Friday, December 30, 2011

2011: Top 10 Outdoors Blog Posts of the Year

Photo from the No. 1 Outdoors Post of 2011.
Funny, fascinating, frightful. The stories never end in the Great Outdoors. In case you missed them, here is our Top 10 Outdoors Blog Posts of 2011:

10. World-record great white shark caught and released by 'Shark Men.' One of the most popular posts. Of course, anything half-way decent with great white sharks will command attention. See how the Shark Men catch and release a world-record great white shark right this way.

9. Fishing technique never seen before. Fishing fun with Photoshop, or the video equivalent. Very clever, very creative, very funny. See the short film here.

8. Surfing 'Jaws' at night. Aussie Mark Visser claims to have become the first to surf Jaws at night and here is proof.

7. Slacklining over Yosemite Falls. Daring and perhaps foolish, Dean Potter pushes the limits of extreme sports by slacklining (or highlining) over Yosemite Falls in Yosemite National Park. Even if he does have a safety line, it’s still a fascinating watch.

6. Humpback whale rescued from gillnets in Sea of Cortez. An amazing rescue captured on film and the incredible show of thanks shown by the whale at the end.

5. Mountain biking magic. If there is such a thing as poetry on a mountain bike, stunt artist Danny MacAskill performs it with incredible aplomb. And you gotta see him ride an unstable cable. Must see to believe.

4. Inuits go ice fishing for sharks. Ice fishing for sharks? Really? Yes, really. See how the Inuits catch a 1,000-pound shark and get it through the hole in the ice.

Is this sailboat sinking? See the No. 3 Outdoors Post of 2011.

3. Sinking sailboat is a piece of art. When is a sinking sailboat NOT a sinking sailboat? When it is a sailboat that only looks like it’s sinking. It’s called the Love Love Boat, and we think you’ll love, love it. See if it's really sinking.

2. Yosemite: Highlining at 3,000 feet without a harness. Mich Kemeter offers an adrenaline rush in this video of him crossing a 99-foot-long, one-inch-wide rope at Taft Point in Yosemite National Park -- WITHOUT A SAFETY HARNESS. The craziness is right here.

1. Scariest hiking trail in the world. The No. 1 Outdoors Blog Post of 2011 is without question this video of the El Caminito del Rey or The King’s Little Pathway, located in the province of Malaga, Spain. Watch the video and hold your breath. And watch your step! Click here and be amazed.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Whale Wars: Sea Shepherd using drones; whalers using security vessels

Japanese security boat
The "Whale Wars" are about to intensify. Again.

The Japanese whalers are enlisting two military-style security vessels to ensure they'll not be thwarted in their annual effort to kill hundreds of whales under the guise of research.

The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an anti-whaling group that for seven years has been tormenting and harassing the whalers in an attempt to prevent the senseless killing of whales, are now using drones to locate the whalers' mothership.

This could get interesting.

You've probably heard of "Whale Wars." Over the last seven years around this time, the Sea Shepherd has sent a fleet to the Southern Ocean in the Antarctic for the sole purpose of saving whales. For the last four years, its exploits have been videotaped and turned into a reality TV series called "Whale Wars," which debuted on Animal Planet on Nov. 7, 2008.

Last season, Sea Shepherd enlisted a sophisticated, high-speed boat called Godzilla to locate the factory ship, called the Nisshin Maru. But when Godzilla broke down, Sea Shepherd had a difficult time relocating the Nisshin Maru, which processes whales killed by crews aboard harpoon boats.

So now, Sea Shepherd has drones.

The Sea Shepherd crew has intercepted the Japanese whaling fleet on Christmas Day, a thousand miles north of the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary. 
Readying to launch a drone.
The Sea Shepherd ship, Steve Irwin, deployed a drone to successfully locate and photograph the Japanese factory ship Nisshin Maru on December 24th. Once the pursuit began, three Japanese harpoon/security ships moved in on the Steve Irwin to shield the Nisshin Maru to allow it to escape. 
This time however the Japanese tactic of tailing the Steve Irwin and the Bob Barker will not work because the drones, one on the Steve Irwin and the other on the Bob Barker, can track and follow the Nisshin Maru and can relay the positions back to the Sea Shepherd ships.
“We can cover hundreds of miles with these drones and they have proven to be valuable assets for this campaign,” said Captain Paul Watson on board the Steve Irwin.

