Whitewater: Two standup paddlers traverse 225 miles of the Grand Canyon including the major rapids


From Stand Up Paddle Surfing Magazine (Son of the Sea):

Whitewater expert Seth Warren and surf artist Drew Brophy rode standup paddleboards (SUPS) down 225 miles of the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. The previous record was set by Hawaiian Archie Kalepa, who logged 187 miles in 2009.

On May 14, 2011, Brophy and Warren began their 16 day excursion at Lee’s Ferry, Arizona, navigating more than 125 rapids, with 42 major rapids rated between 5 and 10g on the Grand Canyon scale of 1 to 10g. They standup paddleboarded about fourteen miles each day. Their expedition ended at Diamond Creek, Arizona. Adding to the challenge of riding over rapids on stand-up paddleboards was the unusually high river water level. According to experts, the Colorado River was running at its highest level in thirty years.

The most challenging rapids they encountered included the infamous Lava, Hermit, Granite and Crystal Rapids. By day eight of the trip, their time on the river allowed enough experience to become skilled enough to stick it to the end of most of the 6 or 7 class rapids. But any class higher than 7 often landed the paddleboarders into the 42 degree waters. Brophy says, “There’s just no easy button. It’s amazing, the power of that water.”

More whitewater coverage here.

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