Meet the Whitewater Athlete of the Year

Good times and glory on the Main Payette

Our 2011 Whitewater Athlete of the Year. Photo by Mike Leeds.
Our 2011 Whitewater Athlete of the Year. Photo by Mike Leeds.

We don't know this guy. Neither does Mike Leeds, though the Idaho photographer has noticed him floating the Main Payette on an innertube every July. 2011 however, was the year this bodacious dude decided to step up to the big time. "When we see punters float by Banks, and the flow is just right at Go-Left rapid, we'll head downstream to shoot," Leeds says. "There's a giant slow-moving pool that feeds unsuspecting boaters directly into a series of waves, down the tongue, and into a burly hole that dishes out a lot of beatdowns."

The second Leeds saw Johnny Tube at the put in with his brand new Angler Bay Airhead setup he knew it was showtime. But true whitewater talent always floats to the top. "It was his lucky day—he tucked in the paddles at the top and just started drifting down the rapid toward the hole and only caught a piece of it. This photo was taken just moments after.
"This year I will hopefully get photos of him getting destroyed."

— Whitewater Athlete of the Year, from the 2012 issue of C&K Whitewater. See the Banks carnage highlight reel at canoekayak.com