The Guidebook

To visit the LiquidLore Guidebook, click right here. It's the starting point for all kinds of whitewater beta and the main reason this site exists - be sure to check it out.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Ottawa Double Header

From the desk of Philip Kompass - The mighty Swine and Rideau Falls

The city of Ottawa, Canada’s national Capital, is really an excellent place to be a kayaker. There are very very few places – even fewer major metropolitan cities – that offer such an abundance of urban whitewater. While Ottawa’s playboating is pretty well known, outside of the Ottawa paddling community not many people know that the town itself offers up some of the best “downtown” waterfalling of any city in North America.

Most of the year there is negligible flow coming down the Rideau. However, in spring flood and in late fall, when the National Capital Commission begins to drain Dow’s Lake and diverts the flow out of the canal, the Ottawa Doubleheader of Hogsback and Rideau becomes a possibility.

The classic Doubleheader would see the morning start with some warm up laps on Hogsback <-click for beta. Get the shoulders moving, the game face on and stroke tuned up before following the Rideau River 8 km downstream where it fall off the edge of the earth, landing into the Ottawa.

Despite what kayakers spout off at the pub, Rideau Falls falls roughly 35 feet, unless you add in the 6-8 foot drop over the lead in dam. Falling from that height you really want to ensure a pretty steep angle entry. In fact - having recently landed on my head and emerged unscathed - I would argue that the biggest hazard here is a flat landing. Better too steep than too flat.

Go huck your meat.

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Steve sez:

Here's some photos of Ottawa's mighty whitewater - it's wiked fun. Nothing like spanking the Swine when the leaves start to fly. The Hog photos are from an unseasonably warm blast of rain in January 2008 - that's a nice medium flow. That rapid can get way, way higher - imagine no waterfall and holes that would suck birds out of the sky. The Rideau photos are courtesy of Martin Cayouette and the Carleton University Kayak Club. It's a little low in those photos - like Hog's Back, it gets massively high as well. Check out this photo of the falls in the spring when all the ice comes off the river and pours into the Ottawa. Cool stuff.

Check out the new homepage for the LL guide too.

Bob Butler fires up the double at the Hog.

In the midst - the scene at Hogsback.

Big drops in downtown Ottawa.

Taking a moment before taking the plunge.


Damn, again.

1 comment:

Protect the Petawawa said...

Thanks for the swimmin' shot. Ive really been workin on my elementary backstroke. I think you can see the imporvement in techique being demonstrated there.