The Paddler magazine asked 25 world-class WW paddlers two questions, “Which is your favourite river and why?” Andraž Krpič, Aniol Serrasolses, Barny Young, Ben Brown, Ben Marr and Bren Orton gave us their answers and more to follow over the next week…
Soča River, Slovenia
“I have never dared to name my favourite river. It would feel disrespectful to all the other unique and amazing rivers and creeks that I have had privilege to safely descend.
“But it is a river that played the biggest part in me becoming who I am today. It has become a myth in my head from the early age of 10, when I first kayaked it. “
It enchanted me with its beauty, clean emerald coloured water surrounded by astonishing mountains and its stories of dangerous, mysterious white water.
“I had always felt drawn to it and even these days I feel its call. It could be just the result of many years of daydreaming about it as a child but I still feel a special sense of amazement and happiness, when I kayak the Soca River.
“Soca is what kept me going after I quit slalom and it is a river that thought me skills, respect, humbled me and in the end played a big part in my personal development.”
Stikine River, BC, Canada
“One of the hardest big water runs in one of the deepest canyons of America. As remote as it gets and unparalleled wilderness everywhere – bears, mountain goats, eagles…”
Kokatahi River, NZ
- “My home run – only an hours drive from where I live on the west coast of New Zealand.
- “Heli access – while I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wish the Kokatahi was roadside, there is a certain buzz about jumping in the helicopter alongside a group of your best friends and committing to a day of some of the most spectacular whitewater on this planet!
- “Crystal clear turquoise water.
- “Continuous grade 4-5 boulder gardens – the Kokatahi is one of the most continuous runs I’ve ever been lucky to paddle with only the short intermittent pool breaking up the classic boof and smear style moves that characterize this 15km run.
- “Spectacular gorges – steep sided sheer walled gorges that might add a commitment factor but the buzz of floating through these majestic gorges far outweighs the fear of floating in…
- “Drinkable water – there’s nothing better than being able to drink the pristine water that your paddling on and know it’s better than what you’ll get from your tap!”
Kaituna River, NZ
“The Kaituna is by no means the hardest river in the world but its proximity to my home, all year accessibility and the fun vibe off the water make it my favourite. I have paddled the Kaituna countless times and still get excited every time I turn up for more. The pool drop nature of the river and the natural beauty surrounding it make it a favourite to locals and travelling paddlers alike. It is fun at any water level, on any day of the year and I can’t wait to get back for more laps!”
Nachvak River, Labrador, Canada
“It is impossible to nail down a favourite river for me, there are too many factors and every river is beautiful. The Stikine is high on the list, rugged and beautiful, hard big whitewater. I am writing this from a lodge under an hour from the put-in waiting for water levels to come down. I love paddling in northern Quebec so much as well with huge volume and large surf waves.
“However, right now, to answer the question, I will put forward my favourite river trip to date – the Nachvak River in Labrador. Besides the adventure involved in accessing and descending the river over 16 days, it is firstly hiking into the Nachvak through northern Quebec, descending the river, then hiking out to another drainage where we paddled to the sea. It was special to me to work so hard in Canada to descend a river I had looked at for years, so that is my favourite river trip and it is a pretty beautiful place as well.”
White Nile, Uganda
“The White Nile is by far one of my favourite rivers. Perfect waves, warm water and some big rapids. Every time I have been there I have told myself, “This is my last trip here,” and every time I have been wrong and returned the following winter. Sadly this kayaker’s paradise may not last much longer, for more information on the current situation and what you can do to help please visit: