2021 RESULTS

aniol ROTY 2021

๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ ANIOL SERRASOLSES

While locked down in Chile, Aniol Serrasolses (ESP) has put in countless hours on the rivers of his new homeland, honing his skills and perfecting lines and drops that have been previously (and still are) labeled as portages, dialing in new moves, and opening up new runs near the Futaleufu. But what sets him apart as Rider of the Year (AGAIN) is what he has done with downriver freestyle. Aniol hasย  consistently redefined what was possible in downriver freestyle, executing tricks that kayakers dreamed of for years. The Lincoln Loop off of a waterfall, Cobra Flip, front flip off a waterfall, the Orbit Flipโ€ฆ then, a few months ago, Aniol stomped a trick that yet again defied what is possible in a kayak: a double kickflip off of a waterfall. Even more impressive is that he didn't just huck it and hope. He stomped it with style and grace - on the first try!

โ†’ Learn more about la Cobra in an interview with the Kayak Boss.

newman ROTY 2021 1

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท NOURIA NEWMAN

Nouria Newman (FRA) once again set the bar to claim her fifth consecutive (!) Rider of the Year title. The pandemic only made Nouria more motivated and more creative. She ticked off Aldeyjarfoss and multi-sport missions in Iceland, pulled off a STOUT day in Norway running both the Ulva Slide and Flemingโ€™s, snuck in laps of Saut du Doubs, and added first descents 20, 21, 22, and 23 to her illustrious resumรฉ, including the long-considered unrunnable Pakidaille, just outside her front door. Oh, and we canโ€™t forget to mention the first and only descent of that โ€œlittleโ€ 100-footer in Ecuador, โ€œLa Cascada de Don Wilo.โ€ But โ€œNou" as she is known, not only styles the rapids she runs. Wherever she boats, she finds a way to embrace the local culture and make new best friends along the way. Maybe it's the French accent, maybe it's the toothbrush in her lifejacket... however she does it, Newman is charging in styleโ€ฆ keeping almost all of us waiting to see what is next and chasing to keep up.

โ†’ Read more about the GOAT in an interview here.

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๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ AVA CHRISTENSEN

18-year old Ava Christensen hails from Charlotte, North Carolina, but this firecracker has spent the last two years with World Class Academy, honing her skills including making- and eating- pie, dancing up a storm, and crushing it in a kayak, whether making the hard lines look easy or twirling around in her XXX. This might be her first Grom of the Year title, but keep your eyes on this one; her reign has only just begun.ย 

โ†’ Get to know more about her paddling background and what motivates her to keep improving in this interview.

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๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ GEORGE SNOOK

If the Kaituna River was a classroom, then George Snook would be at the top of the class. Geo earned his first Grom of the Year title with straight FIRE this year in 2020/2021. The young kiwi managed to sandwich in slalom training with laps of Huka Falls, and Tree Trunk Gorge, freefall on some of New Zealandโ€™s most iconic waterfalls, cobra flips, downriver play, Aratiatia, and more. If youโ€™re trying to get a hold of him, donโ€™t stress; heโ€™s out on the river right now. Please leave a message.

โ†’ Read more about what makes George tick in this interview.

presented by

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ FIRST DESCENT FILER CREEK, CANADA

Team Members:
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Sandy MacEwan
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Ben Marr
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Edward Muggridge

Another stout unrun drainage in the BC Coastal Range, discovered on Google Earth, scouted from a cessna, and pursued for a first descent. But the planning didn't stop there - the logistics for getting into this range can be quite complex, though not for this crew. The only things they wished they hadn't forgotten were simple items like... bear spray.

โ†’ In a curios interview about who packs one or multiple pairs of underwear, we caught up with each of the top 3 expedition teams here.

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Filer Creek First Descent, Canada
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Meta Incognita Mission, Canada
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡จ San Rafael Gorge, Ecuador

presented by

๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ต NEPAL RIVER CONSERVATION TRUST

The Nepal River Conservation Trust (NRCT) is a non-profit organization that was established by a group of concerned river guides who recognized the ecological and cultural damage that was taking place on Nepalโ€™s rivers at an alarming rate. Since its inception in 1995, the NRCT has worked towards conserving Nepalโ€™s Himalayan river system, preserving Nepalโ€™s cultural heritage, and developing an environmentally responsible river tourism industry.

The Mission of the NRCT isย โ€œTo restore, conserve and protect the rivers of Nepal through affirmative action and education, whilst maintaining the cultural integrity of local river side communities.โ€

โ†’ Megh Ale, the founder and president of NRCT answers some questions in an interview here about current affairs in the Nepalese Himalayan Region and the fight to keep the Karnali River dam free.

presented by
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โ€ข WINNERS โ€ข

FIRST
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Alec Voorhees
The Untouchables, USA

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท Nouria Newman
Ulva Slide, Norway

RUNNER UP
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Aniol Serrasolses
Portage Drop, Chile

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท Nouria Newman
Walibi, France

THIRD PLACE
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Alec Voorhees
Coyote Falls, USA

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท Nouria Newman
Belleville, France

presented by
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โ€ข WINNERS โ€ข

FIRST
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท Nouria Newman
Aldeyjarfoss, Iceland

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Galen Volckhausen
First Descent Upper Rattlesnake Falls, USA

