Tag Archives: whitewater

Idaho – sorry we were so brief…

When we laid out our initial travel plans, we had anticipated spending 3-4 days in Idaho, looking at a combination of Mountain Biking and playing at the 2 whitewater kayaking parks.

To our major disappointment, the water levels at both Kelly’s Whitewater Park and the Boise Whitewater Park plummet in early October and don’t return again until late April / early May.

That, coupled with unseasonably cool weather (aka temps near freezing and snow chasing us) lead us to make the call to drive straight through Idaho on our way to southern Utah.

In addition to enjoying the major highway through southern Idaho, we did spend the night at a rest stop just south of Boise. The scenery outside the window was nice and I hope that we will be back again some day to enjoy all the things on our list.

Hobuck Hoedown – Surf Kayak Event


The Hobuck Hoedown is an annual surf kayak event held in Hobuck Bay in the furthest corner of Northwestern Washington state. It is organized by Olympic Raft and Kayak and Morgan and Maggie are the passion behind it.

It is an old school event that is all about community, competition and fun. It was a wonderful place for our first Surf Kayak competition experience with a low key atmosphere and incredibly supportive people (organizers, judges, and participants).

hunter SUP 2

There were multiple classes within the event – High Performance, International Class, Waveski, Whitewater, Stand-up Paddleboard and Raft. We initially entered Hunter into Whitewater, Stand-up paddleboard and Raft. After testing out the Stand-up paddle board he opted out of that event as it was a bit too wieldy for his size.

Hunter and Tim surfed throughout the morning while waiting for his heat just after lunch. Tim managed to demo about 6 boats over the course of the weekend but never found “the one” that would justify buying yet another boat because it was that much better than using his Jackson whitewater boats.

Tim Mega demo - morgans boat

Hunter had a bout of nerves just before his heat, announcing that he didn’t want to do this “as it was really competitive – they give out medals just like the Olympics!”. We managed to get through the tears and into his boat just as the flag turned to green as he was off in the water. I was on camera duty and Tim was dedicated safety support and we were both full of nerves…. We couldn’t believe when we both looked at our watches and only 6 minutes of the 20 minute heat had gone by!

He was on fire – full of smiles, surfing away, even throwing in old school paddle spins mid way through to impress the judges!

hunter hoebuck


Hunter mostly surfed in what is referred to as the “soupy zone” where the waves were just cresting or had just crested. It meant that most of the waves he caught were white vs green. As we progressed through the day, we learned more about how Surf kayking is scored and it turns out that the starting point is you have to catch the wave on the green. Then it is about how effectively you make use of the wave (front surf, side surf, spin, carve etc.).

Hunter wowed the judges and got a round full of cheers when he came off the water from the first heat. At 10, he was the youngest competitor and they didn’t have a youth class so he was out in the water with 4 adults.

With only 5 in their class, everyone made it into the finals. Hunter was disappointed that he wasn’t top 3 in points (he was 5th at 20.5 but only 8 points behind the 1st place competitor) but thrilled that he was in the finals.

Before the finals, they had the raft surfing competition – Tim was a last minute recruit to paddle in the boat with Hunter, Morgan and 3 others. They had a tonne of fun and lots of smiles…. Morgan capped it off with a back-flip off the raft to earn more points and they won the event!

raft team 1

morgan back flip


At the end of the day, Hunter came in 5th in the Whitewater category BUT the judges were so impressed with him (age, personality and skills) that they created a junior class and awarded him a medal for first. We are all sooooo proud of him – for competing, for getting through the jitters and for being his personable chatty self the entire day. Pretty awesome for learning day one and competing day two.

Hunter and Mom - medal


Thanks have to go out to coach Tim (Dad), coach Sean (YCKC) and coach Kevin (YCKC) for helping to give him the confidence, the skill and the love of paddling…

Oh, and for those that are wondering – yes, I did go out and surf kayak. In order to maintain my “keep up with Hunter” status, I hit the waves on Saturday for a while in between everything and had a good time…

lee surf kayaking

Takhini River Paddle – YCKC Youth Group

takhini kids kayak day

Our last paddle of the Yukon summer was today. It’s actually fall here now so it should be no surprise that it was cool (11c) and rainy… We pushed through and were rewarded with a break in the clouds by late afternoon and a fun day.

A group of 6 youth paddlers (ages 10-13) from the Yukon Canoe and Kayak Club Youth program headed out to finish off their paddling season by running the Takhini River. It is a class 2 river that has 1 class 3 feature depending on the water levels. This late in the season, it was mostly class 1 and 2 which made for a fun and easy day.

There were 5 adults in kayaks and another 3 in the raft so the kids were well supported. Not a single swimmer all day which was great.

