| JuMana protos...

After yesterday's unprecedented terrorist attacks on Paris, i wasn't in a good mood, i stayed awake quite late trying to get more information about this horrible event and making sure my friends were safe. Anyways, this afternoon felt better as i drove to Mille-Isles to meet with the JuMana ladies. Martine and Julie have recently received a few interesting packages from a Chinese manufacturer, because you know... we've actually been working hard on their forthcoming inflatable SUP line in the last few months ;) the 3 boards you see below are the early prototypes with temporary colors, shapes and equipment.
After thoroughly inspecting the boards, bags and paddles for a while, we already have a long list of useful information and ideas concerning the final products. We had a good time debating the pros and cons but the goal of the day was to paddle and that's what we did despite the unfriendly weather (outside temp around -4°C). However no flurries would stop us from our mission: to test-ride those brand new paddle-boards at Lake Noel!!!
Shit it was cold and windy to be honest, of course i forgot to bring some warmer underlayers, the drysuit is great but not so well insulated (it's only a shell). The girls were wearing their new mere 3mm wetsuits, how risky is that? Mind that we did not plan to risk bailing into the dark waters, we just wanted to paddle for fun.
The green all-around board is super stable and fast, i think it'll certainly be their best-seller with minor adjustments and the final graphics, the blue one is a whitewater oriented stick, it works well as it is but we'll have to tune it a lot more before it becomes operational (especially the rocker line). The red is a race board and it is fast, fast indeed but not stable at only 25" (63.5cm) wide! It takes some time getting used to it as we soon realized, Martine fell directly as she was trying to stand up. I did too later on, but that's fine it's part of the mission right :) it took me a few minutes to adjust but it was worth the sweat, with its needle design the board glides effortlessly on the surface in comparison to the other ones, a good sensation of speed indeed.
We eventually got tired of our frozen fingers and decided to head back for a little apero with a good bottle of Muscat de Rivesaltes in front of their fireplace, and surrounded by needy dogs. Quite a privileged day really, far from the violences of this sick world!
I also received my package from Aquabatics which contains some removable fins from NRS. One set of 2" (5.08cm) flexible fins and a set of four 5" (12.7cm), i plan to resize and cut some of them to a more classic fin shape like an FCS M-5 ITF. #SUP #JuManaBoards 
Peace & love...

| M-7 snowskates...

Okay now i'm excited about winter again! Today I've just received a package from Kurt Zapata of Minus Seven Snowskates and guess what was in the box? The brand new 2016 Parkore snubnose 38" blades with the improved tip & tail skate flex. I already had some Parkore subs before but they were warped unfortunately (see review here) and he wanted to replace them, so i suppose that's why the box contained two models :)
Thank you so much Kurt, until today i was still into paddle-boarding mode but now you have activated the snowskate switch, damn!!! Those blades do look great, can't wait to test them, the shape of the tips is very intriguing and the flex seems so much better than my prototype. My cat Dim Sum doesn't seem to be impressed but i am, love the colors and raw punk style. #minus7snowskates 

| Blog de chum...

Mon ami Sylvain et sa copine ont demarre un blog de voyage pour conter leurs aventures en van a travers le continent, on en partagera surement pas mal j'en suis certain, en tout cas j'adore lire les blogs des copaings surtout s'ils ne sont pas trop perdus!

| Family trip in France - Part 02...

During our stay at my brother's house we had the chance to visit some of the surrounding picturesque villages like Chalencon, we've enjoyed some alternative festivals or roamed the local organic markets. That's when you realise the weight of history/culture and admittedly, i miss it!
On the last day before heading back to my parent's house in Tresserre, we couldn't miss the opportunity to drive through the Ardèche Gorges with the obvious goal to visit their world famous Chauvet cavern.

| Family trip in France - Part 01...

SoOo i've only left Montreal for a few days and already lived so many incredible moments, it made me forget how painful the decision to go on vacation in France was when i bought my tickets. My only motivation back then was to go see my family & friends and come back as fast as possible... yes really! Fortunately things don't always go the way you've imagined and this time around, i realized that visiting my family is extremely important and playing with my two marvelous nieces was just too precious, it needs to happen more often!
I landed in CDG, Paris on September 3rd after a sleepless night on the plane (the Gravol didn't work that well), at least the food wasn't too bad with the Porto and red wine! Baron Regis was waiting for me and it was great seeing him. We drove back to his apartment on the 18th arrondissement for a nice lunch with his partner and their cute little daughter.
We spent the whole day talking and walking in the steep streets of Montmartre like we used to do when we were roommates 20+ years ago, not everything changes and i enjoyed that day immensely, merci mon Rageoune for the great time and the happy dinner with the old Barons :)
The next morning i took a TGV to Valence where my dad and brother were waiting for me. It's been 5 long years since the last time we saw each others. It took another hour to reach a charming little village named St-Michel de Chabrillanoux.
My brother's family moved here a few years ago in search of a better, more eco-friendly environment and they found this quiet little land in Ardeche where they built their own straw bale house, it's not finished yet but what an impressive life project! The house is really cosy and extremely well insulated, i finally had the chance to spend some time with my two lovely nieces Nais & Lea who are growing up so fast.
They have a terrific view on the valley below! For once i didn't miss Nais' birthday and it felt good being with the whole family again.
Once upon a time au pays des chataignes...
After a few days at their house relaxing and partying, we drove to the Ardeche River Gorges, one of the most remarkable natural sites in France... coming soon!

| Riviere St-Charles...

Hier j'etais a Valleyfield pour une bonne session de SUP d'eau-vive avec Martine de JuMana Boards, Mat et Andrew (qui a fait le detour d'Ottawa quand meme). Une journee magnifique malgre l'annonce d'orages par Meteomedia :)
On a meme eu la chance de voir les loutres locales descendre les rapides avec une aisance incroyable, comme pour nous narguer, c'etait cute et amusant et ca prouve a quel point cette riviere est propre!
La vague etait relativement facile a surfer cette fois...
#supwwqc #SUPwhitewater #supriver

| School of Rock...

Beautiful Sunday in Verdun and mini-surf trip at the Rock Island, we departed from the Natatorium and it took about 35mn to reach the it, i was slightly delayed because of the G-Rocker being pulled behind me. Pat rented a board at KSF and really enjoyed the day.
The view of Montreal is really something, you need to be there to understand it's worth the effort it takes to get there, the island even has some camping areas with tables and fire holes :)
The little waterfalls are easily accessible and offer a free spa, or you can take off your fins and start to bomb drop them on your SUP! Anyway there is plenty of choice and lots of things to do there.
There are 2 small waves to ride and lots of short drops to play with on the south shore of the island. It's like a fun natural whitewater park. I've surfed a while and found that my Astro Stream was better for that environment than the small one.
It was the last time that we rode the G-Rocker as i've decided to sell it in order to buy a hardboard for surfing, more news coming soon!
‪#‎sup‬ #‎whitewatersup‬ #supbail

| Festival SUP Riviere Rouge...

Today I've opened a G+ community > SUPWWQC to mirror its FB counterpart. we are starting to get more attraction now as the whitewater paddleboard community is finally starting to grow around here.
I went to the very 1st whitewater SUP race in Quebec last weekend at Rafting Nouveau-Monde; the Festival SUP Riviere Rouge, it was a beautiful day full of emotions, bruises and laughs in some amazing rapids (class 2+ - Family rapids section). A big thank you to the organizers of the event, volunteers and security team, sponsors and to all the participants! It was an honor being part of this event and the 2nd edition will sure be way bigger.
In the morning i was a bit tired due to a cold and didn't feel like racing but i eventually signed in and tried my best to follow Corran in the turbulent rapids. It was a good idea because i finished 1st of the amateurs and got a GOLD medal ;) fortunately Corran didn't race for real or we wouldn't stand any chances.
Even for a class II+ those rapids were scary and the 1st run was a disaster, most people never tried paddle-boarding on whitewater before and i was the only one after Corran who cleared the two 1st buoys (the last one was too difficult to reach for us mere mortals). The organizers then changed the formula for a straight down race which was already difficult for the average level.
The only problem is that i am limping right now, my left knee is swollen and blueish because some rocks destroyed my kneepad, the rest of my body is really sore too, it was fun and worth it but the water level was low and we all got some minor bruises!
Women podium:
PRO Harmony Dawn
GOLD Emmanuelle Jacques
SILVER Shanie Normandin
BRONZE Sonia Loiselle
Men podium:
PRO Corran Addison
GOLD Thierry Doizon
SILVER Daniel St-Pierre
BRONZESantiago Berrueta

| Ottawa Whitewater Clinic...

Here are some photos from the Ottawa whitewater clinic we jointly organized with Paddlefit and POP Spirit last weekend, it was a blast, a big thank you Jodi for the course and all the useful tips, can't wait to go back to the Pushbutton rapids in a few weeks. Our student group was amazing, the food/service at Owl Rafting was very good and it's the best start of the season we could have hoped for. It's raining today but i wish y'all a HAPPY CANADA DAY on Turtle Island.
Jodi surfing waikiki, a fast and scary wave...
On the last run of Saturday we decided to run down a scary wave train above waikiki, when i realized where we were going i was honestly scared to death and we all ended up drinking lots of water after the huge 1st hole. I couldn't breath at all after resurfacing under my board, lost my paddle in the action and basically just tried to hang on my board (bottom is slippery) until I could ferry in the last eddy to rest for a bit. I ended up pretty beat up, hurt my knees on some rocks and also a few fingernails, sprained my right thumb and learned a valuable lesson:
Lesson #1 always scout if possible and get the most accurate information on the river and flow.
Lesson #2 rapids are way stronger than you! ride at your level.
On Sunday the weather wasn't as good and the water level was at zero, everything looked different, the waves were much bigger too. We spent some time working on our bracing and this is one of the most important thing to learn for whitewater SUP i can tell you, especially if you want to surf.