Hanging out at Rapid number 8

I have been getting lots of requests for both a basics and an advanced playboating video since my book came out three years ago. I finally got a month freed up to go somewhere warm with great playboating water and got some great friends together to film the videos. Chris Emerick, Jay Kincaid, Jessie Stone, Clay Wright, and myself left for Africa on New Year’s eve and spent one month filming on the Zambezi and the Nile Rivers. Here is what happened.

I spent New Year’s eve flying from Atlanta to South Africa on South African airlines. It is a 19 hour non-stop flight. Not bad actually. I met Chris at the Johannesburg airport that next day and we spent the night in a hostel called the Ritz (not as fancy as the name suggests) The next day we took a flight from Johannesburg to Livingstone, Zambia, home of Victoria Falls. Jay, Clay, and Jessie rolled in over the next couple of days as I worked some deals with the Zambezi Sun hotel right at the put-in for the five of us to stay for 12 days. What a sweet spot!

A legend in his own time, Clay Wright

The hotel is right at Victoria Falls, literally. We could go out early and swim above the falls, right on the lip. There were several nice swimming spots that weren’t too scary. There is a rainbow made from the mist of the falls that will blow your mind. It starts high above the falls and slowly drops down into the gorge as the sun rises. The entire Zambezi River flows over the lip of the falls into a crack in the earth. The spray from the falls shoots into the far side of the river and creates a waterfall that goes upwards from the strong winds. Below these falls is where the rapids of the Zambezi Gorge start. They have been heavily over rated in difficulty over the years. If you have ever watched Steve Fisher’s Wicked Liquid you would be right to be afraid. The reality is, however, that the river can be run as a solid class IV with a couple of class V’s that can be walked. It isn’t any harder than the Futalafu in Chile.

Flipping the boat upside down on the wave, Starting the Helix at Number 2