Unlike the northern states, California got hammered with snow all winter long. The large snowpack combined with the mellow spring temperatures caused the rivers to come in later than usual, making for an extremely long season in the Sierras.
I managed to make the trip down from Washington and partner up with my brother Aniol, Scott Lindgren, and Pyranha/Kokatat teammates – the Gradient and Water crew (Ari Walker, Jordy Searle and Barny Young), plus a few other friends. We spent an amazing couple of weeks kayaking on some of the best rivers I’ve ever paddled.
We started off with Yuba Gap on South Yuba River. Epic section of continuous whitewater with really fun and cool rapids in between massive granite boulders. We did two laps with perfect flows. During our third lap they turned the water off (its dam controlled), so we finished the run with a lower flow which actually made the last big rapid, ‘the Crane’, a lot more appealing to run.
It was amazing to get the opportunity to paddle this world class section of river, which actually doesn’t run that many times a year.
Next we drove to the North Fork of the Mokelumne River, better known as Fantasy Falls.
We had an amazing two day trip at perfect flows through some of the most beautiful scenery I had ever seen. Huge granite domes right and left, and some of the highest quality whitewater I’ve ever paddled; so many cool rapids with epic moves one after the other.
It’s got everything; mank, huge granite slides, some scenic flats, boulder gardens, waterfalls, and big water feel towards the end, ah and don’t forget about the paddle out to soak it all in across Salt Spring reservoir.
Once at the takeout we decided our best option was to do it again, so the next day we did a one day top to bottom. Knowing the lines a lot better this time, we went really fast and only took some time to scout the couple bigger rapids.
It was an amazing day with my brother Aniol and Michael down one of my new favorite rivers.
After Fantasy Falls we drove south to get a few laps on the Kern River that was still holding at around 3600cfs. Epic place in the middle of the desert, the Kern is the continuous oasis that nourishes all the trees and vegetation around, and its endless rapids.
We had a great time on the “Thunder Run” and “The Cataracts”. Thanks to Kokatat team paddlers Evan Moore and Carson Lindsay for the lines and beta, so many cool and stout rapids with many lines to choose from. We did some great laps and the time arrived to head back up to the PNW having had one of the best weeks of kayaking of my life! No doubt California is one of the best places for kayaking on the planet and I cannot wait to go back! Thank you everyone for the lines, safety and good times on and off the water, kayaking is the best!
" Yuba Gap is an epic section of continuous whitewater with really cool rapids in between massive granite boulders."