Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The LiquidLogic Composite Prototype

Incase you haven't heard of it, or haven't seen much about it here is some Info about Liquidlogic Kayak's newest creation, a Composite freestyle boat!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Video Updates from Canada

This summer I made it up to Quebec, Canada to do some creeking. I managed to run some of the biggest and hardest whitewater I have ever paddled. I got up there with Nathan Sass, Brett Mayer, and a Brand new Liquid Logic Stomper. Here is a video of just a few of the drops we paddled.

A week after creeking up in Quebec, I actually went back to Canada, this time to do some Playboating! I got to paddle the second prototype to Liquidlogics newest creation. So new it doesn't even have a name yet.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Top 10 Places to Eat Before and After Boating in the Mid-Atlantic

I know all of you are super hardcore and fine dining doesn't factor into your decision about where to boat each weekend (yeah right), but once you're there you've got to eat something. Zagat's couldn't be bothered to write reviews of these restaurants—or if they have, I couldn't be bothered to check—so I've written them myself.

I'll be the first to admit that this list is subjective and heavily biased in favor of the places where I boat the most. A more appropriate title for this blog post might be The Top 10 Places to Eat Before and After Boating in Garrett, Tucker, and Fayette Counties, but that doesn't have the same ring to it. For those people who feel slighted by the omission of their favorite restaurants, I'd be glad to hear your suggestions. My goal is simply to provide some helpful recommendations in case you ever find yourselves in the vicinity of these establishments, and to send some business their way in gratitude for feeding me well.

The Top 10

1. In camp with your friends

Not even the best restaurant can beat cooking and eating in camp with your friends. Sure, it can be hit or miss. Some nights you'll have a seven course meal consisting of a cold cheesy weenie and a six-pack of warm Bud Light (true story). But on other nights you'll have grilled chicken and vegetable kabobs with twice baked potatoes and dutch oven pineapple upside down cake. Either way you get to spend time with your friends, which is what it's all about.

2. The Riverside Hotel
Friendsville, MD

This is a vegetarian restaurant and I'm a carnivore. Just think how good it must be for me to rank it above every other restaurant! It's walking distance from the Upper Yough take-out with front porch seating overlooking the river and family style dining. It serves all-you-can-eat meals featuring hearty soups, home baked breads, organic salads, and your choice of fantastic desserts all for $11. Some people treat the Tomato Basil soup like the Second Coming, but all of the soups are delicious. Whichever one they're serving is my favorite until the following weekend. The bread and butter are always soft, and if you're lucky you might even get the blue cornbread with honey. The salad ingredients are picked fresh from the backyard (including edible flowers), and the cayenne brownie is to die for. They don't serve alcohol, but you can bring your own, and the other beverages are refreshing. The only complaint I can think of is that they're not open year-round, but absence makes the heart grow fonder.

3. Hellbender Burritos
Davis, WV

When I first started running the Blackwater, people directed me to Siriani's—and for good reason—but one night the expected wait was over an hour, so I walked across the street to Hellbender's, and now it's almost always my first choice. There's rarely a wait, the service is friendly, the wood-burning stove takes the chill out of your bones, and they have giant inexpensive burritos. “How giant?” you ask. Well, the first time I went there I asked our waitress that very question. She held out her arm and gestured roughly between her elbow and her wrist. Hell yeah! After a long day on the river that's exactly what I wanted to hear, and the burrito didn't disappoint. I'm a creature of habit, so I usually get the Chicken Hellbender, which has a nice kick to it, but there are plenty of other options. If I'm really hungry I'll also get a bowl of green chili, which has an even nicer kick to it. They used to have a delicious brownie for dessert, but the lady who baked them at home couldn't keep up with demand, and if you're still hungry after the burrito I'll be impressed. Did I mention they serve local beer from the Mountain State Brewing Company?

