Monday, June 29, 2009

BRECKENRIDGE RAFTING and what rafts utilized by outfitters

INFORMATION ABOUT THE MANUFACTURERS OF RAFTS under 12 feet long and what rafts are used by Breckenridge Rafting outfitters:

RAFT:Puma Length:11'6" Width:66" Diameter:18" WEIGHT:88 lbs MATERIAL:PVC/U CAPACITY:950 lbs PRICE:$2500
AIRE makes the Puma, a longtime favorite for raft creeking. Lately they have been making bigger versions of the Puma called the Super Puma and the Super Duper Puma but I feel like they should make a smaller version and call it the Baby Puma or something. Recently I portaged a Puma for three miles and that wasn't too fun. If you are listening AIRE please build me a Baby Puma, 9 feet long and weighing less than 40 lbs.


Mini-Me 9' 62" 18" 45 lbs Hyp 4 $1764
140SBU 11'8" 70" 18" 87 lbs Hyp 6 $2779
109RBS 9' 62" 18" 71 lbs Hyp 4 $1420
139RBS 11'6" 66" 18" 84 lbs Hyp 6 $1975
Hyside is the proud maker of the Mini Me 9 foot raft. What fun! These things are popular R2 boats and make it possible to do some serious raft creeking. Made of Hypalon.


G25S 8'5" 53" 15" 55 lbs Poly/U 2 $NA
G29S 9'6" 57" 15.75" 66 lbs Poly/U 3 $NA
W33S 10'10" 63" 15.75" 78 lbs Poly/U 4 $2190
These New Zealand boats are imported directly to Idaho through a giant whirlpool from the Buller River straight to the Payette. They offer not one but three small rafts in delightfully light weights for those days where half your time is spent walking.


Seal 11'6" 72" 17" 77 lbs Poly/U 4 $2201
Elan 12' 69" 18" 95 lbs Poly/U 6 $3998
Maravia makes two small rafts but don't try to find them on the Maravia website - better off visiting the River Connection instead. I was part of a two man crew that paddled a little Maravia down the Green Truss section of the White Salmon and the boat held up very well.


E-120 12' 66" 17" 108lbs Hyp NA $3400
Otter120 12' 66" 17" 88 lbs Hyp NA $2475
NRS has two 12 foot self-bailing models both made of hypalon. The E series is made for commercial abuse but is pretty heavy. The Otter is a good value and should be a great boat for the private boater.


SP10E (Tan) 10' 18" ? lbs Poly/U ? $2400
SP12E 12' ? 18" ? lbs Poly/U ? $2779
ST11E 11' 62" 19" 78 lbs Poly/U ? $3381
ST12E 12' 70" 19" 85 lbs Poly/U ? $3381
SL11E 11' 64" 20" 75 lbs Poly/U ? $3740
ST12E 12' 68" 20" 82 lbs Poly/U ? $3974
Sotar has three basic raft models. The ST is their standard design, the SP is the standard design but in Tan color only and the ST has a diminishing tube design. The prices are pretty high for boats this small, save perhaps the SP model. Sotars have been used on some pretty balsy stuff including the first raft descent of the Green River Narrows.


LX12-SB THUNDER 12' 72" 18" 116 lbs PVC 3-6 $2449
VX12-SB 12' 72" 18" 90 lbs PVC 6 $1485
B12-SB LIGHTNING BUG 12' 57" 24" 103 lbs PVC 3-5 $1919
U9-SB ULTRA LITE 9' 50" 18" 75 lbs PVC 4 $1675
Star is the maker of the Bug and Ultra Bug as well as standard rafts. The bugs are supposed to behave more like catarafts since they have a lot of clearance. Check it out to see what I mean.


PSB-1104 11'4" 66" 16" 101 lbs PVC 4 $2395
PSB-1200 12' 73" 18" 114 lbs PVC 6 $2595
Vanguard makes two small rafts with a nice price. Unfortunately they are very heavy and would be difficult to carry for just two people.

This information is cited from and many or all Breckenridge Rafting outfitters use these manufacturers.

Rafts you will not see often during Colorado Whitewater Rafting

You may come across two other types of rafts during a Colorado Whitewater Rafting expedition that are not used often called J-Rigs, Sweep boats, and Dories. 'J-rigs' are giant rafts that are very specialized passenger and gear haulers. J-rigs are constructed of huge pontoons and are often motorized. They're used by many of the commercial rafting companies in the Grand Canyon. Sweep boats are named for the two huge oars used to steer them. They're basically very large self bailers, but the oars extend out both ends of the craft, and steer the boat like rudders rather than extending out the sides to row as a normal self bailer does.

Sweep boats (or "sweeps") are commonly used by commercial outfitters on the Middle Fork of the Salmon (you'll rarely see them on other rivers). Their advantage is that they carry huge loads of camping gear and food for Colorado Whitewater Rafting expeditions that last longer than a few days.

Due to the huge displacement and surface area exposed to the current, they are the fastest non-motorized craft on the river. Their disadvantage is that they have no brakes! Trust that if you see one, the guide holding those big oars is both very courageous and very skilled!

