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Throw Bags and Waterskiing - Cispus River Trip

Michael Deckert | Published on 5/10/2021


The throw bag arches over the river.  The rope unfurling behind leaving a parabola marking the trajectory of the throw.  As it drops over Gavin’s shoulder I congratulate myself on a perfect throw, even remembering to hang on to my end of the rope.  Not bad considering it’s been a couple years since my last practice throws.  Why am I now waterskiing?


Backing up a bit.  Gavin paddles his new boat down Rollercoaster Rapid on the Cispus River.  Missing a couple of roll attempts near the top of the rapid, he swims down the boulder-gardeny left side of the river.  As he is bouncing off of rocks, trailed by a couple of other paddlers, I decide to run down to the eddy at the bottom left, exit my boat, and set up a throw rope.


The thalweg moves right marking Gavin’s likely course, so the length of my rope is concerning.  I find a sandy point and move out onto it, shortening the distance to the likely target.  As Gavin passes by I make the perfect throw, and find myself being towed, practically waterskiing through the eddy.


I am not even close to bracing adequately for the sudden jolt as Gavin latches on to the rope.  The sandy point drops off precipitously into deep water and I am now carving a wake, accelerating as my speed matches Gavin’s.  Perhaps one of the kayaks in the eddy will tow me to shore, holding the rope, being held by Gavin, who is holding his paddle and boat.


No such luck.  At the head of the next rapid, Gavin decides my rope isn’t doing much good and lets go.   I swim ashore with chagrin replacing the earlier un-warranted elation.


According to Gavin it is truly amazing how heavy his boat… “even a lil playboat w [float] bags” is. He, the boat, and paddle continue their swim down the next rapid.  Tim, Martin, Carl, and Irina continue their chase.  Below, Gavin arrives onshore, reunites with his gear, and the trip continues.


Beyond this embarrassing throw-rope rodeo, boats cartwheeling, waves for carving turns, a few more swimming episodes, and a pair of wood ducks provide another enjoyable day on the river.

It’s always sunny on the Cispus.

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