4. Pies and Pints
Fayetteville, WV

Some rivers always keep you coming back for more, like the Gauley; some restaurants always keep you coming back for more, like Pies and Pints; and after drinking yourself under the table with the wide selection of barley pops they have on tap you may start wondering if you've been swept into a friendly version of the Gauley's famous undercuts. The Cuban Pork Pie is my favorite pizza anywhere with its marinated pulled pork, caramelized onions, pineapple slices, jalapeno peppers, fresh cilantro, and crème fraiche. The Black Bean pie is also superb. The only problem with Pies and Pints is that everybody else knows how good it is too, so the wait can be rather long on busy weekends; however, their new location has more seating than the old one and the hostesses/waitresses are good at moving things along without making anyone feel rushed. Pies and Pints is truly a classic and I wouldn't be surprised if other people list it at #1.

5. The Purple Fiddle
Thomas, WV

Full disclosure: I've never eaten at the Purple Fiddle. It embarrasses me to say it, but it's true. I walked in the door one morning for breakfast, and the guy at the counter told me to go down the street to the Flying Pig, but that I should come back in the evening for dinner and a killer bluegrass band. He was right about the Flying Pig, and I appreciated his honesty, but I didn't come back in the evening and strangely I never have. On many occasions I've meant to come back, but I'm an early-to-bed and early-to-rise kind of guy, and Hellbender's pulls me in like a tractor beam, so I usually end up crashing early in the wildlife refuge outside of Davis while my more rambunctious friends have a great time there and speak about it afterward with reverence. The way they tell it, the Purple Fiddle is the best bluegrass venue in all of West Virginia. One of these days I'll find out for myself, but for now it makes the list on word of mouth alone.

6. Cathedral Cafe
Fayetteville, WV

Cathedral Cafe gets my vote for best breakfast in West Virginia, and no trip to the New River would be complete without a stop here. Housed in a converted church with tall ceilings and stained glass windows, the atmosphere is unique. The food is uniformly good and I can never decide whether to order something sweet, something salty, or both. The prices are also very reasonable because they cater to the dirt-bag boater and climber crowd. In fact, people watching is one of the best things about Cathedral. For boaters like myself who don't climb, it's an opportunity to see another culture and eavesdrop on conversations that are remarkably similar to our own. The restaurant fills up quickly, so I recommend going early to make sure you find a table, especially if you have a big group.

(Expert tip: don't give your bride-to-be a taste of the sweet potato pancakes if she has a tree nut allergy, or you might be accused of attempted homicide. “But I didn't notice the pecans!” won't hold up in court.)

7. Canoe on the Run
McHenry, MD

The menu is short, but every item on it is good. I particularly recommend the breakfast combo with the Morning Sandwich, roasted red potatoes, and slice of melon. Your passion for cinnamon rolls will also be richly rewarded. Don't despair if you see none beneath the glass; they usually have more in the back. Sit outside on the deck and enjoy the light breeze while your mouth waters in anticipation... This place gets bonus points for having “canoe” in its name, even though I don't canoe.

8. Siriani's Pizza
Davis, WV

This Canaan Valley favorite is always busy, so you might have to wait to be seated. Service can be slow, but the pizza is excellent, the atmosphere is fantastic, and you won't be in a hurry to leave anyway. Skiing photos, equipment, and memorabilia line the walls. Sitting at one of their tables gives you a warm feeling that erases all thoughts of the harsh winter outside. They are known for their pizza but their pasta is also quite good, and I often order the O Mike Goss. One thing worth mentioning is that Siriani's is CASH ONLY. If you don’t have any cash, they’ll tell you to swing by the bank in town. Don’t even bother because the bank ATM never has money. Go to the bar across the street from the bank instead.