RUNNER UP
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Anna Wagner
Outlet Falls, USA

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Santiago Sandoval
Salto del Puma, Chile

THIRD PLACE
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท Nouria Newman
Flemings Drop, Norway

๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Kilian Ivelic
Salto del Puma, Chile

presented by
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โ€ข WINNERS โ€ข

FIRST
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Aniol Serrasolses
- NEW TRICK -
Double Dub

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท Nouria Newman
Silly Flip

RUNNER UP
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Aniol Serrasolses
Back Flip

๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท Nouria Newman
Freewheel

THIRD PLACE
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ George Snook
Cobra Flip

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Beth Morgan
Kick Flip

presented by
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โ€ข WINNERS โ€ข

FIRST
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Ben Marr
Airscrew Combo

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Ottilie Robinson-Shaw
Space Tricky Loop

RUNNER UP
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Dane Jackson
Pistol Flip

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Ottilie Robinson-Shaw
Space Jam

THIRD PLACE
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท Tom Dolle
Airscrew Blunt Pistol

๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Ottilie Robinson-Shaw
C1 Backloop to Frontloop

presented by
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โ€ข WINNERS โ€ข

FIRST
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Galen Volckhausen
Double First Descent in One Day
Upper & Lower Rattlesnake Falls, USA

RUNNER UP
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท Nouria Newman
First Descent
Don Wilo's Falls, Ecuador

THIRD PLACE
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Johnny Chase
Rattlesnake Bite & Paddle Out
Dinkey Creek, USA

presented by
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โ€ข WINNERS โ€ข

Remember:: ALWAYS paddle within your ability and have proper safety setup prior to any feature you are trying to run. Making this highlight reel is not the goal! ๐Ÿคช SHRED SAFELY FRIENDS!ย ๐Ÿ™

FIRST
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Breiner Matiz
Over the Bars
Salto del Puma, Chile

RUNNER UP
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Zack Mutton
Solo Kaituna Swim
Smoky Gorge, New Zealand

THIRD PLACE
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡น Andi Brunner
Indus Beatdown
Rafa's Rapid, Pakistan

presented by

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ DANE JACKSON

Voted GoPro Photo of the Year for a second year running, Dane is constantly testing out creative angles to achieve unique perspectives. This years photo is trying to get barreled while surfing rapid #11 on high water Zambezi.

โ†’ Curious how many GoPro's he has lost this year? Find out, and read interviews with the top 3 finalists:

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Dane Jackson
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Carson Lindsay
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Breiner Matiz

presented by

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ JOHN WEBSTER

Webster began as a staff photographer at a rafting company on the Payette River in Idaho with no whitewater experience, shooting images for the beloved paying "custys". A strong work ethic and an innate passion for his work has propelled him into a career in photography, shooting beautiful images of his home rivers and beyond.

โ†’ In his interview, Webster says that if he weren't a photographer, he would rather be a fighter pilot... or a pressure washer. Read more of the sarcasm from this native Idahoan here.ย 

presented by

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ DAVE WELLS

Dave's winning fairytale shot is what dreams are made of.

โ†’ See what photos were voted as the top photos of the season, and read interviews with the top 5 finalists here:

๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Dave Wells
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ John Webster
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Pedro Astorga
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ Mike Dawson
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Paolo Avila

presented by
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โ€ข WINNERS โ€ข

FIRST
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Aniol Serrasolses
Portage Drop, Chile

RUNNER UP
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ Alec Voorhees
The Untouchables, USA

THIRD PLACE
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Ben Marr
The Minus Rapids, Zambia

presented by
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KWANZA

film by Mike Dawson


"When Olympic kayaker Mike Dawson heard rumors a river the size of the Zambezi hidden in West Africa he set in motion an ambitious plan to travel into the heart of Angola on the adventure of a life time to to attempt the rivers wild rapids. 'Kwanza' is the story of that journey. An odyssey from the highlands of Zambia, through the deserts of Namibia and into the rawness of Angola. Traveling behind the iron layer of bureaucracy, into the aftermath of a 27 year Civil war that raged across the wild Savannah's and onto a river is laden with huge rapids."

Dawson shared in our interview with him that he actually prefers taking photos over film. However he believes it is important to share our stories as kayakers about the places we visit while pursuing our passion.

โ†’ Read the full interview with Dawson and the top 3 finalists here to learn insight into film making and their motivation behind each film. Each film available at the respective links below:

  1. Kwanza: The Drowning Diamond of Angola a film by Mike Dawson
  2. The Tears of Shivaย a film by Mikel Sarasola
  3. This Is Only the Beginning a film by SEND
presented by
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ZAMBEZI HIGH WATER 2021

film by SEND


The boys from SEND went down to the Zambezi in search of flows inspired by some of the legends in paddling from the 90's, hoping to see some features only evident when the levels rise. In addition to the imminent damnation project on the river, the boys decided to stick around for a while and see what they might find.

โ†’ Sharing short stories about the places we visit are common amongst the creators of the top 3 Short Films of the Year in interviews here.ย Each film available at the respective links below:

  1. Zambezi High Water a film by SEND
  2. Pakidaille a film byย Nouria Newman
  3. Uno y Ninguna Mรกs a film by Mikel Sarasola
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