The summer of 2013 was full of adventure. I was lucky to spend the duration of the summer on the West Branch of the Penobscot while helping Jeremy Cass get his business off the ground. It was a great year for Maine whitewater kayakers, with early season high water, consistent flows and some spectacular summer weather towards the end, we couldn’t have asked for much more. This was the second summer producing a Maine whitewater film for the Maine Outdoor Film Festival and it was a fantastic experience yet again. I was able to compile a film that represented many aspects of Maine’s whitewater scene. I owe that to all the dedicated paddlers that were willing to share their footage and to them I would like to extend a huge thank you. I was truly inspired by the community this year and we have set our sights high for next years film. Hopefully we will be able to bring you the details on that soon. In the mean time please take a moment to enjoy this years film and catch it one last time on the big screen at Empire in the Old Port. The MOFF awards ceremony and screening will be taking place on December 5th and I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone there. Thanks again!
Mike McVey is at it again. Just over a week after Huckfest Mike took to the rivers to show us that the Anvil isn’t just for hucking. We ventured to Sandy Stream, a classic and popular class IV-V run in Lexington Township, Maine. Mike fired up every rapid, styled the whole run and walked away only slightly battered and bruised… Killin’ it bud
Recently a river boarding website featured a few articles about this Mike McVey character. Who is he they ask… It’s hard to truly understand Mike until you’ve met him, to some he seems crazy, reckless, out of control… I mean what else would you think about someone body boarding off a 40′ waterfall. But in reality, Mike is the opposite. He is talented, calculated, meticulous and driven by a passion for the river that few people understand. Long before Mike took on the challenge of river boarding he was turning heads in his whitewater kayak. Growing up in the small town of Millinocket, just a short drive from the world class West Branch of the Penobscot, Mike was one of the few “townies” that made his way up to the river. Kayaking took over Mike’s life and his passion for the sport showed quickly in his abilities. Known around Maine as one of the most talented boaters in the area, he’s now turning heads on a river board. Mike’s passion for the river extends beyond his own personal sending however. He is dedicated to the whitewater community and constantly brainstorming ideas, shooting video, and coming up with ways to promote the places he truly loves, the rivers of Maine. Mike has been an important person on my journey into the world of whitewater and his passion for the river shines when he’s leading you through the “meat piles.” Still not sure who this Mike McVey character is? Come on up to West Branch, spend a few a days, you’ll meet him. I hope Mike’s adventures will continue to take him to new places, around the world and back. Way to go buddy, get them meat piles and put Maine on the map! Mike McVey SENDS
Some of Mike’s kayaking is featured in “Mainely Boating.” He is also one of the principal cinematographers of the film.
Coming up this weekend is the first stop of the Send It, Whitewater Racing Series! Don’t miss out on a good time. Saturday is race day, followed by live music with SONIC PARADIGM, awards, beer specials and good times at The Marshalls in The Forks, Maine. Race day is followed by the infamous HUCKFEST on Sunday. Be there. Click the photo below for more info
“Let’s all make it known that Maine boaters not only have the skills to send, but also the skills to save”
Whitewater kayaking is a lot of fun, sometimes too much fun, and sometimes we all get lost in the moment and forget the basics, the basics that keep us alive. We’re all guilty of it, we’ve all been there. You put on your favorite creek, your whole crew has run it multiple times and you get casual about setting safety. While this might work for your crew, and you might all have the swiftwater rescue knowledge to make quick life saving decisions, this is not a good example to be setting for younger generations. There are a lot of younger paddlers entering the sport and a lot of the videos on the web show only the good side of paddling. Often times to get that one shot of someone running a clean drop there were many shots of carnage that you don’t see. I’ve personally seen a lot of videos on the web lately the lack severely in proper safety setting and while often times things play out ok, there’s always a chance that your number might be up. And when it is, you need to be ready. Through Send It, Whitewater, we’re bringing professional swiftwater rescue clinics to Maine taught by paddlers that know and use swiftwater rescue knowledge on a regular basis. I would like to personally call on Maine guides and paddlers of all sorts to strive towards being safe and knowledgable whitewater enthusiasts. We live in one of the most whitewater rich areas in the world, let’s all make it known that Maine boaters not only have the skills to send, but also the skills to save.