The major feature on this section of the river is referred to as the “Jaws of Death” which makes a much bigger deal out of it than is necessary. Others have referred to it as “the gums of worry” which seems somewhat more appropriate. Today, for the kids sake we decided it should be renamed the fluffy bunny or something equally benign as it definitely gets them more anxious than is required.

It is basically a bend in the river with a series of haystacks and wave trains. From the perspective of a youth boat and paddler, the waves are definitely something to be considered. At the same time, there are sneaks on river right and all those that needed to do the sneak were successful and happily finished the day proud of their paddle.

takhini loaded raft

Yukon kids are quite hearty and somehow we managed to take 2 hours to paddle the last section of the river (average is 45 minutes) to take-out as they opted to  jump in and out of the raft, climb on each others boats in the water, swim and generally have a great time. At one point I think they had 5 kayaks in the raft and another one being pulled behind!

Thanks definitely go out to Sean Stark, the fearless leader of youth programming at the Yukon Canoe & Kayak Club.

Wheaton River – Yukon

wheaton river group shot

Yukon rivers are all snowpack fed and it’s always a crapshoot as to when the flows will happen. All paddlers in Whitehorse become amateur meteorologists come late May and there are daily discussions about comparisons of snow pack to last year and recent rain levels all in an attempt to figure out when the Wheaton River is going to “RUN”.

It’s a class 2/3 river that is about 45 minutes out of town and is located in the midst of an incredibly scenic river valley. It has a couple of different put ins depending on water levels and can either be a great half-day paddle on the weekend or a quick run after work during the week.

Local companies Yukan Canoe and Tatshenshini Expediting run courses on the Wheaton for anyone interested in learning more and experiencing the river.

This year the river ran in early June for a few weeks, quickly dropped and then came back again in early July thanks to multiple days of continuous rain.

Here are a few fun photos of one of our trips out – higher water levels lead to creative shuttles (ATV & trailer) and this year it opened up a channel that we don’t normally run and there was a near miss in the group with a canoe getting pinned. Lucky to have a group of very handy folks to rescue the canoeist and the canoe! A great teaching opportunity for all the kids with us.

wheaton river shuttle

wheaton river canoe wrap

Lapie Canyon – Yukon

Lapie Canyon Campground

We spent 4 days at the Lapie River in the central Yukon camping and whitewater kayaking. It was also adventure test trip #1 to work out the bugs and start the lists in earnest (what do we need to figure out or do over the next 8 weeks before we hit the road for 8 months).

The adventure set up for the 4 days was:

  • Ford F250 (and all it’s intermittent electrical system issues)
  • 2003 Adventure Queen 8 ft truck camper
  • 2008 18ft Hallmark V-nosed enclosed trailer
  • 4 Jackson kayaks (Duo, Zen, FunRunner, 1.5)
  • 4 mountain bikes (as Hunter is transitioning sizes)
  • 1 ATV for shuttling etc.

Waiting to hit the river


Our first day on the river was sunny and 30c – woo hoo summer!  We ran the lower river section with Tim & Hunter in the Duo to help Hunter read and scout the river as we were hopeful he could run it on his own. Fabulous water levels made for a really fun day. Below is the view of the canyon looking upstream after we put in.view of canyon from duo


Day two on the river and Hunter’s the man! He ran the entire run in his own boat, surfed and boofed with a smile a mile wide…

Fridge issues in the camper caused some frustrations– we’ve tried every setting and still get 10c on the thermometer. To avoid food spoilage we hooked it up to the generator for a few hours to try to get things back down to a better range but we’re stumped as to why the propane isn’t working.

 Hunter on kayak pile


Day three on the river we ran the lower section with a group of tandem and solo canoeists. It was a group of 9 in total. I was definitely worried about Hunter’s ability to focus but he pulled it off and stuck with coach Dad. Some stressful moments when I found him sitting in the one of the surfing lines in the eddy – I thought he was just in the wrong spot, and then he peeled out to surf the wave without anyone ready in case of a swim! He wondered why I was so stressed… Run #2 with no swims and lots of enthusiasm – he even wanted to head off to a nearby lake to practice his roll!

The fridge is still an issue – we’ve tried the highest setting & the lowest and neither are making a dent. Back to the generator for a few hours to cool things off and we made cookies to create an excuse to drink the milk!

down time in the trailer

 The boys also tested out their “Man Cave” set up in the trailer. They have set up a carpeted play zone in the front third of the trailer that provides a place for Hunter’s Playmobil, Lego & Trucks along with the bean bag chair and DVD player/flat screen.

In between paddling we fit in some biking and visiting with other paddlers. A great 4 day adventure that we will definitely repeat next year. The territorial campground is a great resource and well set up for families with lots of space, easy walking trails, a covered cooking area and take out for the lower section is right at the campground.