Zofia’s trip to Uganda, preparing for worlds anf living the life!!

Uganda’s Waves









This year World Championship in freestyle kayaking will take place on the Grab Wave in

Canada on the Ottawa River. A lot of paddlers are looking for a good place to prepare to this

competition and push their skills on the higher level. One of that places is Victoria Nile River in

Uganda. There are two popular waves – Nile Special and Club Wave.





I was there three times so far. Me and Tomasz Czaplicki came to Uganda at half of March and

we stayed there one month. We lived on Hairy Lemon Island. Which is situated 10 minutes paddling

to the waves – Nile Special, Bell and Club.

Nile Special is the first one, next is Bell and the last one is Club Wave. This year a lot of time

water level was high in the afternoon and then Nile Special worked really good. To get into the wave,

we used rope. Sometimes when the water level was a little bit higher it was possible get in even

without rope. I like this wave because it’s easy to jump high, but from the other side it’s also easy to

flush after the move what sometimes is challenging.





Couple days a week water level was low in the morning and then Club Wave was working

good. This wave is wider than Nile Special, have more foam and is easier to stay inside after moves.

It’s cool to learn new moves there.

After a few days more paddlers started to come to island and line to wave became very long.

In this time Me and a couple more kayakers decided to paddle in a different places. We went to

Fanta Wave or Superhole. Then I changed boat for JK Rock Star and that was great decision. I started

to have better control and began feel more confident on the wave. That makes me easier to learn wave moves.





Super hole is a cool playspot where I can do wave and hole moves. This hole is situated

upstream from Hairy Lemon Island just above Kalagala, Hypoxia and Itunda. I really enjoy paddling

there. I was doing huge loops, space godzillas and Mc Nasty which start to be more aerial (huge) than

Fanta Wave, Mutu Wave or Little Lulu – everybody name this wave in their own way. I prefer

name – Fanta. Three waves near Islad have name from three local beer – Nile Special, Bell and Club.

So this wave has name from soda 😉 This wave is not as good as Club Wave or Nile Special, but is good

enough to do wave moves and normally it’s nobody there so we had the chance to make intensive

training sessions. Fanta is situated near Malalu. Less than hour paddling downstream from a Hairly

Lemon. To come back we used boda-boda (motorcycle-taxi).



Clay Wright, Fanta Wave, foto: Adam Olesiński

One of the time we have accident with boda boda drivers. Tomasz, Clay, Adam and me

finished paddle and went downstream to riverbank where always boda-drivers were waiting for us.

This time boda-manager (who we know) wasn’t there. We met different crew of boda-boda drivers

Maybe he couldn’t come… He went with someone else and told this drivers to pick us to Hairy

Lemon. Boda-drivers packed my and Tomasz kayaks for one boda and we went together on second

motorcycle. Adam and Clay went on single on boda-bodas with their boats.



Boda boda, Made by Sony Xperia Z3

During the way to the island we met our boda-manager with his boda-boda crew who we know. They

are coming from the opposite side with surprised faces. Boda-manager turned around and came

close to my and Tomasz motorcycle. Our driver started to go faster and boda-manager stayed back.

Then we realized that we were sitting on boda which we didn’t order. Moment later I heard Adam’s

voice: „Stop! Stop!”. He was sitting with his kayak on the boda which was attacked by boda-manager.

He started to push his driver. They were almost fighting!

We stopped and eight drivers started to jump, scream with vigorously gesticulating. After the half

hour they got compromise. We continued way with correct drivers and they paid wrong drivers half

of the price.

Our boda-manager didn’t understand us and was waiting for us near Hairly Lemon and

that’s why they were late. It’s weird because it was another day when we ordered boda for the same

place… That’s Africa.



I didn’t have any problems with transport before, but this year all time something was

wrong. A couple time fuel tank was empty in boda-boda or was broke down during the way and we

must wait a long time for another one. Sometime it stared to rain and we also must to wait longer

than hour in the class room when when we were going to Superhole. Because a lot of time was

raining we had some drift on boda. One time when me and Tomasz came back from Jinja our Matatu

(bus taxi without passenger limit) started smoked…and broke down.






The last week we paddled a lot with small group of kayakers. In this time we were making

sessions mostly on the Club Wave and Nile Special. I had a lot of fun with trying new moves.

Sometimes I did completely different move which I wanted to do. Then I laughed a lot and tried not

drinking Nile’s water 😉 I spent awesome month in Uganda and I miss the waves, sun and completely

different lifestyle. Big thanks for Mat, Islay and Jessie for organizing, bringing and borrowing me boat.

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