Ken Whiting’s got a busy life. Before spending a month in Chile–and after spending days in the water while filming his latest instructional video, Playboating with Ken Whiting
(www.playboat.com)–he and a group of friends drove to New Brunswick’s Bay of Fundy to paddle Reversing Falls, a natural phenomenon caused by the interaction of the bay’s huge tides with the Saint John River. Ken wrote about it in Whitewater Paddling, and found the time to answer some questions about boating (and styling) in tidal rapids.
C&K: It took you guys 16 hours to road-trip there. How many hours would you drive straight through for a place as sweet as Reversing Falls?
KW: I’ve heard it said that the journey is as much fun as the end goal. Whoever said that hasn’t driven across the prairies, or through Montreal during rush hour. The trip from Ottawa to Reversing Falls was long, but it was worth every minute. How far would I drive with a group of friends to get to an epic series of play waves? I think a better question might be where wouldn’t I drive under those circumstances.
C&K: It looks like there are some major hydraulics in there. Is there anything that resembles a hole, or is it all big waves?
KW: It was truly amazing how much the ‘Falls’ changed over the course of a few hours. At one point, the ‘Greasy Chicken’ was a massive, green, surf wave, but shortly thereafter, it turned into a powerful and violent hole that rivaled any of the Ottawa’s biggest. Not long after that, another hole formed behind the Greasy Chicken that pummeled each of us in turn. If you’re not a big hole surfer before going to Reversing Falls, you soon will be!
C&K: Anybody swim?
KW: Unfortunately, the river gods were nice and didn’t claim a swimmer during our trip, although we were all concerned about having our skirts blown off. I was lucky enough to have an IR Overthruster, which provided a huge confidence boost in the big stuff. Would a swim in those whirlpools ever suck…
C&K: Who tore it up the most?
KW: Jay, Ty, and Brendan all ripped on the wave, but Tyler was hucking the biggest back flips off the third tower at the local pool.
C&K: Were you guys a little nervous knowing Scott Lindgren was there filming for Burning Time?
Check out video clips from Ken Whiting’s Liquid Skills and Playboating, and from Scott Lindgren’s Burning Time here.
KW: I don’t know if any of us were nervous because we’ve spent a lot of time in front of the camera. More than anything, it helped get us pumped and ready to go at 7:30 a.m. for our early-morning shoots.
C&K: Was paddling these tidal rapids any different than an actual river?
KW: Reversing Falls really wasn’t that much different than paddling in a river, although the water was moving a bit faster.
C&K: Where would this rate on your list of favorite places?
KW: I would have to put Reversing Falls on the top ten list of paddling destinations. Not only was the paddling great, but it was also such a neat, urban paddling scene. It’s one of those places that you’ll get to, and regardless of how much video footage you’ve seen beforehand, you’ll still be surprised by the location. I would put it on my list somewhere between Lachine Rapids and the Gauley.
C&K: Here’s the most important question that all of us here at the office really want to know about–how do you guys keep your shades on and look so cool?
KW: Funny that you ask. I’ve been working on a new instructional video…
To read more on Reversing Falls and other awesome tales of whitewater triumph, visit your local newsstand or paddle shop. Or, order a copy of Whitewater Paddlingonline, or by calling (800) MY-CANOE, ext. 114.