While I was up on the Ottawa I had the opportunity to surf Mini-Bus for the first time in 2 years with Andrew and Tiffany Manchester. Tiff and I haven’t been playboating very much in the last year since she now lives in Hawaii and I live in Asheville (creeking mecca).
I was really nervous about surfing the wave and especially about using the rope to get onto the wave. I didn’t remember being this nervous about it a few years ago! I use to surf big waves on the Nile, on the Ottawa, on the Slave…. it was really different for me to feel nervous about playboating. I admit that I was so nervous that I skirted the wave on my way down and made my way into the eddy.
There were only about 4 or 5 people in the eddy which was awesome! Andrew coached me on the rope, but I still missed it my first few times trying. Tiff was totally comfortable right away surfing onto the wave and doing tricks like she had never left. It was really fun to watch. Eventually I made it onto the wave and I was happy to be surfing again! The wave is huge and when you’re at the top about to drop down the face it’s like you’re at the top of a waterfall — literally. Dropping into the wave feels like you’re running a drop and the big bounces that follow are so cool!
The feeling of my first aerial blunt was sweet. My skills and muscle memory came right back and I had a lot of fun. At one point it was just Tiff and I in the eddy! It was also fun to paddle with Andrew and watch him on the wave — he’s so smooth.
At the end of the session I noticed a few shifts that I’ve made in my approach to playboating that felt really nice. The first is that just front surfing the wave felt awesome — I didn’t feel like I needed to pull off a big trick to feel good about myself. So, the big tricks actually came easy because I wasn’t trying so hard. The second is that I got out of the water when I got tired instead of trying to paddle until I couldn’t move anymore (which can also be fun…). I was able to thoroughly enjoy my time there in the moment and was also happy to leave when it was time to leave. I’m grateful for such a fun session with good friends on one of my favorite rivers! The Ottawa is awesome!