How to run Kalagala Head-Dry


Easy! See the photo below:

So drunken promises and peer pressure had once again landed me in the damp terrain of East Africa. Uganda it is again but this time… a holiday with friends!

Taking friends down Itanda is certainly much more enjoyable than rushing to get down to the video rock before the rafting trip is ready; the more I run this rapid, the more I know I’ll be back on the Nile again soon!

However I am no longer sure that Itanda is my favorite rapid on the White Nile; not after a couple of clean runs on the Dead Dutchman. I will have to go back specifically to get some better photos / videos of the rapid – a back-channel (or arguably the main channel) to Overtime – which is without a doubt my favorite rapid… ever!

The Dutchman is notoriously difficult to scout since the most dangerous feature – an enormous curler feeding into a potentially terminal pocket – is virtually invisible from the surrounding banks. The move needed to avoid it, although fairly straight forward, is extremely hard to pin-point on the approach and a bit terrifying as straight-forward moves go!

However once you’ve successfully made the move, you can be pretty confident in your extended mortality. The next big test: Can I stay upright and avoid the really nasty holes?

Surf down the ramp on the back of the aforementioned curler, through the window, then just navigate the boils. Stay slightly left, line yourself up, and go up over the back of a huge surging barrelling wave; charging right as hard as you can. Punch the shoulder of an enormous hole and then the may or may not be a ‘4th wave on Silverback‘ style hole waiting to catch you out.

Get right quick. Out on the rock below. Look back at the disgusting thing you just paddled and feel like a hero!

But if that’s not your cup of tea, there are still some nice shorter rapids to run… Like Widowmaker (above) and Hypoxia (below).

Dave Burne (above and below) mans up to become one of the few “brave” souls to attempt this perverted rapid. NB: see Widomaker Video and Hypoxia Video.

And if that seems all too much, why not strip off and get a tan while surfing the most soulful wave on the Nile; above Kulashaker on the Day 2 section.

Top Tip: Planning to stay at the Hairy Lemon? Why not get a boda boda into Nazigo and see if you can find a man with an open-back truck. It’ll cost you less and you’ll probably avoid these sorts of shinanagins…

Photos by Dan Kanner, Tom Parker, Sara Nash, Dave Burne & Max Bilbow

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