Monday, 7 July 2014

Summer 2014 Update!

Summer started early for me this year with many weekend kayaking trips in between class and school projects.  I met the local whitewater kayakers and was driving up to Squamish and Whistler the moment school ended.
Self Motorboating at the Ashlu Box takeout

Proud to be a Mountain Equipment Co-Op Envoy

Ladies Lap on the Little White Salmon!!!

End of May was my favourite race of the year, put on by World Class Kayak Academy was the Little White Salmon Race!  I drove down a couple days prior with a group of us from Whistler.  It was so great being able to show my new BC friends down the Little White Salmon.  As per usual the Columbia River Gorge was warm and sunny, and race day saw many people race, paddle down, and hike in to be a part of the activities.  I was super lucky to have my mom drive all the way down from Vancouver after she finished up work to watch me race :).

The Spirit Slalom Race

There were 4 girls racing this year, which is always better than one ;).  It was definitely in my advantage that I knew the river so well, because I wasn't in the best of shape due to trying to stay on top of school.  I hit all my lines on the downriver, and was exhausted but STOKED at the finish :).
The river was a little higher than last year, making the Hyphy eddy in the Slalom course VERY HIPHY.  My line off spirit was a little janky and I flipped in the pool, came around the corner into the first upstream gate and hear of lot of yelling.  At first I thought it was cheering, but then when I looked up they were all telling me to stop.  There was a boat in chaos, someone had swam...  So I got to walk back up and have a redo, which was actually a blessing in disguise as I slayed my second run!  Coming in first in the Downriver and the Slalom I was stoked!

Check out the results here:

50/50 Ashlu Box Canyon, BC
The Ashlu Box Canyon is one the the most beautiful rivers I have paddles, endless boofs in this deep MAJESTIC gorge!  BC has opened me up to a whole new paddling paradise! The local runs are SO good and quick, perfect for a student :)

Focused at the North Fork Champs
 My next big race coming up was the North Fork Championships on the North Fork of the Payetter River, North of Boise, Idaho.  I was chosen as an alternate for the Elite race on Jacobs Ladder, one of the scariest rapids I have ever run.  This river is a bittersweet place for me, the locals are great people, the river is steep, big and scary but very fun, and Idaho is a wilderness paradise.  It's hard to believe but four years ago now one of my very good friends Stephen Forester drowned on the Payette, only a couple rapids above the race course.  Every time I paddle the North Fork I think about him and it gives me a big smile and extra strength. 

I only found out that I was officially racing Jake's a couple days before the race.  Although I had been training as if I would be called up, it was still a surprise and an extra jolt of nervous and exciting energy.  The morning of the race local paddler, Hannah Kertesz and I paddled from the Swinging Bridge put in down to Jakes.  Just the two of us on the water was such a great warm up and wake up for what was to come.  The river level had come up and everything was bigger and pushier, but I was ready. 
Apparently this is my nervous face!  At the top of the Red Bull Ramp.
I am very proud of myself for completing both of my races run without a scratch.  I definitely had quite a few big mistakes, and I must say that I have never felt that nervous and full of emotion in my entire life.  The joke was that I probably blacked out as I boofed into Rodeo hole more savagely then the blackout at the Dirty Shame after party.  I will definitely be submitting my application to compete again next year!

2014 Whitewater Riders
I just finished my two week Teen Kayak Camp called the Whitewater Riders here in the Ottawa Valley.  This year we had 13 great kids from all over North America, and great coaches including Martina Wegman from the Netherlands, Fidel Moreno from Argentina, Emily Shanblatt from Asheville, North Carolina, and my very own sister Stefani Van Wijk!! 
Although I am very tired, I had the best time ever with these RAD kids, keeping me on my toes and giving me an ab workout with all the laughing!  Can't wait for next year :)
Back in a Slalom Boat with the WhiteWater Riders at Madawaska Kanu Centre

Now I am off to Northern Norway for a month of kayaking with some of my best friends Mariann Saether, Louise Jull, and Nicole Mansfield!!!  Thank you to Mountain Equipment Coop for making it happen!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

