Wednesday, September 26, 2012

2008-2012 Highlight Reel

I put together this video as a quick re-cap of a few of my most memorable moments kayaking, since I first found my love for boating steep creeks and waterfalls when I was a kid. The footage is primarily from the rivers I grew up paddling in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, along with some footage from Mexico and Canada. 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Idaho Recap

As soon as I took my last final exam, I packed up my entire house into a Subaru and headed to Idaho. Taking turns driving through the night, we finally arrived in Banks at 7:00 a.m. and put on the Lower five of the NF of the Payette to get a quick practice run in before the race. Paddling on this style of river, let alone racing it was quite different for me. As the creeks around my neck of the woods already began to lose their flows, it was a treat to paddle some juicy big water. Although quite exhausted from the drive, I found some hidden energy and pushed myself down the grueling 16 minute race course. This was hands down the most fun race I have ever competed in, with hundreds of spectators on the side of the river and over fifty competitors. I was stoked to place 9th, only a few seconds away from placing in the top five and moving on to the elite race.
The elite race the following day was one of the most incredible races I have witnessed. Some of the best paddlers in the world were missing gates and swimming down huge class five rapids. The turnout for the event was amazing and I look forward to coming back next year! Check out a sweet recap of the event-
After the race I went on a multi day trip starting at the Secesh River, which starts out at less than a thousand cfs. The Secesh steadily gains flows as it winds through twenty miles of steep granite until it hits the South Fork of the Salmon River, a classic big water run with lots of fun rapids and surf waves. Just below the confluence, we set up camp and rested before paddling another thirty five miles the following day to the confluence of the Main Salmon. The Mamba was the ideal boat for keeping a quick pace down the flat water sections and had an incredible amount of room for camping supplies. I didn’t have a small therm-a-rest with me, but my huge foam pad was still able to fit in with my sleeping bag, food and warm clothes. Sixty five miles of whitewater across three sections of river was an incredible way to end my short trip to Idaho. Check out some gopro shots of the run...

The beginning of the Secesh

Confluence of the S. Fork with the Main Salmon

Just after the confluence with the S. Fork of the Salmon

Flat water on the Main Salmon

 Our campsite on the S. Fork

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Another day in the gorge...with a helicopter!

I can't think of a weekend this whole year where I didn't go on some sort of adventure, from back country skiing in the Northern Cascades to kayaking trips around the Pacific Northwest. I'm blown away by how fast the year went by, and now that I've completed all of my final exams I finally have time to kayak and work full time. I know it's a bit late, but here's a post from a few weekends ago.
Rush told me that over the weekend, there would be a helicopter filming some of my favorite rivers and waterfalls around my home town of Trout Lake, Washington. I was super excited to see a new perspective on kayaking, especially on the rivers that I have grown up with and have shaped me into the person I am today. 
We started out the weekend by driving to one of my very favorite drainages that runs off the east side of Mt. Adams-- the Lewis River. The all too classic Upper Falls was at a perfect level and something like fifteen paddlers rallied to the falls for a glorious huckfest in the sunshine. The falls went much better for me than the last time I was here, when I ended up behind the veil of the waterfall in a nasty undercut cave.

Here's a sequence of me running Upper Lewis River Falls (Photo by Max Blackburn)-

Here are some my favorite shots I took of the day-

Jared Seiler boofing into a rainbow 

Fred Norquist, rolling upright as he comes over the lip of the second drop. Somehow he even managed to pull off a boof stroke on his way down and stick it! 

Erik Johnson at the point of no return

Fred Norquist on round two, sticking it a bit better this time.

The following day, Eric Parker, Kyle Hull, Rush Sturges and I drove to the notorious Skate Park Falls on Summit Creek. I hadn't been back to Summit Creek since Griff Griffith savagely shattered his spine on Summit Falls, and I hadn't run Skate Park Falls since my brother Todd Wells and I made the first descent of the creek a few years ago. 
Although I had a good line a few years ago, I was super nervous for this drop after a number of people injured themselves running it. Nonetheless, I was fired up to drop back into the steep, beautiful gorge again. We waited for about forty five minutes before we heard the beating of the helicopter come roaring up the gorge. Inside the chopper was a crazy pilot who actually got so low, he was chopping off tree branches, and the talented Cineflex operator who filmed most of the footage for possibly the greatest action sports movie made, All. I. Can. 

