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It’s hard to believe with over 30 years as a whitewater kayaker and more than two decades as a sponsored paddler that I never made it up to Canada until last year. The Ottawa River alone holds some of the best freestyle features on the planet and is without a doubt, the best playboating river in the world. As you travel further North though, through the wilderness of Quebec, some of the rarest features in the world lay hidden from all but the most persistent. The north holds epic waves and incredible big water unlike anywhere else on the planet. Some of these waves are just massive and clean, but one even holds river barrels in each direction as the most unique river surf wave in the world. Every year, a pilgrimage of the world’s top freestyle kayakers gather in Quebec to push the limits of freestyle kayaking, Stakeout.

Recently, I had an opportunity suddenly come up to go to Stakeout myself. Even as a long time team paddler, I’m actually not an amazing freestyle kayaker. I really didn’t know what to expect for me. What I found though, was a warm welcome from a great group of friends, an inner peace from camping deep in the Canadian wilderness, and some time to work on some parts of myself and parts of my paddling that I’ve neglected over the years. As I get back to Send School edits and preparing for my Signature Big Water Confidence Week on the Ottawa coming in July, I’m so excited to share what I’ve been up to and how I’ve been growing again as a kayaker myself – my first Stakeout.

If you’re interested in joining me for my signature Big Water Confidence Week on the Ottawa River, here’s a link with more info: Filming on this one was done by your’s truly, Alex Neal, Heidi Walsh, Nick Beavis, Luke Pomeroy, and likely more…. Thanks for sharing your footage guys!