to travel to places many tourists never go, I believe that I've found a much more sustainable, healthy and fun pursuit in running creeks and rivers
. Whatever you choose as your passion, in whatever realm, there's no better feeling than using your entire body, all your senses, and the power of logic to solve a problem, whether it's running rapids, climbing rocks or mountains, or navigating a mountain bike trail. It really forces you to live in the present moment.
I do still love to try to paddle fast though, and I started to dabble in creek racing last year which has been fun and humbling. But nowadays I paddle for the enjoyment of the intimacy with the river and friends, not to win races. If I race, it's the process of racing that counts more than the end result. The only race I did this year was the Gore race, details below! Enjoy.

There was hot weather and plenty of water
Racing off-the-couch made my day harder
But clean lines were had by BOTH women,
And both of us were winners in my opinion :) ...

But really, it was a fantastic weekend with water levels over 1300 and abundant carnage to watch! There were only two women (me and Natalie Kramer), and having been out of my boat for 5 weeks, I just tried to take it easy and have clean lines. That worked out most of the time, except when I got eddied out above Tunnel Falls and had to let someone pass me that I'd already passed... My time was 25 minutes and change, about five minutes slower than the fastest guy in a wavehopper!

Next year it would be fun to see more girls get out there and race!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jefechico Rocks Meadowcamp

Here is one of my fave after-work runs in downtown Bend. For this video, I took my Jefechico out for the afternoon. In case you didn't know, it's specially made for those of us that are "fun-size". It's perfect for Meadowcamp's whitewater: dynamic drops that always keep ya on your toes, no matter how many times you've run it! Meadowcamp is an Oregon style class 4/4+. Enjoy and don't get too dizzy! :D


Untitled from Christina Russell on Vimeo.


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Jefe on Lava Island Falls

After work, Josh and I like to head up to Lava Island for a quick paddle and decompress from work. Here is a video shot with my helmet cam on one particularly nice day. The paddler is Josh Mckeown...he had the right helmet with the helmet mount that day so for now, here is Lava Island Falls...from Josh's perspective. Look for me in the background when Josh looks back to make sure I'm still in my boat :)

Some background: Lava Island is a quick mile long run with sweet, twisty-technical drops. As flows fluctuate, so does the difficulty. At the very high flow of 2165, it's a solid class V+ run. This happened to be the highest levels I have ever had the pleasure of running it at, and also one of the highest flows we Bendites have ever seen on the Deschutes! I'm lucky to have gotten on it! :D Hope you enjoy the video and if you ever come out to Bend to paddle, be safe out there and watch out for that good ol' lava rock!

Hope you all are gettin' out there!
-Christina Russell

Musical credits go to: The Asteroids Galaxy Tour "Around the Bend"

Lava Island Falls 2160cfs Headcam from Josh Mckeown on Vimeo.