Great Falls Kayakers

While we were at Great Falls National Park on October 30th, we had a great opportunity to watch some guys practice their kayaking skills.  From the observation platform, we watched as they came over the falls and made their way through the rocks and down the rapids.  Then they got out of the water and carried their kayaks upstream to try it again.

They were either practicing or they were showing off for the 20 or so people on the observation platform!

After they did this for a few times, they tried something different.

When water rushes over a fall it speeds up.  It then crashes into the water below and swirls back up in a “J” shaped flow.  At the tip of the “J” is a place where kayaks can sit without paddling and without going up or down stream.  This is the sweet spot where the kayak below started.

Once in that sweet spot they would rock the kayak backward and forward until the nose would go into the water, similar to what you see in the first two pictures.

Once the nose went under, the kayak would flip.  Just like this next sequence of pictures.


Then the kayak was upside down and they would have to roll the kayak to right it.  Their heads were under water for a few seconds!

It was really cool to watch and to shoot.  But I bet it was really COLD to do.  It looked like the guys had on wet suits.  But their faces and hands were still exposed.

Now remember, this is the last day of October!  That water wasn’t 80 °F.  It was probably closer to 60°F.  I don’t know how they did it!

We don’t even like to get in our pool unless the water is 80°F!  The first time we went in our pool was on Memorial Day at the end of May.  The water was 68°F.  Everybody went in and got wet, but nobody stayed in the water for very long.  It felt like it was freezing!  What did this water feel like to these guys in these kayaks????

For you camera buffs…I took these pictures with a 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.  I really like this lens.  There is plenty of light so that I could freeze the action.