An Ode to the Chunderbuy
The man, the legend, an inspiration to all those who knew him not to be content with the status quo. Every day was an adventure with this kid. Guns blazing till the end, a damn paragliding wingover finally got him. Perhaps a move he most likely shouldnt have been trying, but this was the theme of the story.
The first time I met the kid was paddling a raging Upper Fish Creek in Steamboat. I had never seen someone so gripped, Maxs face was contorted in such terror that upon looking at him Brendon and me could not help but to burst into laughter. You dont have do this bro, maybe you should just do the lower stretch. No dude, that stretch is bitch, I got this shit, but what the fuck is next! We were laughing so hard we couldnt even stay upright. Neither of us had seen such brazen determination in spite of such fear. This was Sully. His face twisted into such a look that you might have thought one of his fingers was being removed by a cigar cutter. I began zooming my photos in on his contorted face as we paddled the shit. I had a nice collection going before Max offered to buy me ten roles of film if I handed over the agonized expressions to be destroyed. Unfortunately for max I am not an honest businessman and a few photos managed to survive the purging.
When we took out at the Back Door Sports parking lot, Max promptly headed over to a group that had only done the lower section to call theme all bitches and ask why they had not nutted up for the upper. Fuck we liked this kid.
The Chunder Posse had been formed. With the help of an Irish Drunk, An obsessive Mad Banker, Mo Bigs, El Gigaunty, Fat Jus10, Lazy Kevin and immature Billy the Chunder posse soon dominated the Colorado Creeking World. Other boaters who knew we were showing up told there girlfriends to go home and tucked there tails like a dog whose owner is a little to rough. Not only did we paddle every drop in this damn state, but we also outlasted and out drank any crew that had the audacity to step up.
Soon simply running more shit and partying harder than any crew in the state was not sufficing, we needed something more. Mo Bigs had stumbled onto paint balling and Sully soon enforced the rule that no one was above getting hit. We became master of the silent art of slingshot balling. Soon pink splatters began appearing on windows everywhere. During one daring daylight raid of a Boise Idaho crew, paintballs were launched across the river at an unsuspecting crew of playboating scum unloading their vehicle. As the crew jumped in the river and began swimming towards us they were pummeled with a rain of paintballs so fierce that visions of mid-evil archery battalions were brought to mind. When they finally reached our bank the scums cursing echoed off the canyon walls as our cars sped away.
As the brightest stars have the shortest lifespan so did the Chunder Posse. The crew went supernova at the 2001 Gore Fest. Charlie Beavers was knighted into the Posse and a scene of utter mayhem and terror was to follow. For three days there would be no sleep. Those who slept were awakened by the cry of Temporary Bitches! and the ensuing Whap that followed, as the late Beavers and Sully slung ball from the roof of the moving jet-black Tacoma. The heaviest casualties of the battle were suffered by despicable Teva Crew. There propensity for loud conversations at 7 in the morning, going to bed early and trying to buy us off by giving us cheap ass sandals brandished them a target as big as there obnoxious television. When the sun finally rose in the morning all vehicles with the Teva logo had been transformed into a horrible shade of pink.
Wanted by the law for the illegal use of roman candles and hunted by hoards of pink vehicles the crew had to disband. An idea was soon hatched and the biggest scam in the history of paddling soon followed. With the help of Maxs upbringing as a nitrous oxide salesmen at dead shows we were able to convince Paddler magazine to hire us as its West Coast Paddling Ambassadors. Paddler magazine was to pay for our trip as we toured the west coat distributing magazines and stickers at various whitewater festivals. Our first stop was the California Methamphetamine capital of Kernville and a worthless playspot around which a rodeo had been organized. Max had the brilliant insight that by simply setting up the tent and weighting down magazines and stickers with rocks, people could still get this shit and more importantly we could free ourselves up for more important things like running dry meadow. We even found out at the end of a remarkable day of running waterfalls that the nice people around the rodeo were willing to help us out on our mission by picking up our tent when the wind had blown it across the park.