While certainly not a raft, you may encounter wooden or fiberglass boats called Dories on the river. These craft seem to be more popular on certain rivers. While they may be more fragile, they are certainly maneuverable.

They seemingly can stop on a dime in significant current, giving their ‘driver’ time to adjust course, mid-rapid. And they are a pretty sporty ride! But on rocky rivers or later in the season at lower water levels a Dorie can be a liability.

Breckenridge Rafting Kayaks


Other forms of Breckenridge Rafting craft are worth mentioning. The obvious one is kayaks. These also come in two flavors; hard shelled kayaks made of various rigid plastics, and 'inflatable' kayaks, also known as "IK's" that are made of the same materials as rafts. Both types of kayaks are a lot of fun and have their vocal advocates. I'll just point out a little bit of trivia.
That is, while both groups share the river, hard shelled kayakers and rafters generally don't intermingle much. They are two different sports that share the same playing field. But some hard shell kayakers shun their inflatable brethren in IKs. So, ironically, inflatable kayakers tend to hang out with the rafters. I guess it's the materials that are alike that bring a kayaker and rafters together in some cases.

Colorado Whitewater Rafting and what is an R2?

What's an ‘R2’?
You might hear the term "R2" mentioned in the context of Colorado whitewater rafting. This refers to a paddle raft being paddled by just two people. They usually sit shoulder to shoulder in the middle of the raft, each paddling a side. Of course, they can sit anywhere they want. The term R2 implies a sportier version of paddle rafting since it is more challenging to maneuver the boat when there are just two people aboard.

R2's came from the idea of kayaks and canoes for the simple reason of wanting something new and ingenuity on the rivers. Of course the R2's come after the larger rafts design for those people who take Colorado Whitewater Rafting to higher levels and extremes compared to a large group on a self bailer for a trip.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Raft speeds for Colorado River Rafting

Differences in Raft Speed
Most of the paddle strokes that a paddle raft crew takes to steer the raft propel the raft forward. Therefore paddle rafts move down the river faster than other rafts. Self bailers are next fastest. Fully loaded self bailers carry a lot of momentum and offer a lot of surface area to the river. So friction with the water causes them to be dragged along easily by the current. Since it's a lot more work to fight against these factors, the steering strokes that the person at oars takes are usually forward strokes.

The raftman just tries to adjust the direction or vector of the rafts natural movement down the river during Colorado River Rafting. It may be surprising to know that catarafts are usually the slowest at traveling down the river as they offer less surface area for friction and are so light that it is easy for the oarsman to pull back, arresting the momentum. For these reasons, rookie oarsmen in catarafts are usually at the back of any group of rafts.

Paddle Rafts for Colorado Whitewater Rafting

Paddle Rafts
Self bailers can be set up with a rigid metal (or on rare occasions, wood) frame that rests across the top of the raft, to which oar locks are mounted and oars attached. The other configuration is to leave the frame and oars at home and just use paddles. So the term 'paddle raft' refers to this other set up. It's just a term for a self bailer that is set up with inflated seats known as 'thwarts' for passengers to sit on. This image shows set up for both with mounted oars in the back, and in the front people using paddles.

Passengers are obligated to row, or more accurately, paddle the boat down the river. While this means work for the passengers, it makes for a very entertaining, social (and usually wet) ride! Most commercial river guides services for Colorado Whitewater Rafting run paddle boats to give the paying clients the full immersion experience.

The normal configuration for a paddle boat is to have a 'captain' sitting at the rear of the boat shouting orders to the crew and using her paddle to steer or make fine adjustments to speed and direction. The 'crew' is the rest of the passengers, with half of them paddling on one side and the other half paddling on the other making a Colorado Whitewater Rafting experience memorable.

Breckenridge Rafting and using a Cataraft

Someone asked us this question in their search for rafts. "I am looking for advice on the purchase of a cataraft or maybe a raft, but not sure if its ideal or not?? Does anyone have any input on cats or rafts?" Answer: Cats are for maneuverability-small loads and is ideal for whitewater rafting and fishing. A raft is for large loads and more people so it is up to your trip details that determine a cat or a raft.

Cats are far more maneuverable than self bailers but carry less weight. They're the sports cars of a Breckenridge Rafting trip. And like sports cars, they carry fewer passengers, but provide a lot of fun for the driver. If you're new to rafting, you would be well advised to consider buying a cataraft as your first raft. Their maneuverability will help you recover when you misjudge a rapid, and of course they are just plain fun.

When you plan a Breckenridge Rafting trip, a cataraft is the ideal raft for a day trip. And cats are also ideal for high water or extreme multi-day trips when each participant will row their own raft.

There is a unique description to know when sizes of cats are discussed. Sizes of catarafts are described as pairs of dimensions separated by "X", like "12X20", "16X24". The first number is the length in feet, and the second number is the diameter of the pontoons in inches. So a cat that is 12X20 is 12 feet long with pontoons or "tubes" as they are referred to that are 20 inches in diameter.

Colorado River Rafting on a Self Bailer Raft

Some of the best rafts in the world are constructed of Ferrari's patented Preconstraint PVC fabric and urethane AIREcells, they set the standard for durability, performance and innovation. Aire is one of the companies who carry's one of the best.

Types of rafts are:
* Self Bailers
* Catarafts
* Paddle Rafts
* Differences in Boat Speed
* What's an ‘R2’?
* Kayaks
* J-Rigs and Sweep Boats
* Dories

Let's start with the Self Bailer and we will explain the rest in other articles. So how can a whitewater raft bail water out of itself? Well, an ingeniously simple design makes it happen. You see, the floor of a self bailing raft is a wide flat inflated chamber, sort of like a big air-mattress. The edges of the floor are stitched or laced to the rest of the raft.

When inflated, the floor is about 4 or 5 inches thick, so the top surface of the floor floats above the surface of the water. When water splashes into the boat, it flows across the floor, down over the edge, and out through the lacing. This design works amazingly well. A self bailer filled to the brim with water will proceed to empty itself in just a few seconds on a Colorado River Rafting trip.

If you've ever bailed water out of a raft, you know how sweet it is to have a self bailer. In fact, if you float with someone who has an older non-self-bailing raft (known as a 'bucket boat' for the obvious trait - it retains water), you get to stop and wait for them to bail at the bottom of each major rapid. So, nowadays, when someone says 'raft', they are usually talking about a self bailer. If they say they've got a 'bucket boat', well, too bad for them.

Self bailers are the work horses on a raft trip in Colorado River Rafting because they can carry a lot of gear and passengers. Popular sizes are from 13 - 18 feet long, with 14 feet probably a minimum for carrying the gear and two adults on a multi-day raft trip. 15-16 feet is ideal, and 18 footers are nice to have on larger rivers. From a performance standpoint, rowing a self bailer is more like driving a bus. So the longer the raft, the slower it is to maneuver. And the performance of any raft is diminished if it's overloaded, pressing it deeper into the water.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Where is your river for a Breckenridge Rafting trip

If you’re looking for nothing less than the best Colorado whitewater rafting experience, your search is over. Breckenridge Rafting offers the highest quality outdoor adventure packages in the Rocky Mountain region. We take pride in providing our guests with the best service in the industry and with the best equipment available. Our years of experience and our unmatched professionalism will clearly set us apart when you allow Breckenridge Rafting by Raftmasters to guide your next Colorado white water rafting excursion.

The most dedicated, most skilled, and most enthusiastic outdoor professionals anywhere eagerly await your arrival so that we may escort you on the outdoor adventure of a lifetime. Let our Colorado whitewater rafting guides show you an unforgettable adventure.

Breckenridge Rafting by Raftmasters offers trips on 5 rivers in central Colorado. We offer Colorado whitewater rafting trips ranging from mild, scenic floats to fun, family-style whitewater to some of the most advanced Class IV & V rafting challenges in the U.S.

Colorado River Rafting and a comparison between Natural Flow Rivers and Dam controlled rivers

Featured article from USA today reporter Laura Bly
Edited by Whitewater Times
Good snow pack from this winter does not mean good river levels for Colorado River Rafting. Let me explain. We basically have two types of river-dependent factors to consider in the situation. Dam controlled rivers and natural flow rivers.

Earlier posts have talked about rivers across the nation changing over to dam controlled levels, in which certain river flows are guaranteed throughout the summer months. In general, good snow-pack and snow run-off are a good thing for dam controlled rivers. It means more water in the reservoir, and will continue to leave plenty of water flow throughout the coming years.

Natural flow rivers are a different story for Colorado River Rafting and other things we do on our rivers. Lets take a look at the Western U.S. as an example. The image here shows the current snow-pack levels across the various regions in the West. These numbers are a "percentage of normal", meaning that anything close to 100 is a very good thing, and anythin over 100 means higher-than-normal levels. Many locations that feed large rivers have over 100% snowpack for the season (still). But the weather still plays an important factor as to whether the snow will produce high, constant water levels or not.

Even with a good winter, if the weather heats up too fast, you run into flooding and fast run-off. So essentially, you would have a nice spring rafting season, followed by normal (or even below normal) water levels for the rest of the season. So it really still depends on mother nature and the transitional temperature from winter to spring to summer. Also, during the transition from spring to summer and during summer the decisions made to release water from reservoir reserves made from snow pack compared to how much rain we receive during the summer effecting the natural flow rivers.

River levels for Colorado River Rafting

Check out river levels for Colorado at this hot link for stats that really dial you in to what is going on with the river levels for around 280 points at major rivers for Colorado River Rafting and any water hobbies you do on the rivers. You get the full stats from graphs to info on feet of water for every major river.

Real-time data typically are recorded at 15-60 minute intervals, stored onsite, and then transmitted to USGS offices every 1 to 4 hours, depending on the data relay technique used. Recording and transmission times may be more frequent during critical events. Data from real-time sites are relayed to USGS offices via satellite, telephone, and/or radio and are available for viewing within minutes of arrival.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Colorado River Rafting and terms for Whitewater Rafting TO KNOW....

Here are many paddling terms to consider when whitewater rafting the rivers!

Atomic Launch - launching from a ledge above a river by sliding down the bank and droping into the water.

Boat-Eater - A "monster hole" in a rapid, big enough to swallow a boat. Also known as a bus-stopper.

Boil - swirly or unpredictable currents pushing (boiling) to the surface. Usually caused by rocks pushing the water to the surface.

Bony - run or rapid requiring lots of maneuvering because of the abundance of obstacles, mostly rocks.

Boof - driving your boat for a mini-launch over a shallow ledge or rock.

Brace - paddling technique using downward and sweeping strokes to stabilize a tipping canoe or kayak.

Broach - occurs when a canoe or kayak becomes caught in the current against an obstruction and turned sideways. Can result in severe damage as the current's force warps the boat around the obstruction.

C.F.S. - Cubic Feet per Second. Measurement of velocity of water flow at a given point in a Colorado river. Will vary according to water level and gradient of riverbed.

Carnage - general term for a mishap, as in a boat flipping or someone falling out.

Chicken Line - Straps on the sides of a raft for clients to hold on to if they get scared. Use caution as it can entrap arms and legs in a flip.

Class I-VI - international scale of river difficulty classification system for negotiating the difficulty of fast-moving water. Class I is the easiest and Class VI the most difficult.Confluence- the junction of two rivers or forks of a river.

Control Hand- "fixed" hand, left or right, depending on the offset of the blades on a kayak paddle. Left hand paddles are more difficult to obtain.

Curler - a large wave, usually at the bottom of a drop, with a crest that spills upon its upstream slope. May be a surfing wave.

Drop - a short, well-defined rapid or section of a rapid. Named for the abrupt drop in elevation between the top and bottom of the rapid.

Eddy - area of usually calm water behind or downstream of an obstruction in the main current, where water flows counter to that of the main current.

Eddy Out - term used to describe leaving the main current and entering an eddy.

Eddy Line - a current differential between the upstream current of the eddy and the downstream current of the main flow of the river.

Ender - a play maneuver enacted by nosing the boat's bow down and deep and the stern up, which results in the boat popping vertically upward. Good fun!!

Ferry - a maneuver used to cross a current with little or no down stream travel. Utilizes the current's force to move the boat sideways.

Float Bag - the most common form of floatation in canoes and kayaks.

Gauge Height - for measuring water levels at one or more locations. Reference point used with CFS (or in lieu of).Grab Loop - grab-handle threaded through bow/stern stems of a kayak or canoe. Useful as carry-handles and for catching swimmers.

Gradient - refers to the steepness of a riverbed over a specified distance, usually per mile. Along with CFS and water level information, this helps paddlers draw a conclusion of a river's difficulty. See CFS and Class I-VI.

Hair - dangerous and difficult water.Hair boating - paddling in dangerous and difficult whitewater.

Haystacks - big standing waves in a wave "train" following a drop.

Headwall - steep cliff where the main channel of the river drives against it at a 90-degree angle.

Highside - when you broach on a rock with a raft everyone moves to the highside to push it back down so it won't wrap around the rock.

Hole - a hole is created when the river current drops over a rock or ledge and circulates instead of continues its downstream flow. A significant feature because it either offers play opportunities or danger of trapping, depending on the power of the hole.

Horizon line - usually indicative of a falls or steep drop. There is a line, but the route, if there is one, is not apparent. Time to exit and scout.

Hydraulic - water formation following a sudden drop in the riverbed or drop over an obstruction that creates a powerful circulating force at the base of a drop. The circulating pressure of a powerful hydraulic can hold boats and paddlers for indeterminate lengths of time.

Hypothermia - the cold water hazard for paddlers. Prolonged exposure can lead to incapacitation and eventually death as body core temperature drops below 80 degrees.

Lilly-dipper - a weak paddler.

Maytag - stuck in a hole and thrashed about as if in a washing machine. Usually not fun!

Mystery move - usually a squirt boat move that is a lengthy disappearance under water then reappearance to the surface downstream in an entirely different location. Fun, especially when intentional!

New Yorker - a client who whines and complains.Peel out - term used to describe leaving an eddy and entering the main current; bow catches the main current and quickly swings the boat downstream. A downstream lean is needed to counter act the current.

PFD - Personal Floating Device. The proper name for a Life Jacket per Coast Guard definition. It is required by law for every passenger of all water craft and your most important life-saving tool.

Pillow - water that builds up around a rock in the main current. Pillows are stuffed with rock.Pin - being stuck between the current and the river bed or an obstruction such as a rock or log and unable to dislodge. Not fun; possibly deadly!

Pirouette - while popping vertical in a kayak during an "ender", the paddler reaches a paddle blade to the water then effects a vertical boat-and-paddler spin with it.

Portage - term for carrying boats and gear around a difficult rapid or from lake to lake.Put-in - starting place of a river trip; where you put your boat on the river to begin a run or trip.Ramp - point in a rapid where water constricts/pools before dropping downstream through a channel.

