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Layin’ Bricks on the Cullasaja

The other night, I found myself in a conversation with a few friends about making decisions about running hard whitewater. I have always been one of the more conservative boaters among the people I boat with as far as safety and walking away from rapids I don’t feel right about goes, and thankfully this has led to a full 8 or 9 years of kayaking injury free (mountain biking is another story) with very few close calls.  We talked about how there is a big difference between watching someone run something then getting up enough balls to fire off it, and scouting a drop, picking out your own line, knowing you can stick it 100% and then executing. As I said this, I began thinking about how long it had been since I had done this. Yeah I have run some difficult stuff the last month or two, but it was all stuff I had done before. Over the spring, I walked away from two bigger drops, Laurel Falls and Big Boy, that I have been thinking about for a while but didn’t feel right about, and watched friends fire them up instead. The next morning I found out I would get my chance to step it up, as a little thunderstorm had brought the Cullasaja up enough for Bricklayer falls to go. I wasn’t off work until 6 but thanks to the long summer days had plenty of time to get over there before dark.  Scouting the drop, I found it to be one of the tighter, more consequential drops, between the 30 – ish feet of drop, recirculating cave on river right, massive piton rock in the center, and exit slot on the left. Due to encroaching darkness a decision had to be made fast, and my thoughts went back to the night before. I felt good, saw the line, and knew I could hit it. I watched Sam fire it up first while I set safety, then hiked up to the top and got in my boat.  I knew I had the skills to make it happen, so erasing any doubt from my mind, I got psyched up and approached the lip. Driving off the left side I got my 45 degree angle set, broke free, caught a little piece of the flake and skipped into the left slot, splatting the big rock and setting it down clean. It felt great to see the line and make it happen while dealing with the big consequences of this drop. Check out the photos below and thanks to Hayley for hiking in and shooting for us!

Sam Causey Dropping In

Coming into the entrance


Celebrating afterwards!