Paddler Magazine had its new West Coast ambassadors but we were not content with simply one coast. We soon convinced paddler magazine that they needed us to attend the Gauley festival. Riding the high of having yet another paid paddling trip and being one of the badest fuckers in the game, Maxs state of euphoria overwhelmed his sense of judgment as he paintballed a drivers side window of van you would not want your girlfriend to get into. The large man driving the van did not look happy and proceeded to follow us for over 100 miles at no further than 5 feet off the rear bumper. I attempted many moves to lose our pursuant even going so far as to cut in front of a semi to hit a last second exit ramp. Unfortunately, by locking up his brakes and cutting off the traffic behind the semi, the van also made the exit. As the gaslight light up, Max proceeded to tell me all his sins since middle school as a last minute confession in case this man killed him. Lucky for us the man was probably a convicted felon and having decided to pull into a gas station were a police officer sat, the man miraculously kept driving.
They loved Max out east and before long we had a host of hot chicks rolling with slingshots and paintballs lighting up the streets of Ashville. The pimp and ho party had never seen such pimps. The trip was going flawlessly until being arrested for roman candle battles at the Gauley campground and then being kicked out of the campground when a grease bomb happened to go off while the officer was questioning the neighbors about the roman candle incident.
Maxs humor and wit could not be matched. After putting one lovely young woman in stitches for hours max slyly convinced her to write a glowing letter to Paddler magazine about what wonderful ambassadors we were. The letter would later be published in an issue of Paddler.
Sully knew that life was about living every day like its your last. At the height of his creek running days he was running shit that few paddlers wanted pieces of. His main downfall here though, was that a good portion of it was not in his boat. At the height of his game, for lack of better words, max amassed fifteen swims in one season, 14 of which were on class five or higher. The guy swam through Tombstone Sieve on Lake Creek, he swam Cherry Creek in Cali at 3000 cfs and the entire length of the Nutcracker on the North Fork of the Payette. He had so many swims that he confided in me a secret. Its fucked up Bro he said, I look at a rapid and I see the line to boat and then I look for a good swim line. I can say Ive met boaters better than the chunderboy, but I cant say Ive ever met anyone with more heart than that damn kid!
Four years after breaking his neck kayaking and being told he probably wouldnt walk, Max was back at it again, he would paddle Gore with the exception of Gore Rapid because he could not bring himself to run the sneak. Front Rangers whom he told he would shove a paddle up there ass loved it when they found out hed been seen walking, cause it made them feel better about there own feeble paddling. When Max came to visit me this winter I was amazed that this kid was still throwing the huge backside 360s hed been famous for in the Steamboat and Squallywood terrain parks. When he caught his front edge going down a bump run at 50 plus mph he scorpioned so hard he said it hurt to lie down. He said his ribs in his back really hurt and wondered if hed broken them. I told him there was no way you can break your ribs back their cause there so thick. Sure enough, when he went to the doctors three days later thats just what hed done. He scorpioned so hard that his board broke his ribs.
If we were smart we would have all invested in Maxs life insurance policy when Max took up paragliding. Continually pushing the limits and paragliding are not a good combo. No one was thrilled with the idea of Sully paragliding but Max assured us he wasnt pushing it and was being very conservative in the sport. Stopping Max from doing something is like trying to stop the tide, so we all had to hope the Chunderboy could put aside his all guns blazing past and pace himself here. He called me every other week to tell me how awesome his new sport was. He was so fired up about it every time I talked to him, telling me how far his last flight was and how I had to get one so we could get up in the air together. I would have liked that.
My only reason to ever want to grow old would be to sit around and tell stories of the gloriest past with the likes of the chunderboy. I cant believe Ill never be able to hear another one of his tales, to laugh my ass off as he roasted front rangers and myself on the buzz, to be subjected to the supreme wit of the chunderboy. Im just thankful that I got to spend as much time laughing with him as I did. Those where the best days of my life bro and youll always be in my heart. May it be as big as yours someday, and may we all live each day like its our last. We love you Sully.
Frenchy, you should make this a damn sticky for awhile