River left - the left-hand side of the river when looking downstream. When downstream looking upstream it is on your right.

River right - the right-hand side of the river when looking downstream. When downstream looking upstream it is on your left.Roll - a move requiring a paddle stroke and body snap to right oneself from a tip over while staying in the boat. Common techniques are the Sweep and the Eskimo rolls.

Roostertail - spray of water that explodes off a submerged rock or obstacle.

Shuttle - the most dangerous part of the trip. Driving between the put-in and take-out. One-vehicle shuttles require logistical foresight using options such as biking, walking, hitchhiking, etc., to return to the put-in.

Side surf - a play move in a hole in which a paddler uses counter balancing forces of downstream current and upstream hydraulic.

Spray skirt - or spray deck. A neoprene or nylon accessory that fits around the waist of the paddler and the cockpit lip of a canoe or kayak for a watertight closure.

Squirt boat - extremely low-volume (small, flat) kayak that uses the underwater river currents for playing.

Standing waves - big waves that often indicate the main channel.

Strainer - current clogged with tree branches or debris that allows the water to flow through but could pin you or your boat. Very Dangerous!

Take-out - ending point of a paddling trip; where the boats are finally taken from the water.
Technical - describes the character of a rapid that requires skillful maneuvering because of frequent obstructions. Also describes specific, difficult-to-master paddling techniques.

Throw bag - rescue device incorporating a 60 ft. floating rope coiled inside a nylon bag, to be thrown while holding one rope end.

Tongue - a smooth downstream V indicating the route through a rapid.

Undercut - an overhanging rock or ledge with water flowing underneath it. A serious hazard!

Waterfall - major drop in a riverbed, usually over six feet in height.

Wave train - A series of standing waves or runout of a rapid. Also called "haystacks".

Wrap - to wrap your boat around a rock or obstacle. Countered by leaning into the rock or highsiding a raft.

More Whitewater rafting Termonology River Rafting Terms Home

Breckenridge and Raftecho

Raftecho is one of the best outfitters to go with for a Breckenridge rafting trip. Float on down the Blue River, but then experience the rapids for some thrills.

Featured article from Blog:
Edited by Whitewater Times

Rivers thumps lifeblood in the western United States as in spring the water flows down the snow capped peaks of the Colorado Rocky Mountain high country. The rivers get swollen and are filled with fresh life. This yearly phenomenon is valued by the people and you’ll find at least one tour, in every town and hamlet along the river.

Breckenridge is one of the earliest and biggest communities in Summit County. There is an assortment of amazing activities all through the year but the most exciting is the Breckenridge Rafting in the summer months. It is nestled in the Blue River Valley sandwiched between the serrated peaks of the Ten and the Baldy Mountains.

You will be able to hire the most committed as well as skilled and enthusiastic outdoor professionals who will guide you through the thrilling Breckenridge Whitewater Rafting tours which awaits you. This is one adventure which you will take a long time to forget.

The tours conductors offer you top quality outdoor adventure packages in the Rocky Mountain expanse with the best service as well as the best available gear. You can have a relaxed as well as a thrilling adventure Breckenridge Whitewater Rafting vacation in the guidance of unmatched experts on white water rafting.

You may wonder if Breckenridge rafting is dangerous. Even though no two tours down the river are similar, you can find well qualified guides who will help you navigating the turbulent rapids safely. You won’t to worry about your safety. In fact Breckenridge Whitewater Rafting is not only exciting but can even be educational especially for children are they learn about the flora and fauna of Colorado.

You have several options when you plan a Breckenridge rafting adventure. Skill levels, style, topography as well as the strength of rapids must be taken into account when you go for Breckenridge white water rafting.
There are some trip advisories on this Forum of Breckenridge Rafting.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

A Rogue Annual Meeting: Whitewater Rafting Outfitters

By Lynn Seldon
Edited by Whitewater Times

It’s 7am and I’m already sitting in a meeting talking about my Mother, as in Mother Nature with top outfitters from all over the U.S.
I thought I was just going to enjoy a four-day paddle on Oregon’s Rogue River and chat with some rogue paddling company owners about their various Whitewater Rafting and offerings.
We weren’t supposed to meet until nine, but we’d gotten a bit behind on the agenda the night before and they didn‘t want to miss a mid-morning put-in on the Rogue. I’m attending this annual meeting as an “embedded reporter” to learn more about Adventure Gateway, a consortium of high-quality paddling companies. They get together once a year to paddle some of America’s top rivers and to discuss business practices--both good and bad. They’ve promised me full access to them during their formal (and many informal) meetings--including much discussion about the environment and eco-tourism.

Before I’m finished my first cup of coffee, they‘re covering serious ground about the environment--including river lunches for dozens of rafters that leave no trace, attaining “Wild & Scenic“ river status (the Rogue has it), and building environmentally sensitive lodging options on budget. These men and women take river running and the health of their rivers (and businesses) very seriously.

