The opening shot is my very first surf on dream wave, shorty after arriving at Bladder Falls on the Nelson river. Forty hour drive, 3 days of pack rafting, and countless hours of preparation had brought me to this moment. I was very nervous about dropping in on this wave because I had never seen anything like it before. A giant green shoulder to a massive house sized pit. Originally I was just going to swim past it to take a look... but where I placed my self on the reactionary, the wave invited me in with ease and all of a sudden I was flying.
2016 has been an incredible year for Jon and I; so many unforgettable times together in so many breathtaking locations. We have learned so much this year, from each other, from the amazing people we met, and from the river itself. The first kayaker we meet in this video is the man responsible for our incredible Manitoba expedition Joel Kowalski. Joel had been dreaming about this river for years and its pretty remarkable how it all turned out. As our trip leader on this voyage, he safely brought us to Dream Wave. That surf I had with him was filled with so much stoke and excitement it's hard to bring to words and explain all my emotions and feelings.Shorty after I flushed off, I found a snake in the middle of the rapid; for sure one of the highlights of my year.
Hot, cold, rain, or snow there is no bad time to go riverboarding; each day offers a new adventure and learning experiences. The times shared on the river with Addy are always great, she truly is a force of nature on the river. She has helped Jon and I practice the use of the Merman Cam this past summer; following her down some big white water was really fun. Witnessing her epic raft catapult was definitely my favorite raft footage from the year and when she surfaced, all we could see was her big smile!
The next shot after Addy's raft catapult is a double board flip attempt on High Tension. These complex board flip tricks present an entirely new learning curve, throwing the board away from you is easy but then the epic struggle to regain control begins. In this shot I just barely grab my board before plowing into the guard hole just down stream. The end of the first song takes place in a variety of locations during my tour of British Colombia. After I got back from the Manitoba expedition, my cousin Sage told me he was driving to BC. I have always wanted to see what the west coast was like and there was a bunch of locations that have been on my list for filming so it was an easy decision to join him. We piled our riverboarding gear into his Honda Civic and started driving. This trip was the birth of Earth Veins. During this trip we fell in love with mountains, hotsprings, tidal rapids, drainage ditches, the old growth forests, and the open road. We also realized we need to find a bigger vehicle to travel with! During this trip, Sage and I promised each other that when we got back to Ontario we were going to open up a riverboarding company and figure out how we can open the sport of riverboarding, its culture and lifestyle to the world.
I've always looked up to Ben Marr even before I started Riverboarding, as he would be the name I searched into Youtube or Vimeo to find that "whitewater fix". I must have watched the original stakeout movie at least a hundred times. I'm now so privileged to be able to include him in my edits. His positive vibes and friendly demeanor make him a great role model. He is a legend, clearly evident by his grace and comfort in some of the world's scariest whitewater.
The second song is primarily the dark waters of the Mistassibi River in Northern Quebec. This river produces some of the biggest and fiercest river waves know to the world. I've been exploring this river for the past few years and in the spring of 2016, I spent a lot of time with the pro kayakers learning a lot from the way they approach these waves and then adapting my own entries; including the bridge jump entry. My favourite shot of Molly this year was when I jumped off the bridge and followed Bren Orton onto the wave where he threw down hard! Such a cool feeling being so close to Bren as he's flying upside down through the air. I became good friends with Bren this year and spent a lot of time this summer coming up with some ridiculous sequences on the Ottawa River. Bren always has a smile on his face and is such a pleasure to surf with so I look forward to filming with this guy in the future!
Jon and I are so fired up to start the 2017 season. We have new locations we want to explore and tons of ideas for new tricks and techniques. 2017 is going to be the beginning of the Earth Veins Crew. Jon and I along with Sage and Regan will be training a group of people this year so that we can take this sport to the next level so that we can take on bigger film projects and more elaborate expeditions. So excited to see what the future holds for Earth veins and the progression of freestyle riverboarding.
See you on the river,