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2017 has been a year of big water! Four separate times this year I have said out loud the phrase “Holy sh*t, that’s the biggest rapid I’ve ever run!”
It all started at the end of my month-long trip to Uganda when I finally stepped it up to run Itunda, one of the biggest rapids on the White Nile. I had one of the cleanest rapids of my life, not even getting my head wet. But even with a good line, “Holy sh*t, that’s the biggest rapid I’ve ever run!” slipped out as my stoke levels maxed out.
The next three times I echoed that phrase were all during the spring at Stakeout, and were all within a week of each other. Coliseum at 22.5ft on the Ottawa River, then the Rouge River at 600cms, and finally Hawaii Rapid on the Mistassibi River at 1,300cms. Each one bigger than the one before, and each one the biggest rapid I had ever run (until the next one).
My first lap down the Mistassibi at high flows was the biggest, scariest kayaking experience of my kayaking career (so far). When we finally reached the takeout, I got out of my boat and kissed the ground! I was so out of my comfort zone in rapids that big. The fear was definitely outweighing the fun. Despite the fear, the boys convinced me to go back for more and I ended up getting 6 laps on the massive river. With each lap I became more and more comfortable, and by the 6th lap I was giggling and screaming with joy. The fear was still there, but the fun was finally outweighing the fear.
Here is a video from my final lap on the Mistassibi, which was what we think to be the highest flow the river has been run at 1,300cms.