Baby park jumps and extra wide granny boxes

new zealand, outdoor, shredventures

Direct personal quote from a facebook message regarding boarding today with 10cm fresh pow… “Dude, Cardys was OFF THE HOOK… started the day with a push start jump at the petrol station (flat battery), but still made it to Valley View line up before people were allowed on the lift, got fresh tracks on Drift and Creekside, then hit Captains right when it opened, hiked to the top of Tulips/Secret Chute, and once all the pow was tracked out finished off the day going rounds off baby park jumps even getting air and some extra wide granny boxes- the latter and the former MY FIRST TIME EVER!!!! So sick, so sick, so sick, could talk about it for days. Best day ever. Thanks for asking smile emoticon.”

Photo of todays damage and prescription being filled:

Scratches and wax

Scratches and wax

Side Country access from Cardrona

new zealand, outdoor, photo essay, shredventures, travel

It isn’t like I’ve accomplished much in the side country or back country for that matter, in my four seasons of snowboarding. But there are a few boot packs back home that make my heart skip a beat. There is something about a hike, a session of heavy breathing, hauling a board on your back up terrain as steep as stairs. When sustained for an elevation gain that seemed just out of reach when you began, a level of catharsis can be reached unlike anything else in life. You put your head down, you push and climb, you sweat it out, and after you reach the top, strap in and teeter on the crest of the drop. You collect your reward. If your lucky enough to have company, you bond with your partner in a very special way. As Louis said after our run behind Captains, on our hike out following the cat track, “here’s to the Mongolians for inventing skiing”, I second that.

News Worthy: All Semantics

metro, new zealand

In the subjects of Writing and English, for what little I absorbed as a child and no formal instruction post secondary school, I am surprisingly enthralled by sentence structure and slang/foreign word choice in print (Newpapers and other obscure independently published periodicals). It is this premiss that has prompted the following short list of oddities found while reading The SouthLand Times and The Otago Daily Times. Select phrases or words are bolded below. Please share your thoughts, for, while some of these bits are oddities to this reviewer, perhaps they are widely accepted convention.

1. Article Title: 100-mile race won by Frost

Sentence: ‘Frost (33), a former Hill City-University runner, won the women’s section of the hardrock 100-mile ultramarathon in Colorado at the weekend.’   Do we think this is a miss print or mistake? [during the weekend]? Is this an appropriate usage of at? Just didn’t sound quite right to my ear.

2. Article Title: The Cold Inside, background being on going legislative controversy about poor heating/insulation in state homes.

Sentence: [In reference to ones heating bill] ‘if you can’t afford it, tough bikkies.’ What is a bikkie? Is this like at morning tea when you go to eat a cookie (biscuit, aka bikkie) and it is stale? And it sucks, but oh well, that’s just how it is. Like, Channing hasn’t written back to me yet, tough bikkies

3. Article Title: Exile at 80, a close up on the Dalai Lama

Sentence: ‘People have crossed the Himalayas in jandals seeking a blessing from the Dalai Lama.’ I am not confused about the meaning here. For those that don’t know, jandals is Kiwi slang for a flip-flop and is a derivative of sandal. I am wondering why the author didn’t say sandal? Surely, Kiwi readers would have understood. Now it just sounds like something that would come out of Bill Murray’s mouth in Caddyshack, you know the scene where he recounts caddying for the Lama. Check out the clip and at the end, slip this sentence in…

“…you will receive total consciousness. I mean [insert selected sentence]. So I got that going for me, which is nice.”

