Friday, December 25, 2015

2015 Year In Review

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

2015 video highlights from Charleston SC area, Hood River/Columbia River Gorge OR, Lake Norman NC, & Appalachian Trail/Roan Mountain TN...

2015 Year In Review from WaterTurtle Media on Vimeo.

and years past...

2014 Year In Review from WaterTurtle Media on Vimeo.

2013 Year In Review from WaterTurtle Media on Vimeo.

2012 Year In Review from WaterTurtle Media on Vimeo.

WaterTurtle's Year In Review - 2011 from WaterTurtle Media on Vimeo.

Best Water Shots of 2009 from WaterTurtle Media on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Joaquin & 26 Inches Of Rain

For the last year or so, I've been spending more time in the Charleston SC area.  That has brought many opportunities to hit the water, both windsurfing & SUP (surfing, downwinders, & flat water paddling).  September and October were active SUP surfing months with some good swell activity.

First, here is a short video of a fun afternoon in September at an outer sandbar in the Charleston area...

Then in early October, we had one of those 1,000 year events.   The original plan was for Rob, Mark, Ralph, and I to reunite for a 4 day weekend on Hatteras Island.  We would windsurf & SUP Surf...whatever the conditions brought us.  Then we saw Hurricane Joaquin out in the Atlantic making its way towards the Carolinas coast.  For a few days, the forecasted track had it hitting near the Outer Banks.   We had to rethink our long weekend plans and felt that our best option was south, where Joaquin would bypass but still offer some good swell to surf.  We were disappointed not to be able to go to Hatteras and were hoping Joaquin would still miss them.  Thankfully, Joaquin would miss fact, it stayed way out in the Atlantic, which was good for everyone.  Except for one thing - while everyone was so distracted with Joaquin, no one noticed the crazy low pressure system developing that brought endless rain to the Carolinas.  

I'm talking about Noah's Ark kind of rain.  1,000 year storm kind of rain.  The 4 days we spent in Mount Pleasant SC as our home base, it rained 26 inches.   The combination of an upper level low and Hurricane Joaquin created this crazy atmospheric river that produced deadly flooding in SC and NC.  

Somehow, we still managed to surf 3 out of 4 days (1 day was victory at sea conditions).  When we surfed, the rain seemed to stop or at least slow down to a drizzle.  While we had a great time, there was a weird vibe with all the flooding going on all around us.  The Charleston peninsula was closed down entirely as the Charleston Harbor rose above the Battery wall and spilled into the city.  Many other low lying areas in the area flooded.  And man, did it rain overnight....each never ended.  I kept expecting cars to float by our house but we were fortunately located in an area 6-8' above sea level.  However, the roof leaked.  I guess when it rains 26 inches in 4 days, water is going to find its way into the house somehow.  Mark had van trouble.  My truck had trouble too....bad ignition coils.  We kept waiting for our cars to stop working.  Rob lost his wallet..but later found it at the place he left it.  Just really weird stuff that weekend, but we were grateful for many things.  The surf saved us.

Saddle up, lets go on a road trip!

Moody but fun waves

We brought everything, thinking we would windsurf & SUP surf...but SUP surfing ruled the entire time.

Isle of Palm SC flooding

knee deep water we had to wade through to get to the beach and go surfing

warnings as we left Charleston

Hard to tell in this picture, but that is flash flooding in Columbia SC just off I-77.   Columbia got it really bad with major flooding.   Hard to see, but there are submerged cars in this picture.  An hour after we passed by here, they shut down I-77 at this spot.

Friday, November 20, 2015

2015 Chucktown Showdown

I was stoked and honored to be able to capture the spirit of a great race event in a great paddling community.  The 2015 Chucktown Showdown, in Charleston SC, went off in September.  Witnessing everything from behind the camera instead of racing this time around was really interesting and reminded me just how difficult it is to put on a big race event.  And that was just race day.  You cannot underestimate the insane amount of planning that goes into these big races. A big shout out has to go to race director Chris Cannavaro who did an amazing job, along with the many volunteers Chandler Bold Amy Zonarich Mike Goldston Erin Carter among many others...thank you for all your efforts.  Thank you also to Justin Schaay for getting me on his boat so I could capture some great race angles and backdrops.  You won't find many other races that have as beautiful a backdrop as the downtown Charleston skyline, Battery area, and Harbor.  The Charleston paddling community is strong in many respects and also a very welcoming community to visitors.  Mahalo!

2015 Chucktown Showdown from WaterTurtle Media on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Gorge Moments

Here is video from our recent Gorge trip (short version)...

Gorge Moments - short version from WaterTurtle Media on Vimeo.

Longer version...

Gorge Moments from WaterTurtle Media on Vimeo.

Friday, September 4, 2015

Wind Johnny Rides

Hood River, OR and The Gorge area in the summer is full of vehicles carrying all kinds of boards, bikes, kayaks, etc.  And there are sprinter vans everywhere.  But there were certainly some vehicles that stood out more than others, particularly in the inventive ways their toys were strapped to some of them.  I decided to capture images of some of the more unique vehicles dedicated to chasing the wind.  Which one is your favorite?

This last one is my favorite, but doesn't really count since I actually spotted this one in Blowing Rock, NC a few weeks ago (all the others shown above were in The Gorge, OR/WA).  But I would love to have this one.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

The Gorge - Photo Journal

We recently had an epic 2 weeks in Hood River, OR and the Columbia River Gorge OR/WA - the location for world class windsurfing, kitesurfing, SUP downwinders, hiking, mountain & road biking, snow sports, and whitewater kayaking - they have it all.  Hood River is outdoor sports/adventure town USA - and THE place for wind johnnies and wind betties.

Below is an extensive photo journal of our trip (with captions), so settle in with a cold one.  You can also click on the first pic and then scroll through to view in large format (but captions disappear when viewing in large format).

First, some quick notes:
-  I took my family and they stayed for a week & a half before returning home for other commitments.    Alan, also a Charlotte area windsurfer, was there with his family for the same 2 weeks.  My buddy Rob arrived as my family left and he lucked into a lot of wind his entire 4 days there.  
-  I windsurfed 7 days out of the 2 weeks.  2 days were 3.7 sailing in 30mph+ wind.  My lower back gave me fits off & on during the trip, so I couldn't go all out at 100% all the time, and had to take some rest days.  I could have windsurfed every day of the 2 weeks if I wanted to, perhaps some days on 6 & 7 meter sails, but most days were 4 or 5 meter sailing.  
-  They've had an early hot summer, so the water was low 70s.  We windsurfed in either board shorts or shorty 1-2mm wetsuits.  SUP downwinders in nothing but board shorts.
-  Windsurfed at the Hatchery, Doug's Beach, & Hood River Waterfront Park.   On the last really windy day we had, we should have gone further east to The Wall, but couldn't pull ourselves away from Doug's Beach for the longer drive east (never leave wind to find wind).
-  Paddled the Viento to Event Site 8 mile SUP downwinder a couple times - once with my daughter and once with Rob (both first timers for them).  Wind was 25-35mph for both downwinders.  Unbelievably fun swells and long glides!
-  Big Winds shop was a great one stop shop for our windsurfing & SUP rentals, plus they provided the shuttle for the downwinders.  
-  Best food/drink during our stay:
10 Speed Coffee - lunch burgers (& coffee/breakfast sandwiches)
Bette's Diner - breakfast & Smoked Salmon Breakfast Burrito
Thai House (in The Heights) for Thai
Local Grind (food truck located at Event Site behind Big Winds tent) - ahi tacos & rice bowls
Sixth Street Bistro - overall menu and good food
Solstice - pizza
Double Mountain (good pizza here too) / Pfriem  / Full Sail / Everybodys (across the river in White Salmon, WA) / Union Taphouse (a cool small place in the really small town of Mosier) - craft brew
-  Hikes we did - Multnomah - Waukeena Loop (10 majestic waterfalls in 5 miles), Punchbowl Falls 4.5 mile hike, & Oneonta Falls Gorge (short hike but hidden away past a giant logjam and waist high walk through cold water).  
- Fun flat water SUP on Lost Lake with the family with beautiful views of Mt Hood.  Didn't make it to Mt Hood itself this time around, nor did I mountain bike this trip either (would have if my back was feeling better).

The approach into Portland airport takes you right over the Columbia River Gorge

If you happen to be on the left side of the plane and have a window seat, they fly right by Mount Hood

We spent 1/2 day in Portland and visited their world famous Rose Garden

We walked around Old Town, got lost inside Powells Bookstore, and of course the kids had to visit VooDoo Doughnuts

Willamette Riverfront - downtown Portland

The view from our rental house, overlooking downtown Hood River, the Event Site and Sandbar

The way up to & down from our rental house to & from downtown - even if we were just relaxing in town, it was still a workout

The hike into Oneonta Gorge

This pic of the logjam doesn't do it justice.  Its really big and has to be climbed over with great care

The wade through really cold water to get to the waterfall

McIntyre's 1st Gorge SUP downwinder - she paddled it like a champ!

Fun swell and great glides

me windsurfing at Doug's Beach in 30mph+ wind, on a 3.7 sail

My kit

Family SUP outing on Lost Lake in the shadow of Mount Hood

Da Boyz playing at the Event Site - a great place for the family to hang out and swim in the Columbia River

The first of 10 waterfalls on the incredible Multnomah - Wahkeena Falls Loop Hike

Everything is big in Oregon

I got stung on my hand by a yellow jacket and it swelled up - I suddenly had a meaty hand

Big rocks - can you spot Jake?

At the top of Multnomah Falls, looking down

Multnomah Falls
More swimming in the Columbia - McIntyre is our little daredevil

Punchbowl Falls hike - from Eagle Creek Trailhead

The view east of Hood River on the way to Doug's Beach on the WA side

First Friday at Hood River, they close off the downtown streets and have a party.  There was a break dancing competition and it was awesome.

Musicians in front of the Promotion Wetsuits shop
Fun gathering with Alan & Sean and their families.  Love this pic of the kiddos.

Another beautiful sunset, extra red from the wildfire haze (from far away WA wildfires)

SUP downwinder on the mighty Columbia

catching glides with Rob, on his 1st Gorge SUP downwinder

Kiter going for big air as we passed by The Hatchery
Rob hitting the lip at The Hatchery

Alan backloop

enjoying a post sesh cold one at the little Union Taphouse in Mosier, OR - population 430

The drive east - the landscape changes from green to desert

waiting for wind at The Hatch

Doug's Beach windsurfing - Rob



Canadian pro & freestyle specialist Phil Soltysiak was in town

The Hatch - Alan & Rob



Alan - duck jibe

Alan's sweet new board

Petroglyphs - east of Doug's Beach & The Dalles on the WA side

heading into the desert

Back at Doug's Beach - one of our favorite spots - sandy beach, beautiful views from the water, fun swells, and not too far from Hood River - this is the view looking back at the beach



Rob on a 3.7 - wind 30mph+


Local Sean Aiken - he put on a clinic of how to absolutely shred the Columbia River
Sean backloop

Sean - showing how to ride the swell

Sean backloop


big swells at Doug's Beach

Sean forward loop

Pow! - an oldie, but goody classic board

Loadin' them up - lets roll

The Gorge Cup Windsurfing Race Series was taking place on our last day there - we sailed at the Waterfront Park and watched some of the racing

Gorge Cup race


Post sesh hanging out at The Sandbar, before leaving for the Portland airport

What a great way to end our trip, with live music overlooking the action on the river on a beautiful day.  It was hard to leave this.