Sunday, January 1, 2012

Mission: War With Billy a long road back.

Its the false fears I have that have taken me from paddling.  I have stepped back because of them, scared.  I fear loosing, I fear that it will take all my resources away, even hurt my family etc etc.  I have built up many false walls around me to stop me from the thing that I love, kayaking, skimming on water, retained in a hydrolic filled with potential power.  When you do feal this kind of fear, it eats away at your soul, tears you down one piece at a time one small bit, by one small bit.  Your words become darker, your mind wanders to that place that claims that you should be something you are not, something that you should be.  The whole time you are not just becoming someone else, but hurting your self while building up a cage around you. I have made, hills to climb that weren't there, bars, barriers, that are all there in my mind but are as false as my fear.  But I have built these walls up, they sorround me now. I take full responsibility, sabotaging myself one misspoken word at at time, one ridiculous decision at a time.

This year will be about my long journey back.  I built these walls, now in 2012, I will begin to tear these walls all down.  I am not claiming that I will come back in 2012 and become world champion.  I am not claiming that this is something I can do, well not yet.!  But I am saying that one decision at a time I will reclaim my mind, my heart.  I want to find the old passion, deep buring desire to be better every day.  I invite you to join me on this new mission, I can't say that I will be successful.  I can't even say that I will be able to break these walls down.  From where I stand they look tall, thick with my fears.  However here I stand, sledge in hand. 
one great reason to be better. 

So it begins.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mission: Live and Die in Character

Family time with Mya my niece

Its the End of the season for Billy Harris it went by like a freight train.  They never go by slowly really each year seems to go faster and faster adn I get to sprout another grey hair as each month passes.  Kayaking this year has seen the new boat has been really good to me.  The Rock Star large for me at 210 lbs has been fantastic!  Also getting better and better are the kids in the area.  For me its been a great year and a harsh year in many ways.  I have been working and managing a new career, paddling early in the morning and in the evenings Teaching and running my own little kayak school.  Thank you all so much for coming to see me by the way.

  During this however about a month ago my back went all wonky.  Nothing that won't get better, but It has in many ways really made me suck my thumb a bit.  I would like to say I have taken it in stride but I haven't.  I have been moping about the house, worried that all that I train for is slipping away.   In turn I have had to be off the water for more than a month. Sure I get out to teach, and I always do a couple loops or take a ride on garb, but its not been the same since I tweaked it.  I can't put any real power into the movements without a preconceived risk on my part and that mentality really works against you.  As an athlete, and like most things you have a curve in your performance.  I know this because of a couple factors, my game isn't as tight as it used to be, full stop.  Sure the grey hairs I keep finding in the mirror aren't helping my mind at all, but thats really an excuse more than anything else.  I just have to slow down wait to heal, and this winter will be a great time to do that I think.

Thank you all for supporting my kayak school this year.  It has been very nice to teach so many of you I get great feedback and to be honest I live vicariously through each of you .  IF you have taken a lesson from me you know that the end of each lesson I ask, "What did you learn today, that will effect change in your paddling".  I also often give out homework assignments as well on more cerebral things too but.  But I too have learned much and here is what I have learned so far this year.

Your life is what you make it, but its your attitude that makes it happen.  The attitude on the rough days spells out who you are not on the good days. 
You can't always get to go paddling, no matter how much you would like to.
If you are a teacher you can't teach everyone, when that happens its your job to send them on to somone that can teach them in a different way.
Airscrews are a beautiful way to ruin a perfectly healthy back.  50 or 60 at garborator will do a real number on them. 
Last but not least, Festivals, kayaking competitions, both freestyle and downriver are great opportunities to get better.  ATTEND them, you learn so much about yourself.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mission ROck StAr Success!!!!!!!!!!! er failure.

I own and run my own little kayak school, my sole minion and I decided it was high time for me to pic up my boats from Jackson we pile into my trusty er, rusty old CRV and we are off.

SideBar.  Carly is Going to have a baby, I have decided not to go to worlds for the first time since 1999.  Painful, depressing, sad, heart wrenching but necessary.  Carly is not going to be a sugar momma for a little while and one of us has to make money.  Mango the dog only fetches so show circuit money wasn't much of an option.  My 100,000 a year contract from Jackson and show business was just bearly keeping my princess happy enough. so I have to work a bunch for us to continues our lavish lifestyle.  So, I miss worlds for a  year to make some money that's why my name won't be found at worlds this year.

Not mango but my buddies dog.....  So funny.
Now Back to the Boat pick up.   I roll into the Border to pick up my boats and my buddy beside me is growing his beard out for 80's Party night.  Now I am not gonna lie, I would have to start growing a year in advance to have anything substantial for 80's night so I don't bother.  But That beard I know that got us pulled over for the old Rubber glove inspection.  I go to pull in for the inspection and the front end of my car falls off.  Well just the tire, stearing arm, cv, ball joint. the rest is spelt $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$  It took us about 14 hours to make a 4 hr journey.  What started out a happy day turned into a 500$ kick in the groin.  The Mechanics were cool about helping us get out boats while we waited all day for the thing to get fixed....

