Ep. 93: Broken Gear and Safety Gear to Consider

Ep. 93: Broken Gear and Safety Gear to Consider

 
 
00:00 / 00:58:42
 
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This week our friend Aaron Lieberman, the executive director of the Idaho Outfitter and Guides Association returns to the show. We talk about our responsibilities as podcast hosts and lessons learned from a recent incident on Canyon Creek.

News of the Week

  • MTI Life Jackets purchased by the Wing Group
  • Donations to the Salmon Whitewater Park are being matched 4 times – simple Venmo @salmonwhitewater park and/or visit their web site.
Aaron paddling on the Salmon River with a Selway Fabrication Mini-Bank Toilet in his inflatable kayak
Aaron paddling on the Salmon River with a Selway Fabrication Mini-Bank Toilet in his inflatable kayak

Gear of the Week

OG Mini-Rafters

Below is some listener mail referencing our recent mini-boat podcast from our friend (and paddling legend) Bill Cross. Thank Bill!

I really enjoyed your Mini-Boats episode today; I listened to it while running. I thought I’d write and offer a little historical perspective. It seems that I’ve gotten so old that I can now bore everyone with yarns from the days of yore.

I think it’s wonderful that people are finally showing more interest in small rafts; the only surprise for me is how long it took for it to happen.

My own interest in mini-boats goes back over 40 years, and actually predates self-bailers. In 1978, on my ARTA whitewater school, the instructors brought along a 12-foot Avon Redshank with a wooden rowing frame, which students could row as a “suicide boat” without an instructor on board. In those days, the standard raft was a 16-foot Pro, and the 14-foot Adventurer was considered radically small. A 12-footer on the river was unheard of. The Redshank was actually never intended as a whitewater boat; it was a yacht tender, and it had virtually no bow rise, so a two-foot wave could swamp it to the brim. But despite that major shortcoming, I spent every second I could in that boat: it taught me a ton about rowing technical water, and it launched my life-long love affair with small rafts.

In 1982, I bought an 11-foot Campways Piute bucket boat. Initially, I used the Piute as an R2, but within a year I built a metal rowing frame for it. I rowed that boat for several years, and even used it for overnight trips. You can see a picture of it in Western Whitewater on p. 450. My wife and I created a custom spray shield for the bow to try to reduce swamping in waves and holes.

In 1986, just a couple of years into the self-bailing revolution, Jim Cassady and I talked SOTAR into building the first two 10-foot custom self-bailers. At the time, SOTAR’s smallest production boat was a 13-footer, and initially they refused to build a 10-footer because they thought we were crazy. They kept telling us we’d hate it. Eventually we talked them into it, and Cass and I started R2ing that same year.

R2-ing Troublemaker Rapid on the South Fork of the American River in 1986
R2-ing Troublemaker Rapid on the South Fork of the American River in 1986

As far as I know, we were the first people to R2 a round self-bailer. (I believe that folks back east had started S2ing Shredders about a year before we started R2ing our custom SOTARs.) Cass and I nicknamed our boats “MiniTars.” In the first year I owned it, I built a frame for it and outfitted it with a pair of 7.5-foot Sawyer fir-laminate oars. Over the next two decades, I paddled and rowed that boat more than any other raft in my fleet. Remarkably, I still have that raft, and at 34 years old it’s still seaworthy — a pretty amazing testament to SOTAR quality. Admittedly, the design is a bit dated. About a decade ago I switched over to a Hyside Mini-Me and Mini-Max, so these days the original MiniTar only gets out on the water if I need a second or third mini-raft.

Satans Cesspool on the American River in 1988
Satans Cesspool on the American River in 1988

The really surprising thing to me is how long it took for mini-rafts to catch on, both for R2ing and for rowing. Cassady and I were totally enthralled with our new toys, but for the first decade or so that I owned my 10-footer, it was just a curiosity on the river. We drew lots of stares and dubious looks, but even though we were far more agile than bigger rafts and could tackle much bonier runs, we couldn’t get people to share our enthusiasm. Cass and I even wrote articles for River Runner Magazine and the Friends of the River newsmagazine promoting R2ing and mini rafts, but almost nobody followed our lead. None of the manufacturers took the bait to build a small production raft. It wasn’t until Hyside built the Mini-Me that small rafts and R2ing really took off.

