Category Archives: Kayaking
I am excited to announce the launch of TerraHubs.com, a sister website to TerraVida! This website will be an excellent resource for outdoor folks looking to meet up with others and go on adventures! This site is a free tool where you can create a group, join a group, organize adventures and events, and more!
This project was a collaboration between Dan Matriccino and Nathan Silsbee, with the vision of connecting outdoor minded individuals across the globe! Hikers, bikers, SUPers, kayakers, snowboarders, skiiers are welcome!
I hope you find this website useful, and please submit feedback if you come across anything that needs improvement!
I had the privilege of attending the Red Bull Divide and Conquer team triathlon this past weekend in Vancouver, BC. It was an unreal event that brought together some of the best mountain runners, bikers, and kayakers in the world.
I was fortunate to join forces with Asheville mountain running animal Matt Morse and Australian Super-D pinner Josh Carlson for the event, and I truly enjoyed the feeling of sharing all of the ups and downs of the event as a team. Generally speaking, athletes in all of these sports are usually all alone on competition day. We handle our own training, nutrition, preparation, and effort when it’s time to perform. Most of the strategy and planning goes on silently in our minds, and when we do succeed, it is us alone who celebrate at the top.
The team dynamic was much different, and I can’t wait to do more events like it in the future! The three of us were coming from all different walks in life, but there was such a supportive environment pervading throughout the week leading up to the event and the day of. We helped each other out with airport pickups, food, rides, and course planning. We were each deeply invested in each other, and when it was our respective turn to compete for the team, there was a much deeper motivation there than usually exists when you are competing for yourself. We all wanted to take our own games to the next level to honor our teammates’ efforts.
And that is what happened!
The course was a primal representation of what the North Shore of Vancouver is made of. The mountain run was 12 km long, but had two brutal descents of Mount Fromme and Grouse Mountain for a total elevation gain of 4800 vertical feet! At the top of Grouse Mountain, the runner scans the transponder and passes it off to the biker, who ran a 33 km course of single track and fire roads that featured gnarly rock drops, infinite slippery root networks, brutal hike-a-bike climbs, and 40+ mph fire road sprints. The biker then tags the kayaker, who runs to their boat, runs it to the Red Bull ramp, and launches into the Capilano River. Although only class III, the river weaves through a spectacular 6 km gorge on its way to the Pacific Ocean, where the paddlers then have to loop around a buoy, paddle against the tidal current up the coast, and run their boats a quarter of a mile to the finish line.
To top this all off, it rained all night before the event, and continued for the entire day of… the course was doused, and the runners and mountain bikers were working with the worst conditions imaginable.
Matt started us off strong with a staunch lead in the run 1/3 of the way up the mountain. He did this against Arcteryx, North Face, and Red Bull professional runners! He was so far ahead that the big guns didn’t see him get lost on the course, but that is what happened. Matt got reoriented and caught back up to the leaders, but then got lost again, this time unable to get within sight of the front of the pack again. He still finished strong in 6th position, and Josh took off down the mountain bike leg trying to close the 12 minute gap behind the leaders.
Josh slayed the track and showed why he is one of the best Super-D and Enduro riders in the world. He navigated the gnarliest North Shore roots and rocks in a blistering time, and tagged me in 3rd place looking like someone who had just been to war!
I hit the Capilano River charged with energy and had good lines through the gorge. I put the power down efficiently, and came across the finish line after 40 minutes of pulling hard. Our 3rd place position put us on the podium of this amazing inaugural competition!
Achieving that result together was different than previous paddling competitions where I have placed well. We all met up later to share stories, beers, and the cash prize that we won together. It was awesome teaming up with other people who devote their lives to their sport, and combining our efforts to achieve a team goal. While the race organizers predicted a seven hour total time for the event, all of the top three teams completed it right around four hours!
The event video can be found here:
The word on the street is that Red Bull will be rolling this event out to other places in the world to make it a circuit. Here’s hoping for an Asheville event!
I wanted to reach out and tell you about a special project that I have in the works for this spring. I’ve been hoping to do this one for a while, and it seems as though the pieces are finally falling into place.
In about a month, I will paddle from the source of the French Broad River in NC as fast and as far as I possibly can in 12 hours. The journey will begin with a team on the steep class V stretches of the North Fork of the French Broad and hopefully Courthouse Creek(with a 40 foot waterfall if water levels and wood conditions permit). The French Broad will then flatten out and I will paddle the rest of the way solo. The focus will be to make as many miles as possible as the river winds its way through the Blue Ridge Mountains. It will be an incredible trip, and I’ll be able to see parts of these mountains that I never have before. This challenge will need to be tentative since it depends on rain to make the class V sections possible. My goal is a day in early to mid April.
I would love it if you could support this cause! I have chosen to work with several non-profits that are doing great things. Feel free to browse through the links below to donate and see why I have chosen each of these organizations:
In addition to contributing to a good cause, there will be prizes from Astral Buoyancy, Immersion Research, Dagger Kayaks, TerraVida and others for donators. There will be prizes for largest donations, best guess of river miles traveled, and other categories.
Thanks so much for supporting organizations that are doing good things in the world, and I will keep you updated as this project develops!
An international team of six kayakers take on the Homathko River, a four day source-to-sea kayak trip in the Coast Range of BC.
What Up All!
I hope that the winter season is treating you well. It’s been pretty funny watching all of these Shit __s Say videos develop, and I figured that we could organize and embed a few for quick consumption by our viewers who may not have seen them all. It was a pleasure to be the official chauffeur for the kayaking installation of this viral phenom!
