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by Ambassador Cat Hardman
Chile is a paradise for whitewater kayakers. From breathtaking waterfalls to high volume rivers, no wonder it’s a kayaker’s paradise. Chile is a country with breath taking views from Volcanoes to the beautiful mountains of Patagonia. I have always wanted to travel to this country, and I got the chance to at the beginning of 2018 with my school. I couldn’t wait to get there and get on the water!
Next, I headed south to Huilo-Huilo, Chile to paddle the Fuy River. This river is one of the classics in Chile, it has one of the most famous waterfalls on it, named Salto De Puma (The Puma), which is a 110-footer, that has only been run 4 times. I did not run that waterfall for many reasons, but don’t worry I’ll be back to concur Salto De Puma. While I was there though, I paddled the Low Fuy, which was an epic section because you could make it as hard as you wanted too. Which is why I loved it, this river has some Jumping off the rocks on the Lower Fuy
After the Fuy, my friends and I headed far south, all the way to Patagonia to paddle the Futaleufu river! The Futa is one of the most well-known rivers in the world and I was so excited to go! This river is known for its beautiful landscape, high volume, and crystal-clear waters. I was a little nervous for the run because I had never paddle such big water in a creek boat, but I got used to it and started training for the Futaleufu XL. This competition included a boater cross, time-trials, and a downriver sprint. I couldn’t have been more excited to race this legendary piece of whitewater. Futa Fest was one of the best races ever because I got to race with my friends, make new friends, and see some old ones. The Futa will be a river I will be returning to for sure!
Leaving Patagonia was sad, but I was looking forward to heading back north and sending some stouts. During our last days in Pucon, we sent a lot of waterfalls. We even ran a new one named Blanco Sur, which is about 3 hours north of Pucon. This waterfall is one of the cleanest and most perfect 30-footers to run! With a clean lip and a deep pool below, I was excited! I was nervous for sure because it would be the biggest waterfall I had run. There were so many things that could go wrong, but I was confident with my skills and my friends were there to cheer me on. I paddled up to the lip, and boom. I was sending 30 feet down, the impact hurt, but it was worth it! I had so much fun running this drop and so much fun in Chile and I can’t to return!
See you on the water,