The drone named Nicole Montecalvo was donated to the Steve Irwin by Bayshore Recycling of New Jersey.
The plot is definitely thickening since Captain Watson seemed to indicate that the Japanese whalers and their security vessels are coming armed this time.

From the West Australian:
Two Japanese security vessels with uniformed guards were tailing anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd's flagship, Steve Irwin, [Monday] night as it headed towards the Southern Ocean whale sanctuary.

The Steve Irwin is closing in on the whaling fleet's factory vessel Nisshin Maru as the groups head south for the start of this year's battle over Japan's plan to kill more than 900 whales. [...]
The anti-whaling group plans to block the factory ship's slipway to prevent any dead whales being dragged aboard and flensed.

Steve Irwin captain Paul Watson said [Monday] he was surprised by the military-style bunkers on the decks of the vessels and extent of the whaling fleet's security.
"There seem to be a lot of changes on the Shonan Maru 2 this year, with armed security personnel and they seem to have a bunker-type thing on the top of their ship with sandbags," Capt. Watson said.

"I don't know if they are expecting us to attack them with weapons or something. They seem awfully paranoid.

"We are just there to stop them killing whales but we are doing everything we can to make sure we don't hurt these people."

Capt. Watson said rancid butter bombs were the worst thing the conservationists would be using against the whalers this year.

Late [Monday], the Steve Irwin was about 50 nautical miles behind the factory ship while the two security vessels were sitting about seven nautical miles off the Steve Irwin's stern.

Sea Shepherd's other two ships, the high-speed Brigitte Bardot and the Bob Barker, were not being tailed by the Japanese.
Stay tuned for the next season of "Whale Wars." Could get nasty.

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Hilarious fishing animation video
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

'The Fish is Mine' video is sure to go viral on Internet

There really isn't much to be said about this video, other than, as funny fishing videos go, this one is absolutely hilarious.

We're glad a guy name Henry Bennett created this animated beauty called "The Fish is Mine" and posted it on Vimeo. Enjoy:

One last bit of information about "The Fish is Mine" animation. Bennett created the funny video over three months for his final production at Media Design School.

If this doesn't go viral, it should.

Well done, sir. Thanks for the laugh.

Thanks to!

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Sarah Palin news: Her outdoors reality show 'Sarah Palin's Alaska' is returning

For those Sarah Palin fans who enjoy watching her fish, hunt, shoot guns, encounter bears and track Bigfoot (kidding, we think), the popular Palin TV show -- "Sarah Palin’s Alaska" -- appears to be returning for a second season (defnitely not kidding) in Fall/Winter 2012.

Since she isn’t running for president, the former vice-presidential candidate will return to her status as reality TV star. What better place for Sarah Palin to get her name back in the limelight than in the Great Outdoors of Alaska?

The New York Post broke the news in Monday's editions:

Producer Mark Burnett says he is in discussions with TLC to bring "Sarah Palin’s Alaska" back for a second season next fall.
"The plan would be to shoot this in the summer of 2012," he tells The Post.
New episodes of the outdoorsy reality series — which shows the former vice-presidential candidate fishing, hunting and dog sledding with her family — would not air until after the November presidential election.

"By the time we edit it, the election will be over," Burnett says. "But I am sure the election would be mentioned [in the show]."

Sarah Palin encounters a bear on her
outdoors reality show.
"It makes perfect sense, because that is what’s going on. But it would be again Sarah in Alaska, living with Todd and the family and having adventures juxtaposed with doing her Fox News bits and discussing whatever is going on."
As for a Hollywood Reporter report that Sarah Palin’s husband Todd would be the subject of an outdoors show about his snowmobiling career? Not true.

"In fact, the idea around snowmobiling was to be part of an episode in ‘Sarah Palin’s Alaska’ -- not a series," Burnett told The Post.

"Sarah Palin’s Alaska" debuted in November 2010 and drew more than 5 million viewers, making it the No. 1 premiere ever on TLC.

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Fishing technique never seen before

First Ascent kayakers paddle over waterfalls of Brazil

Kayakers are a different breed. At least those kayakers who see a waterfall and don’t automatically say “Portage.”

No, those are the kayakers that wear a waterproof video camera on their helmets, paddle over the waterfall and create a video like this one:

This video, simply called "Kayaking Over Waterfalls," is from the folks at First Ascent and it features First Ascent athletes Ben Stookesberry and Chris Korbulic.

