|I arrived in California 10 days ago and immediately started charging with visits to the South Yuba, South Merced, Dinkey, Yuba Gap, and The Royal Gorge. Hardly collecting any media I have been charging harder than ever and feel amazingly focused. The Royal Gorge marked a large goal of mine as it holds more huge drops in sequence than any other river I can think of. Coming full circle from a year ago I knew this was my season to fire and fire I did. The Royal Gorge has five drops referred to as the big ones with the biggest being Scott's drop (pictured above). This year I stepped up to the plate and fired the first four of the five, including Scott's. The day was filled with hard hits and hard decisions and left me elated on life and more than stoked to have reached for the top and come out the bottom in one piece. My line on Scott's drop is one that I will never forget. I really had to ask myself atop the drop if it was something I really wanted - the answer I found was that I think about this rapid every day of the year but I only have one day of the year to pull it together and make it happen. Fire away- I came in with speed, calming myself with the usual mantra of- do what you do- I rolled a long left stroke through the rooster tail and had the most amazing disconnection I have ever felt- talk about a moment in time- it didn't last for too long as I started to fade away from the main vail of water while twisting to the right at the same time. Boom- the hit was big and left me stunned as all get out, but I had a lot more rapid to go, I launched down the ramp leading towards the second crux finding myself just where I had planned to be lining up for the final kicker flake I was kicked out landing slightly past vert and auto ejecting from my boat. All in all- YES YES YES- So Stoked!!! |
The hit off the top drop blew my right eardrum and caused me to lose my equilibrium when the ear filled with water- or so I figured out at split falls when I went deep and came up dizzy. This proved as a perfect excuse from running the final drop of the Royal Gorge, a 70 footer named Wabena. I almost had all five but there not going anywhere and I am gonna start wearing earplugs. With a whole summer of paddling ahead the sky is the limit.
The truth shall lead my journey!