Thursday, June 05, 2008

Puntledge River Paddle Festival 08

Looking toward the Beaufort range and the Comox Glacier

Local Kevin Lewis going for a loop at tarp and play.

The 4th annual Puntledge Festival was a great success. With over 130 participants from Vancouver Island, Mainland, and beyond it's one of the largest river paddling festivals in BC.
The river consists of three different sections to meet the needs of different paddlers. BC Hydro releases water for the two days, ranging from 85-110 cms.
The Power line section to the lower fish hatchery is class 3-3+ at these flows. The section below the fish hatchery is class 2-3 at these flows.
From the first morning there were shuttles going to both put-in's from 9:00am, the last people getting off the river at around 8pm on Saturday evening, after two or three runs.
The main waves that people play on are The Three Little Pigs just after you put in on the river. Downstream is the Tarp and Play wave, this has a nice eddy with room for 15 boats. Above the lower fish hatchery there is also the river wide wave/hole, for those a bit more daring, ladder hole, and some smaller waves down to the hatchery.
For the lower run you will find Hatchery wave on river right, the Puntledge park surfing waves and Grahams waves, a little ways above the take out.
All of this makes for a nice day out.

Volunteers enjoying a nice day in the sun. Cam going for a bit of air time on the wave.

This year the event took place at Maple Pool Campsite, the camping was on a big grass area with fire pits spread around. The take out was an easy walk back to the camping spots. There was a mix of different crafts around from play boats, open canoes, closed canoes, creekboats, and one raft.
Though not part of the festival coverage there is, for the more experinced paddler, the upper Puntledge run and the Browns river to paddle on in close vicinity. The upper Puntledge consists of nine different slides ranging from 30 ft to over 200 ft. Most notable is Stotan falls which has two 16 ft drops thrown in for fun. I would like to see a race down this as a seperate event for next year...looking for suggestions and ideas.

Jiri following Jakub Drenc over the river left line on the first drop of Stotan falls.

Waking up at 6:30am to take some early morning photographs, found that a trailer needed to be constructed so, Shayne picked up some wood, Wayne drilled, Jeff held and tied it down, and voila a trailer was born to hold 20 plus boats. Not bad for early morning construction.

Wayne and Jeff hard at work early in the morning.
The trailer completed and boats being loaded. Look close and you can see the extra protection of duct tape. Thanks Shayne.

People enjoying a few drinks around a campfire on the first night.

Waiting for a turn on the wave.

Glen Geddes thrown down in Tarp and Play wave.

Al Leighton is glad he made the trip down from Prince George.

Stylish surfing on Tarp and Play.

And the winner of the wet-suit contest is....!
One of the UVIC kayak club putting on a bit of a fire spinning show Saturday night.

Saturday night once everyone had gotten off the river, there was a round of prize draws from all the sponsors of the event. Afterwards there was a talk by Jakub Drnec of the BC Creek Protection Society on Run of River projects that are happening around BC. Next up was a video on kayaking on Vancouver island followed by one on rafting in Iceland and Honduras.

Dog hanging out while out does a bit of playing in the sun.

Will enjoying a morning cup of coffee.

Snail out enjoying the sun on one of the trails down to the river.

Jeff Lewis going for a flip turn.

Charlene Rosen surfing it up

Lots of people lots of good rides at the Maple pool Campsite.

Jiri running the first drop on Stotan falls as the boys and Jakub look on.
Kevin Whiting running the 2nd drop on Stotan falls, from here you go left and down the 90ft slide below.

Play boats galore.

Jiri on one of the other local runs in the area. The upper Browns connects to the Puntledge at the power lines and is a class 3-4+ creek run with a couple of portages. Though people do run it in play boats, it's good to go with a guide and watch out for wood. Photo courtesy of Jakub Drnec.

Photography by David Prothero
Dave Prothero Photography c2008

3 comments:

mikeny said...

It was a fun event. Thanks to all who organized it. Great to see 49 MWatts again and Jakub's talk on protecting creeks in BC. - Mike

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Wow that's an excellent trip with friends or family, awesome. There's not much to say really, thanks for sharing, nice pictures.

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