9. The Flying Pig
Thomas, WV

As mentioned previously, the Flying Pig was recommended to me by a guy at the Purple Fiddle. Now it's my go-to place for breakfast whenever I'm at the Blackwater or one of the wilderness creeks nearby. The atmosphere is very laid back—it feels almost like you're sitting in the bay window of your mom's kitchen, and the proprietress isn't afraid to get sassy at your friends if they can't make up their minds about what to order. The menu is no frills, but the food is high quality and there are little flourishes like the dill in the egg scramble that make this place a winner. Plus it's cheap!

10. Dirty Ernie's Rib Pit
Fayetteville, WV

This has to win the Best Name for a Restaurant award. “Dirty Ernie” evokes images of a guy out back with a smoker made from an oil drum. It's not a restaurant either, it's a “rib pit.” Even if the food was terrible I'd still go there. Fortunately it isn't. I may not be a barbecue connoisseur, but the ribs taste great and fall off the bone. This is a great back-up option if Pies and Pints is too crowded, or a great first choice if you're in the mood for some ribs.

Honorable Mention (in alphabetical order)

Black Bear Burritos
Morgantown, WV

I've only been here once, and that was years ago, but I understand the burritos are still good and they have live music on Saturday night.

The Crabby Pig
Cumberland, MD

I was introduced to the Crabby Pig only recently, but it's quickly becoming a favorite. I haven't tried the seafood yet, but the barbecue is very tasty and the pulled pork sandwich is awesome. The restaurant also has easy access from I-68, which is a plus.

Fat Eddie's
Mt. Nebo, WV

This is a mandatory pit stop during Gauley Season before heading home. It's located just east of Summersville Dam on Rt. 129 and serves up burgers, hot dogs, fries, and shakes. Try ordering the hot dog with “Full English.”

The Firefly Grill
Ohiopyle, PA

Nice place to grab lunch with outdoor seating in Ohiopyle.

Lucky Dog Cafe
Confluence, PA

If I went to Confluence more often this restaurant might make the top ten, because it meets all the requirements: good food, good atmosphere, and good people. I've only been there once, so I'm not sure what to recommend, but if you're hungry after running Drakes Creek or just took your family/co-workers rafting on the Middle Yough, this is your best bet.

Mountain State Brewing Co.
Thomas, WV and McHenry, MD

The pizzas aren't quite good as the ones at Pies and Pints or Siriani's, but they're no slouches either, and Mountain State brews its own beer, which the other two restaurants can't boast. They frequently have live music as well.

Cumberland, MD

Friends tell me it's not the same as Uncle Tucker's, which used to occupy the same building and brewed its own beer, but Puccini's still makes delicious wood-fired pizzas.

Queen City Creamery
Cumberland, MD

This place is known for its custard, but the deli sandwiches are excellent too.

Rusty Fork Cafe
Elkhorn City, KYl

There aren't many dining options near the Russell Fork, but this one seems to be the best. It's a great place to grab breakfast before the release starts. And I love the name!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Ohiopyle Falls Fest and a view of what goes on Behind the Curtain.

Photo-Lynn Mason
The Annual Ohiopyle Falls Festival on the Lower Yough in Pennsylvania was as ever, a super fun and spectacular event. It was just a little bit chilly when we left my house at around 5 am for the 3 hour drive to the beautiful little town of Ohiopyle in PA. We made just a quick pit stop about 10 minutes away from my house to pick up my good friend Gabriel Guzman. Gabe doesn't kayak that much, and barely knows how to roll, however that doesn't stop him from firing up the 18 foot tall Ohiopyle Falls during the festival for the second year in a row. When we arrived around 8:30 we ran over to the registration booth to sign our forms, and for me to get my bib. This year I decided to compete in K-1 and C-1 for the falls sprint as well as the freestyle over the falls. After a quick bite to eat I jumped in my boat for a quick run in my brand new Liquid Logic Stomper!(not so brand new after a few days on the green and a week in Quebec) My First run was sweet, I somewhat overboofed, but stomped back down to flat and skipped away from the base of the falls.

