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May 3, 2005

Hey Eric:
Over here in NC playing with the Ashtanga-villians on the local Spring

run – the Green at 200%

While everyone knows the Green is a classic
run, double the flow and you get an outstanding one. The old lines get
pushy, several new challenges open up, and the holes get downright stompy.
Perfect spot to play with the Rocker!

While it seems many people looking at the spec’s are
assuming this is a bigger ‘Y’ or Phat size boat it doesn’t paddle big
at all. "Sporty" is more like it. I’m super-glad we pushed the
length out to 8′, as the hard rails under the seat allow me to carve super
short-radius turns into eddies and the short stern swings around like
nobody’s business. I can’t think of any run where I would prefer anything
shorter. On the other hand, the rounded bow sits just off the water, taking
full advantage of every inch of waterline so if tracking is what you want,
just lean forwards and blast on through.

I’ve really enjoyed getting the trim and my leans
dialed in over here – the boat is an instantly forgiving, easy to paddle
corker already but I’m gaining an increasing appreciation for the the
rails under my ass and the rounded sections out towards the ends . . .lean
forwards and the bow grabs the current, lean back and it skips across.
Plane out from a boof by dropping the bow a bit and holding the hull flat
and straight, carve out by dropping an edge. Drop your speed by landing
totally flat or by arcing a sharp turn in the air and landing on edge
to spray your friends. The Rocker boofs off rocks amazingly well, and
seems to appreciate when you choose one hip to ‘spring’ off for added
height or distance. That short stern is easy to clear, and even when it
connects is still wide and rounded enough not to trip you up.

Highlight over here include several new boofs, the
sweet ‘Go Left’ 200% line where you jump over the log on the left then
head straight into the drop with speed (one run I managed the ‘double
boof’ by launching over the barely covered ‘divider rock’ in the second
drop while carrying the speed from the first – definitely one fun ride).
The ‘Sunshine Down the Middle’ line, which is much softer at these 200+
levels than you would expect, is just amazing: melting through Groove
Tube then heading straight down past those ‘must make’ eddies just feels
liberating, especially when topped off by the double-drop sensation as
you cross the ‘piton rock’ in an instant and fall again off the other
side. And of course the ‘Gorilla’. The 200%+ Gorilla line is one big series
of moves and once you enter you are going to the bottom fast – one way
or another. The ‘notch’ is still the crux, but seems compounded by the
‘pencil sharpener’ above it since it goes so quickly from one to the next.
Boof right off Pencil sharpener and you won’t be in position for the left-to-right
move OVER the left wall of the notch. Pat Keller made this move look so
clean and fun, he simply climbed the curler and then launched off the
top headed right – clearing the left shelf and narrowly missing the right
wall – then coming down on a left edge to carve across the top of the
boils and down into the middle of the launch-pad. Once off the pad, it’s
a lightening fast white-out down to the ‘Scream Machine’ where you miss
one hole far left, then the next one far right. That bottom hole is probably
the least forgiving spot on the river; surf here and you will be swimming
right while hoping your gear stops before Sunshine. . .

Anyway – I got 4 runs on the Green and one super-boofy
run on the Watauga at 300cfs (amazing slots everywhere). While I never
ran the notch (totally committing, tough to read, just didn’t feel it)
I had good clean lines from day 1 and by day 4 I am starting to feel like
a local. I’m also totally dialed into my Rocker and can’t wait for the
next rain and another series of days to let her run. West Virginia’s calling,
but first back to Rock Island to surf, ski, and pack.

See ya soon –



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Clay Wright