Rush led the charge off the falls with what appeared to be a good line. I followed him, and as I rolled over the lip, my stern caught a rock on the flake which caused me to start to go "over the bars," or sent into an inverted position. This is not ideal for any waterfall, especially the unique Skate Park Falls, which drops vertically about forty feet then transitions out into a flat slide for maybe ten feet. As I felt my momentum rotating in the direction of landing on my head, I took a useless stroke to try and correct myself. I ended up riding the transition out with only the bow of my boat, rotating and landing backwards looking strait up at the sky. Not the ideal line, but I rolled up uninjured and after emptying my boat out from an imploded skirt, I paddled straight into the drop below called "The Well," a narrow 25ft. slide that pinches into nearly a boat width wide at the bottom. 

Myself, just before hitting the transition at the bottom.

Kyle Hull followed me with a sick line and right behind him, Eric Parker came flying off almost doing a complete kick flip. 

As soon as we got off Summit Creek, we drove straight to the Little White Salmon River while the helicopter filmed something like fourteen people drop over 80ft. Metlako Falls and another group of ten or so paddlers fire off Upper Lewis River Falls. 
The Little White was at an exhilarating 4.2ft and having a helicopter roar overhead the entire time adds a little something extra to the experience. At a few points during the run, the heli was so low that the force of the wind from the blades was so strong it made it difficult to take forward strokes, as my paddle blades felt like a feather in a wind storm and there was so much water blowing into my eyes I could barely.

Here's a shot of me running Spirit Falls at the end of the run. Thanks to Eric Parker for the great photo!

The footage from the day was some of the best I have ever seen. Apart from the epic amount of kayakers paddling over some of the most massive drops runnable in a kayak, the Cineflex captured some of the most awe-inspiring shots of the beautiful rivers around the Columbia River Gorge, epic shots of the Cascade Mountains and even some rarely seen views of Osprey nests, huge Elk running through the woods and giant machines destroying acres and acres of wilderness. Look forward to seeing this footage in River Roots newest film! 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Winter Update: Dipper Creek, Abiqua Falls and Eagle Creek

Undoubtedly the most action-packed winter of my life, I'm still trying to slow everything down and get a breath of fresh air. From tall drops and flooding rivers to fresh powder and big lines on the mountain, this has been on of the most memorable winters of my life.
On top of dealing with all the hard work and fun (or rather fun with some hard work) of college, our group of young paddlers representing Bellingham, Washington have managed to break away from the overwhelming scene of lecture halls, libraries and house parties and get back to our roots. Almost every weekend we have ventured on a mission to the hot spots for paddling in the Pacific Northwest- Skookumchuck Narrows, Dipper Creek, the Nooksack and Stillaguamish River drainages and of course back home to the Columbia River Gorge.
An unexpected call from friends in British Columbia led to a quick decision to blow off a couple of days of school and head North. With such short notice, Todd Wells, Fred Norquist, Olin Wimberg, Eric Parker and I drove through the night and made it to a campsite near the put in of Dipper Creek, BC by 4:00a.m. Waking up early to magnificent glaciers, frozen ground and a fresh coat of snow we drank a cup of coffee, ate a quick breakfast and began our trek into the steep and deep canyon of Dipper Creek. We were treated to a near perfect water level, if only a couple inches on the low side. The lower section of Dipper Creek was one of the most mind-blowing places I’ve been. On either side of the narrow canyon rose sheer cliff walls for hundreds of feet with no route out. Low volume tea-cup drops and countless sweet boofs characterize this rarely run river. I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Thanks to Todd Wells for sharing these beautiful photos!

Waking up to a magnificent view in beautiful British Columbia

A narrow slot drop

Looking down at the final 40 footer of Dipper canyon

Eric Parker about to escape the narrow canyon

Weeks later another unexpected call came that immediately sparked a rush of adrenaline through my body when I heard that the Salem area, just south of Portland, Oregon was flooding and Abiqua Falls, the notorious beast that shattered Tyler Bradt’s back and punctured Jessie Coombs’ lung, was at prime flows. For years now I have stared at photos and imagined myself paddling over the lip of this nearly 100 foot tall waterfall. Finally, the opportunity was put in my lap and I had a chance to reach a goal that I have been dreaming about for years. Todd, Olin, Parker and I drove through the night, arriving to our destination at 5:00a.m. After a couple hour power nap we woke up and drove to Silver Falls State Park just outside of Salem, OR. Our team’s hopes of running Upper North Falls was shattered by at least four logs at the lip and bottom of the water fall. But our excitement was still high as the creek was at full-on flood stage. Next on the list, we drove straight to Abiqua Falls. The second I saw the drop I knew that my long-awaited goal of running it was going to be full-filled. Todd and I geared up and lowered our boats to the lip as Rush Sturges, Matt Baker and Jed Weingarten set up for photos and video, and Ben Marr, Erik Johnson and Eric Parker headed to the bottom to set safety. 

