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What is Stakeout?

April 07, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

With spring in the air in the UK, and over in eastern Canada the snow finally starting to melt, a very special season is in the air.  Stakeout is a word which you will hear a lot in the next 4-8 weeks from all of your kayaking media outlets.  In light if this fact I thought I would go someway to explaining a little bit about the what, where, when and why of the word.  

So let us begin with the fundamental question of 'What is Stakeout?'.  Stakeout is the name for the time of year when groups of kayakers roam around North Eastern Canada in the province of Ontario and Quebec searching for the biggest surf able river waves in the world, as well big volume rapids and rivers.  These groups roam from area to area 'Staking out' a particular rapid, river or drainage basin, waiting for the warming sun to turn all for the ice and snow into massive volume whitewater.  Now although this model sounds like idyllic road trip around beautiful and often quite remote areas of Canada, it actually can get quite stressful, different crews are operating in different areas and making different discoveries.  Some are stakeouts are more fruitful than others and a wild quantity of time is spent trying to find out what the other options are if the thing which your crew has decided to stakeout proves fruitless.  Weather can further add to the stresses as temperature swings change the rate of snow melt dramatically meaning a particular wave may have a very short window of opportunity of being surf able.  One example I paddle during 2013 was only surf able for one day, if you didn't get it, you missed it!  As if all that wasn't enough to keep you at your wits end the actual paddling you are doing is right out there on the sharp end of what is possible in a big water environment.  The water itself is freezing and often choked with ice making long periods of exposure in the water practically life-threatning.  All of those factors don't deter an ever growing number of paddlers who make the pilgrimage each year to experience the magic of Stakeout.  


Stakeouts have been happening for years and years, but only became really popular after the publication of the online short movie in 2009 which featured paddlers like the now kayak superstar Ben Marr, Patrick Camblin, Joel Kowalski, Max and Dylan Davidson, Thomas Fahrun, Dave Nieuwehenhuis and many others.  Whilst I am not sure exactly who started stakeout, I am excited to get out and roam around this spring in search of some big waves and good times.  Stay tuned for more updates.


Going huge on GladiatorGoing huge on GladiatorHuge air at Gladiator Wave, Ottawa river, Canada, 2013, Photo Jessica Drujiko High Tension HelixHigh Tension HelixGatineau River, Canada, 2014, Photo Chris Thompson Huge Back Pan AmHuge Back Pan AmMini-bus Wave, Ottawa River, 2014, photo Ryan Whetung   
























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