This years kayaking season kick-started in April with a long and intense drive across Canada’s expansive mid lands. Working on the ski hills during the winter I was very excited to get back across the country to start our spring mission. This year I banded together with a large group of international paddles and headed into Quebec for what I was to learn would be ‘Stakeout’. We spent the best part of 6 weeks travelling around Quebec.
The majority of our time was spent working out of a town called Chicoutimi, while also dropping by Montreal and Quebec to get a taste of the culture that these cities had to offer. While in Quebec we had the chance to scout out and run a number of first descents, notably we witnessed Erik Boomer first D. of Magnan Falls. This part of Canada has a lot to offer and can definitely turn into another white-water Mecca for the white-water kayaking world. May brought to a close my first ‘Stakeout’ mission in Quebec and it was back to the Ottawa to start working for the summer.
Despite the low water and slow season Ottawa river life kept me really busy. Ottawa Kayak School was busy this year with lots of new faces making their way to the river. We saw 100’s of kayakers move through the school here, which is really awesome for the sport. It’s great to see people motivated and eager to try new sports, especially such a minority sport. With low water always comes a good season for freestyle kayaking. We arrived to Garb, however it did not last for too long and push button resurfaced after a few seasons in hiding.
Although push button isn’t the biggest wave it meant lots of missions to Lachine, which was amazing. I had never been before and am kicking myself for it. However I think it was some of the best wave surfing I have had yet. The end of the season on the Ottawa brought with it the first Pan American Championship. We had 5 countries competing with a line up consisting of some of the worlds best kayakers. Placing 12 was not in my desired top 10 however looking back at the competition put it all in perspective.
Gauley fest has just passed and brought about the end of this years season for me. This was another event I have never had the pleasure of participating in. Gauley was an amazingly well put together festival with lots of old friends people who were incredibly keen to progress in kayaking. BC has been a lot shorter than previous years, however it has been great to catch up with old friends and paddle the last bit of what BC has to offer.
Before the winter I had a few weeks free and headed home to see all the family and get some of that Irish kayaking in again, Ireland being Ireland produced a copious amount of rain while I was at home, however just before an extreme race event I managed to injure myself, pretty good this time too, kickfliping a creekboat on an Irish creek... is not such a good idea and it ended up with a trip to hospital and lots of drugs, I even had the whole intern team watch on as they put me back together.
This is not to say that I had a bad year. this has been one of my best seasons yet. Lets hope that winter is a little morethan fall... stay tuned DC