Paddled Last Week

These are some short reports of what we paddled. Sorry if some reports are only  in Dutch, they 're meant to be quick little stories, so not much editing, straight online.

You can find previous stories in the Archive 'Paddled Last Week' 2001

July 2002: Chat Rabioux - Guil - playspots Briançon Area  

Just came back from Guillestre, France, 21 july 2002, I saw some questions on the Message Board Fokiwa 'bout the state of the Rabioux this year on the Durance downstream from Briançon. Questions wether the Rabioux was back on, after the high water from last year in July.
I just, three days before, surfed the beast, so I'kind of answered immediatly.
Here is the chat that followed on the MB.

"...Just came back from over there and the rabioux was f*cking wonderfulllllll. This spot only works if the water in the Briançon area is low. Last year I wasn't there but I heared there was a lot of water, so no Rabioux wave. As far as I'm concerned the wave never changed, just too much water...
This year I arrived around the 8th of july, low water everywhere, Guisanne, Guil, but a great rabioux wave. I could easily surf controlled, go from the left little wave to the right big pit. On the left side, lefthand spinning easy, righthand blunt with a bit of effort. In the big pit surf endlessly, spin a couple of times right, sometimes left and try lefthand blunts, not my best side. But a great HOOLLLLE, incredible speed, disco fun. The were some guys who did incredible lefthand blunts on that righthand shoulder. Ok, it isn't an easy beginners wave, needs a bit work to get to tame the beast!
Setting up a righthand blunt on the small left wave. More pics here, Rabioux july 2002

I also went to Embrun, there was just a little breaking wave, not worthwhile getting in my boat for. Apparently this only works, if there's more water and the rabioux is flattened out.
Description, pics and waterlevels on Wonderland site and The making of ...

The weekend of the 13th, there was a lot of rain in the Guil valley, even an thunderstorm, 2 campsites evacuated, part of the road flushed away in Ristolet. Did the Chateaux Queras gorge as the water was getting brown, when suddenly everybody got trashed in the gorge I realized my disco wasn't the best choice of boat that day. Only two went on in the Gardian Angel Gorge, water was getting really muddy and going up, as we were paddling it. Had to get out there pretty fast, portaged the ex-infran, too big a hole. Yeehaa great ride... later we saw the Tripple Chute, Staircase, as one big muddy thundering stretch of brown water.

The next day, no rabioux, too much water. But by the end of the week, friday the 19th, it was back to being one of the fastest waves I know. Water was still a bit high, so a nervous way, no getting from the little left wave to the big pit, but a big stopper. Surfing wasn't that easy as the last time, needed some concentration, great ollie hopping, spinning, did an unintendo backloop while missing a flatspin, still trainig on my lefthand blunt. But there was a guy, with British freestyle team written on his back who... went in did two wonderfull righthand cartwheels, then a couple of spins, and big lefthand blunts, 'tempted several loops, went well, not aireal, always eaten by the big stopper. Then another came in and made his little g-force go aireal doing some great lefthand aireal blunts...

So what 's that about the rabioux being gone?
(If it get some time off, I'll try to put some pickies online, part 1 Rabioux online 06.08.02) ..."


>>" Are there any other good waves in the area? " (Lieke asked)

" I don't know any real good other spots ther in the Durance valley" (Maybe locals do?).
"If the water gets really high, that's spring level, there's a really good wave upstream St-Clement on the Durance. At low water there's sometimes a nice small hole, nothing big.
If the Guil has a LOT of water there are several waves, but beware, there 're also big holes waiting, it's a full IV. I paddled from the Staircase (Tripple Chute) to the Lake (Maison du Roy), passed some great waves, but didn't play a lot, the white water was fun enough. Got trashed twice in a hole just before the ex-'Boîte-au-lettres'.
The part on the Ubaye, Fresqières - Martinet known as the 'ex-infrans du haute' is a great playboating stretch at low water, 8m³. I remember a nice gentle hole with pool 1km after the put-in. And another great pour-over/hole at the end just before the raft base. Ok, it's also a grade IV, so you have to paddle a couple of nice part as the 'fèr à cheval', but no problem at low water.
The spot at the Verdon in Castellane doesn't work, it needs 40m³ and they only let out 10m³, 'cause of the many tourists in the gorge. Normally water on Tuesday and Friday.
The wave in Nice didn't have enough water also, the water was brown and almost high enough because of the heavy thunderstorms in the Maritime Alps, but no goooo. (Neither are there any waves at sea in Nice, but hey, there 's other stuff there...b*besssss.)
Saultbré was great.
Didn't pass by Hawaii-s-r and Miribel, but check the levels, Hawaii could be good and fun, but you need to be good, experienced, better be with someone who paddled it before. The holes,waves, turbulence behind the monster can be dangerous, they eat swimmers, jam,jam...

Bye, have funnnnn...
Birdy "

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