A&E: Dear Magic Mike

a&e, events, new zealand
View from Ripon

View from Ripon

Dear Channing Tatum,

Although we have never been formally introduced, I wanted to reach out to you and let you know what an impact your work in the recently released, Magic Mike XXL (MMXXL), has had on me. My name is Krystal Marie Collins, I am 31.67 years old on the 23rd of July (picture enclosed for your reference), divorced and single, currently living in Wanaka, New Zealand, where I viewed the aforementioned film on Friday at the Paridiso with 4 of my friends (Emi, Aggie, Vibeke, and Loui). The timing couldn’t have been better because a few days before I saw MMXXL, I received a rejection text, or a rejext, as I like to call it, from someone who I’d been on a few dates with, but inevitably wasn’t interested in me, and it was nice to have the film to lift my spirits.

Some of the scenes that I most fancied were the ones where you danced. You are an amazing dancer. When you heard ‘Pony’ on the radio while working in your man cave and spontaneously broke into grinding moves the likes of which I have never seen, I thought perhaps you were a god sent to Earth with the explicit purpose of satisfying women. Did you instinctually know all those moves at birth or did some sort of other demi God feed you a potion or teach them to you?

In another scene you dance for Jada Pinket-Smith at her house of pleasure. You initiate the dance by doing a high jump over another dancer and as you’ve done often, do this female tackle move where it appears something dangerous is happening, but in the end, you hold the participant up-side-down, her private parts landing safely in your face and no one injured. You proceed to perform this move on several more lucky ladies. What do you call it in the script? How did the choreography come together so seamlessly? Where any injuries ever sustained?

The crescendo was the last scene where you danced in unisin with another male entertainer (played by tWich), each for your own women, with a set staged to emulate a mirror image. Not only was the timing out of this world, especially with the chosen style, brake-dancing fused with grinding and other modern hip-hop moves, the foreshadowing was a perfect set up. Several clips before, you are in the kitchen with this cute love interest you have flirted with the length of the movie, she is eating cake and she offers you some. You say you’re more of a COOKIE guy, oreos, specifically. Then, fast forward to the mirror image set, the cute love interest is seated, and the sound track begins. Starting with ‘Anywhere’ by 112 (who doesn’t love slow jam revivals from high school- how many high school dances did I hear this song at, a million), your fluid muscle isolation moves are displayed nicely here. Then moving to ‘All the Time’ with Jeremih and Lil’ Wayne things get straight naughty, just listen to those lyrics. And the final kill, ‘COOKIE’ by R Kelly brings the whole last dance together, though I am inclined to think metaphors like COOKIE, cookie jar, and oreo represent other subject matter… I’m not going to lie, I immediately went home and downloaded all three songs on a boot leg app that converts YouTube clips to MP3’s and proceeded to listen to the songs on repeat while scrubbing toilets and mopping floors at the helicopter hanger where I work the following morning. It was the best day of cleaning ever.

The only down side to having experienced this cinematographic wonder, is that, I fear no one will ever live up to the expectations you have set…Alas. However difficult it will be to find someone like you who is real, and likes me back, now I know what to do when my next rejext comes through, fire up the lap top and chuck on a torrented copy of MMXXL. I appreciate the opportunity to thank you for your work and I look forward to seeing what you come out with next. If you happen to find yourself in Wanaka, let me know, or alternatively, I can make myself available to fly to any location at anytime for the rest of my life, if you want to host. I’ll bring the COOKIES. Please find my details enclosed. I love you. Ta.


K. Collins, geologist at large, aspiring male entertainer reviewer

A&E: Submissions for the Mountain Film Festival

a&e, events, new zealand, shredventures

Can you call it rejection when you don’t hear back on a submission? Maybe I could convince myself these photos that I sent to the Wanaka Sun (a local independent newspaper) of Mountain Film Festival events got lost in the shuffle… but the truth is, its the second time in a row I haven’t heard back. Devo (slang for devastated). I suppose sharing them on my own blog is just as gratifying. I still want to make the paper at least once before my visa is up!

Thoughts on the events attended during the Mountain Film Fest…

Night 1 and 2: Book reading and story telling at Ripon Vinyard.