Photo-Clara Poffenberger

I trotted back up to the put in and waited for Gabe to get his gear on. Gabe was psyched on hitting the water after watching my first run. He got in our boats, and pushed off into the river. We got over the first two ledges without a hitch and waited for our turn to go in the pool above. When it was my turn, I gave some reassuring advice to Gabe and rolled over the lip with another huge boof. Gabe came rolling off the lip and plugged the seam of the waterfall. He went deep, really deep, but popped up after 3 or 4 seconds and promptly swam.

Photo- Clara Poffenberger
His second run didn't go quite as well, he flipped in the rapids above, hit a rock while upside down and swim. After a quick pep talk from me, he jumped back in his boat for one last run of the falls. Gabe came rolling down the slide and hit the curler, and flipped. While upside down he chucked his paddle and tucked up just like I taught him! We went over up side down fully tucked up and poped out of his boat a few seconds after resurfacing. I was proud and he was done.

Photo-Clara Poffenberger

The Over-the-falls Sprint-

At 12 o-clock the competition began with the over the falls Sprint. I had a very good c-1 run in the Liquid Logic Stomper. The boat seemed to just skip out and away from every drop, its definitely the fastest creek boat I have ever paddled. I managed to secure 1st place in the C-1 class..... yes I was the only c-1er.... but still ;).

Photo-Lynn Mason

I also did a k-1 run in Gabe's Jefe Chico, which went pretty well. Overall results- 1st C-1, 5th in K-1 short boat. My C-1 time would have come out 7th in the K-1 short boat class.

Photo- Radley Edward Miller

The Over-the-falls Freestyle-

My first run was not fantastic, it was my 6th run down the falls and all I managed to do was a few cartwheels on the slide and a freewheel over the falls. My second run however was pretty interesting, though didn't really score me any points.

Photo-Clara Poffenberger

The Disappearing Act-

During my second run during the Over-the-falls freestyle competition I decided to take the river left line down the falls, I managed to hit a sweet rock spin and paddle spin down the next slide. I caught the little hole and tried to surf over to the main wave right above the lip of the falls. I missed the wave, turned around, and tried to freewheel the falls. As you can imagine, trying to freewheel a waterfall with no speed doesn't work all that well. It ended up as more of a back boof into the curtain of the falls. To me, I felt my boat plugged and felt like I was getting hammered in the hole at the bottem of the falls. When I felt the curtain of the falls slowly stop hammering on the bottom of my boat, I thought to myself a sigh of relief. I was done, no more falls running for the day....

Photo-Lynn Mason
Then I rolled up and when I opened my eyes, I pretty much shouted out- Ohhh S**T!!! I was in a little 6 by 8 foot pocket behind the curtain. Pretty much one of the worst things that can happen to you on Ohiopyle falls. I sat there in my boat, between a vertical rock wall and a semi-spherical wall of water that blocked me from the rest of the world. I sat there in the somewhat calm, but surgey eddy for about 20 seconds, catching my breath and trying to figure out what I was going to do. I knew that there was absolutely nothing anybody else could do for me. So their was no point in waiting for anything to happen. I paddled as hard as I could towards the river left side curtain, as it seemed thinner than the main curtain in front of me. I immediately got flipped upside down and smashed by the water falling 18 feet onto my boat. I ejected out of my boat and tried to swim as hard as I could down and out. I was looking for the little bit of green water at the bottom that might flush me out. It didn't work, I resurfaced in the same pocket that I had started with both my boat and my paddle, except this time out of my boat and struggling to keep my head out of the water so I could catch my breath. I had no plan, but there was a little bit of current flowing towards the right. I had no choice but to go with the current. When I got to a certain point I pushed my boat up against the rock wall and kicked off it as hard as I could and swam straight down. I went deep, very deep. I was probably down for 10 or so seconds before I came out 20 or 30 feet below the waterfall to a huge cheer from the crowd on the observation decks.
Jordan P about to disapear over the falls- Photo Lynn Mason

From the outside it looked as if I had just disappeared, and was under water for 2 minutes. After a minute a man who had had a much worse behind-the-curtain experience than I had 2 years for got on the microphone and started yelling at the safety man on the rocks next to the falls to throw in a rope. He was later fined and thrown out of the park by the Park Police for Belligerent behavior. And apparently everyone saw my boat come out of the falls before I did.

