Monday, October 11, 2010

The LT Hole (10.10.10)

Every September, the Eugene boating community is given a great little play spot and warm-up to the upcoming boating season. When an appropriate flow is released from Fern Ridge Reservoir (to allow flood control over the winter) a play hole comes to life. It's certainly not a renowned park-n-play destination, but it does offer playboaters a place to work on their cartwheels and loops. I enjoy just going out there to front & back surf, flat spin, as well as get the feel for my edges back after the time off during the summer. It's also a great place to get in some roll practice. I do try and throw a cartwheel here and there, but nothing too fancy.

September release from Fern Ridge Reservoir

The juice

The wave-hole that forms directly below the
dam. This should not be confused with the Butt Hole.
Although I know people that have surfed it, it's big
and violent (at least at this flow)!

It doesn't say anything about kayaks...

"The Butt Hole", as it's affectionately known, is essentially a riverwide pour-over hole with a 2' to 3' tall foam pile backing it up. My assumption is that the name comes from the water quality, which by Oregon standards, is quite dirty. Since it's located on the Long Tom River, I'll refer to it as the "LT Hole" in lieu of the previously mentioned name. The character of the hole changes with both water level and your location on it. From my experience, the fun boatable flows are between 800cfs and 1400cfs. It starts to get a little shallow at the low end of that range (especially for cartwheels), and starts to blowout much above the high end. All of the pictures taken in this write-up were at a flow of ~1050cfs, which is a good medium level.

~1050cfs for the last few play sessions
(a great medium flow)

The hole at ~1050cfs

The hole at ~1425cfs
(high end of good; taken on a later trip)

The hole at ~1500cfs
(pretty flushy at this level; taken on a later trip)

As for location along the hole, I'll reference everything from the perspective of the surfer, (i.e. surfer's left instead of river left). The left side has great eddy service and is where most people enter the hole. This is also the best spot to hang out in a front surf, especially if there someone else sessioning the other side. Toward the middle, the hole kicks out a little and can be used to initiate a flat-spin with little effort. Center-right is where most people cartwheel since it's one of the few places on the hole that you won't hit bottom with your ends; this is also the best place based on ease of setup. The far right side, just before it greens out, is a great place to get stuck in a side-surf.

Social hour in the surfers-left eddy

Kristin enters the surfer-left side

Front Surfs, Back Surfs, and Flat Spins...


and Loops!

Another great thing about the LT Hole is its ability to hold multiple boaters at one time. This cuts down the line in the eddy and also facilitates "King of The Wave" (aka Wave Wars). Loft and I had a couple of good battles the last few times we were out, and it gets even more exciting the more people you add at once.


and Wave Wars!

We're lucky to have such a fun park-n-play spot so close to Eugene...I only wish it had a longer season when everything else is dried up!

Aaron and Travis finish up a session at the LT Hole

Surfin' till the sun goes down is common on weeknights

Some head-cam footage of one of our play sessions:

POV - "LT" Hole from Nate Pfeifer on Vimeo.

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