Having followed American pod casts like This American Life, Snap Judgment, and The Moth, I am so down with story telling, although, it was rad to be in the same room as the presenter instead of hearing them over the radio. Lydia Bradley in particular stole the show covering everything from Harry McClary, sending packages to Hawea Flat and having them intercepted by authorities, to feces  in Chips A’hoy bags at Yosemitte NP. After all, what is funnier than poop?

Adventure Writing Class

My buddy Annika, a local at Mount Aspiring College, and I, attended the writing class offered which emphasized sending out submissions and making cold calls to publications. I am sure it would disappoint the lecturer, Derek Grzelewski, if he new my first send out ended in a no reply 😦 Though, the class was successful in another regard, rallying me to give some much over due attention to my blog.

Snow Adventures segment of festival

Films 1 and 2 were easily my favorite, The Little Things and Vasu Out on a Limb. The first was stories about snowboarders taking their love of the out doors to an environmental level, building sustainable homes, reconnecting with cultural heritage, and lobbying at congress for climate change legislation. Totally empowering. Jeremy Jones’ project Protect Our Winters is sure to infuse snowboarding culture with a bit of over due activism.

The film about Vasu, an adaptive sports skier and person of color, working on back country projects reminded me of the utterly enlightening experience of skiing with mono skier Danielle Watson back home at Mt. Bachelor. This guy has an awesome attitude and thought provoking words around labels like ‘disabled’. It was also refreshing to see a person of color as the star of a selected feature film.

Likely the coolest snap shot I saw during the festival was at home on Vimeo (the footage was featured in the festival at a show I couldn’t make it to). A piece staring Will Jackways, local boarder in Wanaka, shot by Two Beared Men production, titled Interpretation. The film is home grown, featuring lots of South Island backcountry and a stand up kiwi dude. I might have missed this sweet short if the beards behind the camera had not set up their office next to the yoga studio where I practice. Rumor has it the footage will be shown in flight to folks arriving by plane this winter. What a great way to get them stoked on the snow culture of Wanaka. Two thumbs (or beards) up!

photo essay: new zealand backyard bliss

new zealand, photo essay


Flashback: Champoeg to North Canby Ferry

new zealand, sup touring

The following couple posts are flashback posts inspired by paddle trips and water adventures taken in Oregon this fall just before the New Zealand departure. Bringing it back…

Starting a paddle trip super early in the morning is favorable for a few reasons. The first, is that when you have a paddle planned for the morning, if your like me, its kind of like Christmas, its hard to sleep, you’ll be up early from excitement anyhow. Additionally, if you are a morning person like me, you will paddle harder early in the day. Over the seasons I have noticed there is a direct relationship between my paddle strength and the lateness of day.

One reason why early paddles in the Willamette Valley can be cumbersome is fog. Not only does it effect visibility but it makes for a frigid first few miles. Many extra layers are crucial even though it seems silly because they always end up in a dry bag after a few hours.

The section between Champoeg and the Canby Ferry was challenging for it’s low flow and thus slow discharge. For a paddle boarder, this makes for essentially a lake paddle. This is great when your new to the sport as well. It feels comfortable to have complete control over speed.

In contrast, two days ago, paddling the largest discharge river in New Zealand (NZ), the Clutha, I realized the wonders and joys of none ranking rapids and moving at upwards of 12 k’s an hour while standing on an inflatable, something I would have been terrified of in Oregon. But more about that in future posts.

Before NZ, flat water had its draw: training, fighting for every mile of progress, and the ability to enjoy the scenery.


A few changes

new zealand

Alive and well in Wanaka. The Southern Alps shine nearly as brightly as the Cascades on the horizon every morning, and I feel at home. A few mornings ago, up at 5:30am for employment at the Coffee Cafe a few 100 meters away, the full moon hovered in the sky over these peaks out the kitchen window of my hostel.

