Page 1 of 1

Big Waterfall Running with critical thinking

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 5:56 pm
by Creeker
This thread was started in the Facebook Group GDI by me and I moved here to help retain the contributing comments from different people. As soon as someone runs a big drop or hard drop someone wants to get in on the fun and sharing how we think about it and prepare to do it is important info to share.

Last weekend I took Mohawks Phiend Prototype out and decided to see if I could get some good pictures of it running some stout drops that wouldn't put too big of a hurt on me or the fragile glass canoe. Here are some of those Phiend Pictures and the Facebook discussion to carry on with here.



CREEKER WROTE: I thought we could share some ideas on running bigger drops and how we prepare for it. To me Big is anything 10 feet or bigger. Agreed going big isn't everyone's cup of tea or bottle of Jack. I don't do it for Adrenaline and I don't think it makes me a great boater, but it does require some specific skills to do well that are worth sharing. So please share your experiences as well even if its just that 10' drop you've been working on getting. Personally I boat for challenge and I want to see if I can do a drop. I also love photography and BIG is eye candy for camera.

I try to tip over the lip as adrenaline free as I can. So was the case on Saturday here. All my Adrenaline was on Friday night when I was deciding to pack, when I thought that I saw favorable water levels for 16 hours later. Pictured is a touchy lip to get to in the right orientation with the rush of flow at the lip. There is a turn your back on the waterfall ferry move at medium to higher water that I really don't like and anticipation of what that level would be was making my palms sweat right up till I saw the flow of the day. Forget about all the logs to sync your peal out around in the gyro eddy. Its quite nuts at times in there after you rope lower in but that would be just having to make it work once you got in there.


CREEKER WROTE: 1. do your back a favor cut plugs out of your saddle. Locate exactly were your butt bones press into the saddle. Granted foam is soft but not soft enough in a critical hit. Pull plugs out about 1" under the top foam of the saddle. Your back will love you for it if your cut your boof too tight into a green pool or boof into hard water. Yes there is hard water. Not all white stuff is created equal. I've had friends boof Ohiopyle falls and break their back from a perfect boof.

CREEKER WROTE: On Saturday I totally forgot I didn't do this saddle mod in the Phiend till it was too late. I left the plug maker in the garage, yet I was committed (in my mind) to getting a nice pic for Richard....I'd just have to land it right. I ran the drop 2x on Saturday. The other time was with my Ledge which had the softer saddle tweak. The Phiend landing was a softer entry near 45 degrees but more vertical 55-ish? Thats an easier landing on your back and I was really happy with it. The L'edge landing was a flat stomp down. The Phiend landing which should have scrubbed off more pressure was much harder than the flat Ledge stomp....the ledge saddle mod made months ago performed well when I needed them. There is other stuff about this drop I could share but I thought I'd kick it off with that for people to think about GO BIG glory hunting.

CHEEKS WROTE: That's a sweet tidbit Wayner. I've been looking at going bigger and I was wondering what the general consensus on boofing was. I see videos of kayaks boofing straight out on 30'-40' foot drops like center line at Little River Falls and Double Drop in Norway.

Can canoes do that too or would the larger impact surface make that too dangerous? Let's pretend that we can water boof completely flat.

CREEKER WROTE: Well Cheeks with shades of gray off of perfect form I think the water curtain can easily help flush your tail down and you can catch an air draft up the curtain to amplify any boof out mistake. A whole lot can and does happen in the 1 extra second of freefall between a routine 20 and a 40ft drop. A straight out 30-40 foot boof is not the kind of drop I'm planning to do on purpose.

CHEEKS WROTE: I agree, although I think that stern pressure stems less from the boof and more from the inability to get away from the curtain. I've had a complete 270 degree backender at Ohiopyle from missing my boof and penciling in.

CHEEKS WROTE: I'm wondering if I could do this in a canoe or if I'd break my back on the first drop. I am in no way comparing my current ability to Evan Garcia btw, just wondering" onclick=";return false;
Best Line Entry - EVAN GARCIA (USA) - Double Drop - Norway

GM Wrote: CREEKER, what do you mean by cutting a plug out of the saddle to soften it? Are you cutting a hole all the way through the saddle about 1 inch below the seat. I so, how big is the plug?

GUMPY WROTE: I like to think that if I'm coming down flatter than intended, i throw a quick tilt, usually to my onside. Instead of feeling it mostly in my spine I'll take a shot to the knee. Still hurts, but less dangerous. Creeker tell me more about your saddle mod.

Louie Wrote:
"any thing under twenty feet is just a ledge" Mike Yee 1995

10 hours ago · Edited · Like · 2..

