The fear in my stomach was growing, I swallowed hard, and wondered why I was
here. Last December my wife bought me a Pirouette S for Christmas and I
nearly froze paddling the Puntledge River. Since then I had people teach me
how to roll, Kevin does the C to C and Tim the Sweep so I guess it was natural
for me to do a screw roll. Still it seems to work and I like it. I have used
it when I got my first stern squirt in a playhole and had to roll in
turbulent water. It also worked at Long Beach when I was getting trashed by
I had been working on surfing, both side and front on the Puntledge but now
that river has not a lot of water in it so on to new things.
Running Englishman River Falls wasn't my idea but having only seen a picture
it sounded like a great idea. We would have supper afterwards all the
wives/girlfriends would come take pictures and video, then we would sit
around and tell each other how good we were. I was even going to get hot
dogs which can be a treat when you are on a low cholesterol diet, I mean
these were real hot dogs, no soy or any of that stuff. We are talking pure
Beef by-products. I just need to paddle over the edge to make all this happen.
I guess I could back out but I have done enough of that.
When we paddled the Chemainus,
after I swam in the first canyon,
after my first roll attempt failed,
with my confidence wobbly,
I walked the next rapid.
I had also
walked around the dam at the fish hatchery on the Puntledge because once I
had a problem eddying out and watched my boat go over the dam and stay in
the whitewater for about 10 mins. It seemed like hours to me. So every time
I paddle up to it I watch the others run it and I would get out.
So now I do some deep breathing exercises and focus on the chute. This
waterfall is only about 20 feet high, I had practised off a bridge on Comox
Lake that was 13 feet high and that was fun.
I can't hear anything and see only the edge, I paddle up with determination,
too late to turn back now.
Lean way back and then suddenly I am in darkness.
On the video my stern squirts out of the water and I am upside down, all I
know is that I need to roll.
When I am up my hearing returns and I hear myself scream like a lunatic.
I paddle over to a spot where I can watch my partners come over, they all do
it with more style than me.
I wasn't so scared on my third and last attempt, this time I really powered
over, I still needed to roll up and managed to. So now I get to eat my hot dogs.
Sitting down after supper playing with my six year old daughter I am
laughing and having fun and wonder what do we do to top this.