The Outside Blog

Dispatches : Celebrities

Surfer Alana Blanchard Makes 2011 Tour

Surfer Alana Blanchard qualified for the 2011 ASP World Tour after a third place finish at the first stop on the Vans Triple Crown.

"Going into the event I didn't even know I could qualify," Blanchard stated. "After Steph won, Al Hunt told me I qualified, so I am really excited. But for now I am cruising and getting ready for Sunset. I really want to do well in the Triple Crown."

alana Blanchard
Photo by Chris Straley

For more on the 20-year-old surfer, check out our XX Factor column and gallery.

--Joe Spring
@joespring

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Kayaking Africa: From Ice to the Mountain of Fire

Kigali_City on a Hill
The following dispatch is from extreme kayaker, Ben Stookesberry, a member of the First Ascent kayak team. They are currently on an expedition in Africa to make a first descent of the Lukuga River.

Trip leader Hendri Coetzee has three rules leading up to our entry into the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Rule #1. Everything is going to take twice as long as it should.
Rule # 2. Everything is going to cost twice as much as it should.
Rule #3. No matter what happens, don't panic!

En route to the headwaters of the Congo after leaving the epic Mountains of the Moon, we encounter a problem at the border of Uganda and Rwanda. Spending six months in the Congo last year, Hendri polished off his passport booklet with an exorbitant number of visas, which he was forced to purchase because of murky regulations and corrupt officials. He is on this trip with a brand new South African booklet, but has no entry stamp for Uganda. After an hour negotiating, stubborn border agents refuse Hendri exit until he demonstrates proof of entry. Not in the least frustrated, Hendri encourages Chris and I to go ahead to Kigali, Rwanda without him. He promises to resolve the problem ASAP.

I resolve to follow Rule #3.

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Novitzky Heads to France for Armstrong Investigation

 

Lance

Photo courtesy of Flickr

U.S. investigators, led by FDA agent Jeff Novitzky, plan to speak with French officials this week for further investigation of doping allegations against Lance Armstrong, CBS News reports.

The French agency, which has stored samples of Armstrong's urine, intends to tell the Americans everything they know. France's former Anti-Doping chief Pierre Bordry, who resigned in October, had promised to provide Novitzky with Armstrong's samples from the 1999 Tour de France if an official request was made.

The French newspaper L'Equipe reported in 2005 that Armstrong's 1999 samples contained evidence of performance-enhancer EPO, though the UCI later cleared Armstrong.

Read Brian Alexander's story Big Fish, from our October issue, for more on Novitzky's quest to harpoon Armstrong.

--Nick Davidson

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Adventure Word of the Week: Splitboarding

Splitboarding: A snowboard that can be separated into two parts and used with climbing skins to ascend slopes. The halves can then be connected at the summit to form a snowboard for descent

Of course you've probably heard of splitboarding by now. Gear sales have continued to climb with improvements in design and bindings over the last two years. The equipment made news this week when snowboarder Danny Davis said he'd be rehabbing his injured back by splitboarding. Why? Skinning up the mountains in the backcountry will allow him to build up strength and avoid the jarring moves that could accompany snowmobile rides. Splitboarding also offers a green option for snowboarders—no fossil fuels emitted by helicopters, snowmobiles, or lifts. And if you're skinning up, you can avoid spending $80 on a lift ticket.

--Joe Spring
@joespring

 

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