Posted by: ivogel | November 26, 2013

Montreal Whitewater Kayaking Video!!


Several of us worked on a video project all summer in order to finally show the big wave surfing potential that Montreal has to offer… Hope you all enjoy!!

Montreal Kayak

Posted by: ivogel | June 18, 2013

Posted by: ivogel | October 1, 2012

Back in Montreal… This time to Master

I recently enrolled in a MSc program studying Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) in the Bioresource Engineering department at McGill University.  The program is fantastic, but just as sweet has been the fact that Lachine and Habitat 67 have been at great levels for several months now.  The Seven Sisters on La Riviere Rouge have also been at near-perfect waterlevels as of late.  It’s been a great summer / fall for paddling, although now we are definitely starting to see the weather slowly shifting towards winter months ahead.  Time to start hitting the books I suppose…  Here are some photos taken at Lachine, Habitat 67, the Rouge, and Bus Eater. Hope you enjoy!

Posted by: ivogel | March 11, 2012

UGANDA & the construction of a new dam


As referenced in the video, there are some things I’d like to discuss about the new dam constructed just downstream of Jinja, Uganda near the town of Bujagali Falls.  Unfortunately, I haven’t had time with the actual editing of the video to put my thoughts together just yet.  Quickly though, it seems this hydro-electric project was a pretty major fail.  Not only is it underproducing the expected amount, but it will surely harm the locals in the surrounding area.  The rapids used to provide an important source of income.  Tourism was for many people the major source of income (artists, river guides and other athletes, performers, etc.).  Not only that, but infectious disease rates for malaria, helminth infections, and waterborne illnesses will all go up as a result of the newly formed stagnant body of water.  It used to be fast moving water which could eliminate the possibility for mosquitoes which transmitted malaria to breed effectively and helminth transmitting snails to survive.  Stagnant water will now allow fecal coliform levels (bacteria in the water) to raise significantly, since it is an important site at which many people chose to bath.  Feces and other waste products will simply remain stationary instead of being cleansed by a moving body of water.  This too is drinking water for many locals and hence a raise in bacterial infections such as giardia is to be expected.  I wish I could say that there are some positives such as increased electricity supply, but even that seems unlikely.  Much of the energy is being exported and since the gov’t officials tends to pocket that money instead of distributing it, local will most likely see very little benefit to this project.  Maybe i’ll post more in the future, but for now I just wanted to share some thoughts (expressed by many of the locals whom I talked to while in the area).

Posted by: ivogel | December 29, 2011

A Salween Expedition… completed video


Posted by: ivogel | December 23, 2011

A Salween Expedition

Now that the video is almost complete, I finally have some time to write about my trip to the Salween River in Yunnan, China. 

The expedition  was  inspired by the fact that the river offers some of the best big wave action in the world in an absolutely gorgeous and remote region of Western China.  Its high mountain peaks and stunning valley below would astonish any traveler to this region.  In addition to its beautiful scenery, the population of the Nujiang canyon is composed of over 90% ethnic minority persons (Lisu, Nu, Tibetan, and Dulong).  This is exceptionally rare in China considering the entire country has approximately 1.2 billion people, of which over 1 billion of them are considered “Han Chinese”. 

My travels weren’t easy; language barriers, protecting a carbon-fibre boat, and kayaking alone  presented themselves as major obstacles.  At first, I did not know a word of Chinese.  The only help I had was a small phrase-book and a friend halfway across the country that I could  call if I was truly in a bind.  It took several weeks before I had any real say in terms of the food I ate, since no one at any of the “restaurants”  could understand me.  This meant spicy noodles for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  The language barrier also made it scary at points, due to the fact my kayak is made from carbon-fibre.  It is fairly fragile and therefore should not be mishandled.  Most of the people in Yunnan have probably never seen this material before, let alone have an appreciation for what it means to handle such a brittle & expensive object.  Not to mention, it was pretty much the sole reason I made the journey to this far and distant region.  If it broke I would of course be forced to forget any dreams of accomplishing all that I had set out to.  My reason for being there was mostly to kayak.  I had long envisioned surfing big waves and running HUGE rapids.  It took me awhile to actualize this dream.  Traveling and kayaking alone meant that I must scout each section slowly & carefully.  This was a long, strenuous process but ultimately rewarding.  At first, I had no idea where anything was along the river.  Besides speaking to a few other kayakers who had been to the Salween before, there wasn’t much information available to help plan my trip.  I set off  to different sections each day in hopes of finding new rapids and waves.  The river changed water levels quite a lot during my stay there, hence I would paddle the same section twice or even three times before finding certain features such as the main wave known as ”firestarter”.   