The next thing I know, I’m peeling out of the eddy above the falls, looking at the biggest horizon line I’ve ever seen and falling, falling, falling until my body takes one of the biggest hits of my life. Skirt and body intact, I hand rolled up and paddled to the shore to take in the peace and beauty of the moment and enjoy the massive rush of adrenaline flooding my veins.

A few minutes later my brother Todd rolled over the lip with what appeared to be a near perfect line until he began to rotate “over the bars,” landing on his head. After a whole twenty seconds of down time, he finally popped up about forty feet from the bottom of the falls. After regaining his breath and overcoming a bit of shock, we sat down and embraced one of the most powerful moments two brothers could ever share.

Eric Parker captures Todd freefalling nearly 100ft.

Check out my edit of Abiqua Falls and other shenanigans in the Gorge--

Here’s Rush’s epic video of the day--

The very next weekend we were back in the Gorge and hiking up to the now well known Eagle Creek. Eric, Olin, Austin Rathman and I made our way to the top of Punchbowl Falls- a sweet thirty-footer with a unique lead-in. Following Eric and Olin down, I attempted to switch it up a bit and through a free-wheel off of the lip. As I rolled over the lip I planted my paddle and snapped my hips, throwing my boat a full rotation around me to land up-right but painfully flat. Just below Punchbowl Falls was one of my favorite drops in the world- Metlako Falls. My fourth time running the perfect 85 footer I had the same classic line as usual, landing softly in the pool below. Just after me came Olin and Parker, both having sick lines and big smiles on their faces. Check out some more great photos by Todd Wells!

Eric Parker lining it up

Olin setting up for the plug

Austin Rathman goin' for the boof-stomp

My fourth wild ride over Metlako Falls

The surreal pool below Metlako

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the photos and videos!

Keep it safe out there,

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Skookumchuck Narrows

I woke up Saturday morning to my phone ringing and a groggy ten second conversation. “We’re going to Skook, I’ll pick you up in a half hour,” said a voice that I couldn’t quite put a face to. I knew it had to be one of the young local Bellingham paddlers and without thinking replied, “I’m in, see you in thirty.” Impulse decisions have always led to the most exciting adventures of my life and I knew this weekend was going to be one to remember. On Friday, my plans to fly to the Homathko River fell through and I was just waiting for an adventure of some kind to fall into my lap.
Before I knew it I was driving through British Columbia on my way to the Skookumchuck Narrows, or more commonly known as “Skook.” Skook forms the entrance of the Sechelt Inlet on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast in Canada. As the tide changes, billions of gallons of water flow out of the inlet and are forced through the narrows creating the Sechelt Rapids. At peak flows these giant rapids create the infamous Skookumchuck wave. The wave fluctuates from a small rolling wave into a giant ten foot standing wave with a huge foam pile in just a matter of minutes; a dream come true for freestyle kayakers. The crew of five young Bellingham boaters consisting of Todd Wells, Eric Parker, Olin Wimberg, Ben Dann and myself motivated like I’ve never seen before. As the sun was setting we arrived at the campground next to Skook and recognized the familiar vans of the World Class Academy (WCA); a traveling high school focused on character, academics, and kayaking. All five of us attended the school at one time or another and it was great to see some of my former teachers and classmates continuing to live the dream. After a good night sleep we were all awoken in classic WCA fashion with cowboy coffee, cereal and leftovers. We were on the road by seven a.m. to catch the peak flows as the wave only forms for a few hours a day. The sunrise over Skook was one of the most beautiful I’ve seen in months. The fog and low lying clouds rose and a brilliant blue sky appeared just as the wave began to shape into full form. It was obvious that the WCA students and teachers had been shredding Skook for over a week as I got to witness some of the biggest tricks I’ve ever seen in person. Even if it was just for a day, we had one of the best WCA reunions ever.
Unfortunately school and other obligations forced us to leave after just one morning of amazing surfing. It was great to finally get back on a big wave after not surfing anything comparable since I was in Uganda with World Class last year. I can’t wait to uncover more of British Columbia’s whitewater gems and keep checking in for an update on our next mission North!
Here's a few pictures from our weekend at Skookumchuck. Thanks to Eric Parker and Todd Wells for the photos!