Several Adventure Gateway companies have developed ecologically sensitive lodging options (Class VI River Runners in West Virginia is the most recent), while others have worked for years to keep rivers clean and free from excessive development. For instance, Echo River Trips owners Dick Lindford and Joe Daly were heavily involved (as was paddler- and river-focused Patagonia) in achieving Wild & Scenic status for the Tuolumne (Joe served as president of the Tuolumne River Preservation Trust for 11 years), while Wildwater founder Jim Greiner successfully pursued similar status for the Chattooga (he started his company the same year the feature film, Deliverance, was released).

I’m fascinated about their open nature in discussions of specific financial matters and ideas (both dollars and sense)--all in the hope of finding “nuggets” they can use in their own companies and rivers. For instance, before we break to hit the Rogue, Dee Holladay, founder of Holiday Expeditions, provides an overview of their “Journey with Our River Sage” program. For this popular offering, lucky paddlers get to spend quality time on a river with Dee, a 45-year whitewater veteran. With hundreds of years of whitewater experience in the room, this is a nugget several other company owners (and river sages) will be copying.

Some of these long-time owners obviously hoped to find a nugget or three from Patagonia’s Yvon Chouinard, in that several coincidentally brought along Let My People Go Surfing for some late-night homework by lantern light.

Many outfitters will be following this group of idea makers for the future planning and trip offerings for environmental considerations within their business plan in river rafting expeditions.

Monday, June 8, 2009

US takes 6th in World Raft Championships

The US Team trained throughout the winter by paddling a raft full of rocks in a pool, and tying it off to a giant bungee cord...
While they had all the best intentions of bettering their sixth-place showing from the last world championships two years ago, and 3rd-place overall finish from Ecuador in 2005, the US Men’s Rafting Team could only match their showing in South Korea by stroking to a sixth-place overall finish on the 31-km Class III-IV Vrbas River and Tara River at this year’s World Rafting Championships in Bosnia, a real Whitewater Rafting challenge.

The US team, led by Chris “Mongo” Reeder, reached the mark with a fifth-place finish in the Time Trial event; second-place showing behind Great Britain in the Head to Head Sprint; sixth-place finish in the Downriver portion; and disappointing 13th-place finish in the final Slalom event.

“It’s tough because we hoped we’d do better,” says Reeder, whose team trained throughout the winter by paddling a raft full of rocks in a pool, and even tying it off to a giant bungee cord. “We felt ourselves getting stronger each week while training, but the Bosnia course is a Class III-IV section with a lot of flatwater pools, and we’ve always had an advantage on tougher runs because of our background running steeper rivers. Plus, our team this year had all of the power we had before with 60 pounds less weight.”

Alas, the combination wasn’t enough. Instead, it was powerhouse Brazil surging to first place for the second Championships in a row, with a win in the Time Trial, fifth-place finish in the Head-to-Head Sprint, second-place finish in Downriver and sixth-place showing in Slalom. Japan took the runner-up seat, riding a first-place finish in Slalom and 3rd-place finish in the Time Trials to the podium, followed by Great Britain in third, thanks to a gold-medal performance in the Head-to-head event. Russian and the Czech Republic took 5th and 6th, respectively, with the US trailing in 6th. It's a respectable place, but not good enough for Whitewater Rafting, but we want to be first.

The US women’s team, also out of the Vail, Colo., area, finished two spots back in 8th place overall, with a 7th-place showing in the Time Trial and Sprint event, and two 9th-place finishes in Downriver and Slalom. For the women, it was Canada taking first with a win in the Slalom and 3rd-place showings in the Time Trial and Sprint; followed by Japan in 2nd, riding its 1st-place finish in Downriver to the podium, and the Czech Republic in third.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Colorado River Rafting and EddyFlower’s Vertical Challenge

Article from Paddling Life Magazine
edited by Whitewater Times

Participants in First Descents getting wet on the Colorado for Colorado River Rafting and around the world.
"We're's a great way to raise funds for our mission, while encouraging people to get out and paddle." --First Descents founder Brad Ludden

Now you can get your adrenal glands flowing while getting cash flowing for a good cause.

EddyFlower has teamed up with First Descents for the Third Annual EddyFlower Vertical Challenge, which runs from May 15 through June 15 on rivers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Created as a fundraiser to aid the fight against cancer by garnering donations for First Descents, a Colorado-based charity organization that focuses on young adults with cancer, the event inspires paddlers to paddle as many river runs as they can over the 32-day period for pledged donations. In addition to raising money for First Descents, the paddlers compete for prizes ranging from a seven-day trip to Panama with Boquete Outdoor Advenures for the person who raises the most donations, to a brand new Fluid Solo Kayak to the person who paddles the most vertical feet.

"We're stoked," says First Descents founder Brad Ludden. "It's a great way to raise funds for our mission, while encouraging people to get out and paddle."

