2015-11-27 2015 World R6 Rafting Championships
We have arrived! After some lengthy travels for many of us, we are almost all assembled at the venue for the 2015 World Rafting Championships in West Java, Indonesia. Still to arrive are Bill (and most of our paddles), and Jenny our team nurse. All being well, we will see them tomorrow more...
2015-06-07 2015 Canadian R4 Rafting Championships
We again headed over to the Rouge river and New World rafting for a very well organised race. The first day was certainly busy, with the first 3 events all happening in one run down the river. The field was the biggest seen in recent years more...
2014-10-19 2014 World R4 Rafting Championships
On Oct 8th, 2014 I started my journey to the south, escaping the soon to be cold of the north yet again. This time however for a much better reason then usual. Myself and a few other Canadian boys were elected to be the R4 national Canadian team in summer of 2013. We trained hard up 'til the date of departure more...
2013-11-08 2013 World R6 Rafting Championships
We are all now in Rotorua, New Zealand, ready to get some training in for the upcoming World Rafting Championships. The team managed to converge on Okere Falls today for a few familiarisation runs down the Kaituna river. For some of us, it was the first time down, and it really is as good as everyone says! more...
2013-06-10 2013 Canadian R4 Rafting Championships
The first day of the Canadian rafting championships saw some great racing from the ladies teams. The Petawawa river was the venue for the sprint course, down Lovers and Catwalk rapids. Water levels were good, and provided challenging conditions for all the entrants. more...
2012-09-21 2012 Pan-American R6 Rafting Championships
At the end of September we made our way to Quebec to compete in our first international rafting event; the World Cup/Pan-American Championships. This event was not only our first international rafting competition but it would also act as the Canadian Championships, deciding which team would represent Canada at the 2013 World Rafting Championships in New Zealand. more...
2011-06-04 2011 Canadian R4 Rafting Championships
Fresh from our recent success at Hell or High Water 2011, we were determined to do well at the Canadian championships, our aim being to win and thereby qualify for the 2012 R4 worlds. On arriving at the Jaques-Cartier river north of Quebec city we found a quality run of fairly continuous grade 4 water on the Tewkesbury section. more...
2011-05-07 Hell or High Water 2011
The annual Hell or High Water festival is fast becoming an established Ottawa valley boaters favourite. After having had such a great time at last year's event; Hell or High Water 2010, we put in some training in the week leading up to the race - more...
2010-09-02 2010 Canadian R6 Rafting Championships
This is it! After countless early mornings training hard we were on our way. We had arrived in the Saguenay region of Quebec the previous night after a long drive from the Ottawa. Keen to hit the rivers and get some practice in before our first race against the Qubec teams, we drove up to St Stanislas and the Mistassibi. It did not dissapoint - more...
2010-06-08 The Rouge - Seven Sisters
Fresh from our successful run of the Kipawa, we set our sights on the series of drops on the Rouge river in Quebec. As soon as we could get a team together, a check of the levels confirmed that the waterfalls known as the Seven Sisters were all good to go. This time we bought some kayakers with us to run safety cover. more...
2010-05-07 The Kipawa
After having taken delivery of our brand new raft (thanks SOTAR!), we were keen to get out and run some rivers. The only problem - the driest spring and summer in living memory! With our plans for adventures further afield scuppered, we settled upon a low water Kipawa trip. more...
2010-05-01 Hell or High Water 2010
A fresh Mayday weekend in the Ottawa valley - what better opportunity to get out for the first run of the season? We wrapped up warm and headed to the superb Hell or High Water event. This event usually sees the Petawawa river in full spring flow, and this year was no exception. more...
2014 World R4 Rafting Championships
2014-10-19 Team Canada in Brazil
On Oct 8th, 2014 I started my journey to the south, escaping the soon to be cold of the north yet again. This time however for a much better reason then usual. Myself and a few other Canadian boys were elected to be the R4 national Canadian team in summer of 2013. We trained hard up 'til the date of departure with a few last minute team member changes happening in the final months before the competition. My flight landed in the Foz du Iguacu airport late into the evening and I was pleased to see someone was waiting for me. I arrived a few days earlier then the rest of the team due to some flight arrangements.
The city of Foz du Iguacu is a lovely place filled with nice people, I traveled around the markets enjoying myself and getting the locations of places we needed to know for shuttles and meetings. The organization of the event went flawlessly for the first half of the event from what I was told. When it was our turn to head up to the canals we were all giddy like children excited to play with a new toy. For most of our team this was our first world championship and we had never paddled on a man made course before.
The first couple days of training went great with the second half being a little more conservative. There was a drought happening in Brazil and we were starting to feel the effects. We were not allowed to have our final training of the head to head and this caused a bit of an uproar amongst some of the other teams. For us, we understood that the organizers were not able to control the weather. And that complaining about not having enough water to raft over while there were some places in Brazil not having enough drinking water was completely selfish.
We took the rest of the bad news as it came out with the same mentality while others began to become increasingly frustrated and disappointed in the organization of the IRF. The sprint went well and we placed 8th out 12 which we felt pretty great about. In the head to head which was the next event, the water conservation began and we had to decrease our intervals between the races in a round to 1 minute. Columbia got in front of us off the first drop and we were not able to take the lead back eliminating us after the first round. When the third event happened, the slalom, the water levels were so low that we were only able to do one run that day at an interval of about one minute again. We were nailing our lines until we got caught low on an eddy line while still coming out of an upstream gate causing confusion amongst us and pushing us into a wall and quickly adding precious seconds onto our time. Adding to that that we missed the gate, our first run at slalom could have been better. The total time including the 50 second penalty was 4:23. That night there was much discussion about the position of the downriver. Because there was only one slalom run and the possibility of the second happening after the downriver the points for slalom would not be counted and just the head to head and spring would decide the order for the down river. This caused a bit of an argument from some of the more vocal argumentive teams about how that is unfair and how it should basically be a long sprint styled race with 30 second intervals between each team.
It went to a vote.
It then went to a coin toss!
It was almost as intense as the rafting, my heart beating for the drum of the room was silent as the coin flipped through the air.
Heads, the complaining parties won and the death of the down river was complete.
But our spirits were still because we were having a great time. Although our ranking was lower then we had wished we were still heading the most beautiful section of waterfalls and enjoying it with both new and old friends.
I was interviewed briefly at the bottom of the falls before our start to the race, rocking a most beautifully 60s 'stache. It was all almost surreal, the jet boat ride up the river, the cameras, the beautiful waterfalls and women teams. No matter the outcome, I was having a wonderful time.
When the whistle blew we all gave all we had and left it all on the river. Unfortunately, we came last in that event but it still took everything we had. We disappointed about the results and were happy to hear we can end on a better note because there was enough water to have the second heat of slalom.
Our plan was to repeat our first run minus the mistake. And we did exactly that. We felt so great after completing the course with only one or two small errors that it had erased the loss of the down river and had given us a small amount of redemption in our own eyes.
The closing ceremony was great and the entertainment wonderful. Most of the other teams were very wonderful people who share the same love for the water and sport as us. We learned a lot about what we did wrong and the few very happy things we did right.
Looking up at those people on the podium with their countries flags and the giant smiles awoke something inside that has me feeling like pushing every training day a little further because this amazing experience has taught me it takes a lot to be on top.
Article by Jacob Suchorab.
Paddlers; Jon Booren, Jake Suchorab, Drew Sellen, Matt Hardy.