tiistai 22. heinäkuuta 2014

Home Run presentation: The Mighty Kuusaa

Every kayaker should have his/her own Home Run. A run, where one can go lick his wounds after a hard kayaking trip where lines didn`t actually hold at all, ending up in a traumatizing nightmare. Or, respectively, after very very succesful trip when one wouldn`t even bother to lay his eyes on to that poor little stream: so dull, so boring! Well, you have to have something to compare your progression with.  
Jykä and Boof the Roof.

Here in Central Finland doesn`t live so many white water kayakers, but for those few Kuusaa means THE Home Run. No, it`s not tough in its purest form, word ”tough” meaning rivers/rapids being graded by their general degree of difficulty: the main line of Kuusaa is fairly easy class II whitewater. It drops only about 4,5 metres in 400 m. And that`s about it, the length of the rapid I mean. Rapid is located in Laukaa.
Mr. Glove in a summer night. This line of Kuusaa is unrunnable due to fallen trees. Pic: Tommi

The real deal and the core philosophy of our most memorable Home Run lies in a largely quoted (at least when it comes to mr. Glove himself)  sentence which was originally put forward by a swedish kayaker named Fredrik Laestadius:” köra svåra linjor i enkla forsar”. In english: do hard lines in easy rapids. That as a guideline one can make Kuusaa into an extremely good territory for hard training when aiming to kayak class four white water. This is mainly because of it`s stony nature.
Waiting for mr. Kokkola aka the Emperor in a sunny eddy. Audience at the bridge isn`t always guaranteed. Pic: Tommi

And why only class four, might observant reader ask? Because as years have gone by we have concluded that all though the Mighty Kuusaa gives us the experience of hardiness and somekind of a  skill to stay on line, it doesn`t prepare us in anyway to meet the real risk factor which lies in the heart of  making those hard decisions in a situation where one is standing next to class V rapid section,  wondering if one could make it? And then just hits the line.That kind of confidence, at least when it comes to me, needs to be built in a bit more frantic surroundings than Kuusaa, and in a bit less frantic surroundings than class V canyons. Well, I really haven`t done those hard decisions in a class V canyons, so my progression is still to come...or  a slow regression, which I think is more right.
Kuusaa has also been  a  bloody scene for hardcore boatercross competitions...a shot from Finnish Championships held in 2013. Pic: Pauliina

So, all in all, who ever happens to live near places where one has many different kinds of rapids and Home Run-like places: good for you. Don`t bother to come here, not just only for the sake of Kuusaa anyway. But, for anyone who happens to find him/herself, for any reason whatsoever, standing on the bridge at the Mighty Kuusaa wondering the lines it certainly proves to be the place to train for those dream boofs and unbelievable lines waiting there, somewhere between imagination and Norway.  Below a short map for those wanting to do a test drive. By the way, there is always enough of water for kayaking, but waterlevel changes quite a lot depending on snowpack in the spring and heavy rains in the summer and in the autumn. Water level reacts quite slowly, though.
This link gives some information about the water levels, measured from the lake upstream.

Kuusaa mind map

1: Pilarin takunen. The center pillar. A good eddy for parking your kayak. Vedenkorkeudesta riippuen jämäkkä akanvirtaparkki.
2: Boof the roof.  A boof over a boulder. When hitting to left side eddy you better take the fishing quay into account. Buuffi niskakiven yli ja vasemmalle akanvirtaan.  Vasemman akanvirran luona kannattaa huomioida kalastuslaituri, etenkin korkealla vedellä.
3: Typewriter. At lowish water levels. Riding into eddy by using the current of a  hole. At some water levels also good spots to train some stucking in a hole.Matalamman veden linja buuffikiven taakse muodostuvaan akanvirtaan. Joillain vedenkorkeuksilla hyviä paikkoja harrastaa hontossa oleskelua hieman pidempään.
4: Kiven takunen. An eddypark or a boof, depending on water level. Akanvirtaparkki tai booffi, riippuen vedenkorkeudesta.
5: Keskihontto/ kiven takusin. A tricky eddy or a bit tricky hole, depending on water level. Akanvirtaparkki tai iso hontto, riippuen vedenkorkeudesta. Heti vasemmalla joko iso aalto tai akanvirtaparkki, riippuen vedenkorkeudesta.
Aapon kolmas linja/kisareitti: Just hit the left and between islands. Used also in boater cross competitions. Best when lots and lots of water. You can also try to catch two eddies marked in the map. Suoraviivainen painallus alas ja sillan alapuolelta vasemman puolen akanvirta kiinni.Silloin kun ei kisata niin voi koettaa kiinni ympyrällä merkitty haasteelliset akanvirtaparkit. Ei toimi hyvin matalalla vedellä.
Possible dangers include also one fishing quay downstream river right, NOT a nice place at high water level to train swimming through sieve.



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