My kayak school sidekick Graham Ball.

Someone needs a new Car... TRUCK.  I have been pushing the envelope a bit with the girl while she is Pregnant.

I thought since she was in a fragile state I would see if I could pull off getting my hand gun licence a truck and possibly a human slingshot.  I saw it on youtube and feel incomplete without it.   The gun thing was quite a fight really but I felt that since I was having a girl I would need one for that horrible day, a boy came a knocking at my dood.  I actually want to be good at shooting it when the first dirty little kayaker showed up at my door for my little girl.  Made good sence to me.  Now what I told carly was......  I made the mistake of telling her that I needed it to shoot zombies, and that just made her mad.  What I didn't know was she had to sign the paper work for met o get a gun....  So Not my best move, "your about as subtle as a sledge Hammer Harris"  My room Graham would say.  Then on top of all that my buddy is selling a Truck, which I have been in love with since 2009 and now think I am going to buy....  I am turning into a Valley Red Neck......  and were married so she can't leave... so sweet.

Ill Have an update on the new Rock star when I have had more than a surf session on Kahuna to get the feel of it....

Billy Harris  as always on a mission

Sunday, April 17, 2011


Creeking Tips For First time HUCKSTERS!!
Billy Harris
Picture By Laura Finnegan. Fish Hatchery-MACKFESTIVAL Ontario Canada

Running a river can always get the heart rate up.  From the first time river trip to the class five “knarbuckle”.  There are some tips that you can use that will always put you in a good position to make good choices, as well as keep you on top of the proverbial food chain.

TIP #1

When running a river never use more than 25% power.  Power very rarely works to your advantage.  When you set up without power you have more options.  It keeps you calm, rapids come up slower, and you will have sustained energy for the entire river.  “When should I use 100%”.  Someone asked me this.  My answer, “you will always know when you need 100%.  Your goal is to never need it!!!

TIP #2

Float at an angle when running something new.  That angle should be set on a back ferry angle.  That way you have 2 options when you see something you don’t like.  Forward paddling or back ferrying away form the obstacle.


NEVER Follow if you can help it.  Following always puts you at a disadvantage.  When you follow you don’t learn to read water and you just interpret the rapid from the persons rate of stroke or their angle.  You stop looking at what the river is doing, and you learn nothing but hard lessons.


When learning to run rivers or running a river the first time there is a steadfast rule that not just makes sense but also makes you feel better about running something new.  EDDYS!!!  Your safe in an eddy for the most part.  Don’t you leave the eddy unless you have scouted the line or you see another eddy you would be safe in.  Pick the eddy out and decide if you can catch it safely.  If the answer is yes than go for it. 


Float the inside of a corner.  Floating the inside of an un-known Turn is a best practice.  The water is slower there, and junk gets deposited on the outside of river bends. 

Common sense is not all that common these days.  If you see a horizon line catch an eddy.  Natural selection in this world is a gift that keeps on giving.  Look understand and see what is ahead of you before you leap.  Its your responsibility to play and river run safe.  Do it as safe as you can, more often than not, the rapid will be there next time so walk if you don’t think you can pull it off.

Monday, April 11, 2011

MiSsIoN. Mackfest

Level Six wanted me to do down to Mackfest and do what I do best.  Help people learn how to be better play boaters.  They Hook me up each year with beautiful gear for myself and my wife and considering I would have gone to Mackfest wearing their gear it was a hell of a nice box of goodies I got when I showed up at the event.  Each year I go to Mackfest I am always amazed at how many people come out of the woodwork.  From the Organizing behind the scenes to the people how just stand up and take over.  I feel our community is blessed with an abundance of great people.
Cale the man behind it all.

There were some low lights,  Ben Ayilsworth in some drunkin stuper took a dump on the hood of my car.  Normally It would not bother me so much but there was really no reason..... None.  Not to mention,  I wouldn't have known who it was but there was GUM BOOT marks on my bumper and I had my suspicions.
S&M Ben

Franky Managed to get Robbie Z fromt he Cornwall Crew, on a pair of running stilts and in turn managed to get quite a few drunk people to race around with them on.  There was a broken leg but it had nothing to do with the stilts.  Come to think of it there was a dislocated shoulder and plenty of skinned knuckles.   Someone smacked into Matt Hamiltons Truck which was going to happen sooner or later.
if you know who hit this truck, keep it a secret.......

Hope this one doesn't go missing.......
Well all in all it was a wicked time.  Couple people ran the fish hatchery section from the dam down.  Apparently fun to watch.  But the best part was seeing everyone.  It seems like there are so many good people in the paddling comunity.  Minus Ben and the guy who hit Mattys truck. And possibly these two random junkies from Marmora I think......>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>  
great Party....

