Friday, March 26, 2010

Aussie Surfing Blog by Mark K

Mark is a former professional whitewater guide for our company, WET River Trips. His love of the water took him from rivers to oceans and back again. Mark is back in the wild, wild West of California surfing now. Still paddling, still surfing the waves in any way he can, he's given us a little surf update from the even wilder surfing Australian coast. Take it awaaaay Mark!

AUSTRALIA Surf Update:

My bro Justin, hooked me up with a cheap plane ticket to Australia. First Class ticket for $250, although it was stepped down from First Class because of an argument about my luggage. I didn’t have to pay the excess baggage fee. Never ever.

I flew into Sydney and I sat in the airport listening to Flower beats. My neighbour in Los Angeles, Katie, gave me a loaded Ipod for a going away gift. I got an overpriced coffee and doughnut. Hmm. When I ordered the coffee, they called it a "flat white."

Weird enough, the Canadian girl I shagged in Baja found me on myspace a few weeks before I left and asked if I wanted to travel with her through Australia in her old Volkswagen van.

I thought it was crazy, and I debated about it a lot, but I thought,"... why not, I can always bail if she is lame." Plus, she was starting from Perth and that was where the Base and his friend were from and they told me all about some good spots to surf. So I went.

I bought a ticket to Perth. Instead of meeting up with Jamie, at first, I made arrangements to meet Chantal, an Australian chick who I met in Los Angeles through another girl. My plan was to spend the weekend with her.

Chantal picked me up from my hostel and introduced me to my first moments of Australian culture. Chantal was cool as f*ck; she windsurfed, road dirt bikes, owned property, and took good care of her body... really good care.

I was so jetlagged. Two long flights moving ahead of time. Took me days to properly recover. Anyway, we went back to her house. We just talked and had some food. That night I was escorted by two fine looking women and the bouncers never noticed my thongs.

I met Chantal’s friends, Jamie, originally an English man and Phil an Aussie who we met windsurfing. Two very funny guys. We all got drunk and laughed the whole night. Jamie was hilarious.

By the time we arrived in Margaret River I knew I couldn’t hang with the Canadian girl. We were in a land of Limestone reefs, and I was trapped with an annoying novice surfer who constantly complained about the perfect conditions. The Volkswagen van was totally impractical and totally unaffordable, and I was spending too much time inside it with a girl who I couldn’t give a damn.

It was on a rainy Sunday morning when I checked the notice board and saw that someone just put an add up for a room for rent in Gracetown, a surfer’s paradise. The only problem was that they didn’t leave a phone number. I scanned the notice board looking for another ad with the same handwriting. Two tickets to Big Day Out (a concert in Perth), in the same writing and with a number, I was in luck. I was also trapped. How was I to look at the room since it was kind of far away from where we were. I soon after did one of my biggest Australian regrets. I asked the Canadian if she wanted to look at the room with me.

When I met Johno, he told me the room was gone, but I could stay in the living room. I liked his attitude. After that, he offered me another room in the house. The room of an Irish guy who had been in a near fatal car accident was shown. I was stoked. I then asked if the girl could share the room with me. I wish I never asked and gratefully he said no.

I was so ecstatic to be living in Gracetown. It was a surfer’s paradise. Two point breaks in view of the house and several waves around the back. He even hooked me up with a beat up Subaru for $600. It was a good car and it made it all around Australia. WA was all reefs... truely the wild wild west.

Reports from Aussie Surf by Mark K former whitewater guide for WET River Trips

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


We got a great snow pack in the Sierras. Skiing and snowboarding have been a blast this year with many days of fresh powder. Now we move into spring California weather where both are possible in one day! That's right, Spring Rafting is here and you can paddle the river and hit the slopes afterwards. Lots of possibilities for Spring Break!

From 2010-02-16

College student discounts are available here at WET River Trips. A great package on the river is a One Day American River trip w/ lunch on the river, dinner that night and camping at the campground that same evening. We provide everything but your toothbrush and sleeping bag. The next morning, you can hit the slopes at Sugar Bowl or Sierra Tahoe just a 1.5 hours away. Buy your total package on the web.

march 20, 2010 spring rafting

Here are your resources for your Spring Break:

Rafting trips :
Student Discounts :

SKIING :::::
Sugar Bowl :
Squaw Valley :
Sierra Tahoe :
Kirkwood :

Local campgrounds, hotels & B&B near the rivers :

Call WET River Trips for available trip dates 1.888.723.8938.

We can advise the best river and the best packages for your spring break trips. Come on down UC Berkely, Stanford, USC, UOP, CSUS, Cal Poly and the rest! Let's gooooooooo!

Friday, March 12, 2010

WET River Trips on Northern California Whitewater!

Rafting continues into day 2 of Northern California whitewater with WET River Trips! The boys had a great first day, if you recall (if you didn't read the first post, click here to read "Spring Rafting with WET River Trips in Northern California". First fun trips of the rafting season are always filled with ahem... stories of the antics of the whitewater guides. They get out there before the commercial scene starts up so that they are ready for you, our paddling guests!


