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Good day everybody we have a packed show lined up for you today. We get to the bottom of the ‘instafire’ post from Pat Keller calling out Corey Sheehan for pulling the foam out of his life jacket. From there we have a great interview with US Olympian, Ashley Nee, giving us the inside scoop on the USOC. Of course we have some great listener mail, rants and raves and an outstanding review of the Perception Slasher. Enjoy and have a great day!

Slasher Review:

On river performance

Well, instead of easing into C1ing on a class II stretch, I decided to hop in it on Brown’s Canyon, a class III stretch on the Arkansas River, at about 700cfs.

Fit – The outfitting and saddle were very comfortable (at first) and easily adjusted for a secure fit in the boat. The sprayskirt was a bit of a struggle to get on the cockpit due to it’s small size and the neoprene drying out and degrading over the years. But, with some effort and stretching (tearing?) of the fabric, I got it on the rim. I grabbed my short (58”) Carlisle raft paddle and hit the water.

Flat water performance – Really stable, considering the edges and high seating position inherent in this slalom inspired C1. I was able to get amazing power out of a forward stroke (J stroke), and the boat glided quite swiftly down the river. After about a mile on the water, I was getting the hang of controlling the boat with an onside bow draw/forward stroke combo, and some J stroking, and sweeps. My knees and ankles were getting a bit uncomfortable, but I hear that’s common with C1ers.

Class I – II performance – With my confidence building, I was able to paddle efficiently through small wave trains, with stability afforded by solid forward leaning powerful strokes. I soon looked proficient eddying out and peeling out from river right eddies. Cross bow eddying out was a bit more difficult, probably due to the length of the crappy paddle that I had, and me being used to paddling with two blades. I even pulled off a few flat water rolls in a big deep eddy, under the watchful eye of a friend “spotting” me, incase I got into trouble. However, after a few miles paddling and some rolls, there was about 5-10 gallons of water in the boat. The hull looked to be in immaculate condition, maybe I missed a fine crack somewhere. Anyways, I got out and dumped/sponged the boat, which was a welcome relief to my numbed knees and ankles.

Class III performance – As the rapids picked up in Brown’s Canyon at Canyon Doors/Pinball, I was able to get a feel for performance characteristics of the edges on this slalom inspired design. A seasoned (capable) C1er would love how the edges help the boat carve across the current and hook in to eddies when entering from swift water. For me, it was frightening! Every eddy line now became a horrible monster reaching out to grab that edge and flip me over. I frantically avoided eddies, rocks, and small pillows at all costs. Just get me into the safety and serenity of the pool at the bottom! We soon came to Zoom Flume, the biggest class III rapid on the run. It’s a relatively steep drop with some medium sized curlers and waves and a big rock at the bottom. Earlier, I had a feeling that if I was going go upside down on Brown’s, it would be Zoom Flume. Now, after feeling I may go upside down in any rapid with rocks and eddies, I knew I was going to flip in Zoom Flume. Sure enough, I did. I flipped on my offside (how do you brace on the offside?), carped three rolls, and swam. Rolling in shallow rapids with your ass and entire upper body hanging four feet out of the cockpit is difficult! I swam to shore, allowed the blood flow and feeling to get back to my feet and got back in the boat (on the saddle?). I continued on downstream. Every rapid (class III) seemed like a fight for survival. But, now I had the confidence knowing how quickly you can exit a C1, when your legs are underneath you and not encapsulated in the bow of the boat. I was actually grateful that the boat kept taking on water. This allowed me to stop, get out, dump water, and get feeling back into the lower half of my legs. They were no longer numb…my knees and ankles were now aching with searing pain! I finally made it to the takeout without any further mishaps. After sitting at the water’s edge for 20 minutes to allow life and feeling to return to my feet, I limped to the cooler and drank my bootie beer…Do C1ers only have to drink 1/2 a bootie beer, because of the “1/2 a paddle…” thing?

Overall impression

In the hands of a more skilled (capable) canoeist, the Perception Slasher would be a joy to paddle. It’s C1 slalom boat-like design elements would make it incredibly fast and responsive compared to today’s C1s (which to my knowledge are now just kayaks with different seats, paddled by a kneeling guy with one blade). I’d bet that you could even stern squirt/pivot turn the slicey demon. For me, it was an edgy, uncomfortable nightmare, akin to trying to paddle the river while kneeling on top of one of those plastic cafeteria tables, with a raft paddle.

All in all, it was a challenging and painful, but enjoyable learning experience. I’ll keep the boat, so that I have something to do while my girlfriend paddles her SUP on the Upper Colorado.

Dane Jackson surfs behind ski boats:

Article on the USOC that Ashley Nee discusses: