Sunday, August 27, 2006


Electra Run, Mokelumne River, kayaking class II, Aug 26, 2006

TaylorC, PaulG and I kayaked the Electra Run on the Mokelumne River (Amador County, California, USA) at a flow of 900 cfs (CA DWR CDEC Interface). TaylorC was in my Dagger RPM, PaulG paddled his Wave Sport Frankenstein and I paddled BobL's Dagger SuperEgo.

Waters of the Hundred Playspots

The flow was only ~200 cfs lower than it was on our last trip on the Electra Run and that made a very noticeable change in the river. We found not quite so many small playspots in the first part of the run, but there were still lots of them.

After lunch we found two great surfing spots. The first spot was just a little jet of current coming off of a rock that made a little diagonal wave-hole. Very precise edge control was required. Dropping your upstream edge just enough enabled some great surfs, but dropping that edge too much or for too long produced a surprisingly rapid smackdown for such a small wave-hole. And we all got smacked there.



The second spot was a much bigger, faster wave-hole that was a little tricky to get into and then was very tricky to stay on for any length of time. It was a glorious white-knuckle ride for as long as it lasted, partly because of the speed and power of the current and the complexity of the wave-hole, but also because many of our exits from the wave-hole were less than graceful (i.e. trashed and spit out).

The flow was still a little bit too high to surf on The Green Wave. PaulG got some great rides on wave number two in his speedy Frankenstein kayak.

Practice, Training, Learning

We explored the river inch by inch for playspots, eddies, and ferrys. It was neat to pick out challenging lines through rapids, then try them and succeed. Throughout the day we all were working on our timing and stroke mechanics. TaylorC worked really hard on his eskimo roll and made great progress. We all ran nice lines at The Slot and S-Curve rapids. We played for a long time in the runout at the bottom of S-Curve.

Throughout the day TaylorC and I got out our cameras and took photos and movie clips. I think this kind of photo & video feedback will help us all to improve our paddling techniques. No matter how conscious you are of what you are trying to do, you just can't see what you are really doing until you look at the pictures.

More pictures from the trip are at BRT whitewater kayaking photos. TaylorC video 1. TaylorC video 2.

After seeing no other boaters all morning we saw a few groups of kayakers in the afternoon. We were working and playing the river so hard that the other boaters were long gone when we got to take-out, so Taylor got to ride the bicycle shuttle to get Paul's truck at put-in.

On the way back we stopped for beers and bare-knuckle kick boxing on TV at the Drytown Club.

More about: Kayaking Trip Reports.

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