The live bait rescue at the end of the video was performed by Send It, Whitewater Instructor Jeremy Cass just above the lip of Toaster Falls on the New Haven River during the New Haven Race.
Spring is just around the bend and we figured why not get everyone together for a run down the Kennebec to kick off the Maine whitewater season. We’re hoping rafters, body boarders, kayakers and anyone else will join us for an early season run on April 7th. We’ll be meeting at the put-in around 10. To prepare for the chilly day on the river we’ll be partying at The Marshalls in The Forks the night before, April 6th. Chris and Karen have graciously invited the Maine whitewater community and anyone else that would like to join us to come together for drinks, music and whitewater films. We’ll be playing a random assortment of whatever films people show up with all night. Bring some whitewater footage if you have any, also an instrument if you like to play music. There’s sure to be lots of jamming. The Marshalls has hotel rooms and so does the Inn next door. There might not be snow in the campground by then either. We hope to see everyone there! Jeremy and I will be giving away a free spot in one of our Swiftwater Rescue Clinics www.senditwhitewater.com
In 2011 Chuck Mathieu came up with the idea for Huckfest. Taking advantage of scheduled releases, something Maine is privileged to have, Chuck threw himself a birthday party. In true Chuck fassion it involved the river and big sending. The stage was Grand Falls of the Dead River, roughly a 35-40 foot waterfall with spectacular views and ideal layout for the Huckfest.
The original Chuckfest was attended by 9 whitewater kayakers and a small crowd of spectators, mostly raft guides and local bartenders with the day off. As all good whitewater boaters in The Forks do, we gathered at the Marshalls the night before and talked lines over some refreshing beers and amazing food.
We put together a shoddy video of the first gathering and in 2012 tried to spread the word as best we could. The result was huge, with nearly 30 whitewater kayakers running the falls and a raft first descent. Not to mention the insane crowd of spectators that cheered everyone on.
In 2013 the shenanigans continue… This year the Huckfest is the day following the K-BOMB, a whitewater kayak race on the Kennebec River. There will be live music the night before at the K-BOMB after party and many a boater in town. Come join us for all the fun, you’re not going to want to miss this one.
Jan. 4-5 the town of Westbrook is hosting a winter festival in the same area of the Presumpscot River where Rob Mitchell has proposed a whitewater park. Sappi, a paper company owns and operates a dam at Sacarappa Falls. If you haven’t been following along, Rob is proposing that Sappi installs a whitewater park instead of a concrete fish ladder. The park will act as a natural fish ladder. Sappi must install a fish ladder to comply with re-licensing agreements, it’s simply a matter of convincing them to consider paddlers and community recreation when they do it by creating a whitewater park and natural fish ladder.
To rally some support and show the town that people are excited about the idea Rob is looking for whitewater kayakers to attend the Westbrook Winter Fest and run Sacarappa Falls (flow permitting). Make sure you show up with all your boats on the roof so people see lots of kayaks. Bring cameras, friends and lets send it. Sounds like people are meeting West side of Riverbank Park at the AMVETs Hall (Dunn st) a little before noon. Be there! This is a great opportunity to promote whitewater kayaking in Maine and get the ball rolling on whitewater parks!
Here’s a great shot of a bunch of kayakers running Sacarappa Falls at the Westbrook Together Days event. Not sure who took this photo, if it was you leave a comment! Great shot.
Digging through old files I turned up a few shots from Madison sometime in the summer of 2008. The huge air shot of the yellow Pyranha is Tim Norton, who actually doesn’t really paddle anymore… something about being a dad and all? The female shredder is Sarah Pine, who’s basement I actually live in now and of course Chris Hull in the orange Pyranha bringing style to the wave sesh as always. Just good old whitewater kayaking in Maine.
Earlier this summer we had a bit of a dry spell. Itching for some big wave surfing, Chuck managed to talk Andy Wahl and myself into a road trip. We decided to head for Montreal where bigger waves can be found on the Lachine rapid of the St Lawrence Sea Way. Realistically it makes more sense to spend a couple days, the drive is about five hours one way. With jobs preventing a multi day trip we left The Forks at 4am and set off on a day trip. It’s actually a fairly scenic drive and we made it back to The Forks sometime after 10 that night. It was worth it.