| SUP Valleyfield...

Et hop une autre vidéo de SUP a Valleyfield, beaucoup de premières pour l'équipe, tout le monde a au moins essayé la partie supérieure du parc (la plus difficile), c'était la 1ère fois aussi que je réussissais à la passer entièrement et a surfer la petite vague dans la section moyenne. Nhu progresse de plus en plus et elle va bientôt réussir à surfer avec moi! Cet été est décidement le plus beau depuis mon arrivée au Québec, on en profite un max avant le retour du froid :)

| WE Lac Taureau...

On a passé notre dernier long WE a l'Auberge du Lac Taureau, dans Lanaudière, QC, un endroit de villégiature de luxe, situé près d'un lac magnifique. Martine et Julie de Jumana Boards nous ont invité pour que je fasse des démos de SUP et c'était aussi l'occasion d'étrenner le modèle de production de la Dolphin (fraîchement arrivé de Chine).

Voici une petite vidéo de SUP bomb dropping sur le quai près de la plage, de belles images grâce à Nhu.
#riversup #supwwqc #jumanaboards

| Sherbrooke yeahh...

Last Thursday we went to visit Sherbrooke for the 1st time and it was beautiful, but seriously what a weird post-apocalypticindustrial-zombie town? It feels like it comes directly out of a comic book or videogame, which i can appreciated of course :)
It was raining around Montreal and didn't seem that bad in Estrie so we drove by St-Jean to pick up Nhu's parents and headed down to a discreet urban swamp directly located in central Sherbrooke, the Marais Real-D Carbonneau. Right after a good snack (yummy spring rolls from the in-laws) we went for a walk around this nice humid zone.
I wish we could have seen serpentine turtles or snakes but we only came across a few frogs, lots of different birds and few fishes, notably a good size catfish which was very curious.
This place is only about 5mn away from downtown and we were ready for a coffee break. The old city centre is beautiful and has a lot of history with its museums, old brick factories and many shops.
The view of the raging central Magog river, lush vegetation, electric dam and industrial buildings has a very special "end-of-the-world"vibe, i need to go back there in winter when it's foggy... such an inspiring spot for a photo shoot!
Well, on a Thursday afternoon, it was much quieter than i expected after hearing so much about the reputation of that student town but on our way back, the bars were starting to fill up quickly. We had a great time and we'll be back, especially when their surfing wave will be ready :)

| CPR-KSF...

J'ai passe les 2 derniers jours avec des profs de KSF pour un nouveau cours de 1er soins (16h). C'etait de toute facon obligatoire pour completer la formation d'instructeur de SUP avance en eau calme qu'on a faite il y a deja quelques semaines. Cela a eu lieu au shop de Navi sur la pointe-Nord de l'Ile-des-Soeurs. La temperature fut plus clemente au 2eme jour et quel plaisir de se prelasser au soleil pendant les courtes pauses et durant le lunch. J'ai pu assister au travail des castors locaux, ainsi qu'a la construction du nouveau Pont Champlain non loin de la.
OK sinon cote cours, c'etait intense mais necessaire car on oublie facilement les protocoles a suivre, ainsi que tous les milliards d'acronymes censes nous aider a agir rapidement comme S.A.M.P.L.E. Notre prof etait vraiment drole et competent, le truc interessant, c'est qu'il a essaye d'adapter au mieux nos pratiques a des scenarios potentiels pour des urgences en riviere. C'etait bien sympa en tout cas :)
creepy un mannequins sans son visage...

| OKAsion...

This WE we went camping at Park National d'Oka. My 1st idea was to go visit (and surfing) Long Sands Beach in Maine but it was too short notice and all the campgrounds are still closed at the moment, so we decided to stay around Mtl. The park is only an hour away but was quite empty during this cold weekend.
Our camping spot was perfect, quiet and we even had time to set up our hammock and enjoy it for the 1st time :) the evening was too cold to stay outside so we just started a fire to toast our bread before eating inside the van.
We already went a few times to Oka but never explored the Eastern sector, which is quite interesting. There are some beautiful hike trails and a tall watch tower located in front of the swamp La Grande Baie. This area was actually flooded, some part of our path sometimes disappeared underwater and we had to improvise. The great thing is that it gave us the chance to see a lot of the local wildlife like turtles, frogs, snakes and beavers!
There is a large heronry at the Grande Baie marsh. Although we didn't have the chance to see any baby herons.
Next time we hope to visit the historic site of the Calvaire d'Oka. Anyways, so many other things to do there: SUP, fatbike, hiking, bird watching and many more! Let me know if you have experienced some great things in this park and any recommendations are really appreciated. Cheers!

| Jumana Dolphin 2016...

This week i met with Santiago from KLDN for a field test of the Jumana Dolphin. It is the whitewater specific model from Jumana that i've designed and been intensely testing for about a month. It has changed a lot since the early prototype we received in the Fall of 2015 and it's a real fun board to ride.
We ran down the river from the middle section to the bottom of the park and surfed a few times (or tried to), this is still the pre-production model and i have a few tiny things to adjust before the release of the 2016 model. However despite those minor tweaks i am very proud of that board, stable yet nimble, predictable and pretty well balanced, the diamond shaped design came out nicely, the grip is phenomenal and i enjoy the addition of the stomp pad for surfing. So far we have only heard positive comments about it so it should be a good seller.
By the way as a follow-up of my long time wetsuit testing, i can say that i really love my Rip Curl Flashbomb 5.5/4, so warm and stretchy that it helped me ride through the Canadian winter with maximum efficiency and fun. Check out this little video by Santiago :) 

#whitewatersup #supsurfing #supwwqc

| Paques & hike...

