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3 Kayakers Tie for the Lead in the Whitewater Grand Prix

65161_436873166380017_1186553239_nRiding down the granite slide on Rio Nevados Photo: Tait Trautman Photography

Three athletes share the lead in the Whitewater Grand Prix with three races in the books. Last year's winner, Dane Jackson, Frenchman Eric Deguil, and Isaac Levinson of the United States have crowded their boats into the top spot with two races left to go. Levinson emerged victorious in the most recent event, a whitewater sprint on the Rio Nevados. Kayakers navigated down a long granite slide before dropping off a waterfall. Nouria Newmann of France took first for the women and holds the overall lead.

Watch a video of the sprint and view the top finishers below:

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This Week's Missing Links, December 8

The best articles, photos, and videos that I didn't post this week—until now. If you only click on one link, make it, "Disappearing Act: James Balog's Quest to Capture Climate Change in Action"

For the best longreads this week, check out "Weekend Reading: Conspirapocalypse."

Why skiing needs a surfline
, Wired Playbook

Paul Kimmage on his evolution from cyclist to journalist, Bicycling

Ligety nabs another victory, and lets loose with some more words on the new FIS regulations, The New York Times

Vonn scores a hat trick, and says she's not giving up in her fight up to race again men, The New York Times

Where is Bode Miller?, The New York Times

The end of snow sports? Outside

Some tips for climbers looking to get life insurance, National Geographic Adventure

Anyone not in favor of Alberto Contador's tainted beef supplier not being the president of the Spanish Cycling Federation? Too bad. The Washington Post

Surfer Keala Kennelly on the possibility of surfing Mavericks, The Inertia

Some really big shoes to fill. Ryan Hall replaces God with a new coach. Innovation for Endurance

World's most popular surfers, as decided by the readers of Surfer Mag, Surfer

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Eric Deguil Wins the Whitewater Grand Prix Boulder Dash

Roughly a week after injuring his ribs during a training run for the Whitewater Grand Prix, French kayaker Eric Deguil took first place in the competition's second event, a roughly one-mile sprint through the Class V whitewater of Chile's Rio Puesco. Deguil clocked the fastest time while paddling over a number of waterfalls, through tight slots, and around a series of jagged rocks the size of VW bugs, in an event athletes nicknamed the "Boulder Dash."

272581_436761933057807_729579337_oDane Jackson paddles around a boulder. Photo: Whitewater Grand Prix/Tait Trautman

French athlete Nouria Newman clocked the fastest time for the women, beating seven men in the process. Mike Dawson of New Zealand, who won the first event, dropped out of the competition following an injury he suffered in training.

Watch highlights of the race in the top video, a rescue in the video immediately above, and a preview of the competition's third event in the final video. That giant slalom preview comes courtesy of whitewater kayaker Rush Sturges, who recorded a view from his helmet cam during a training run on Chile's Rio Trancura.

For more updates, check out the Whitewater Grand Prix on Facebook. For more on the history of the event, read "Patrick Camblin's Risky Plan to Revive Whitewater Kayaking."

—Joe Spring

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Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson on His Attempt to End Japanese Whaling

121202-TW-Paul-Photo-Shoot-03Paul Watson. Photo: Tim Watters/Sea Shepherd

Over the last three decades, most of the chases involving Sea Shepherd Captain Paul Watson have occurred on the high seas. He’s usually the one in pursuit, chasing down and engaging in steel on steel skirmishes with whalers and shark fishermen, attempting to stop them from harpooning and finning. This past May, though, Watson was pursued, and caught, in a political and criminal net of sorts. While on a flight changeover in Frankfurt, Germany, authorities arrested him for what he says was a decade-old offense involving a Costa Rican fishing boat operating off the coast of Guatamala. We’ll let him tell that story below.

He can because he’s free, taking calls from aboard his ship the Steve Irwin. Roughly a year after it was reported that Sea Shepherd caused the Institute of Cetacean Research—the Japanese group that hunts whales—more than $20 million in losses, Watson is leading Sea Shepherd’s biggest arsenal into the Southern Ocean. At his disposal are four ships, aerial drones, numerous speed boats, a helicopter, and more than 100 crew members. His goal in 2012 is to try and stop Japan from getting a single whale. We called him up as he captains his vessel south, toward drama that’s a bit more familiar.

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Another Look at the Dead on Everest

Shutterstock_69239275Everest. Photo: Daniel Prudek/Shutterstock

On Thursday, climbing blogger Alan Arnette posted a new analysis of the dead on Mount Everest. "Around 225 climbers have died on Everest since 1953 with about 3,700 individuals standing on the summit," he wrote. "The vast majority of the dead are still there."

Arnette compiled his report in response to an article that he called sensational. He wanted to gather facts and take a deeper look at the reasons why bodies remained on the mountain. His analysis includes a simple chart showing the locations and causes of deaths from 2001 to 2012. He noted 39 deaths on the North Ridge route, 25 on the South Col route, and six deaths on other routes. "That the north side death rate is higher is not a big surprise," wrote Arnette. "The north is traditionally considered slightly more dangerous given the exposure to cold and harsh winds plus the technical nature of the Steps and exposed rock on the summit ridge."

The more common causes of death include falls and altitude sicknesses. Those who perish on the mountain remain primarily for logistical reasons.

As to the question of why bodies remain on Everest, it is a matter of logistical difficulty and further risk. It can take five or even 10 or more very strong, acclimatized Sherpas to move a body lower from the extreme altitudes above 8,000 meters. The work is slow and dangerous exposing the rescuers to altitude, weather, and potential falls. And it is expensive, costing over USD $30,000 for a full repatriation. If several years have passed, the body has most likely frozen into the landscape preventing any form of recovery.

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