Although the mission to New Zealand has changed its course drastically, originally intended as a massive SUP exploration, and now a meandering journey of work trade, mostly in hostels, but also with the local paddle company, Wanaka Kayak, SUP, and Sail, the journey has been fruitful. Some of the developments:

1. Purchasing a van: I own my first car in something like 3 or 4 years! A massive 1988 Hiace Toyota van. It is gorgeous and I think we are well suited for each other. It was a steel at $2,100 NZ dollars.

2. Employment: I actually made some New Zealand coin! I was hired as a barista however the majority of my duties amount to dishwashing.

3. Work Exchange: I am a hostel manager in exchange for free housing. I run the check in desk 3 hours a day and have to be in the hostel all night in case the fire alarm goes off. It has been crap for my social life but great for my savings. Most folks pay $180 a week at least for accommodation.

More soon…

long distance training on the willamette

sup touring
Paddling below an old railroad bridge and then Interstate 5 crossing near Wilsonville

Paddling below an old railroad bridge and then Interstate 5 crossing near Wilsonville

Yesterday I finally had an opportunity to simulate conditions I am likely to encounter in New Zealand! I ventured on a 12 mile paddle on the Willamette, from Champoeg State Park to Molalla State Park, or just east of it to the Canby Ferry. The weather was a match: splitting between over cast and sunny, the water was a match: mixed wake and flat water with a gentle down stream current, though, still requiring much physical effort to make forward progress. The whole mission took approximately 4 hours and gave a solid idea of what can be reasonably accomplished in a day on a massive water way moving almost one mile an hour.

Some say flat water paddling is boring. Many say it can’t be done well on an inflatable. I disagree with both of these assertions. Yesterday was the biggest milage day on the flattest water I have ever done and the Hala-Nass performed like a champ. Here is a summary of the touring qualities where the Nass excels:

Loss of air: Maybe because of air/water temperature differentials, maybe for other reasons, over the course of a big day paddling, it is possible for an inflatable to lose air pressure. This has never happened on the Nass and I have always been satisfied with the rigidity it demonstrates at 15 psi. In fact, at take outs, many times, passer-bys have stopped me and express their surprise as I deflate the craft. People have no idea it is an inflatable.

Ability to hold weight: I must acknowledge, as a female, I have a bit of an advantage in this category as I weigh less than a male, but lately I have loaded the board up with weight- 20+ lbs and it hasn’t lost air or much buoyancy.

Keeping up with kayaks: I paddled the Willamette stretch with a male kayaker with about equal water experience and a mediocre kayaka. I was blown out of the water to see after 3+ miles that I had a significant lead on him. This could be due to some new strokes I have been experimenting with but I think the Nass has to be the most all around, speedy, efficient, durable board I have ever ridden. Every day it surprises me with a new advantage…

blue herons

sup touring

Tualatin River

Over the course of two days, starting at Tualatin Community Park,  I paddled upstream 99W Bridge and then down stream to Shipley Bridge (indicated by the lightened portions of the river). During this time I saw three Herons, one black faced and light blue/grey bird that I have yet to identify, and many Mallards.

One of the most visceral components of paddling on the Tualatin (and in the Portland Metro area, in general) is the many underpasses. Of course in Bend there are underpasses, however they aren’t as tall and as intimidating. I know it sounds silly but when you float under a bridge, the shift to industrial ambiance seems towering and never ending. It’s dark, echoing, and enclosed. Such a stark contrast to the usual feel of a float, wide, open, and sun baked. This can really snap the navigator to attention.

After one such moment, emerging from an underpass, I realized a Heron was 50 feet in front of me enjoying the early fall temperatures. I stopped paddling and the river gently pulled me closer. At our closest proximity we were separated only 10 feet. He, sitting on one foot atop a snap, and me cross legged on my board. Mesmerized by his lightly stripped beard of flowing feathers, at one point he collected one of his two legs, retracted it into the beard and began to nap on the on the one remaining. Shortly there after, he began a series of calisthenics that could only be described as Heron Yoga. When it was time to shove off and continue the paddle, I frightened him with a paddle dunk and he flew off to the low lying Doug Fir branch.