Bonnes fêtes de Pâques!!! Nous avons profité d'une superbe journée de printemps (environ 16°C) pour se faire une randonnée au Mont St-Hilaire, cela faisait plusieurs années que je n'y avais pas mis les pieds et ça valait le coup. Il restait encore un peu de neige en sous-bois et sur les chemins, ce qui rendait la promenade encore plus plaisante. Nous avons pris le chemin Rocky Rouge qui contourne le lac Hertel, encore gelé.
On a eu le plaisir de voir les habituels tamias (p'tit suisses) et écureuils peu farouches chercher de la nourriture, ainsi que des bernaches (outardes) se prélasser sur le lac, au soleil. Les castors du coin ont fait un travail incroyable et c'est dommage que nous n'ayons pas eu l'occase de les apercevoir :)

| Off the Beaten Path...

Today we've organized the official Premiere Quebecoise of the film Off the Beaten Path by First Track Productions, an excellent video of Fatbiking! A few members of our ever-growing community - Sons of Fatty - came for some drinks and good time :)
A big thank at the sponsors and organizers of the event, it was a success and it really makes you want to go out and bike anywhere, everywhere!
Until next time... #fatbike #OffTheBeatenPath 
Enjoy the trailer and if you've never tried fatbiking, please give it a try you won't regret, trust me.

| SXSW & Expedition Art...

Tiiiired... after spending the whole week in Austin, TX for the SXSW convention. I had an amazing time with my old Texan friends :) I always feel sad when leaving that city and can not wait to go back soon.
Square-Enix graciously sent me there to pick up some potential gaming Awards as we, once again, were nominated for Best Mobile Game of the Year with Lara Croft GO, and also became the last-minute representative of Crystal Dynamics for ROTTR
The city was overwhelmed by the show and most roads were paralysed but we booked a nice little Airbnb apartment near the University of Texas and it wasn't too bad to reach the Convention Center during the week.

| REVIEW: Rip Curl Flashbomb...

Yesterday i have finally decided to get a serious wetsuit after some very interesting discussions with our local surfer guru Igor Goni. I already own an Ocean Rodeo Soul drysuit but it is not the most practical piece of equipment for surfing, especially when you need to swim a lot after your board.  I had narrowed down my search on three 2016 winter specific models; the Rip Curl Flashbomb,  the O'Neill Heat and the Patagonia R4. Although the only one i could find around here and try was the 1st one, a big thank to the guys at La Boutique Sharks for their patience and help.
Also, i needed a good break from my intense weekend workload, the temperature was perfect today at about 4ºC (39.2 F) and the sun was definitely screaming for a test ride! My neighbour and surf partner Patrick was available for some camera work (and safety). We walked to the closest shore on the St-Laurent river. That's the beauty of living 2mn from the water in Verdun :)
Now about the infamous Rip Curl Flash Bomb Hooded Chest Zip 5.5/4, it is one of the warmest, lightest winter wetsuit designed for frigid waters and it has won many Awards (3x SIMA). Guess that's exactly what i need around here.
The exterior is made out of their E4 neoprene, a very stretchy material, especially considering this thickness, they use different panels to allow for better movement (4 way back stretch, contour legs, mesh skin...etc.) and reliable stitch-less seams everywhere but the arms (Aquaban plus liquid tape, E4 + tape). This all sound like good marketing terms to say that they know how to make a good wetsuit, and the result is quite impressive.
The greatest thing must be their E4 Flash Dry Lining, it is extremely warm and insulates all the vital areas of your body, this also explains why at only 5.5mm it does the same job as a classic 7mm neoprene. They advertise it as being the fastest drying wetsuit on the market and even though i can not prove it, there are a lot of reviews/posts online to support that statement.
I live in a small semi-basement apartment with poor lighting and small windows, my other suits take a long time to dry and this one was definitely the 1st one to be ready for the next session. My Xcel Drylock 7mm booties were still soaked the day after in comparison. 
The water was pretty cold but i really did not feel it, in fact, when i took off the wetsuit, which demands some effort (more of that later), it was damp from all my sweat.
  • CONS:
- It's difficult to see any major problems with this suit to be honest but one of the main inconvenience comes from its Chestzip Entry system. There is a very tight front closure system and the very first time to try to get in, it will take ALL of your energy, no kidding. Fortunately it gets better with time and i find it easier to put it on/off now. When you're used to a back or front zip then this is going to be a big change :) the positive thing though, is that once you're inside, it's very comfy and feels like there are no zip parts at all.
- It allows you to surf in difficult conditions but unlike the summer suits, you wouldn't want to let yourself "leak" in this one, which means going back to shore for a little break or make sure you've done it before your session, this is where my drysuit and its relief zipper get an advantage :) Rip curl please add a pipi-zip!
- Like any of the high end and heavier wetsuits it is also a bit more expensive (~ $500 CAD), still it's cheap in comparison to an equivalent drysuit in terms of quality, and when it comes to protecting your life in the river i'd say they are worth the investment.
  • PROS:
- Efficiency; it does what it says by keeping you warm, allow you to move quite well, seems durable and dries very rapidly. 
- Design; it looks great, the panels are well placed to allow for your arms and legs to move well, it doesn't feel too bulky. It's definitely designed for surfing.
- I wish i had tried the 3 brand models aforementioned but hey, shit happens and i don't regret this buy. Apparently Rip Curl fits most body types when O'Neill favors thinner silhouettes, at 1.78m and about 83kgs this one fits me like a second skin but you should always try one on before buying, we all have different curves right!
#RipCurl #RiverSUP #winterSUP #astralfootwear