If you enjoy kayaking and warmer weather, spring is perfect in the Pacific North West. With a number of popular race events on the radar, I/O Crew Member and professional kayaker Chris Baer was in his absolute element. And sometimes even up the wrong end of the creek as these were all races and sections of water he hadn’t paddled before. But hey, it’s sure to make for an exciting adventure (and a good story!), which is what we’re all about here at I/O Merino.
Chris travels the world looking for sections of water he hasn’t paddled before, and has found himself in places such as Laos, Peru, Colombia, Mexico, Canada and New Zealand, just to name a few! But the thrill of paddling unknown water never gets old. In fact according to Chris, “Travelling around the globe in search of the most difficult and remote rivers creates amazing stories”.
So when presented with the opportunity to paddle some of the famous Pacific North West races including East Fork Lewis, Canyon Creek and Robe Canyon, Chris knew he was going to have a bunch of new adventures and stories to tell. “These all sounded like a ton of fun,” he says. “But the only issue was that I hadn’t paddled any of the sections before. The lack of practice and sleep from the healthy party atmosphere supported by the ultra-friendly local paddlers still couldn’t sway me from competing in these quality race courses”.Chris was happy to come home with a third place podium placement at East Fork Lewis and a respectable finishing spot at Robe Canyon which he admits was easily the most challenging race. He says, “The course is spectacular and contains a handful of difficult rapids. Difficult enough to put me upside down not once but twice. Racing blind is almost always guaranteed to give you a horrible finishing placement, but is a spectacularly silly way to see a new section”.