Hope to see everyone at KING OF CLUBS...... Billy OUT
ANGRY HIPPIE......ok not so angry.            

Monday, February 28, 2011

Mission: Fear understanding and pics from the top of the world.

Mission:  Fear understanding and pics from the top of the world.
Carly on top of the volcano.

I can’t help it but I am a teacher.  I have been teaching kayaking for the last 15 years and I love it.  Like most things in kayaking, not all, it makes little money but provides a lifestyle only some people can boast living.  Fear has always been present in teaching, from people learning, to my place in the sport, fear is alive and well.  Controlling that fear, containing the thought process of the flight or fight I have found, is the essential.  I have often found that if I can control the quality of my communication.  The quality of my self-communication rather, I can control the complex release of chemicals that produce the flight or fight response within my body.  
My friend, a guy I have paddled with for a long time, has a great roll.  He can roll for the most part every time.  He has a back up roll I call the Pallada, or extended roll that he uses as his back up incase the first roll fails him.  The problem is his self talk before the trip, during the rapid and after.  He finds demons where there are none.  He experiences an entirely different river trip than others without the same fear.  

My struggle has been how to control that.  Fear itself is the biggest explosion of chemicals your body can produce, it’s not something that you can just teach away or explain to yourself, “slow down” or relax too.  In my teaching time I have found, that the emotions that lead to the explosion of chemicals.  Such as fear, anxiety, alarm, are within your conscious thoughts and thus can be controlled to some extent.  The Delivery of this to a student unfortunately doesn’t have the same delivery for every person.  My friend for instance, I climb up on him about seeing monsters at every bend in the river, and he’s so transfixed by them that he does indeed find them.  I would like to say to everyone I have a way to solve that.  I really don’t.  I want his experience to be much like mine but I can’t make that happen.  Each one of us has to make the decision, each one of us has to say, “there are not monsters around the next bend”.  I can do this, I am in control of my own fear.  Easy to say as a teacher standing where I am, harder to accomplish when you are alone with your thoughts and a wild river in front of you.  

I took a crazy hike yesterday, some time away from the river.  Here are the photos.

Volcano Hike (from hell)


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Mission: People Noises and Patagonia

Mission:  People Noises and Patagonia

Huilo Huilo National Park.
I am sitting in the nicest hotel I have ever been in, or pretty close.  I am parked right in the heart of Patagonia Argentina.  This place is a pure, clean, friendly and amazing place.  Carly and I came up over the divide between Chile, and Argentina in a rented 4x4.  Green and lush at first, and into what looks like the arid dry landscape of Reno Nevada.  I was looking back at the trip for the second time with a fresh eye during my drive.  I was, and have always been a very lucky guy not for me but the people I collect around me.  The people on my trip were the kind of people you want on any trip. The only somewhat disturbing part of the trip was staying with Chuck my father in law.  Even being in the same building with him during his “morning constitution” was terrifying.  Something about the cheese I think.  It was kind of a horrible bonding experience I would wish on no son in law.  You never know what your relationship with your in-law’s is going to be like until you see each other out of their element.  Or worse, share a bathroom with them.  A better example was when, we came around the corner on the Trufel Trufel Rio and I saw the take out eddy above a heinous drop.   Super stressful day, hiked a person out with the guy who knew the run well and anyway,  I pointed move left with my paddle, and my hand.  Chuck just sauntered along smiling away….  I snapped at him, “get your ass over there”.  It was not my best moment; he scuttled toward the shore to my left. I am like everyone I want to be the cool headed guy in every situation, calm, collected, head on straight.  But sometimes the stress gets to you and you crack.   Its one of the reasons I am so happy with the people around me on this trip.  I learned a lot about myself under stress.  The people around me learned about me too I think.  I am like everyone else imperfect and fallible .  But with a little help from my friends I got to grow.  I got to become better and for that minus the noises from the bathroom I did get better and I did get to grow.   

Special thanks to:

Jackson Kayaks for Putting money toward my trip.
Level Six for supplying me my gear and clothing.
Core Paddles for supplying me with my Amazing new paddle. (father in law too)
Salus for my PFD and Rescue Gear
Smith Optics for my eyes.

LT to right.  Chuck, Billy, Christo, Marie-Eve and a bit of Sandra.

David Owner of Pucon Kayak Hostel in his "Quincho"

Christo Greyling Huilo Huilo

Running the first drop on Upper Palguin (me) Billy

Lenny in the Cattle Truck, just smiling away as usual.

Wayne and Leah, Upper Palguin Run Last day.

The Indispensable Kurt Casey and the Dispensable Sandra the pain in my ass...

Another Fuy Valley Photo. 

Louis being Louis....

Thanks To Everyone. Billy Harris