From Spring 2010 Whitewater Opening Weekend

From Spring 2010 Whitewater Opening Weekend

After finishing breakfast and pumping up the raft, the WET guides hit the South Smith through the most difficult section of the three Forks of the Smith and the first legit Class 5 rapid of the trip: Grandma’s Pantry rapid. At over 3,500 cfs the rapid was a classic class 5 rapid. The crew came through without incident, and we took out and headed to the nearest Laundromat in Crescent City. Wolf had another idea, "...let’s take the back-route through Stout Grove." (part of the Jedediah Smith Park ) Note from WET River Trips editor: uhhh, haven't you guys learned that the Wolf way is the extreme way?
The drive through the park was incredible with some of the biggest redwoods in the world right along the single track road that actually did lead directly to Crescent City. I guess this is why we still trust Wolf way... a little. Note from WET River Trips editor: ok, ok... this time the Wolf path was the best... conceding with a bit of hesitation...

The Laundromat in Crescent City was assaulted by six of us with armloads of soaking wet gear that soon became dry, and we were off to the Cal Salmon for Day 3. On the drive we detoured through two more Redwood Groves, and Jon was able to marvel at the Trees of Mystery and he was also able to enjoy the view of Babe the Blue Ox and Paul Bunyan…life-size of course.

From 2010-02-16

From 2010-02-16

When we hit the town of Orrick, we detoured over Bald Mtn Road that parallels the drainage of Redwood Creek and shortens the drive to the Salmon by coming directly into the Klamath River drainage and the Yurok Reservation and Hwy 96 outside of Orleans, CA. After a quick stop at Somes Bar and a look at Ishi Pishi Falls , we made it up the Salmon River Highway to Nordheimer on the Cal Salmon by 5 pm and tarped-up for rain as I made dinner.
Dinner was huge and we were able to feed Matt P. as he rolled in from his trip on the Smith river (he was with Paul G... remember that rascal from part 1 of this story?). Soon after dinner, Matt pulled out the Casio 420 keyboard, Justin unpacked his conga drum, Alex H. dried out his guitar, Wolf found his rhythm rocks, and Jon found a curiously empty beer bottle to blow a tune. Club Nordheimer was in full-effect with the drum being passed from Justin to Jon and the guitar from Alex H. to Wolf. We were treated to no less than 3 original tunes and a mix of covers. No rain, music, a few beers, and only two other folks in the entire area… nice.

From 2010-02-16

Day 3

The WET guides added Matt P. in his kayak, and we pumped up the second raft. Heffe and Jon R-2’d, and Wolf, Alex H., and Justin took the other raft. The Nordheimer run was awesome with a flow of about 1,000 cfs at put-in and about 1,500 at the Butler Creek takeout. No swimmers and no incidents…smooth and very clean runs.

From Spring 2010 Whitewater Opening Weekend

From 2010-02-16

We packed up said goodbye to Matt P., and we headed out of the Trinity drainage and back to I-5. We were back in Lotus at 9:30 pm. Ahhh, safe, happy, and dry.

1,100 miles of driving in 2 states, 45 miles on four rivers, no problems and an amazing start to the 2010 whitewater season!

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

Thanks to Big Poppah for his written series on Northern California rafting and his awesome whitewater photos!

Notes from WET editor: Northern California rafting trips are laced with incomparable beauty, lushness in foliage and flowers, and incredible awesome rapids on pristine rivers. Join our professional guides this year in 2010 and celebrate your special event or gathering on an upcoming whitewater season. WET River Trips is a professional whitewater rafting company since 1978 and pioneered trips on many rivers and creeks in California. WET rawks!

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Thursday, March 04, 2010

Spring Rafting w/ WET River Trips in Northern California

Ahhh, the kids from WET River Trips are at it again. The first commercial trips follow the celebratory Smith trip with the launch of early season rafting trips in Northern California. This weekend on March 6th, the crew will be on commercial river trips on the North Fork American River just three hours from San Francisco and one hour from Sacramento. 2010 Season is here!

The story below just came in from the support crew for the whitewater trip they just did up north. Big Poppah holds the reins on the kids while the infamous guides take their first bite of 2010 whitewater rafting.

What I can't figure out is why they still listen to Wolfe's driving directions. Haven't they learned that the Wolf path is always the most extreme? LOL!

The whitewater team from WET River Trips has pulled off a stellar, early-season Spring Rafting trip in Northern California. We just celebrated the launch of the 2010 Rafting Season on three Forks of the Smith and Cal Salmon River on Class 4 to 5 whitewater in world class wilderness scenery with internationally known river guides on a private, non-commercial rafting trip a couple of weeks ago during Valentine's weekend.

Day 1:

We met and loaded up at the Lotus warehouse at 5 pm. Wolf, Justin, Jon, and Alex H. were ready and had everything laid out for the river trip as I arrived with the Dodge.

As usual, we packed heavy (you never know) with 2 rafts, 1 kayak, and a mountain of camp and personal gear. 5:30 and we were on the road to Jedidiah Smith Redwoods. After years of driving up I-5 to 299 and then to 101, we took the advice of Google Maps, and we went straight up I-5 to Grants Pass to 199 (Redwood Hwy) and back down into California (about 400 miles but less curvy and potentially safer). We pulled into Jedidiah at 2 am with a light rain and found our soon-to-be notorious site #41 as we rigged tarps and tents for a quick bivouac.