RODEO CLOWN WROTE: Cheeks, the key to landing boofs from height is body position. You'll notice in the video you posted of Evan is he's leaning way forward after he boofs. This does too things: let's you stomp the bow down (the so called 'boofs stomp) and prevents axial loading on the spine (compression). Instead your body's momentum will be carried forward, whip lashing your face into the hard deck in a kayak, or the soft airbag in a canoe. Canoes do land harder, the additional rocker and volume means they tend to flatten out more on landing. The nice thing about running waterfalls is they scale well, you can practice the techniques for either boof-stomping or plugging a bigger drop on Something in the 15-20 foot range.
5 hours ago ·

The Impact Saddle Modification: Spend some time in your canoe and really settle in on the perfect height of your saddle. Its pretty simple, take a piece of PVC pipe and taper the end in towards the inner diameter to make a plug maker for the size of the inner diameter of the pipe. My plugs are 1" & the PVC length just fits between the side of the saddle and the inner sidewall of the canoe or bigger if out of the canoe working. I did my mod after I had recently put the saddle back in the L'edge. Ideally its better to do it on a pulled out saddle where you can lay the saddle on its side on the corner of a work table with the thigh hook hanging off and drive the tube though the saddle *square* from one side to the other level with the seat surface. Expect you might have some tearing in the middle where the seams of foam meet. Afterwards I thought about spraying teflon on the outside only of the PVC to help it move easier though the foam or carving a little notch in the tube like a single saw tooth that would do a little cutting as well. You locate the spot of max pressure under your butt bones and pull foam plugs out in about a 3"-4" lengths from each side with them meeting right under your tail bone. Extract the plugs and you are done. One side to side hole seemed good to me but I decided to go with two and they are 1" apart and I feel I move around on the saddle quite a bit leaning hard on one butt cheek or possibly that extream j lean landing Gumpy was mentioning all gets a little softer is the thinking.

JW Wrote: I have no experience to contribute, but I thought James' video on boat angle was the most interesting thing to come out of the infamous "water boof" thread:" onclick=";return false;

Cheeks wrote: Thanks Rodeo Clown, that'll be something good to work on

Creeker Wrote You can put a 1" hole in your thigh hooks between your femor bone and where it would rise up to press foam hard against the support of the Thwart say in bow hit piton. All I'm looking at doing is scrubbing off the max pressure against soft tissue and distributing it over a few extra tenths of a second VS a couple hundredths. It's what car crumple zones are all about for auto safety.

Richard Guin Wrote When I build a boat for myself for hard paddling, I do the plug trick is the bulk head and on the saddle. I also cut a center groove out of the saddle and put a layer or two of soft foam down then cover it with knee pad foam this helps spread the hit out.

Mark Zakutansky Wrote I like this thread and want to tinker with these ideas. I have noticed my thighs get bruised after bigger drops and big runs.

CREEKER WROTE: that entry angle worked in the video Johnathan posted above at the ORO (mexico)...not so much here at MINUTE 1:15 That bow lift or tail flush or combo in bigger drops is worrisome. ... -northwest" onclick=";return false;

Re: Big Waterfall Running with critical thinking

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 7:26 pm
by Cheeks
Wayne, where do you find you take the brunt of the impact? I feel it in my hips but also in my knees, and in wherever the flex of my knees goes, i.e. my knees and ankles. I'm wondering if I can find some lower density minicell foam with more cushioning for my knees.

Re: Big Waterfall Running with critical thinking

Posted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:27 pm
by craig
I really like the cutting foam plugs out idea. Last spring I had a real nice boof on a 15 footer and my back was sore for a week from landing too flat

Re: Big Waterfall Running with critical thinking

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:03 am
by Creeker
Nice Craig I'm glad the info seems to be working for you.

Now Cheeks as far as pressure I'm sensitive to the jarring weight of my Massive :o chest/arms/head putting pressure just below the wings of my shoulder blades on the spine. I'll just throw out there that I've had REALLY bad 15-20' plug/45ish from an Octane 91. It felt like the boat i borrowed sucker punched me in the nutz debilitatingly hard. 2x in a row at baby and bald river falls. Big broad faces transferred power right though the saddle at me. I'd like to think that outfitting the seat a bit and tighter thigh hooks could remedy that but I just throw that out on the table as you can't get around its size.

The only part of my body I actually hurt from the 2 40's was my right foot arch :-? and strangely enough I believe it was an outfitting issue not taking into account big drops. So I'll go into it. I roll with a pretty low saddle in my option of 6.5 inches high. Is a choice I made to try to go very low to maximize primary stability. I tried to cut my Ledge saddle down near that, 7" but i didn't spend the time like I did in the option outfitting everything in the sidewall for hours. I never cut out extra foam from the sidewall so I could pass my foot loosely between the end of the foot peg and the foam sidewall. I like my knees as far over the chine as possible. I carve space to make room for my calves and the extra space next to the foot peg allows me to piviot my heal out and leave my toes in a pigeon toed point in position. When I ride the chine hard (like pictured) I think I have a superior control over the canoe to scrub off a load of flips. So thats why I take the time to do it. I have my whole leg, knee to heal, in contact with the sidewall so I can really apply a lot of different control and balance to the boat on edge.


but in the L'edge I didn't do the full sidewall modification to get my whole leg over the chine; so in the Ledge right now my heals are not winged out w/ pigeon toes in, but more standard with the heals vertically pointing up, toes flat on the hull.

