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By Brad Sutton

Confession of the Sheep River 2008 and a reason why you should be in the right sized creek boat!

The Sheep River is located in the southern rockies of Alberta.

Ok, ok, since some kayakers come clean with his or her story of a swim or carnage, I will have to tell mine now! I hopped into a boat I had never tried before for the first time of the creek season that I was 40 pounds to heavy for but I couldn’t find anything else. And this would be my first creek of the season to boot too! I was paddling with Scott Feindel, Kelsey Thompson, Chris Mctarrget and David Mann when all was going well and nailed all my lines until I came to the infamous "Triple Falls" on the Sheep River. Everyone had interesting lines but had no problems making it through except for the person before me ended up in the cave on the left after the second slide. It looked a little nasty but the paddler before me made it out of the cave with style, so of course it was my turn next and after hearing multiple stories of everyone and there grandma swimming out of the cave and over the third slide and watching the cave extravaganza that just happened before me I was a little nervous to say the least since this was to be my warm up creek run of the year.

So I was like I don’t know man, but I will just giv’r anyways all inside my head! Scott assured me these low levels were a great opportunity to know the lines on all the slides before the level rises. So I psyched myself up and power into the first falls with an extraordinary huge boof and landed perfectly and then tried to make it to the far river left to avoid the infamous cave "Room of Doom"! When all of a sudden the 40 extra pounds over the recommended weight for the creek boat I was in started to work against me! As I tried to paddle as hard as I could taking the deepest power strokes you could imagine going absolutely nowhere I decided I best line up for the right line and split the two rooster sprays coming up from two nasty rocks! This line I had discussed with Chris as a back up line if I had too, Chris explained that it would be no biggie as long as you get your kayak to "Split the Uprights" so to speak like a football. But as I Ninja stroked while I was sliding down the second slide to make it between the roosters spraying up I clipped the right rooster rock closest to the wall with my right chine of the kayak which flipped me into an "Air roll over the rock" and I landed into the swirly gram from hell in a diving position with my paddle and arms stretched out landing head first into the infamous "Room of Doom" cave! As I rolled up inside the cave all I could think about was "OoooH MaaaA Gaaaaaaad" all the swim stories and the nameless person I will protect who ran before me aced his carnage line and how would I be able to ace mine!

Well as it turned out I had been swirled around upside down in the swirly gram boils inside the cave of the room of doom and swept me down stream enough that when I rolled up all I had to do was lean down stream as I was pointed upstream looking back at the falls. I couldn’t believe that I was not inside the cave and was in fear and had the deer in head lights look and was not doing anything when I finally heard "Go, Paddle, Get the Hell out of their"! This yelling broke my trance hypnosis and I immediately turned my kayak downstream and slid down the third slide.

All in all it wasn’t too bad and I finally adjusted my seat pad sucking the air out which I should of done before I started paddling and I should of been in the right sized kayak for my Fat A$$! Excuses, excuses really don’t make up for my bad line on the second slide and I really should of been in the right sized kayak!


Hope you enjoyed my "ROOM OF DOOM" story and I wish every one a great paddling season,

Have a great weekend and enjoy the great water levels,
Brad Sutton