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Ottawa 2005

Ottawa River  – Canada – September 2005

The Ottawa in Eastern Canada provides some big, warm, white water action.A bunch of us headed over there at the beginning of September.

Landing in the evening at Toronto airport we phoned our car rental company and they came along and picked us up in the 7-seater minivan we had hired for the week.A 5 hour drive saw us arrive at Riverrun and collapse into the paddler's cottage we had hired.

The Riverrun put in lay about 10 minutes upstream and we jumped on one of the shuttle buses and took the short journey up the road.A flat water paddle in classic Canadian scenery sees you arrive at the top of McCoy's, a rapid filled with a number of play spots, Corner wave, Horseshoe and Baby Face included.We spent hours here ferrying out, surfing, spinning and taking our beatings, Horseshoe was super fast, drop an edge and take your beating, Baby Face was an easier ride and more manageable.

The Ottawa festival was on whilst we were there so we were treated to seeing some of the big names throwing down their moves, including EJ surfing Horseshoe with no blades, making it look easy he moved around and out of the wave without so much as a hair out of place, I guess that's why he is the current world freestyle champion, he's even a nice guy to chat to in the eddy.

2005 freestyle world champion EJ takes on some to tips from the boys

The water is warm as the season draws to a close and is also getting down to its lowest levels reading minus 3 on the gauge above Garberater towards the end of the week.Garberator runs best at about minus 1 meaning we had a tough time of it ferrying over and catching the wave, once on though you were assured of a fast bouncy ride taking lots of effort to stay on before being washed off and washing machined in the swirly stuff behind.

Pushbutton a few hundred yards downstream provided a wave of a size we were more used to, we had to pry H off with a crowbar, the wave suiting her in the ZG.

We paddled downstream back to the riverrun campsite on a couple of occasions, taking on Collesium, the biggest rapid of note, punch the diagonals and deal with the funky stuff or just take your beating.The downside being lots of flat water between the interesting stuff.

A very short walk to the bar and hot tub for a couple of cold ones then hitch a ride back upstream to collect your vehicle.

For a full breakdown of the features try guide by Jim Hargreaves which gives a comprehensive breakdown of the river.

We flew with Canadian Affair from Manchester, paying £298.00 for our flights plus an additional £40.00 for each kayak, they only take a maximum of 5 per flight so you may need to plan a strategy if you were to go mob handed, Liquid Skills hire boats at $60.00 Canadian for the week. The paddlers Cottage and our vehicle were about another £300 but hiring a smaller car would reduce costs greatly as would camping.

Labour day weekend at the beginning of September pretty much marks the close of the season here so its worth checking out if stuff is going to be open, expect warmer temperatures and bigger water earlier in the season, bringing features such as the bus eater into play, the clue is in the name, a monstrous surf wave by all accounts.