A New Chapter

After my win at the 2013 Green Race, I went home to Ottawa and started dreaming of what to do next.  I have always had school in the back of my head, especially now that I am trying to grow the TiTS DEEP brand and working more with our family business.  I finally sent in my portfolio to The Art Institute of Vancouver and before I knew it I was driving across the country car fully loaded!
Loaded to the TiTS!
Vancouver skyline

Danielle and I Cross Country skiing at Cypress Mountain
Vancouver had a pretty dry winter so I wasn't as distracted from school, as the rivers were pretty dry and the skiing wasn't going off.  But I did get some great days on Whistler and Blackcomb. 
Smelly and I skiing some serious FRESH
First quarter of art school was great, lots of rad people and very cool projects.  Definitely a lot of work, but very fun work, so I'm pretty fired up on it!

Here are some projects I was working on:
Mother Nature Mask
Value Project
Mind Map
Colour Theory

We had a long weekend so I cruised South back to White Salmon for a quick kayak and ski trip!  It was SO good to be back in the Gorge :)
Touring up Hospital overlooking BINGEN!
LW Take out with 3 feet of Fresh Snow!!

The Pool below Spirit was incredible with the huge icicles!

We have also been putting out lots of content for TiTS DEEP!  You should definitely check out these links:

Webisode #5 - The Little White Salmon Race from TiTs Deep on Vimeo.

Webisode #3: Stouts & Sisterhood from TiTs Deep on Vimeo.

Year 2013 in Review Webisode #4 from TiTs Deep on Vimeo.

Friday, 14 June 2013


Last year when I came back to the Ottawa Valley from a winter and spring in the Columbia River Gorge I felt like my kayaking had improve substantially.  Ran my first 70 ft waterfall, kayaking everyday on class 4 to 5, and being around the most motivated kayakers I know,  sent my skills and confidence flying.
Leaving snowy Ottawa to sunny Hood River

This year didn't slow down,  lapping the Little White Salmon daily, trying new eddies, and different lines. This river is the best training ground, and one you do not want to mess with.  Like Willie Kern told us at the North Fork: "Learn to feel tiny amongst the whitewater".  I have learned so much from this river; how to consistently boof the tits out of drops, how to conserve energy on long continuous grade 5, how to take a beating and not lose too much composure, and most of all how to have the best time ever on the most JAH river.

Nicole Mansfield moved to the Gorge!  I met her in Chile competing in the 2012 Whitewater Grand Prix, and it just so happened we moved into a house together in White Salmon only 15 minutes from the LW take out.  Instead of paddling with the boys everyday like last winter, I had a female partner in crime!
Wind River Race with the girls!

Our first mission started off as a joke with Rush.  Turning his hairs grey we borrowed his Dynamic Duo for the local Wind River Race.  NO BEATERING was what he told us.  Well that was just fire for our excitement on this tandem kayak.  Folks were rallying to Celestial Falls, a sick 50 footer in Oregon, and Nicole and I brought one boat: the duo!  Definitely a step up from the wind.  We really didn't know exactly how it was going to pan out but we were stoked!  The audio from our GoPros is pretty hilarious as I rattle off some instructions to Nicole as we near the lip.  And then styled the TiTS out of it, going super deep and rolling up on our first try.  Nicole definitely took the meat of the hit as I was in the back of the boat.
Hucking Celestial Falls
Metlako??  HAHA

It was such GREAT weather in the Gorge, no rain in sight.  So we got busy with other activities!  Hiking, Poison Oak, a couple cheeky runs, Mt Hood skiing// eating shit on my skies, snowboarding, Mt Biking, Overnighting on the Little White, Rage Cage, Gardening, Spraypainting.
Mami and Dad came to visit!! (the put in of the LW)
THEN IT RAINED!!!  Week of personal first decent :)
Metlako Monday-  Nicole and I hike up to Punchbowl with our kayaks for the first time (I have done the hike about 8 times already watching friends rout it)!!  Evan Garcia, Will, Russel Davies, and Mardy Melvin came out too.  My line off of punchbowl was sub par, taking a solid hit.  But then I crushed Metlako and hand rolled on first attempt!  GIDDY UP.  Such a rad drop.  Definitely looks way different from the bottom.
Falling off Metlako Falls 80ft

