Belo No Mo'

I'll repeat what plenty of people have been saying for a while now: props to Tyler Bradt.
I doubt I need to repeat the details of his amazing accomplishment, so I'll just leave it at that and thank him for quieting all the skepticism about Pedro Oliva's 'record-breaking' descent of Salto Belo in Brazil.
All question and concern over whether Pedro's performance on Belo carries the world record can be lowered, but hopefully not forgotten. Both were incredible kayaking feats and neither should be brushed off as a 'stunt' or poor representation of kayaking to the wider world. At least neither kayaker spouted off about wanting to "see all you guys in Heaven," thank god. Though Pedro did follow Jaime Pierre's lawn dart approach for landing his big freefall, his motivations were far from the Heavenly realm.
Both are, I'm sure, proud of what they have done and want their actions to represent them and kayaking in a progressive light. If anything, their actions are inspiring to many and big steps in the movement of a new understanding of whitewater and confidence towards big drops.

We're just catching up to skiing and other 'xtreme' sports, right? Hopefully nobody will soon follow with an accidental descent of a new world record waterfall, like skiing's Fred Syverson did off a 107 meter cliff.
However delayed, after Bradt's day at Palouse took the wind from my blogging sails, I will try to clear up a few things about Oliva's day at Belo.
Among the questions of whether or not he stayed in his boat at the bottom, there might be a few other questions, like what did he think about the possible consequences or what about other waterfall experience he had.
Oh, you don't really care about that? Just want to know what happened at the bottom? All the excitement about this has passed?
Well, he stayed in his boat. That's all I could tell happened. He walked out a minute later, slightly shaken, but mostly on top of things and wanting me to go to the top to run the thing too.
Right, Pedro. Not to say that his line was uninspiring...

So, back to Cali, where spring is in full swing and the sun and snow are adding up to some nice days on the river.

Watch out for bro's in bunny suits.

When you do eventually make it to the river, boof and be happy.
Dave Fusilli and Jared Seiler demonstrate.

Jeremy Laucks enjoying his first days in California.

I took this picture of Jared running triple drop. It's bad cause I was scared and watching him and not the camera.

Dave Fusilli took this picture and was not scared.

Somewhere down there was the most absurdly violent piton I have ever experienced and the real reason I was scared. It looked a lot like this:

Jeremy Laucks Photo

Can I please just plug Jackson Kayak here? I think I would be in much worse shape were it not for the Uni-shock bulkhead system in my boat. Uni-shock bulkhead=fancy name for the ankle-saving rope, cleat, and foam system that sits in the front of each JK creek boat. So soft it hardly bruised my ego.

Next day or so, Fusilli checks out what we portage on the South Branch to get to the nice whitewater downstream.

It doesn't go, to all you prospective huckers.

The South Branch keeps it real below the Seven Falls, with plenty of good boofs and rapids all the way to the takeout.
Fusilli cools down on the first of many after the long portage.

Jared Seiler.

Jake on the second tier. The nice thing about white boats is that you can't see them in pictures.

Jared dropping over the third tier.

Jake stroking into the nasty looking bottom hole.

Jared making good time through the splashy lead-in.

And boofing against all odds.

Fusilli too.

Nicole Mansfield airing it out.

It's a lot less intimidating when you can pretty much walk down the drop. Not to say that this isn't high quality, there's just nothing better than summertime in Cali. That's all.

The unclean one. The rapid, not Jared.

Thanks LiquidLogic, for making photography fun again. Jake near the end of the run.

The South Branch is one of my favorite runs in the world and one of the most beautiful places I have been. Right up there in the top five in both lists.
Good enough to go back again at lower water and enjoy another day in the sun.

Darin making the most of our last trip on the SB with a nice run of "99 Problems".

Shon Bollock follows in good form.

Ryan Knight too!

Devin Knight stoked on another sunny day paddling in California. It doesn't get much better.