A few friends embarked on a mission to document every main rapid and back channel on the Silverback section of the Nile. This was as part of a photo shoot and Sam Ward’s forthcoming ‘Damn Shame’ video – a tribute to the section that will be lost to the Bujagali Damn Project. (See The Nile Progression for more info)
After running Widowmaker, the conclusion of this mission was that Anton Immler, Sam Ward, and myself had now run every named rapid on the main sections of the White Nile… Except one…
n. Deficiency in the amount of oxygen reaching body tissues.
On the main kayaking section of The White Nile, Hypoxia is the single biggest feature on the river. It was last run over two years ago during higher flows when the hole appeared more “flushy”. It was given its name due to the sheer amount of time spent under the water that a kayaker must anticipate when paddling the drop.
Hypoxia is one of the infamous 666 rapids and sits in-between Kalagala and Itanda. Allegedly it was first run accidentally when a kayaker missed the last eddy while inspecting the drop.
Possibly the most important skill required for this shameless ‘balls out’ stunt is simply the ability to look at the hole and know that it flushes. The second most important skill is making sure there is no chance of your deck imploding.
It is then a good idea to pick a line that you believe will get you through the mess of surging white as quickly and smoothly as possible. Then hold on and keep believing as you tumble through whirlpools and holes within holes the likes of which you’ve never experienced before.
Finally, if you used to be a gymnast, put your hands in the air and smile for the judges. You won’t need to do that again for a while.
Although what you’ve accomplished is fundamentally silly and unworthy of the respect of your peers, you will probably get much of said respect, lap it up, and make a short video (a tribute to your apparent greatness) which you will then post on your website…
Photos by Jon Best