Spending the last four weeks in Chile as a student at World Class Kayak Academy has become one of my better life experiences. Aside from being able to kayak amazing rivers every day, I’m studying in one of the most beautiful and culturally rich areas of the world.
As a student at WCKA my day usually starts off with an hour long work out at 7:00 A.M. Shortly after workout the team of ten students and four teachers sit down to a beautiful spread of traditional Chilean breakfast prepared by our local cooks, Israel and Estrella. After breakfast we prepare for our first of five one hour classes. In the first few days sitting down to a class of five students seemed awkward, but within the first hour of class I grew to appreciate the small and interactive classes. At noon we take an hour break from class for lunch then finish the last two periods of the day. As soon as all of our classes are finished we load our gear and boats into our seventeen passenger van and its accompanying trailer and drive to the put-in of whatever river we happen to be paddling that day. At the put in we gear up, choose a buddy for the day, and talk about safety precautions and communication on the river. After a day on the river we return to our camp for a hearty dinner where we discuss the day and plans for the next week. Finally, before going to sleep, we each spend what free time we have finishing our homework and preparing for the next day.
Below the Andes on one of our days off
So far our crew has paddled on the Rio Maipo, the Siete Tazas section of the Rio Claro, the Rio Fuy, and lots of other creeks and rivers in the Pucon area. All the rivers we’ve been on have consisted of quality whitewater, but my favorite run of the trip has to be the Upper Palguin. As many paddlers can attest to the Upper Palguin has some of the best class IV whitewater in all of Chile. In particular the third drop, a smooth 20 foot waterfall stood out as one of my favorite drops of the trip. Once we got to know it well we were throwing freewheels, pistol-flips, and macho-moves off this clean waterfall.
Head Coach Ben Kinsella and myself below the Siete Tazas
Maestro Capo boofing the first drop of the Upper Palguin
Olin Winberg and myself at the take out of the Upper Palguin: Photo by Erik Parker
Another highlight of my trip to Chile was taking the day off from school and paddling the Middle Palguin with some sick Pucon paddlers. Candace Sanders snapped some sick photos of me falling off this 70ft. beauty of
a clean waterfall.
Sliding in above the Middle Palguin
Falling off the 70 footer
We’re now halfway through our Chile segment of the spring semester here at WCKA, and we still have the rest of the Chile quarter and West Coast of the U.S. tour to look forward to.
For the multi part blog update on WCKA’s Chile trip check out http://toddwellswhitewater.blogspot.com/