Besides not knowing the river very well prior to my arrival, there were many other logistical matters to sort out.  I was very unsure of how best to transport myslef and my boat up and down the valley each day.  Fortunately, my hotel was directly across the street from the bus station, which happened to have a trunk compartment perfectly sized for a small playboat, such as my imitation 2010 All-Star.  During my two and a half week stay in Gongshan, many of these problems sorted them selves out, while others simply weren’t important enough to care about. Overall, it was a relatively cheap way of achieving all the big water action I hoped for, while at the same time providing many oppportunities to experience Chinese culture on my own.

Having done this mission alone left me with a special sense of connectedness to the river and its surrounding environs.  The fact that it might be damed is one of the reasons I felt such a great sense of urgency in doing the trip before it was too late.  While I cannot claim to be an expert on the matter, I do know it will be a shame to lose such a wonderful and magestic place to the construction of a hydro-project.  For sure, China requires clean energy to fuel its economic growth; but at what expense?  This region in particular is host to many unique and/or endangered species, some not observed anywhere else in the world.  Daming this site would mean losing this rich biodiversity both in plant life and its amazing fauna.  As mentioned previously, it would also disrupt the lives for many ethnic minority cultures… destroying centuries of culture & tradition.  If completed, the 13 dams in all would cost more (roughly 90 billion yuan = $15 billion USD) and generate more electricity than that of the Yangtze Three Gorges Dam project, making it the largest of its kind. 

I’m happy to be able to share my experiences from this trip and with others; an opportunity not to be taken for granted after travling in China for so long and witnessing the kind of government censorship that takes place.  This mission was a first of its kind, in that no other person has kayaked the Salween (Nujiang in Chinese) alone.

Here is a sneak peak:


The full edit is now complete and will be uploaded soon…

Cheers & Merry Christmass / Happy Hollidays,


Posted by: ivogel | June 6, 2011

New! Montreal Kayak School













The Montreal Kayak School (MKS) aspires to provide the best paddling education for anyone looking to advance their skills on the water.  Based in the greater Montreal region, MKS has the benefit of teaching on some of the most spectacular rivers in the world,  whether it be down river fun on La Riviere Rouge, some creeking in the Laurentians, or wave surfing on the St.-Lawrence, Gatineau, or Ottawa rivers.  Our instructors come from all over the world and promise to provide you with the best & safest experience possible on the water.  Whether you want to be the next freestyle super-star, run big waterfalls, or simply have a good time on the river with friends, we can help you achieve your goals.  All levels are welcome (beginner, intermediate, & advanced)!

Look for us starting April of 2012…


Posted by: ivogel | April 13, 2011

Early Spring 2011


I had some spare time while studying for finals to make a quick edit.  Nothing fancy, just some stuff I have been working on as the river levels continue to rise here in Eastern Canada.  Pretty soon, bussy and the rest of “the goods” shall be good to go.  Up till now, however, it has been marginal boating in freezing cold water and air temps just above zero.  Nonetheless, it was a good opportunity to start training for when levels finally spike.  Speaking of which, seems to be occurring right now!  Lots of good paddling in the near future, but not until I’m done with finals.  Until then, enjoy this video!

Spring is coming…

Posted by: ivogel | March 14, 2011

Black River, NY (Inner City Strife @ 18,000)

Thinking that Inner City Strife would be in, Alex Valiquette and I took off from Montreal early Saturday morning for the Black river in Watertown, NY.  By the time we had arrived the wave had washed out.  Luckily, there was a fun, little, bouncy wave 20 meters below where THE inner city strife wave usually comes in!  Here are just some of the pictures we took (as always, i added my own little flare).airscrew

Posted by: ivogel | March 7, 2011

First Descents Fundraiser, Montreal

Introducing the concept of a Kayak-a-thon! Donate to team Craig Stein on the First Descents website, and for every $25 raised we will do a trick in our kayak.  The flips will be done on a wave, in a hole, or simply in flat water.  One thing is for certain; the water will be cold!  Footage of the efforts by team Craig Stein will show at the April 2 benefit concert, after which it will be available online.first-descents-version-1

April 02 @ 20:00

Les Trois Minots

3812, Boul St Laurent
Montreal, QC

Please come out and support First Descents, an incredible organization that provides week-long outdoor adventure (kayaking, rock climbing) programming for Young Adult cancer survivors (at no cost to the participants). After 9 years in the US, First Descents will now be offering programs in Canada as well!Matt Stern (, Jason Stein, and Annie Becker ( will be the lovely musicians for the evening.

In addition, there will be a short presentation about First Descents along with a raffle for some sweet paddling prizes!!!

Cover charge is $10 (or you can bring a printed confirmation letter from FD that shows you have already donated).

Donate here:

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