It's fast, challenging, and a rite of passage. It's the Green River in Western North Carolina. Every year crowds gather on the first Saturday each November to watch 150+ whitewater kayakers, each spaced 1 minute apart, lay it all out on a challenging set of rapids on the Green River Narrows. Navigating these rapids slowly is difficult, let alone charging through them while lactic.
This year I put on just before the racers and took out at Gorilla, the crux drop, to snap some photos. I wanted a different perspective from the classic downstream view of the pad, and decided to play around with angles on the river right side of the Monkey. Having a full view of racers coming over Flying Squirrel, through the Notch, over the pad, and through Speed Trap was special. The overhead view seemed to flatten Gorilla a bit, but some shots turned out pretty well!
I've posted an album of 1000+ unedited shots from this perspective on Facebook - it's very likely you'll be in there if you're looking for a photo of your run. I took those shots and decided to put my 13 favorite below. Enjoy!
Carnage happens, and it can happen to anyone. Watching someone flip above Gorilla gets the heart pumping, especially when you're holding a camera and helpless to assist. Luckily some racers came out with bruised egos, but no one was seriously hurt. Here are some of the more dramatic shots above the drop.
And finally, the last picture is my brother. It's pretty nerve-racking to watch the variety of lines through this crux rapid all while hoping your brother smooths it out. Of course he fumbles Flying Squirrel and flips, which is unusual, but he pulled out a solid roll above the Notch and ran Gorilla cleanly. Watching him finally head past Speed Trap at the bottom calmed the nerves.
It was spectacular to finally get the chance to watch this race. Maybe in the future I'll be paddling instead of shooting photos, and someone else can give their commentary on my line. Maybe.
Full race results: Green Race 2015 @ Amongst It
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