Anyways- I'm very thankful for all those out there that helped me out, tried to help me or really did anything else. Every day you survive is a great day, just something to remember. Even with that little 2 minute indecent I still had a sweet day, and managed to come out of it with nothing more than a sore back. Thanks A Lot Ohiopyle Falls Fest organizers and safety crew!

Jordan P

Friday, July 29, 2011

You know you haven't been paddling enough when...

You find a bird's nest in your kayak... WITH EGGS. I found this in my Green Boat the night before the Great Falls Race on my way to do practice laps. This was actually the second time I've found a bird's nest in my kayak this year. The first time was after returning from a month in the Grand Canyon.

I store my kayak outside, standing up vertically, and birds probably like it because the cockpit is like a tree hole. It's protected from the elements and high enough off the ground that predators can't get to it. We also have a bird feeder out back, so seeds are readily available. What more could a bird want?

Unfortunately, I do want to kayak from time to time, so I had to evict them. The mama bird actually hit me in the chest in her rush to escape (I didn't know the nest was there). I carefully removed the nest and put it somewhere else, but I've heard that birds won't return to a nest after it's been disturbed, so I probably just made some raccoon's day.

The moral of the story is... if you're going to store your kayak outside, either buy a cockpit cover or get used to animals using your kayak as a flophouse.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Plattling: Week 1

I am currently here in beautiful Plattling, Germany. In German, the word Plattling means flat, which pretty much describes this town perfectly. Not to say that it is a bad thing in this, somewhat small German town. In fact it makes it quite a lot easier to get around and see where your going. The main town of Plattling is along a short section of a busy 2 lane road running through a small canyon of 3 story high buildings. Much like most American towns main streets, except for the fact that everything is written in German. With pretty wide cobble sidewalk/ parking areas on either side of the road with an occasional little flower garden and a statue or fountain. The main part of town ends with a bridge that crosses the river the hole is on. Take a left before the bridge and drive through some nice looking houses, down a curvy little road and under some very busy train tracks, up a little hill and down the other side and your at the feature. Between two large grass fields lies a river with, what appears to be a small, low head dam, though is actually a pretty sweet hole, at least on the river left side. The rest of the dam has a few fun surfing spots, a few flushy green tongs and a few steep little holes, all of which is quite shallow except at high water.

The World Championships Feature is a sweet hole which is only about 20 feet wide, with, at the current water level, a flushy tong on the surfers left side, a very shallow rock in the middle and a deep spot just to the left of the rock. Though even with the flushy left side and the rock in the middle, when one finds the right spot it serves up some pretty huge loops, space godzillas, mcnasties and every other trick in the book. I have been working on a pretty solid routine, which if I can get every trick, will hopefully put me in the top five for C-1. My loop, left space godzilla and left mcnasty are all pretty solid at this spot, I have been working pretty hard trying to train up my right mcnasty, phonix monkey, backloop, and orbits here and have some of those moves starting to stick really well at this spot. I have been here for about 10 days and still have 9 days until the competition starts. Hopefully I can get some more training in, and get some of my less consistent tricks to come through better by the time competition starts. Lines are already getting bigger as the majority of the US, Canadian, British, Russian, German, Japanese, and several other countries teams are already here. It is definitely awesome to be able to meet all these spectacular paddlers from all over the world and have the opportunity to paddle with them.


Thanks again to my sponsors, Liquid Logic Kayaks and Potomac Paddlesports.

