Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ottawa River Update, Fall 2009

Eric Parker, Isaac Holden and Olin Wimberg in a group surf on Left Side Wave and Babyface

Bon Jour! Welcome to Ontario, home of large cows, poutine, and Maple forests. We arrived here in Canada on the afternoon of August 28, just in time to catch our first surfs on the at McCoy Chute where Corner Wave, Phil’s Hole and Baby face are all located. For many kids and teachers the Ottawa has been a new river on the list. It holds some of the world’s best high volume playboating and river running in the spring, but has top notch kayaking year round. One of the greatest things about the Ottawa is its fantastic temperature. It feels more like a bathtub than a river most days and provides for some good non-dry top boating.

Cody Wasuta and Hudson Moe, Chemistry Lab

To get to McCoy’s was about a 15-minute drive from our resort at Wilderness Tours. We parked below the rapid and paddled across a football sized area of flatwater to get to the waves. Half way down the main rapid, McCoy’s, is a large surging, crashing, hydraulic named Phil’s Hole. Many daring souls paddled hard to punch through. A few tried to surf it only to get a ride comparing to one that a bull rider gets in a rodeo. Lower down is Corner wave which is a medium sized wave with a large eddy that can be tricky to catch the longer and more tired you get. Corner Wave provides a great area for many kids to start learning tricks or sharpen up existing skills.

Olin Wimberg setting up on Cornerwave

Erik Johnson on Cornerwave, Ottawa River

At the run out of the McCoy’s Babyface, the last wave, forms. It is the mellowest of the waves and is great for learning how to surf and fundamentals of playboating. The team has been paddling especially well together so far with excessive screaming and yelling to cheer on each other (the locals may think we are crazy). Everyone took full advantage of our weeklong stay here and what the Ottawa has to offer. Off the water at WT we partook in many extracurricular activities such as pool, evening hot tubs, boxing and the first ever World Class Olympics. We had several events including basketball, soccer, and the boating leg is still to be held. Everyone won at least one event so far and has brought a new competitive edge to the group.

Emily and Head Coach Ben Kinsella

Staying at Wilderness tours is more of a resort than anything. We had the luxury of beds for everyone and five star meals three times a day. Breakfast includes pancakes, French toast and assorted cereals while lunch was usually burgers and brats. Finally dinner was between the favorites of juicy steaks and potato’s or spinach stuffed chicken. Reality soon will be upon us, getting into routine of cooking all our own meals for once. We are off to the huge city of MontrĂ©al where we will be surfing Lachine on the Saint Lawrence River. Stay tuned for another article.

Words: Erik Johnson
Photos: Susan Hollingsworth

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