Without further ado, enjoy this compilation:
So I’ve been pretty amazed with the way that this Noccalula Falls descent has exploded in the media. If you’re not familiar with the waterfall, check out my recent blog post in Blue Ridge Outdoors for the footage and ensuing media coverage.
But yesterday, I received an email thread that made me roll on the ground laughing. It includes my dad, Mike Gragtmans, my uncle, John Z, and one of the guys who got me into paddling, John M. Read on for the real story of the true Noccalula Falls first D…
Holy crap batman! Did you get a note from your mother? Let me know when the video is available so I can buy a copy. Taking my boat to Mexico on Friday for a week to do some ocean surfing. Pretty tame compared to this! Be safe.
Hey John, pretty fricking ridiculous huh! What they don’t show on the video is that John Z. and I ran the waterfall before Pat went. We ran it at the same time just to put in a little more challenge into our runs. The Super Sport and Pirouette did awesome. If you look real carefully at the video you will see John and I sitting on the riverbank as Pat went down. We are celebrating with a drink and a smoke. John took the case of beer down with him and I took down the cigars.
What a bunch of rookies!!
Glad you pointed it out to me. I can just make out you and John Z smoking a monte cristo and having a sifter of fine port. I agree, what a bunch of rookies
…yes, I don’t usually brag, but. Here’s another incredible factoid about this secret first descent of Mike Gragtmans followed by myself. I know Mike prides himself on his physical condition, so the best medical professionals hooked him up to state of the art equipment to monitor his physiological reaction the strain. They still can’t understand how his heart rate did not rise at all; it was equal to sitting in an easy chair reading a good novel!
My apologies, I said Mike ran it first… we did do it simultaneously but the Super Sport surged ahead on willpower and sheer athletic prowess to win by a nose due to the paddling machine otherwise known as Michael Gragtmans. He was actually paddling furiously as he went down the waterfall to really giv’er. And that’s how the other 3 were inspired to in fact give it a run and take the credit. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.
This is why my family is awesome. Hope everyone is out there enjoying the rain!
Gareth Tate (7 Finger Media) just checked in with an incredible video.. expect 40 minutes of epic california creeking, valuable tips from expert kayakers, and jaw-dropping beauty.
As the paddling and biking seasons come to an end, and we prepare to switch to the snow sports, we’re having a bit of a reminiscent moment here at TerraVida.
We’ve had our doors open since March, and since then we have received an incredible amount of positive feedback and support. We have been overwhelmed by the calibre of contributing designers’ work, and we have tried to reward as many designers as we could for their efforts.
We have also had the pleasure to sponsor a couple of events this year. We are still a growing company, but it’s been great to contribute in our own way to these events. They include:
We also look forward to continuing and growing our relationship with American Whitewater, an organization that is out there fighting for our rivers. Be sure to check them out and become a member if you haven’t already. We also look forward to branching out and supporting similar grassroots events and organizations as we move into the mountain biking market.
Thank you to our customers for your support this year, and we wish you a great holiday season!
Nathan and Chris
Alright folks, enough of you have asked me about it… here’s my Roger’s Creek swim video. I wish I could have made it across that boil! But I got some good redemption in the next rapid after the waterfall series. Here you go:
I’m finally back home in Asheville after a 2.5 month sojourn around North America with bike and kayak in tow. It has been an incredible experience that I will never forget, but it always feels good to come home.
I spent quite a bit of time in the Whistler, BC area, and I have come to the conclusion that it is probably the most amazing place to find yourself if you love skiing, biking, kayaking, or all of the above. I will allow the pictures below to do the talking.
Luke Radnor ripping Whistler Bike Park apart! Luke is one of the guys who pulls your bike off the rack when you ride up the lift, and this is his after-work routine.
The bro train dropping into the Crabapple Superhits. This is the biggest jump line in Whistler, and is a very cool place to watch local talent crush it.
If you’re ever in the area and enjoy hiking, there are two hikes that you must do… the Stawamus Chief and Black Tusk. They are very different experiences, but both spectacular.
The Chief is a short intense climb up to the summit of the 2nd largest granite monolith in the world behind El Cap. This is the view of Squamish from the top.
Black Tusk is an absolutely spectacular 16 km and 2000 vertical meter climb into the Garibaldi wilderness. It is worth every step though, and views like this are everywhere.
The kayaking in the area is every bit as incredible as anything else. Whistler has world class steep creeks within ten minutes of town. As a local, you could easily go paddling before work, work all day, and go riding after work. Here is the putin drop to one of the classic runs of the area, the Upper Cheakamus.
Photo by Bryan Harris with Guillaume Pedneault’s camera.
Different view of the same drop by Guillaume Peneault…
Just a few minutes past the pulloff for the Upper Cheak is Callaghan Creek. This is an ultra-classic run, and features some great rapids and back-to-back 15 and 25 foot waterfalls.
Then of course you have the big water training ground, and my favourite run in the area, Fear Canyon of the Elaho! This place demands respect.
One of the other great things about Whistler is the fact that you can balance all of these things with a super cool social scene at the end of the day. Lost Lake is a perfect afternoon cooldown before you go out for dinner in town.
Whistler is just set up for bikes, and is an inspiration to what I hope alot of US towns will turn into. It’s pretty fun riding a downhill bike to the bar!
So, long story short, go to Whistler if you ever get the chance. Be sure to keep checking here and on our YouTube Channel for media as I get my life sorted out and post stuff up.
Good lines all!