Daily Speculations The Web Site of Victor Niederhoffer and Laurel Kenner


James Sogi

Philosopher, Juris Doctor, surfer, trader, investor, musician, black belt, sailor,
semi-centenarian. He lives on the mountain in Kona, Hawaii, with his family.


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Have you seen the movies of the salmon swimming up the waterfall as the bears wade in and scoop them up with their paws. Some of you have seen them in person. I saw the salmon in the Columbia River gorge but there were no bears, it was a ladder by the dam. The salmon jump and swim upstream determined in what seems like such a hopeless quest. The best of the salmon jump, get swept back, jump again, slowly making headway, and eventually make to a quiet pond upstream to spawn and the cycle is continued. Many salmon don't make it and become feed. The bears are involved in a life and death struggle to put on enough fat for the long wait until they can eat again or they will not survive the winter. The biggest bear fight for the best spot on the river to feed. The market waterfall after Blackhawk's announcement reminded me of the salmon and bears.

I told a river rafting friend of mine that I would rather surf 15' giant waves in the ocean than run a class 4 river. In the big waves I know I will pop to the surface in 20-40 seconds, but in the river, the hydraulic keeps you down where many people drown each year. He told me, always have a good life preserver and a helmet. If you are caught in a hole, don't swim downstream, swim upstream. The water pressure is least near the rock and it is the easiest to escape the vortex.

A few ideas presented from the river to think about for traders caught in the vortex or caught swimming upstream with bears trying to eat them. The 3/21 waterfall seemed similar to today and the action the last few weeks (SP) looks like the rocky riverbed of a class four rapid. Here is the International Scale of River Difficulty.

Class IV. Intense, powerful but predictable rapids requiring precise boat handling in turbulent water. Depending on the character of the river, it may feature large, unavoidable waves and holes or constricted passages demanding fast maneuvers under pressure. A fast, reliable eddy turn may be needed to initiate maneuvers, scout rapids, or rest. Rapids may require "must" moves above dangerous hazards. Scouting may be necessary the first time down. Risk of injury to swimmers is moderate to high, and water conditions may make self-rescue difficult. Group assistance for rescue is often essential but requires practiced skills. A strong Eskimo roll is highly recommended.

Today and the week SP has been like a Class IV rapid with multiple "must" moves. Class V are those 5 sigma plus days. Maybe the market should have a classification system like whitewater running.

Class 5: Expert: Extremely long, obstructed, or very violent rapids which expose a paddler to added risk. Drops may contain** large, unavoidable waves and holes or steep, congested chutes with complex, demanding routes. Rapids may continue for long distances between pools, demanding a high level of fitness. What eddies exist may be small, turbulent, or difficult to reach. At the high end of the scale, several of these factors may be combined. Scouting is recommended but may be difficult. Swims are dangerous, and rescue is often difficult even for experts. A very reliable Eskimo roll, proper equipment, extensive experience, and practiced rescue skills are essential. Because of the large range of difficulty that exists beyond Class IV, Class 5 is an open-ended, multiple-level scale designated by class 5.0, 5.1, 5.2, etc... each of these levels is an order of magnitude more difficult than the last. Example: increasing difficulty from Class 5.0 to Class 5.1 is a similar order of magnitude as increasing from Class IV to Class 5.0.

Jim Sogi, May 2005

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