Personal First Descent of Great Falls

This past December, I got my first ever runs in on the Potomac’s most incredible piece of whitewater known as Great Falls, an amazing class V run with a variety of lines and moves. After much training with Danny Stock, one of the smoothest paddlers on the falls, to help me be as smooth as possible, I had decided to fire up Pummel, one of the drops on the Maryland side of Great Falls, as the Potomac River is the divide between Virginia and Maryland. There are three main lines: Maryland, Center, and Virginia, not to mention the other wacky lines that cross over or that come in at high or low water. Alpine line, Sweet falls, Pinball, Brine Line, and Twist and Shout are the other crossing lines. Pummel, as said before, is the first drop of the Maryland Side. It is roughly twenty feet high, depending on water level, and at three feet on the Little Falls gauge, it comes in at eighteen feet high.

After scouting it with Danny and my sister, my Antix proved that it was truly an all-around boat and that it could achieve anything after running Pummel. It boofed like a dream and exited the drop with enough speed to get me into the eddy below. Danny ran it in his Zen and even carried a fruit in his lap that he had found on the walk into the put-in. He kept it on his lap even through Pummel and became an instant local sensation.

With that run under my belt, I decided to take it to the next step, and I teamed up with Danny, Geoff Calhoun, and a few others who happened to be there. There are three rapids. The first one is U-hole, grade V, with multiple fun lines and moves, with other bad and magical places that provide excuses to use some no-no words, earn push-ups, or even get a throw rope. Following up just a few yards down there is S-turn (There are too many rapids called this, I know of four or five S-turns and two are on the Potomac), which is also grade V, with a fun eddy move and some great boofs. The final rapid was the Spout, which was a 25-foot drop in which the line was to boof off of a curler and deflect off of a rock, and come shooting out the bottom. It is the most fun part of the run, as one can get a load of speed off of it. We ran it twice in a row because it was too fun to resist! Check out the link or video below to see how the lines went! I had a blast and cannot wait to send it once again!

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