7:00 a.m. fog over Skook

Todd shreds the classic orange Ultrafuge with friends

I couldn't ask for a better wave so close to home!

From left to right: Myself, Eric Parker, Olin Wimberg, Ben Kinsella, Todd Wells

For more photos from our trip, check out my online slideshow here-

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Lewis River Waterfalls

The summer of 2011 has treated both coasts to epic storms and unheard of amounts of water. The Pacific Northwest hasn’t experienced any dramatic flooding, but any local paddler knows that it has been a great year for boating. My favorite local runs including the White Salmon, Cispus, and Lewis River have all kept stable flows late into the summer and still have healthy amounts of water. 

The highlight of my summer has undoubtedly been the significant amount of time I’ve been able to spend in the Lewis River drainage, just forty-five minutes from my home town of Trout Lake, Washington. The Lewis River has three notable drops known as Upper, Middle and Lower Falls. Upper and Lower Falls are both very technical and consequential, and of course extremely fun. Upper Falls consists of a low volume thirty foot waterfall that lands perpendicular to the main flow of the river, which immediately drops another 25-30 feet into a large, boily pool. In order to have a successful ride on this intensely fun set of waterfalls, you must nail a perfectly timed and precisely placed stroke off of the first waterfall, landing either straight with hopes of not hitting the large rock wall directly after the landing zone, or turning ninety degrees in mid air and upon impact, be ready to take another well placed and timed stroke off of the next waterfall. 

Over the course of the summer, I’ve had two successful attempts out of three. My first run of the year ended with me swimming into the undercut cave on the left side of the falls and holding on to a slippery rock wall until my brother Todd Wells paddled under the curtain of the adjacent sixty foot waterfall to pull me out. My first attempt wasn’t a huge confidence booster, but it made sticking it the next two times that much better. A short paddle down stream is Middle Falls, a simple but fun fifty foot slide that is easily runnable in a kayak, inner tube, on your butt, or in any other craft you can think of. 

Just around the corner lies the popular Lower Falls. Lower Falls is a fun forty foot drop with a three foot lead in ledge. Lower Falls is much less consequential that Upper Falls, but has a cave on the left side that is not a friendly place to be. With a little practice running waterfalls this size, it is relatively easy take a powerful stroke at the top of the drop and launch yourself and your kayak away from the notorious cave and land softly in the boils below. If you’re ever in the area and need a cool place to camp, hike, bike, swim, cliff jump, pick huckle berries and mushrooms and hang out in the beautiful old growth forests, I highly recommend you stop at the Lewis River, even if you don’t feel like running any of the falls!

Well enough said in writing, now check out this video that my brother Todd and I made of our adventures on the Lewis River this summer. Enjoy!

Brendan Wells

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Life in Uganda

My image of Uganda at the time was a simple sketch with no story behind it. I knew only of what friends had told me of the country and the little footage I’ve seen in recent kayak videos. I believed that I had grown quite accustomed to African life after spending a month in Zambia. I thought that I had already met the friendliest Africans, seen the most amazing terrain on the continent and had the most unforgettable high school experience. But I had yet to step foot onto the soil and into the culture of Uganda.