On the drive up, we conferred with Heffe currently living in the Pacific Northwest and arranged to meet up in our camp in the morning. I got up fairly early around 7 am and made coffee and breakfast. The crew woke to hot coffee and breakfast burritos to start off the day. As we geared up for the North Smith, Heffe arrived shortly after, and we packed the Dodge as we prepped for the North Fork.

Heading out, the rain stopped, and we were pleased to see partially sunny skies and drying roads for the shuttle in to the remote drainage of the North Fork Smith River. The drive in consisted of traversing a landscape that changed from Redwood groves to meadows to blank hills, and back again. Apparently the geology of the North Fork Drainage allows for deposits of copper and other minerals and the varying soils have provided an amazing variety of vegetation.

The previous rains had saturated the ground to such an extent that every hillside was cascading fresh runoff from the Coastal Range into the Smith River Drainage. A good day coming up! The remote put-in was “improved” with a toilet, changing areas, and a flat rock beach to drop off gear (thank you California Boating and Waterways!) Quite a crazy luxury for a river with a small season and in a remote location on a dirt road …very nice!

It was decided to take one raft (Justin, Alex H., & Jon) and two kayaks (Heffe & Wolf). We estimated the flow to be about 2,000 CFS. The trip was ready to put-in at 11:30 am, and I asked Wolf (the only one of us that had run the North Fork) how to get to the takeout in Gasquet on Hwy 199. He gave me the directions to head east over the bridge at put-in and then continue to a fork in the road where I would turn right and drop out of the canyon and then to 199. (sounded reasonable and plausible).

The boats pulled away from shore and I headed out on “Wolf’s Way” and at first the road seemed good with evidence of recent tracks in the wet surface and the ruts were “passable." That soon changed as the road turned into a trail littered with fallen trees and rock slides, but I had faith.

That faith took me into terrain worthy of the Rubicon Trail, and I made use of my low-range 4WD and my abilty to wedge large rocks off of the trail and to drag small trees to the edge of the canyon. After having to back-up a single track trail “trail” for over ¾’s of a mile, I tried my Verizon GPS …it worked! After spending over an hour in the middle of nowhere and feeling like a member of the Donner Party (albeit equipped with a 4wd Dodge truck), I had hope in technology as I headed back to a new trail spur that was only (by GPS) 8 miles to Gasquet!

The new road started out with promise (it was passable) and I got to within 6.8 mi of Gasquet when the road disappeared into 3 foot ruts, large rocks, large fallen trees, extreme mud and loose rock, I called it quits, turned around, back-tracked and found myself back in Gasquet at the pre-determined meeting spot (confluence of the North and Middle Forks) at 2:45.

Wolf was waiting on the road with a giant grin from running the North Fork Smith at what became over 3,600 cfs in flow (epic good flow) without any incidents and a crew that was ready to paddle the Middle Fork of the Smith through Oregon Hole. After listening to my “opinion” related to Wolf’s directions, a substantial lunch began with fantastic stories about waterfalls, caverns, primeval forests, and carnivorous Pitcher plants or its botanical name, Darlingtonia Californicus, and some awesome, continuous class 3 and 4 rapids, the crew headed out to finish the run through Oregon Hole and the Middle Gorge of the Middle Fork of the Smith River.

The Oregon Hole section is visible from the road (Hwy 199) and the crew attracted a crowd of touristas trying see what was going on at the river side as the crew scouted what they could. Every boat came through without a problem except for Wolf who submarined against a huge undercut and yet remained bolt upright in his kayak with only the top of his helmet still visable. Big fun… and I smiled broadly knowing that Wolf had experienced a “moment” that I could relate to clearly.

Take-out was at Myrtle Beach and only about 2 miles from camp. Camp was great; big meal, good stories, Alex H. on guitar, and no rain... or so we thought. Around 3 am, a light rain started and then the skies opened up at 4 am flooding our camp with over 3 inches of standing water. We were completely soaked. No worries, we headed off to the Hiouchi Café where we had a nice hot, dry, and substantial breakfast.

While waiting for our food, Paul Gamache rolled up with a friend and we exchanged info about the North Fork (he was leading a trip from CSU Humboldt’s outdoor program down the North Fork after our trip put-in). It was great to see him and catch up; but, as he left something was not quite right. As he got into his car right outside our window, he was laughing harder than he had a right to... damn... we soon found out why. He had reached up to our inflated raft and pushed in a valve and fully deflated a tube. Yuk, yuk. Little does he know what we did …it’s on!
Written by : Big Poppah
Resources: Smith River Alliance, California Whitewater Rafting

Part 2 continues next week! Bookmark this blog

First W.E.T. River Trips starts March 6, 2010 this Saturday! We will be on the North Fork American and/or South Fork American. Days have been intermittent rain, big fat fluffy white clouds and blue skies. Looks like spring is here!