Friday, March 11, 2011
Liquidlogic Freeride Surfing the Gauley
I took the protoypes of the Freeride 57 out on the Gauley river a couple weekends ago. The Gauley was running pretty high so the river was a completely different animal from the normal fall release levels. There were paddlers every where because of the high water and I was trying to paddle without being seen by tons of folks. So I went down to the lower Gauley and paddled the boat at what at normal levels is 5 boat hole but at nearly 8000 cfs it was more like 2 or 3 boat wave.
Ross and, his smart half, Brianne joined me for the weekend. We camped down below the Summersville dam and it was good sleeping with the roar of the water being pushed out of the massive overflow tubes of the powerhouse. They usually don't run now that they have installed the underwater release tubes. It reminds me of a few years ago when two huge pipes gushing water were the source of a crazy spectacle at the put in for the Upper Gauley. It was a little chilly with a little snow the first evening but a nice camp fire made it all ok. On Sunday we had temps in the 50s and sunny skies it was good stuff all around.
Too me the wave really was a perfect testing ground for this boat. The wave was sort of a flatter shape that meant the boat had to have some speed to not only catch it but surf it well. Ross and I were able to spin pretty much at will and on a little surge we could do blunts and back blunts. The other thing I really liked was how smooth and easy it was to control the edges. You can see in the video both Ross and I playing with the way the edges were working with the water. We were able to surf all over the wave without our paddles by just using the edges to steer the boat and carve to different parts of the wave.
The paddling was perfect but I always like to throw in some other highlights and near the Gauley river is the town of Fayetteville which boasts more good food per capita than just about any place I have ever been. The Classics are: Pies and Pints (pizza not cherry, beers not milk) and The Cathedral (great coffee and food). There were also a couple other places that I hadn't visited before that were great. The Secret Sandwich Society (where pies and pints used to be, good vibe) and The Vandalian (strange vibe but the food was great). Can you tell I like food and beverage? Yum.
Here is a little video of our day on the Lower Gauley at 5 boat hole.