The Annual EddyFlower Vertical Challenge is open to all paddlers (kayakers, rafters, canoers and riverboarders) from all states. Teams of up to five people can register online at to compete in one of six divisions (Open, Class V, Class IV, Class III, Weekend Warrior and Women’s) that best match your team’s skill level. Contestants can track the progress of their team and others on the website, where qualifying river runs and other contest rules are available. All funds raised go to First Descents, a non-profit organization that provides whitewater kayaking and other outdoor adventure experiences to promote emotional, psychological and physical healing for young adults with cancer.

Seventeen sponsors are supporting the event with $17,000 in products and contributions for prizes. In the 2008 Vertical Challenge 48 teams totaling 200 competitors ran more than 1,420,000 total feet while raising more than $28,117 for First Descents.

Founded in the summer of 2001 by professional kayaker Brad Ludden, First Descents has grown from one camp in Vail, CO representing Colorado River Rafting to nine planned camps this summer in six different states. Ludden continues to be the driving force and inspiration behind the charity, donating much of his time to helping run day-to-day operations as well as instructing at camps each summer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Colorado River Rafting and "Mongo"

This article is from Paddling Life Magazine
edited by Whitewater Times...

“I don't remember where the nickname Mongo comes from. A friend started calling me that when we were guiding together in Boulder..."
Most people associate Mongo with that farting mongoloid on Mel Brooks’ Blazing Saddles. But as head raft guide for Vail, Colo.’s Timberline Tours, and captain of the U.S. Raft Team since 2001, Chris “Mongo” Reeder, 40, is better known for creating blazing paddles. He’s hoping his teams paddles will be blazin’ this week (May 17-23) as his team competes at the World Rafting Championships on the Vrbas River in Bosnia…

Growing up rafting in Maine and guiding rivers throughout the U.S. for more than 22 years, Mongo works on the Vail Ski Patrol during the winter, and runs a side business, Mongo Products, creating rescue and technical equipment for the adventure sports community ( But his heart returns to raft competition every spring, this year looking to better his team’s 6th-place showing in the Sprint event and 15th-place showing in Slalom at the 2007 World Championships in South Korea; and third-place overall finish at the 2005 World Championships in Ecuador -- the best finish by a U.S. Men’s team ever – which included a Gold Medal finish in Sprint.

PL caught up him before the trip overseas for some of his thoughts...

In His own Words

“We have two new members on the team since the last worlds in Korea. One is Seth Kurt-Mason, our alternate in Korea who has been paddling with the team for three or four years. The other is Joe Sialiano, who earned his spot on the team by competing with two others for the spot last summer; he was the best paddler from our competition at Nationals last spring). Our alternate is Andrew Bishop.

“We started our training in December and our trainer Topper Hagerman from Howard Head Sports Medicine has come up with a truly sadistic program.

“One thing we did different this year was getting on water twice a week through the winter. With the Worlds held early this year it was crucial to get time in the boat. Gym time and cardio is important, but nothing gets you prepared to paddle like paddling.

“For years our trainer has been dreaming up new ways to add resistance to our boat when on the river, like piling it full of weights or rocks. This year he had us paddling the raft in the pool at the local rec center with the back tied off to the diving board with a big bungee cord. The view never really changed but the resistance is incredible and we felt ourselves getting stronger each week.

“The Bosnia course is a Class III-IV section with a lot of flatwater pools. We’ve always had an advantage on tougher runs because of our background running steep Colorado River Rafting stints, but I think we’ve made some changes that will help us excel on rivers with a few more pools. Our team this year has all of the power we had before with 60 pounds less weight. That could be deadly.

“The biggest threats are the reigning World Champs Brazil, the Russians, the Czechs, the Germans, Canada and the Japanese. We’ll just have to see…but we’re feeling pretty good.

“I don't even remember where the nickname Mongo comes from. My old friend, Harlan, started calling me that when we were guiding together in Boulder and I was drunk most of those years.

Mongos tips for Colorado River Rafting and anywhere ....

Article from Paddling Life Magazine
edited by Whitewater Times

Mongo’s Tips on Getting Started

“I’ve seen a thousand different approaches to getting beginners down a river, be it Colorado River Rafting or anywhere. Some fail to train their crews properly and then blame the guests when things go wrong. Others feel every guest is looking for a near-death experience. Then you have the screamers, who yell at their guests to motivate them—they live by the creed, ‘The beatings will continue until the paddling improves!’

“Be calm and train your crew until you’re comfortable with them. Crews will generally reflect your own mental state. Panic equals panic. When I’m hiring new guides I’ll generally look for the ones who are having the most fun. If a guide is having a good time, so are the guests.

“Getting paid to make sure people have a good time on the river is one of the best jobs ever. Some of my best crews have been first-timers who haven’t developed any bad habits yet. I love watching someone’s initial fear turn into excitement.

“Select a trip according to your fitness level rather than your prior experience: It’s frustrating to get a men’s lacrosse team signing up for a scenic float trip because they don’t have any experience when they’d have much more fun on something more aggressive.

