Thursday, September 22, 2011

You could win a Jackson Kayak Villain!

This could be you - in your Jackson Villain

Small World Adventures is teaming up with Jackson Kayak to give away a brand new Villain (or Villain S) to a lucky SWA fan this October 1st!

Win a shiny new Villain like this one (thanks Vanna, I mean Curtis)

If you haven't entered our summer giveaway it's not too late, but hurry!

Go to our website at and enter to win a Jackson Villain of your own or a week long paddling trip in Ecuador!

Great for hucking water falls...

I was lucky enough this summer to have BOTH the Villain and the Super Hero on the roof. I got to paddle them both on rivers and creeks from Colorado to California to Idaho and BC. It was fun switching out every other day on runs like the South Yuba and North Fork Payette at high water. The verdict? Both boats rock.
(photo by Henry Munter)
running big rivers

The Super Hero is a tad lighter to carry and quicker to maneuver - a bit of a plus on tighter creeks. But it also accelerates quickly and holds it's speed well on big water runs like the N Fork Payette at 4000 cfs. If I lived in an area where I was mostly doing pool-drop creeks, the Super Hero would be my choice, and I still would jump at the chance to take it on big water runs.

and tiny creeks,

The Jackson Villain is a bit bigger, still really maneuverable, and faster in big whitewater. It's a bit better platform for overnight trips, and still plenty nimble for technical creeking. It's not as much fun as the Super Hero for play, but if the #%&*#! is going off, you're going to be stoked to be in the dependable Villain. It does maintain speed and crash through consecutive breaking waves better that the Super Hero does. If I were planning to paddle bigger rivers and pushier water more often, I'd choose the Villain.

this Villain's got your back.

If I had my way, I'd keep both of the boats on my roof - a creek boat quiver of two! But either one works great as a stand alone creek boat.

Luckily, we have both Villains and Super Heros in our fleet in Ecuador, so if you can't decide, you can come down and paddle them both!

Good luck to everyone entered in the contest. And don't worry, just because summer is ending and our contest is coming to a close, doesn't mean paddling is over for the season - you can still come join us in Ecuador this winter!

Farewell to Canada...

Sunny skies and clear water on the Ashlu - in BC in September!

We finally had to call it quits on our trip to BC, and couldn't resist posting some more cool photos from the Ashlu River. With the stable weather and dam releases, you could boat the Mine section almost every day, and the Box every weekend. The Tatlow even stayed in for over three weeks!

Sam leads to the right at Last Tango

We ran into Sam again (he was on our Revelstoke trip). The Ashlu valley was literally swarming with kayakers (well, two to three groups a day!)

Dave finishing the mini-mine warm up

We met groups from England, Germany, the US, New Zealand (and Canada) every day we were up the Ashlu.

Beautiful moss and tight canyon - dropping into the Ashlu "Box"

More moss. BC roadside camping

Saying adios to BC and the Ashlu River just means that our season in Ecuador is right around the corner. Now we're off to Colorado to get packed up for another great season boating in Ecuador. Come down and see us!

If you haven't entered our summer giveaway yet, it's not too late. Just got to and click the "enter here" button.

We still have two GREAT prizes left, a Jackson Villain and a week of boating with SWA in Ecuador! The kayak gets awarded October 1 and the trip to Ecuador at the end of October.

Look for more blogs to come psyching up for the 2011/2012 Ecuador boating season.

Vaya con rios!

I still don't know why they call this drop "50/50"

Monday, September 05, 2011

Ashlu and Tatlow Rivers, BC

Exit from the Tatlow River canyon

Yahoo we finally made it to Squamish! After a quick warm up on the Birkenhead River up near Pemberton, we headed to the Ashlu to catch the weekend releases on the "Commitment Canyon" or "Box" section of the Ashlu River. It's an interesting win/lose result of the Ashlu dam, that though the wilderness has been marred and the natural flow is gone, you can now plan on flows on the lower Ashlu based on releases from the dam.

In 2005 and 2006 when Darcy was in grad school at UBC, we spent a bunch of time up here, but this was our first time in the post-dam era. The area looks a LOT better than it did during construction. The road improvements make it really easy to get up to 50/50 and the mine section, but some of that adventure feeling has definitely been lost with the encroaching development.

Luckily, they've let the upper road go totally to crap, so if it's an adventure you want, drive on up to the Upper Ashlu and Tatlow!

We had the dilemma over the weekend of good flows in both the Ashlu and Tatlow rivers. Which to do? Both!

It was cool having them both going and we even got both runs in on Sunday with our buddy Ben Hawthorne and a new partner in crime Brian Burger.

Ben firing up some crack on the Tatlow

Back in Darcy's grad school days we were lucky enough one late fall day to catch the Tatlow going due to rainfall, and spent an incredible 4-6 hours on the run figuring it out for ourselves. With zero beta besides a rough description of the trail to the put in, we had an all out adventure in there. It was even snowing on us to add to the "epic" feeling of the day. This weekend was a totally different experience; it was a blast to bomb it with Ben filling in descriptions when our memories weren't enough.

Tatlow River scenery

There was our group, plus three guys from Bellingham and the Bomb Flow gang with Evan Garcia and our fellow Wildwater alum Fred Norquist, all camping at the end of the road and paddling the Tatlow on Sunday. A bit of a change of pace from our first trip in '05 - cameras flashing and boats boofing all over the place!

It was a fun scene, and great to hang out and paddle a bit with the Bomb Flow guys.

Check out the cool moss - and Ben on the 40' slide

I don't think our photos do the canyon justice, but keep your eyes open on Bomb Flow TV 'cause those guys filmed the %&$#! out of the Tatlow! Between their group and ours, I think there may have been more cameras than paddlers on the river that day.

view of glacier from Tatlow take out bridge

Since we camped out at the take out, we had plenty of daylight left after our hike up and paddle down the Tatlow. So we headed down for a bonus run on the Box.

Scouting 50/50 on the Ashlu

It was cool to be "warmed up" for waterfalls after the Tatlow, but 50/50 still lived up to it's name. Or is it 70/30?

Don dropping into 50/50

...and tossing the coin

Logistics-wise, the road has been improved all the way to the Ashlu dam site, so a low rider could get up to the Box put in. The road above the dam project has apparently been left to deteriorate. The further you go the more over grown and rough it is. We definitely put a few scratches in the paint job of our truck on the way up to the Tatlow.

4 wheeling up to the Tatlow take out

About 3 miles downstream from the Tatlow take out there's an landslide on the main Ashlu road. It's in pretty good shape this year, but you do need a 4 wheel drive with some clearance, and maybe need to rearrange some rocks to get past it.

The culvert you need to cross in order to get to the Tatlow put in via car is perhaps worse than ever. You still need to shoulder your boats all the way from the take out to the put in.

Not to say some people didn't TRY to drive up...