Here’s a bit more about the them and the video from First Ascent:

Brazil is a nation of water, with a massive geographic area and the largest freshwater supply in the world. The vast, untapped reserve of remote rivers and cascading waterfalls makes some of the best expedition kayaking on the planet. With a rare chance to explore the remote reaches of the Amazon's drainage, Ben and Chris have made a habit out of scouting and running Brazil's vast network of waterfalls and whitewater.
Not only does the video show the beauty of Brazil, it offers some incredible adrenaline footage.

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Video: Snowboarder jumps over a moving train
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Friday, December 16, 2011

Guinness World Record for longest snowboard rail grind is broken in UK

When it comes to snowboarding records, not even the legendary Shaun White can touch this one.

Not that he couldn’t if he tried. Just saying. After all, the world record for longest snowboard rail grind doesn’t have his name attached to it. Not yet, anyway.

No, the record belongs to one British snowboarder by the name of Calum Paton, who rode a specially constructed rail for an amazing 255.9 feet, or about 15 yards shorter than the length of a football field.

The old record of 219 feet, 9 inches was held by Spain’s Alejandro Benito, who set the mark in September 2009 at the Madrid SnowZone.

Paton’s record came on December 2 at the Sno!Zone Milton Keynes Indoor Slope, one of three indoor snowboard facilities in Britain. The news is just getting out, though, with the release of the above video by Mpora Pure Action Sports late last week.

The video tells most of the story, though an exuberant commentator goes a bit overboard in calling Paton the world’s best snowboarder -- OK, Shaun White, you probably have a pretty good beef over that one.

But the commentator is accurate in calling Paton the Guinness World Record holder for longest snowboard rail grind.

Whitelines Snowboard Magazine, EA Sports and Sno!Zone Milton Keynes Indoor Slope organized the event, built a custom-length, 295.3-foot rail, and arranged for an official of Guinness World Records to be there.

The well-publicized event attracted the top snowboarders in the UK. One by one they attempted a record ride. One by one they fell far short.

As the event neared its conclusion, it appeared that nobody was going to break the record. After all, some of the finest rail riders had failed for 4 1/2 hours. It was 11:30 p.m.

Paton with his Guinness World Record certificate
and a $1,000 check for breaking the record.
Finally, in the last 10 minutes of the session, when everybody, including the representative from Guinness World Records, was about to pack it in, Paton started a ride he’ll never forget. At one with the rail, Paton did a 50-50, sliding down like a moving magnet until he surpassed the record mark, prompting a celebration.

“I’m so stoked,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to do it at all! It feels so surreal that I actually hold a world record.”

Of course the editor of Whitelines, Ed Blomfield, was ecstatic, too, saying, “We knew that with our thriving indoor scene the UK had some world-class rail riders, and this gave us a great opportunity to prove that.”

OK, Shaun White. Your turn.

Thanks to Boardistan!

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Thursday, December 15, 2011

Surfing at night with surfboards and wetsuits in neon lights

What happens when Team iLuminate of "America's Got Talent" fame takes its talents to the surf of Bondi Beach in New South Wales?

You get what Strongbow staged recently to mark the start of summer in Australia: A bunch of surfers wearing neon-lit wetsuits surfing on neon-lit surfboards in the dark, with fireworks going off behind them.

See the spectacle, entitled Strongbow Neon Night Surfing Bondi, right this way...

Strongbow, incidentally, is a "crisp, premium imported cider from the U.K. which delivers maximum refreshment in an authentic, traditional English recipe."

It also delivers neon-lit surfers surfing in the Australian night.

If you're interested in more details, here is Strongbow's description of the surfing video (and the unique promotion of its alcoholic beverage):
To mark the start of summer, Strongbow joined forces with legendary surfing filmmaker Jack McCoy (Endless Summer II), Bali Strickland and Eugene Tan (Aquabumps) to capture Australia's largest glow in the dark surf attempt at Bondi Beach. On summer's eve, 17 Strongbow surfers descended on Bondi Beach in custom made glow-in-the-dark surfboards and wetsuits as an official "welcome to summer" for Strongbow. Channel 10's Bondi Rescue lifeguards, Corey Oliver and Andrew Reid, were among the surfers taking part. Hundreds of onlookers lined the beach and the Bondi Icebergs balcony to catch a glimpse of the spectacle.
Cheers! Oh, and a reminder not to drink and surf.

Thanks for Adventure Journal!

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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Bear waves to people in viral video from Washington

A viral video about a bear that waves back to a young girl who first waved to it is making the rounds in the media these days. The "Today" show was among the latest outlets to feature this rather ancient (in Internet years) video.