Anxiety in our group of nine students, four teachers and one intern was building. The long hours spent in the depths of Zambezi River Gorge would surely be missed, but it was time for a change of scenery. Within a couple days we would be navigating our kayaks through the braided channels of the White Nile River, Uganda.
The second quarter of our African semester would take us on a journey from Livingstone, Zambia to Bujagali Falls, Uganda. As it goes in Africa, we experienced many of the normal and expected travel interruptions. This included: One police ticket (two hour delay), one lost trailer tire (45 minute delay), traffic in Lusaka (30 minute delay plus one angry Zambian who stopped and got out of his car to yell at us for our driving), and finally, one missed flight to Uganda.
And of course, the spare had a giant hole in it...
After many long hours in the Lusaka Airport, the group bunked in a hostel and awoke the next morningto Ethiopian airlines gladly excepting our fourteen kayaks, kayakers and gear. After a day of flying from Lusaka to Ethiopia and then to Rwanda, we finally made it (without any of our gear) to Entebbe, Uganda.
From the Entebbe airport we drove three hours up and down the rolling hills of dense jungle spotted with sugar cane and banana plantations. We finally made it to Bujagali falls and got to sleep the rest of the day in beds, the perfect cure for two long days of traveling. After our well needed rest day, we rallied for our first day on the Nile River. The only thing in common between the Nile and the Zambezi rivers is volume, and both have lots of it.
Sunrise on the White Nile
The Nile is an enormous river, stretching a mile wide in spots. The many braided channels create lots of different lines to choose from as well as the most beautiful small islands in the world. The warm blue water of the Nile gives life to the already lush hills of Uganda. The banks are covered in corn and sugar cane fields and small villages are spotted along the shores. Small dugout fishing boats hang out in the eddies and flat water sections between the turbulent rapids. Our first day was spent on the “silver back” section containing Bujagali Falls, Silverback, 50/50, The Hump, Ugly Sisters and Blade Runner.
"The Hump"
Everyone was more than happy to only walk a few hundred meters to the sandy put in, opposed to the thirty to forty minute hikes in and out of the Zambezi River gorge. The next day we drove down river to “Superhole”, a fun park and play feature. After a few days of classes, mellow laps down the Silverback section and trips to Superhole, we geared up for the forty kilometer paddle down to our next destination, the “Hairy Lemon." Five hours later we got our first look at the long awaited wave of the White Nile known as “Nile Special."
On our way down, we took a few side trips and got to paddle some of the best rapids on the Nile River. Kalagala falls stood out to me, mostly because it reminded me of my forgotten creek runs back home. Kalagala is about a ten foot drop, the top half is a sliding tongue that launches boat and boater five feet off the end into the turbulent pool below.
After a few surfs on Nile Special we paddled down a few hundred meters and arrived at the sandy beach of the Hairy Lemon. The Hairy Lemon is an island about the size of a football field stuck in the middle of the Nile River.
On the Lemon sits a few bungalows and the small dining room. Solar power energizes the two coolers to keep the soda and beer cold, but other than that we were completely disconnected from civilization. This is where I would spend possibly the three most enjoyable weeks of my life.
Looking at the dining area on the Hairy Lemon
The schedule was pretty much the same for the next three weeks; wake up for morning workout/paddle session at seven, breakfast at eight, classes until lunch at noon, study hall for an hour, and finally three plus hours of surfing Nile Special and Club wave.
The Special
After a few days of practicing the rope tow to get on Nile Special, I finally mastered the technique. With the new dam being constructed on the Silverback section, water levels were consistently lower and Special was constantly changing. At times it would turn into a fast green wave with a big pile, but other times it was green and very difficult to land any tricks.
Our last three days on the Hairy Lemon, World Class Kayak Academy competed in the Nile River Festival freestyle competition. Prelims were held in the morning on Club Wave and finals on Nile Special. The freestyle competition was the most unique and ultimately the most fun competition that I’ve participated in.
Unlike most traditional competitions, this one was scored on the biggest three tricks you could throw. A heat of nine paddlers took turns throwing the biggest and most complex moves they could in a time period of forty five minutes. Out of forty competitors, the highest scoring ten advanced to the finals. Although the water levels were completely cooperating for the competition, Nile Special still gave some huge bounces. World Class Kayak Academy made a name for the school with Quinton Barnett placing 2nd in the men’s finals, Jason Craig placing 4th, Peter Thompson taking 5th and KileyEversole placed 2nd in the women’s finals.
The next morning the group woke up to another beautiful day in Uganda and headed back to Bujagali Falls. The following day we spent our last day kayaking in Africa running Itunda Falls, a long, complex drop with four massive holes. After watching our guide Timmy Flowers show us the line down, six of us hiked up and made our way down the first couple of warm up rapids. We eddied out above the first significant drop and Timmy went over the line again. Peel out into the current, punch the center of the first drop, clip the left edge of the “Pencil Sharpener,” paddle hard to the right side of the massive hole dubbed “The Cuban,” drive again hard right to avoid “The Ashtray,” and finally, paddle your ass off to miss “The Bad Spot.”
Finding my way around "The Cuban"
Everyone made it safely to the bottom pool to finish out our last day kayaking on the White Nile River. The following day we drove three hours to Sipi Falls to finish our last day of finals and enjoy a well needed day off.
Sipi Falls
As I’m writing this, I’m sitting in a Delica mini bus headed for Jinja. It’s been a struggle to concentrate on writing this because I’m surrounded by beautiful hills out both windows. I still can’t grasp the fact that this four month long adventure is coming to an end. Africa is undoubtedly my favorite overseas destination I’ve traveled to and is top on my list of places to come back to in the future.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Adventures in Zambia

Here I am writing the first update on my adventures in Africa at the Jollyboy’s Backpackers Camp in Livingstone, Zambia.

