Zambezi Stand Up Paddling (SUP) – “Stairway to Heaven”

Dropping into Zambezi rapid #5 on a Stand Up Paddleboard is a bit like skateboarding off a 2 storey building. It’s pretty nerve racking…. The shear size of this high volume class 5 rapid is quite intimidating and I honestly thought I was gonna be off the board and swimming right from the top……

 

After thoroughly scouting this beast, only 4 out of the 8 of us decided to run it. Myself, Shane Raw, Andrew Kellet and Philip Claassens decided it might be doable. We decided that the centre line that is normally run by kayaks and rafts was the best and safest option. The strategy was to try and ride get up onto the roosters tail and try to ride it down the centre to avoid the big crashing “Catcher’s Mitt” on the left and the lateral coming of the shallow section on the right below the pourover.

Here is my POV footage and some pics from my run….

 

 

As I approached the “Rooster Tail” I remember thinking that I was a little bit too far right and was worried I might punch straight over into the “Mitt”. Somehow I managed to correct my angle on the top of the “Rooster’sTail “…………..

 

Paul Teasdale - Zambezi Stand Up Paddling (SUP) Rapid 5 - First Descent
Staring into the mayhem that is the “guts” of Rapid 5 – PC Chantelle Melzer

 

 

Paul Teasdale - Zambezi Stand Up Paddling (SUP) Rapid 5 - First Descent
Riding the “Rooster Tail” trying not to get thrown into the hole at the bottom of the pourover – PC Chantelle Melzer

 

At this point I had to do a “doubletake” and was shocked to still find myself standing on the board ! I couldn’t believe it. I had already gotten way further than I had ever hoped….but…this was soon rectified by the powerful water………

 

Paul Teasdale - Zambezi Stand Up Paddling (SUP) Rapid 5 - First Descent
Made it into the “Guts ” ! – PC Chantelle Melzer

 

 

Paul Teasdale - Zambezi Stand Up Paddling (SUP) Rapid 5 - First Descent
And It’s all over ! Time to count fish ! – PC Chantelle Melzer

 

At this point the rapid got the best of me. The laterals converged and sent me into the foaming mess. She beat me ! But it was a glorious beating ! Stoked with how far I had come I let out my celebratory Hyena cry and swam to celebrate with my team mates.

 

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The Stand Up for Rhinos project was not just about stand up paddling. It was about standing up for what you believe in. It was about standing up for those that can’t stand up for themselves. We stood up to raise awareness and much needed funds for Rhino conservation. You too can Stand Up for Rhinos by clicking the logo below and donating some spare change that can save the lives of both the animals and the people that are battling to protect them…..

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