Some may argue that there are right ways and wrong ways to introduce people to whitewater. Being Swiftwater Rescue qualified and a whitewater instructor, I evaluate each individual and give them experiences based on what I think they can handle, and most importantly on what the fun to danger ratio is. My main goal, no matter who it is, is to get them off the river at the end of the session saying “That was so much fun, I want to do it again!”My friend and roommate Crystal is an adventurous, tough chick. I told her about the free rodeo off Quyon Falls in Quebec that Brendan Ginter was running (He had been running free rodeos al summer from different locations in the Ottawa area). She asked me if she could come along and watch, so after work we hopped into the car and drove an hour to the Falls.
Quyon Falls is a little 8-10 foot waterfall off Highway 148 in Quebec between Aylmer and Fort Coulombe. My intention was to run the falls, and then get Crystal in my boat and teach her some rolling and strokes. After watching a number of beginners gleefully hucking over the lip of the falls and some discussion with Brendan, I asked Crystal if she wanted to try it, telling her that the consequences on this drop at this water level were minimal. She had never been in a kayak before, and we decided that we would send her over without a skirt on. The rodeo participants were super helpful and encouraging, and after I assured her that she could do it and that if I thought there were dangers I wouldn’t let her go, she said “Yeah! OK!”
We sent her off the falls three times, with the guys waiting at the bottom to help if needed. Great thanks to Shawn and Grahame especially, and everyone else for their words of encouragement.
My friend got to experience not only kayaking, but one of the reasons why I love the sport so much. The friendship and encouragement that you get from the kayaking community. It was a great experience for her, and she even won a prize at the end!