It has been consistently above 100 degrees here the last couple weeks, but luckily we are well equipped with a small pool and cold showers. World Class Kayak Academy, consisting of nine students, four teachers and one intern flew into Johannesburg, South Africa just three weeks ago. After spending one night in Johannesburg and recuperating from the fifteen hour flight, half the group flew another two hours north to Livingstone, Zambia, where we would be staying for the next four weeks.

Loading up bags to drive to Livingstone

While waiting for the second half of the group to arrive, I spent two relaxing days sitting by the pool enjoying the hot African sun and thinking little about school and lots about the upcoming Zambezi River Gorge.

Victoria Falls or Mosi-oa-Tunya

With downtown about a ten minute walk from our camp, I spent lots of time cruising the markets, hanging out with the locals and getting to know Livingstone.

After two days of hanging out at Jollyboys camp, the second half of the group arrived, and it was time for our first run down the Zambezi River.

Looking down at rapid #2 and #3

The section of river that we would be paddling consists of twenty five rapids located just below the famous Mosi-oa-Tunya or Victoria Falls. The first day the group paddled rapids 1-10, a section containing lots of fun waves, a big boof and the notorious rapid #9 that got lots of looks but left everyone walking around.

The epic daily hike in and out of the gorge

The next day we found our way down rapids 7-14 enjoying around 20,000cfs of water pumping through the gorge and a beautiful wave at rapid number twelve that we would spend the majority of our time on.

The drive to the put-in

The next few days we studied and paddled various sections of the Zambezi River getting accustomed with the huge volume and powerful river. With water levels a few inches lower than the beginning of our trip, a line slowly started to appear through rapid number nine. For days the massive drop got lots of looks until my Spanish teacher, Orion Chapman finally decided to give ‘er. After watching Orion and Jason Craig both style their way through the two part drop, I hopped in my Agent and gave it a go. Finding my line down the narrow tongue through the first hole on river right, I sprinted to the left shore to avoid the man eating whole in the center and stay away from the body breaking rocks on the right side.

Looking into the depths of the Zambezi

As water levels slowly lowered, rapid twelve B turned into a beautiful river wide wave/hole. The left shoulder, if you can get there, is adynamic wave that constantly changes shape. The wave will flatten out for a few seconds, putting you on the very top of the pile, then crashes down giving you huge boost of speed and a couple huge bounces setting you up to throw massive air screws, pan-ams and huge blunts.

Jason Craig, doing what he does best on twelve B.

Hiking down to paddle rapids 1-10, the group decided to take a detour and check out the minus rapids. The minus rapids are literally right at the bottom of the magnificent Mosi-oa-Tunya or Victoria Falls.

A taste of the notorious minus rapids

After twenty minutes of scouting the two "minus rapids" my Spanish teacher Orion Chapman decided to fire them up. Making his way down the lead in rapid, he got pushed a little farther right than he was hoping and ended up going super deep in the massive river right pour-over.

Orion, finding his way down minus one

No one is exactly sure what happened from here but we think that he hit his head somewhere on the bottom of the river. Dazed and confused, Orion bobbed down the second rapid, flipped in one of the massive holes and sub-consciously pulled his skirt and swam the rest of the second rapid. Safety boaters picked up him and his boat and brought him to shore. With blood gushing down his face and obviously concussed, we carried him back out of the gorge and off to a hospital. The doctors at the local hospital checked him out and he was OK, with only a minor concussion and a black eye.

Looking up at the gorge that forms Mosi-oa-Tunya or Victoria Falls

After our little wake up call to safety, the Zambezi kept the rest of the group safe for our last two weeks in Zambia and everyone enjoyed our daily surf sessions on twelve B. As our stay in Zambia came to an end, everyone was anxious to paddle the massive waves and drops of the White Nile River. Before we knew it we were on our way to the Lusaka airport, soon to depart to our next adventure in Uganda.

The group hanging out in a local village

Elephants X-ing

Eating lunch at a local village

A Baboon and her baby