“One thing I’ve learned is that while a little bit of fear is a good motivator, a horrified guest is “baggage” and will quit paddling at the most inopportune times. Whenever I see the screamers in action I can’t help but think “and these people paid for this? So for any trip you plan whether it's a Colorado River Rafting trip or anywhere in the world follow some good advice here...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Adventures in Colorado Whitewater Rafting

Denver Post

For strong paddlers, the Upper Animas is one of Colorado's most memorable rides. It's a wild, 25-mile stretch of Colorado whitewater rafting that parallels the gawker-laden narrow gauge train between Durango and Silverton. The Upper A is swollen with hard (Class IV+ to V) rapids, big waves and ice-cold water. It's a bruiser that many kayakers and whitewater rafters take two days to complete (the train will ferry your overnight gear to a midway campground and pick it up the next morning). Commercial and private rafters take out at Tacoma, before the Class V Rockwood Box. Experts find thrills galore in Rockwood, where sheer, 500-foot walls prevent both escape and scouting — but fall out in Rockwood and be prepared for an overwhelmingly bad swim. Add the must-make take-out eddy just before the entire river pours into a sieve, and Rockwood is the ultimate finish for a mind- and body-rattling paddle trip. Put in at downtown Silverton, take out at Tacoma, and hike up ATV trails to the Haviland Lake Campground. After a mile in Rockwood, the take-out is river right, with a small sign marking the mandatory exit pool. First-timers on the Upper A should bring a veteran. Stay: The Wyman Hotel & Inn in Silverton is a 1902 building that beautifully bridges the gap between old and new — filled with period antiques, it also offers whirlpool tubs. Complimentary breakfast and afternoon tea. Rates start at $115 (1371 Greene St., 970-387-5372, Dine: You'll come off the river with quite an appetite, and a good place to hit soon after is Handlebars Restaurant & Saloon, a great old shrine to the mining town, filled with taxidermy and odds and ends from the area's history. The specialty here is the baby-back ribs, slathered in the house sauce, which is also for sale by the bottle. And if you have a "handlebar" yourself, they'll take your photo and hang it with the others (117 13th St., 970-387-5395,

Ride the Royal Gorge Route Railroad

There are several options for seeing the Royal Gorge, including from the suspension bridge above it and from a raft bouncing along the mighty Arkansas River that runs through it. But one of the best ways to see it up close is on the Royal Gorge Route Railroad, which takes you on a 24-mile trip through it, often passing mere feet from the canyon walls, with the river right alongside. Step out onto an open gondola car for the best view, or sit in a dome car and have a gourmet lunch or dinner, or take one of the themed trains, with a murder mystery or wine tasting offered. The train also features a ride in the cab for a lucky few (extra fee). Along the route, you may see blue heron, bighorn sheep, bald eagles and other wildlife, and you can wave to the folks who will see you going past from the hanging bridge and rafts — or book a combination package that will put you on either the train and the bridge or the train and a raft (visit website for details). The train leaves from the Santa Fe Depot in CaƱon City. Tickets start at $32.95/adults and $21.50/kids, 888-724-5748, Stay: Jewel of the Canyons Bed and Breakfast is a cute little spot in an 1890 Queen Anne house just a few blocks off West Royal Gorge Boulevard; the guest rooms are simple and sweetly decorated, and each has a private bath. Rates start at $99 (429 Greenwood Ave., 866-875-0378, Dine: Merlino's Belvedere is the locals' choice for upscale dining, not especially fancy but with decent Italian food and big portions. The entrees come with bottomless salad. (1330 Elm Ave., 719-275-5558, Dont forget to experience the colorado whitewater rafting.

Rivers hitting their peak for Colorado whitewater rafting

By ANDREW WINEKE (Colorado Springs) The Gazette
edited by Whitewater Times

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.—Justin Smith, president of the Pikes Peak Whitewater Club, doesn't wait for high water to head to the river.

He took his first whitewater kayak trip of 2009 in February and has been hitting rivers across the state several times a week ever since.

"I've been out on Pine Creek, Numbers, the Royal Gorge," Smith said, naming a string of expert-level Class IV and V whitewater runs. "I've been on Gore about four times. I've been out to Cross Mountain twice. I've been up to Elevenmile a few times."

Still, he said, something changes when Mother Nature and the state's water managers jointly decide it's time to open the taps.

"As the flows start coming up, it's going to be like, 'Oh we've got to go hit this, oh we've got to go hit that,'" Smith said.

In late April, Colorado's mountains got the biggest snowstorm of the year. Last week, that snow began trickling down the peaks, cascading through the state's rivers. The deluge will continue through June, then gradually taper off through July and August.

"I think it's going to be an exceptional year," said owner of Raftecho, outfitters for Colorado Whitewater Rafting. "Water levels are going to be spectacular."

By "spectacular," he doesn't mean the water will be as high as last year, when a near-record snowpack produced the biggest water the Arkansas has seen in more than a decade. Last year's high water was, in some cases, too much of a good thing, since it led to some voluntary safety closures of the Royal Gorge near Canon City and may have scared away less-intrepid rafters and kayakers.

"We're right in the pocket where we have good flows, but not too good of flows," said Stew Pappenfort, senior ranger for the Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area. "The season's looking good for Colorado Whitewater Rafting."