Anyway, there’s a little history for you.

Take care, and stay well.

Best wishes,

Bill

Ep. 92: Are “Mini-Boats” the new SUP?

Ep. 92: Are “Mini-Boats” the new SUP?

 
 
00:00 / 00:45:15
 
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In this episode Erik and Zach talk about mini-boats or whatever they’re called.

Thank you SOTAR for your support of the podcast.

News of the Week

Is whitewater SUP still a thing?
Is whitewater SUP still a thing?

Gear of the Week

Ep. 91: Using Expedition Paddling to be a Better Paddler

Ep. 91: Using Expedition Paddling to be a Better Paddler

 
 
00:00 / 00:59:42
 
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This week we talk about expedition paddling and how it can improve your general paddling skillz.

Adventure Paddling on Indigo Creek
Adventure Paddling on Indigo Creek

News of the Week

Gear of the Week

 

Ep. 90: Whitewater PFDs and Safety Training

Ep. 90: Whitewater PFDs and Safety Training

 
 
00:00 / 00:58:43
 
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In this episode we talk about PFDs for kayaking and raft guiding as well as the importance of ongoing training.

News of the Week

  • AW and the Oregon State Marine Board are working on a new phone app to report river hazards
  • Zach is working on a new online rowing course
Whitewater PFDs
This week we talked about Whitewater PFDs

Gear of the Week

Ep. 89: Interview with Ben McKenzie: Minam River & The McKenzie Welding Method

Ep. 89: Interview with Ben McKenzie: Minam River & The McKenzie Welding Method

 
 
00:00 / 02:23:31
 
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Ben McKenzie hiking into the Minam River – in the Wallowa Mountains, Oregon.

In this episode, we talk about Ben McKenzie’s recent trip to the headwaters of the Minam River in the Wallowas and ask him about his thoughts on river safety and boat welding.

Check out Ben’s art and adventures on Instagram

Data from Ben’s Trip:

Dates:  Started hiking July 4, took off July 7.
Flows:  Diurnal cycle averaging 1,100 cfs (valley and ridging between 1,000 and 1,150)
Hike:  About 12 miles
Paddle:  About 45 miles
Start of hike:  45.250239662492156, -117.37658100221226
Start of paddle:  45.15027801192856, -117.39427270694812
Take out:  45.62164097182737, -117.72165560076294

Ep. 88: Oregon Fires and West Virginia Rescue

Ep. 88: Oregon Fires and West Virginia Rescue

 
 
00:00 / 00:58:01
 
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In this episode we talk about the Oregon wildfires and a recent rescue in West Virginia.

Weekly Articles/Topics We Discussed

Gear of the Week

Ep. 87: Reminiscing about Paddling Indigo Creek into the Illinois River

Ep. 87: Reminiscing about Paddling Indigo Creek into the Illinois River

 
 
00:00 / 01:11:34
 
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This week Jacob Cruser joins Zach and Priscilla to talk about their spring trip down Oregon’s Indigo Creek.

News of the Week

  • West Side of the west coast is on fire
  • National Forests are closing this week

Indigo Creek Photo Albums

The narrow pinch on the East Fork of Indigo Creek
The narrow pinch on the East Fork of Indigo Creek

Gear of the Week

Ep. 86: Klamath Dam Removal and Flow Studies

Ep. 86: Klamath Dam Removal and Flow Studies

 
 
00:00 / 01:13:08
 
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This week we are joined by Tom O’Keefe and Bill Cross who discuss the Klamath Dam removal and recent flow studies for paddling new sections of the Klamath River.

Relevant Links about Klamath Dam Removal

Gear of the Week

Ep. 85: Interview with Lee Baker

Ep. 85: Interview with Lee Baker

 
 
00:00 / 01:24:54
 
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This week we talk with Lee Baker about South Eugene High School’s Integrated Outdoor Program (IOP) that serve underrepresented youth in Eugene.

News of the Week

Lee Baker
Lee Baker

Gear of the Week