Thanx Dan and ditto on what Roger sez'.
I ran Zoar Gap 2 weeks ago at 1800+ CFS.  That was the highest I have seen it since Irene and the highest I had ever run it.  A very evil diagonal hole forms across a good part of it at that level.  We went river right to avoid that and then had to put in some big sweep strokes to go left and onto the burly wave train which was a rough but fun ride!
Mark P. Renson

From: roger Klinger <[log in to unmask]>
To: [log in to unmask]
Sent: Saturday, May 31, 2014 7:35 PM
Subject: Re: [SKIVT-L] OT: 1 river session, 1 sea

You need to work less, so that we have the opportunity ro read more of your reports.

On Sat, May 31, 2014 at 10:50 AM, telenaut <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
It’s been a poor surf season for me—to much nmad krow—but I did manage to get out twice this week.

Last Sunday I got to a tiny little play wave on the Housatonic River, north of Kent, Conn. It’s a lovely spot, called Swift’s Bridge, where the river is crowded with stones left from the bridge which was washed away in the hurricane of ‘38. Other than name, no sign of the bridge remains. The road that leads down to it, though, at least as far as the abandoned railroad track, remains town-maintained, even if the last 1/4 mile is unpaved. The remaining 200 yards past the track (it’s at a river bend) is a pretty, wooded footpath.

I like it, first, because it’s often at an easily playable level, and, well, maybe equally first, because it’s gorgeous and because immediately past the “bridge,” the river opens wide and calm, the current abates, and the chances for a safe self-rescue, should anything go exceptionally wrong at the wave, are, or at least appear to be, near 100%. “Swift’s” is one of very few river waves I will paddle solo. On the bank I approach from (either works), there’s a long sandy beach just below the wave. So convenient.

At Sunday’s level, the wave, only about 3 feet tall, was contour-y, uneven, which makes for interesting rides as you’re bounced from one side to the other.

Sometimes I felt like my reactions to the water were coming lightning quick. Those were the ugly rides. I’d be flailing this way and that, always reacting to the previous over-reaction, boat pointing this way and that, bow-up, bow-down, in a wild display of chaos on the river.

Then came the slow rides—the message of this report. A few times I felt like I could slow everything down. There’s a fear that needs to be overcome. After all, the river only gives you so much time before you MUST be leaning right or down or whatever combination is called for to keep you from getting pushed off or flipped. So you’ve got to make your moves in time for that. But, if you apply a little body kanban, delivering your moves “just in time” and no sooner, I found the boat could be made to sashay calmly across the water, while the water itself seemed to slow down, too, changing in character from frothy to thick. A delicious, if frustratingly fleeting, feeling.


Yesterday I got back to the beach for only—pitiful—the 2nd time this year. Nice conditions at Gilgo, with a light offshore wind and an E swell making lefts the rides of the day. Post-Sandy (and enough time has passed and enough sand restored that I no longer look out at Gilgo and see what once was, pre-), there no longer seems to be any payoff to the 1/2? mile paddle east I used to do to get to the good breaks. So after a short trip I was comfortably sitting at the nearby break that I would share with about 5 board surfers for the next 2 hours. The day looked deceptively small, with long waits through nothing waves, until a set would come through with a serious set-ful—6, 7, 8, 9?—of good waves. (Getting back out was, more than usual, a timing exercise.) The set waves were head-high plus some at their peaks (what’s that, “2 foot” in Hawaiian terminology?).

The surfers were getting good rides, waiting at the western edge of the break. On the plus side, they were pretty much guaranteed of staying to the left, the good side, of the wave’s A-frame break. On the minus, they lost a lot of wave-time. As the sole boater, I waited much farther east and out, partly to stay some out of their way (though the high wave-to-surfer ratio meant no one was short-changed), and partly just because I could. The paddle let me catch the waves earlier than the boarders could. The disadvantage was that, once caught, the wave was urging me right, which made for a very short ride, followed by a long push shoreward by the broken foam pile. Feh. Instead, the challenge of the day was to race the wave left and try like lleh to make it under the peak. When I did, the rides were long, long, long. No cutting back and forth, though. It was all about outrunning the break, all the way.

Mandatory yoga content: A big part of what I’ve been working on in yoga this year is just sitting evenly. Spine aligned, untensed. Weight equally on left and right sitz bones. Sounds easy, it’s infinitely challenging in that, as you continue to settle in, you continue to find subtler and subtler unevennesses. Yesterday I put some sitz-bone awareness to good use, planting butt-cheeks on boat on water. Felt so-oo stable. Another big yoga move, or moves, as there are numerous variations, is the forward bend, i.e. “touch your toes.” And that was the key to yesterday’s surfing. Inevitably as I’d be racing left, the break would catch up, start pushing me sideways toward shore, and that was the moment to bend forward for all I could. Slowly, the added front-weight would drop my bow down-wave and allow me to regain momentum left. Sometimes it still wasn’t enough, and the remaining ride would be foam pile. And sometimes it was just enough to let me squeak out in front of the break, ride the small pocket, feeling swift and triumphant, then climb up over the dying wave’s back. At least one yeeha was heard.

Silly yoga content: the day’s most memorable moment was, like many, racing left, trying to get past the break. This time in particular, I was trying to practice a yoga, be-here-now mind, and in that vein, was sort of saying to myself, “oh look at that wave, peaking up on my left; oh look at this, I’m rightside up, travelling across the face; oh look at this, the breaking peak caught me and I’m upside-down, head still in air (for another nano-second) and about to get munched; imagine that.” Odd, amusing feeling, and about as much fun as getting munched is ever going to be.



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