The least visceral component of the Tualatin is low flow. One seems to work just as hard paddling up stream as down, although, I have found this a blessing when photographing wild life. With turbid water sweeping you down stream, it can be hard to spot wildlife in time to stall on the shoreline. By the time you see the tall tail signs of wildlife, feather preening, a turning head or opened beak, you’d cause a big ruckus to stable yourself for the shot. I count my blessings my father lives so close to a great training location!



sup touring

At it’s greatest width, the Canal running through Chris’s property in NE Bend, OR is only 5 feet or so across. But that hasn’t stopped me from fantasizing about the possibility the canal might just be big enough for my inflatable… After all my Hala Nass board is just under 3 feet rail to rail. Months of contemplating, what if, led to a trial. Sometimes you just have to know.

When I tried to float the canal, two things happened. I confirmed that no, the irrigation canal is not navigable and I met one of the neighbors, visible in the upper right corner of photo 2. He said he was just as disappointed.

drive by highlining

sup touring

Paul Clark (Black and Red Photography and SUP Paul) was kind enough to stop in to my going away party! He set up 3 slack lines in 10 minutes or less. It was definitely the highlight of the get together.

Clark has been entirely instrumental in my upcoming journey to New Zealand by giving me great ideas on gear to acquire, guiding my first white water sup-lesson, and being one of a few people who would even understand why a person might want to buy a one-way ticket to New Zealand just to ISUP (Inflatable SUP). Thanks Paul!

open water and distance training

sup touring

Waldo Lake

Ok, so I realize paddling 6 miles can’t really be considered “long” distance, however, I haven’t been paddling the stretches I should be, so at this stage in my endurance, the half dozen mile loop I completed on the north end of Waldo Lake off 58 was a challenge and much was learned.

The first half of the paddle was along the shore line, which was a good reminder of how circuitous a paddle can be if you duck into every cove. Paddling to the furthest head land on the western shore line, I wanted to see how difficult it would be to navigate to the cove we left from, back on the eastern shore. This was a useful exercise for several reasons. It is more difficult to recognize landforms on a shoreline 2 miles away than I anticipated. Turning around and looking to the mountains or skyline 100 yards after disembarking is far more useful for approximating direction for return, than trying to determine the desired point from 1 or miles away . In the future, the most favorable solution will be to take a barring. Realizing how difficult navigation can be at a distance of two miles even in the clearest conditions made me wonder how hard it could be in mist, choppy water, or worse.

It is likely I will encounter fog on my upcoming southern hemisphere excursion. Paddling in the morning with a receding tide is favorable with the typical advantage of low winds, however, it is likely to be foggy, especially in my first destination, Marlborogh Sound, the tip of the South Island, New Zealand. Next step: a six mile paddle with 40+ lbs of gear.

Approximate route paddled

Approximate route paddled, Waldo Lake.

I was again, hugely impressed by the handling of the Hala Nass with high frequency paddle strokes. It was probably the fastest I have attempted to operate a board over the greatest distance. Having spent most of my paddle hours on a rigid board prior to the Nass, I was really impressed. Of coarse there is a slight difference on an inflatable, but compared to other inflatables I have ridden, the Nass has the least noticeable difference compared with a rigid board.

clear lake on 126

gear review, sup touring

Photographing wild life has been a favorite reason for paddling since I started 1.5 years ago. Mostly capturing birds, one must be quick to grab the camera and have much faith in their vessel, that it will keep stable. The Hala Nass does both of these tasks well. With the quick access tie downs on the front of the board, I can slide my dry camera bag upfront and be ready to grab the SLR Canon 60D as soon as I hear a wing flap. The 31′ rail to rail, 12’6 length, and amazing buoyancy means I am never nervous the board will spill and my camera will submerge. It’s definitely the ideal board for photography.