It was posted on YouTube in June 2010, but, according to a story on ABC News, it "has become a hit on YouTube today." Indeed, it is popular, having been viewed more than 1.9 million times. Actually, there are several videos about the waving bear.

Now, thanks to ABC News, we know why the bear waves to people. But first, the YouTube video:

How nice.

The Kodiak bear makes its home at the Olympic Game Farm in Sequim, Wash., where it routinely waves to people.

Here's how ABC News explains it:
If it may seem odd to see a giant bear wave to a human, this particular bear has show business in its blood.

Its home, the Olympic Game Farm, is a park for retired show animals that have previously worked in TV, films and at theme parks.
The farm worked exclusively for Walt Disney Studios for 28 years, providing animal actors for productions like "The Incredible Journey," "White Wilderness" and the "Grizzly Adams" television and movie series, according to its website.
In 1972, the farm opened its doors to the public and now offers tours, a petting farm and educational activities, in addition to caring for the animals that call it home.
So if you want to go where bears wave back to you, go to the Olympic Game Farm in Washington. But we advise against trying this if you ever happen to encounter a Kodiak bear in Alaska. The welcome might not be as friendly.

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Kitesurfing over a pier: Lewis Crathern stars in 'The Man that touched the Sky'

Before you conclude Lewis Crathern of the UK is crazy, consider first the efforts he's making to publicize the populous, including schoolchildren, about the importance of wind power as a renewable energy.

And he is educating the masses in a very unique way: With kitesurfing (aka kiteboarding).

Story about jumping Brighton Pier in UK's The Sun.
OK, now the crazy part.

If you missed it, Crathern, a four-time British pro men's kitesurfing champion, gained world-wide fame in November 2010 when he became the first to jump Brighton Pier in the UK. He did it while kitesurfing.

Today, the behind-the-scenes story of that historic and daring (or crazy, if you prefer) jump over the pier is making the rounds on the Internet in the form of a documentary.

"The Man that Touched the Sky" is a 29-minute film (click above) that premiered at the 2011 Brighton Film Festival but is posted on YouTube.

The Summary:

The Man that touched the sky is an in depth look at the pioneering kite jumping extraordinaire Lewis Crathern preparing for the biggest jump of his life over Brighton Pier, an exclusive look behind the scenes into Lewis' life, showing never seen before footage with him preparing for his infamous jump months before it happened. The documentary touches on the emotions, physical strength training, precision weather monitoring and pure skill to achieve such a dramatic result. Lewis' pier jumping achievement created a frenzy of media reaching beyond the realms of Brighton to be a phenomenon of global explosion. It also explores why Lewis is searching for new challenges outside the competition circuit and how he uses kitesurfing and wind energy as a tool to teach others whilst increasing eco awareness.
"I am stoked to be involved in a film which will really help the public understand what kitesurfing is about," Crathern said in promotional material, and spoken like a true surfer dude.

Interestingly, in the film, he says this about jumping the Brighton Pier: "It made me feel alive. It made me feel like a human being."

It baffles the mind as to why someone would say jumping a pier with a kitesurfing board makes you feel like a human being. Wouldn't it make you feel more like a bird? An airplane? A misguided surfer?

Regardless, it's a very cool stunt, and an impressive documentary.

BTW: If you'd like to see the jump in 16 seconds, click "Official Kitesurfer jumps Brighton Pier! Kitesurfing champion 'Lewis Crathern.'"

Thanks to!

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Yosemite video shows Mich Kemeter highlining 3,000 feet up without safety harness

We thought Alex Honnold was crazy when he attempted to scale a 1,600-foot rock face in Yosemite National Park using nothing more than his hands and feet. No ropes. No safety net. No brains.

“60 Minutes” captured this craziness that keeps you on edge even though you know he makes it to the top without falling. Now comes daredevil adrenaline junkie Mich Kemeter, who is no less crazy than Honnold.

After crossing a 99-foot-long, one-inch-wide rope at Taft Point, Yosemite, three times with a safety harness, Kemeter decided to do a free solo highline over the same rope -- 3,000 feet above the ground!

No safety harness, no brains.

The UK Daily Mail  has more of the story about the 23-year-old Australian, but you can see it here in this Vimeo video:

As someone says in the background, “Holy Toledo, that is unbelievable.”

Yes it is.

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See the scariest hiking trail in the world!
Slacklining over Yosemite Falls
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