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 Justine's Journal

CackleTV Productions


Grade 5 rapids with no spray deck!
Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Imagine running a grade 5 rapid without a spraydeck! That’s what the whitewater canoeists that I just filmed effectively do. I spent the last 3 days kayaking down the Independence and Moose rivers in New York state to film a bunch of talented whitewater paddlers with a single blade! I portaged around most of the grade 4 and all of the grade 5 rapids while they executed perfect lines in highly turbulent and fast flowing water. Former world champion Mark Scriver was voluntarily the probe on most of the hardest rapids and the only open boater to run a 45foot slide with a man-eating hole at the bottom. Martin Talbot also showed nerves of steel, picking a line through ‘Sureform’, a shallow grade 5 rapid described by fellow canoeist Andrew Westwood as a cheese grater! My favourite rapid was Crystal on the Moose river, it’s so beautiful and imposing with a series of ledges forming white wedding cake layers. Mark and Martin were the only ones to run the meaty line on that and I was more than happy filming from the safety of a rock!

I did gain in confidence in my own whitewater skills over the 3 days and on the last day I ran a 13 foot waterfall, and ‘double drop’, which is just as it sounds. I would have liked to have a go in one of the small whitewater canoes, but not on that river!! After the 3 days I have lots of great footage, and some exciting carnage and I’m looking forward to putting it together.

I had loads of help - thanks a lot to Eric for helping me get into position on the river and for carrying my camera in his kayak. Also to Mark Scriver for lending me a liquid logic kayak and a brand new Werner paddle ( sorry about all the scratches!). Thanks to Paul Mason for inviting me along to the weekend, for organising things and forgiving me for not watching his canoe and paddle when he went into rescue mode (he got them both back, fortunately!). Thanks also to Martine Amyot for helping with the filming and to all the other paddlers. Thanks also to Andy and Vanessa for putting me up in Chelsea.



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