Money Drop Tuesday- Arrived to a roosting Rock Creek!  Money Drop looked scary but good to go!  We put in at the bridge, and ran the 30 ft drop above, great little warm up.  And then routed Money Drop after Russel Davies.  Went insanely deep!!!  I felt the bottom of the river, but I had a good line, and it didn't hurt at all.  Then I watched Galen eat it on his face ;).  But all was well.
Roosting off of Money Drop
Highish Water Little White!  The rain brought 'er up to 3.8.  Lines are scarier, less rocks, jucier boofs, all round awesome:)

Upper Lewis Falls -  Rallied early with a packed Subi, I woke up from a cheeky nap to see a huge heard of Elk chillen in the woods.  They are incredible animals, HUGE.  The snow started to build up as we got closer, and James Byrd's truck handled it no problemo.  Although Nicole's pink rimmed Subi wasnt far behind, we were drifted like crazy and had THE sickest ride to the put in ever.  Best pre kayaking adrenaline.  This drop is rowdy- a solid 40 ft shallow slide to vert, into a 30 ft meaty drop with a cave.  Kyle sent it first not making it look great, but quickly ran back up and stuck his second go (quick for how stout a hike it is).  Evan, Galen and Byrd styled it, and then Russell did some funky 360 at the lip before pulling it off as well!  Nicole and I were casually watching everyone (in the freezing rainy mist), once alone at the view pt, it was an either take it or leave it situation.  And we wanted it!  Both of our lines went sweet!  I boofed the tits out of the first drop (hurt a little) and the sent the second drop how I was hoping to.

STOUT WEEK.  Trying to keep up to my late friend Stephen.  Here is to you dude!!

Here is the next Substantial Media Teaser, that has my first Metlako Line!

Substantial TV - Ep. 5 Teaser "The Holy Waters" from Substantial Media House on Vimeo.

Keep an eye out for my next write up on The Ottawa XL, The Little White Race and The North Fork Championships!

Sunday, 10 February 2013

The Creation of TiTS DEEP Chapter ONE

The First Chapter of my film project is complete!
Check out Whitewater Women ripping hard around North Carolina, West Virginia and Kentucky!
Chapter TWO will be releasing March 10th, focusing on our trip to Patagonia!
Thank you to Joanne Livingston - Richardson GMP, TEVA Shoes, and Madawaska Kanu Centre for supporting my project!

The Creation of TiTS DEEP from Airborn Athletics on Vimeo.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Finally applying to University!

It has been almost 5 years since I graduated High School at Glebe Collegiate in 2008.  I have had so many great adventures and learned more about myself and the world we live in.  This last year however I have searched for a school that offered a good Graphic Design and Film program, and in an area were I could continue to paddle, and stay active.  I decided on Emily Carr University of Art & Design on Granville Island, Vancouver.  Here is my portfolio:

This is part of a series of Christmas Cards

Evan Garcia dropping Abiqua Falls, Oregon

Erik Johnson watching Xavier's line down Metlako Falls, Oregon

the Graphic for TiTS DEEP

Outlet Falls, Washington

Isaac Levinson on Mamquam Falls, BC

Entering into the Ashlu Box Canyon, BC

Pine Tree Branch




Georgian Bay

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

the first chapter of my journey to inspire

When I came home from Patagonia I had three e-mails from women and men whom I had never met.  They said that I had inspired them, and that they were my fans.
I have fans!
What does that mean?
I'm not entirely sure, but I know that their enthusiasm has given me more energy.  And I know that I want to keep inspiring and giving confidence to as many people as I can.

Thank you!

This is a short TEASER edit I have put together to excite people for the upcoming short film: 'the Creation of TiTS Deep' releasing February 10th.
The Creation of TiTS DEEP ***THE TEASER*** from Airborn Athletics on Vimeo.