Jordan P

Ps- will try to get more pics up soon

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Liquid Logic Kayaks Boat Raffle

On May 26th at the end of the Maryland Chute-out on the Potomac River we drew a raffle ticket for a liquid logic kayak of some lucky person's choice. Thanks to Liquid Logic we managed to raise $1300 dollars, out of which 1/4th would go directly to the United States Freestyle Kayak Association, which will help fund the 2011 US Freestyle team at World Championships in Plattling, Germany. The rest of which will help me personally to pay for my plane ticket to Germany. The tickets were sold at $10 dollars a piece or $25 dollars for 3. Between my family, Potomac Paddlesports, and the help of Risa Shimoda we managed to sell 120 raffle tickets.

The Winner of a Liquid Logic boat of her choice was April George from Portland, Oregon-Now all we have to do is figure out how to get the boat to her.

A Huge thanks to my sponsors Potomac Paddlesports, for helping us sell some tickets. And an Especially huge thanks to Liquid Logic Kayaks for putting up a boat to help the Myself and the US Freestyle Team at the ICF Freestyle World Championships in Plattling, Germany.

Jordan P

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Last Descent: Silverback Section of the White Nile

This is a short Video of my experience on the now underwater Silverback Section of the White Nile.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Africa: Nile Special Night Sesh

Photo- Jacob Slobodian(left) Kalob Grady(centerleft) Nick Simpson(centerright)

Alex Anderson(right) Jordan P( bottem)- Courtesy of Jacob Slobodian

It was 9:30 on a Tuesday night, sitting at the bar sipping a coke and talking with Jason, a Brit who had been working here for the past year. Along with me were a few other New River Academy students. Lorenzo, one of our coaches was sitting at the table talking with some of other NRA teachers. We were discussing the wave just 5 minute paddle up the river, one of the best waves in the world named after a beer, Nile Special. Generally its about a 9 foot tall, tow on wave. Meaning you have a rope attached at a point up stream, and in order to get onto the wave from the eddy, you hold onto the rope, swing out, and surf onto it. Jason was telling us about how, because the river is dam release, it hits maximum flow at night, and when it peaks out the wave gets stickier and you can surf on. Most of the time the left shoulder is flushed green, so if you ever throw, and land too much to the left you will flush off. He told us that when the river went up, the left shoulder formed and the wave got wider, stickier, and we wouldn’t have to use a rope around midnight. 5 of us walked over to Lorenzo and began to beg for him to let us go out with Jason to the wave. After all, it was a full moon. We could all tell he really wanted to go as well, but as we were all still with the school it was a hard decision. After much discussing with Jason and the rest of us he finally said yes. Though the water was not quite high enough yet. We knew that the water on the beach had to touch a stump, it was about 2 inches away. Lorenzo said that if we were going to go we had to go now, otherwise he was going to go to bed. Though Jason said it was not going to be worth it. So our group slowly disbanded and drifted back to their tents. Alex, a student at NRA, and myself decided to stay at the bar and talk with Jason for a while. After about an hour, around 11, he went off to check the level. He came back looking somewhat excited and saying that it was just barely touching the stump and that in about 30 minutes it would be perfect. We ran over to see if Lorenzo was still awake. He was so we told him the news, he told us to go round up the troops. After telling the others we sprinted to our boats and threw on our gear, jumped in. We went over a quick buddy system so that we would lose anyone and paddled up. It turned out it was not quite high enough yet, luckily we brought the tow rope up. So we took turns for about an hour and a half operating the rope. Even though the wave was not yet paddle on, it was still the best level we had ever been at it. For the first hour the wave had a big, sick green face to launch off of and a solid pile at the top. For the last bit of our session, the water had come up even more and it was not just about paddle on. The wave also got much stickier, and even a little trashy, I had a few pretty hardcore window shades. Tired out we finally headed back in, all exclaiming about the sick paddle session. Definitely one of the more memorable events so far on the Uganda Semester of New River Academy.

Jordan P