Thursday, September 3, 2009

B.C. Creekin for "The Season"

Bryan Smith's latest project called, "The Season" follows five athletes from the Northwest as they test their skills and chase that next epic adventure that will complete their respective seasons in style.  "The Season" will air as a WebTV series on Outside Magazine's website this spring. 

Bryan has really stepped up his game in the last year so expect to be amazed by some of the footage he has managed to capture.  It's unlike anything I've seen to date.  A film festival cut for Banff is approaching completion and Bryan seems really stoked about it.  Don't be surprised if you hear more about this project beyond the web series.

My segment in "The Season" will obviously be the paddle sport scenes.  I am super excited by this opportunity to combine whitewater and sea kayaking in one project.  I have managed recent success in the world of sea kayaking, but my heart and sole is that of a whitewater boater. 

We had a couple days to nail the shots we needed for the segment including a lengthy personal interview.  Christy Glissmeyer and I loaded up her rig and headed to Seattle where we met up with Fitz Cahall, creator of The Dirt Bag Diaries.

  From there we began the trek North... 

Fitz is an amazing writer and is assisting Bryan with production.  Once the three of us were headed north it took no time to reach Squamish, B.C. where Bryan is lucky enough to now live.

Time was of the essence, so we busted straight out to the Cheakamus River.  We met Steve Rogers at the store on the way.  Steve is a very talented photographer in Whistler.  Click his name to see his main site or check his blog    .  He was nice enough to provide me with some of the images he captured during our time in B.C.  All the photos on this post are by him.  Thanks Steve!!

This classic B.C. run was crankin' when we showed up at the take-out.  The sun was out and the temps had reached the upper eighties in the mountains so EVERYTHING was melting.  I remember it being 2.8 on the guage.  (The upper end of good).

The put in is fifty meters above a demanding must boof drop with a pushy cross current landing that takes you into the river right wall.  Nothin like having to scout the put-in drop on a new run to get the butterflies going.  Christy and I both picked lines and went for it.

  Landing the put-in drop on the Cheakamus

The first run down we just got the feel for things.  On the second run of the morning we slowed things way down and Bryan and Steve Rogers got some shots.  The water was a beautiful silty blue/green color and coursed through a corridor of giant moss covered trees. 
The Cheakamus (Bridge Rapid) 
Bryan and Fitz can be seen filming from the bridge
Scouting the last drop of the "Cheak"
After the Cheak we slammed down some lunch and made our way over to another B.C. classic...The Callahan! Bryan wanted to get Christy and I down the Callahan that evening in preparation for filming on it the next day.
We were both pretty spent from driving and paddling all day so we both had a beat down or two on the way down.  I became intimately familiar with the biggest drop on the run.  I spent some quality time in the vail getting cartwheeled relentlessly.  I managed to pull my knees back under the thigh braces after they were both dislodged a time or two.

The current rolled me back up eventually.  It felt like someone just grabbed me and flipped me back up right.  When I looked back to see who it was all I saw was the 25 ft wall of water that was right on top of me.  Still in the vail, the only thing I could do was get a few more breaths and wait to be spit out.  I rolled into the curtain for another round of cartwheels and was released after a few moments. 

After rolling up and chatting with Bryan we determined that even though I hit my boof  I was too far to the right and got a bad surge from the boil at the bottom.  He had never seen that happen to anyone on that drop...leave it to me to find a way to get beat down by the cleanest waterfall around. 

Most of the next day we spent filming a series of rapids that started with a fun lead into a sweet 12 foot drop then onto "Brazilian Wax Job"  for the flushy exit.  I must have run this one atleast 4 times that day. 
  Christy and I scout the 12 foot lead in drop.

We had plenty of time to scout.  In fact we had to wait for the sun to get high enough in the sky to illuminate the whole rapid.  Since we were planning to film from a zip line over-head the entire rapid needed to have consistent light.  The results are incredible.  The footage pulled from the zip line cam look like you are riding on a helicopter over the paddler's head.  Bryan is able to control the camera remotely while checking the shot through a monitor that is set up bank side. 

After a long scout and much anticipation I launched off the first lip.
Now onto Brazilian Wax Job...
Filming that day went off without a hitch.  We got some of the best quality whitewater shots to date.  Bryan and Fitz seemed quite pleased with their work.  It's all worth it when you nail the shot. 
Keep your eyes peeled for "The Season" this Winter.  I will be sure to make a post when the episodes start hitting the web.   


mscantlebury said...

Cool stuff--can't wait to see both your creeking and sea kayak segments of The Season. Be sure to post a reminder when it goes up online.

Paul Kuthe said...

Will Do! Thanks for checking in Mark. ;)

Matthew Parrish said...

Totally stoked about seeing the footage.. the trailer looks awesome. Got my iPhone hooked up to The Season video podcast.. I keep checking it daily! ;)