What does this matter....well I cut my saddle too low for this heal vertically up position. When I stomped the hull of the Ledge down flat I had too much of my body weight not transferring into the saddle and weight transferred via thighs to calves that are directly contacting thighs and finally right into the ankle....the toes being against the hull and the arch of the foot was over pressurized and got hurt. So a low saddle was not really working for me and actually caused an injury. The Phiend does not have this issue as there is gobs of space to wing out my heals and offset my thigh/calf just enough. It is oversized for me and not outfitted for me at all right now. Tony who out weighs me by 60 lbs outfitted it last or big 6'6-8" Trey C from TN did the outfitting which Tony used(?) I just crammed the heck out of the foot pegs and fit in for the ride, it worked good enough. So thats just some more things to think about....all the outfitting components either work or DON'T work well together. Other than the foot I felt pretty good in the days following the two 40' drops. I really liked Rodeo Clown's input in the first post here, he probably has more big drop experience than anyone between his K1 and OC1 paddling. I hope other people continue to chime in.

Re: Big Waterfall Running with critical thinking

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:29 am
by KNeal
I'll just say, NICE JOB! on the Raymondskill.ImageImage

Re: Big Waterfall Running with critical thinking

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 1:06 pm
by RodeoClown
The first shot of this video demonstrates what I was talking about well: (The same run of the same drop videoed from shore is at about the 3:11 mark). You can tell I landed very flat off a big drop, but because I was leaning forward/ tucking aggressively, I didn't feel any compression. Instead, my head hit the airbag, and everything felt soft and fluffy.

Re: Big Waterfall Running with critical thinking

Posted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:07 pm
by funkidreadz
This is an interesting post to read, I have run a fair few "big" drops in a canoe and have never thought about this cutting plugs out ting, I have luckily never hurt myself enough to warrant thinking about this.
I then started to wonder why I haven't hurt myself that much, and reading though the text several times I kinda think that one of the most important factors for running big drops has been quickly mentioned by RodeoClown and then forgotten.

There are many things to think about when scouting a drop, the run in, the lip, how you want to run the drop(boof, plug or 45) and the landing zone. The landing zone is crucial, too much hard green water and you will hurt regardless of if you plug or boof, too much air in the water and it will be very hard to control once you have landed, being tossed around underwater in a boiling kaos is no fun and really hard to work out in which direction to roll up in, it is also a 'mare to land flat in crazy boiling water, unable to get any pressure on your paddle blade to stabilise and progress on your journey.

What I am trying to say is don't get too hung up on how big the drop is, Tyler Brant and Raffa Ortez have plugged 57metres, concern yourself with whether the landing zone is suitable the height of the drop and the technique you wish to use to run it. With the correct amount of experience, good judgement, a suitable water level and a good safety crew great things are possible, if you start skimming on any of these you leave yourself open to crashing hard, and even if you have got it all figured out you still might crash so make sure your buddies have got training and plan to pull you out when it all goes pear shaped.

Stay safe

Re: Big Waterfall Running with critical thinking

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:49 am
by Creeker
A curious thing happened the other week I ran a nice size drop. When I took that last golden stroke I tucked forward just a bit and then I got an unexpected slam on rock vs the skip I expected. maybe flatish from about 6' to ramped outflow. I hit a knob of rock vs a narrow angled deeper though spot. I whipped forward like it was a bigger drop hit and my body never made it to the front airbag. My arm guard had nailed the the thwart right at the elbow part of the forearm and all the energy of the canoe coming at me and my body dropping down went directly into my tee grip shoulder. Just a small body shot, no pain, but it was attention getting. People watching thought it was particularly violent with the head bounce, but It was more a moment of what the heck happened there I don't want to do that again. It made me think I want to pay attention to it and work that dropped elbow out of my form on landings if it seems to not be just a flukey single moment.

Re: Big Waterfall Running with critical thinking

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 5:19 pm
by Walsh
I'm fascinated, so far.

I've got some thoughts and questions how an intermediate paddler who has started to run medium drops should develop the ability to control both body position and the canoe's mid-air attitude, and match these to the landing. I'm going to organize my thoughts and try to post them up tonight.

Re: Big Waterfall Running with critical thinking

Posted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 9:27 pm
by Creeker
Fire questions away Walsh. I think we may have already got at some of this though by saying you need to pick on small stuff. It starts by driving your boat up on rocks and sheering off for a rock boof controling the boat in different angles/currents or straight out lip boofs that could only be 3-4 feet high. Land them flat and forward. Way easier said than done. I think of this pic I just took of tommy last month crushing this boof at the Beaver (ny). It really was one of the best low boofs I've seen from Tommy and the best at that spot in years. Tom was able to get forward in the protective lean before the landing, just like it was a serious 20 footer, but he had only a few feet of freefall time to make it all happen perfectly.....very nice clapping sound from the hull.