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Jetskis, world class whitewater, poutine, Montreal Eau Vive has it all! Montreal Eau Vive is a two day competition held on the Lachine rapids of the St. Lawrence. The event entails both a freestyle and boater cross event. This year was my second time attending Montreal Eau Vive and I was eager to return to the rapids of the St. Lawrence.

Photo: Eric Friendenson

The freestyle portion of Montreal Eau Vive is unlike any other event. It is held on two different features, Mavericks and Big Joe. Both features are huge waves in the middle of the St. Lawrence. Thanks to some amazing volunteers, competitors are able to ride on the back of jet skis to get out to the waves and to get a lift back to the eddy. Montreal Eau Vive has its own score system with different point values and bonuses, only counting the best tricks of your ride.

Unlike Big Joe, Mavericks is the farthest away from the eddy on the channel, so jet skis are required to get to the feature. Mavericks is one of the trickiest waves I have ever surfed, sometimes it munches you, sometimes it typewriters you off the wave before the blink of your eye, and maybe you get lucky enough to have a good ride. But, the jetski ride out makes it all worth it. My favorite of the two to surf is by far Big Joe, it almost has 2 waves that are connected by a tongue, the river left side being slightly flatter and more gentle, and the right being steeper and more bouncy. Both sides of the wave are equally awesome and is the perfect wave to party surf. Rides on Big Joe often last over 10 minutes because the walk up back to the eddy is so painful. Neither of the waves have eddy service and the walk up to the eddy is over several slippery rocks and requires wading through the water.

Photo Eric Firenenson

In the freestyle event, I finished 2nd in the Pro Women’s category. I was thrilled with my rides, especially considering I hadn’t been in a playboat much this year. I caught Mavericks in the right place all 3 of my rides and was able to throw tricks on all of them! I got lucky with the wave surges and I didn’t get munched. On Big Joe, we only had two rides, one of which I flushed early on. But my first ride was favorable, I had a hard time on back blunts/back roundhouses, but I definitely got at least two front blunts. On my second ride, I caught an edge while back surfing and flushed. It didn’t affect my score because my first ride was enough.

The second part of the competition was the boatercross. To start the race you launch off a jet boat, the boat goes down the whitewater to a large eddy in the middle of the river, and the racers race down to touch the boat. The whitewater where the race is held is on a different channel of the St. Laurence than the freestyle, but it isn’t any smaller. There are huge crashing waves, the biggest boils I have ever seen, and all you can see above is a horizon line. Using different markers such as an to the island river left, you can get a general idea where you need to be. However, you can’t exactly tell where you need to be until you hit the waves leading up to it.

Photo: Dustin Caza

Depending how you do in the freestyle determines your seating on the boat. Since I got 2nd in the freestyle, I got 2nd choice of where I wanted to start my race on the jet boat. I choose to race on the first seat on river right. I raced my small zen, my personal favorite creek boat. The siren blares then everyone launches, and the race begins. I was able to get far ahead in the flatwater before the rapids. I had an ideal line going into it, I went over the first waves without a problem. One of the waves crashed over me, flipping me over. I missed 3-4 rolls until I finally got back up. I had shifted further down than I needed to be, and my competitors were narrowing in on me. I charged to the right as far as I could, fearing I’d miss the boat. I recovered quickly and made it to the eddy. I then got unlucky, and a boil spun me around on the eddy line, but I didn’t give up and charged for the boat. I ended up pulling out a win at the end of the race.

Photo: Stace Kimmel

All in all, I ended up winning Montreal Eau Vive in Pro Women’s for the first time by coming second in freestyle and first in boater cross! More importantly, it was an amazing weekend, I got to paddle with some rad people in a really cool place. Special thanks to Kalob Grady for taking me under his wing, by giving me some tips and paddling out 2 house before his event to watch me. I can’t thank you enough! This event wouldn’t have been possible without all of the volunteers, especially PhiIippe Lavallée for organizing this event for so many years!

I can’t wait to return next year!
-Madz 😉