"This year I made the annual pilgrimage north to Eastern Canada for the spring melt and high water season that has come to be known as the ‘Stakeout’.
It’s called Stakeout as its really a waiting game, being you never know when exactly the spring melt will occur or what days the flows will be an any specific levels. So like any gamble we drove up and hoped for the best. Luckily enough for, I seemed to have lucked out yet again on river levels. Somehow I always seem to luck out with river levels, that or maybe I’m less picky and grateful when any of the big river waves come in.
This Spring I rolled into the Ottawa Valley just in time for some Big Bus and Gladiator. They are two of the biggest and more intimidating waves on the Ottawa River.
Big Bus came in first and was a decent warm up for what was to come. The irony is few people would ever call surfing Big Bus a warm up, though after one day of surfing it the levels continued to rise and the Gladiator wave came in. Gladiator wave is the largest river wave on the Ottawa and one of the biggest waves I’ve ever surfed. It also happens to be the most intimidating wave as not only is it massive and extremely fast and powerful, though it is in the middle of the Coliseum rapid and located right behind it is the “ledge” an almost river-wide ledge hole, and something I don’t want to mess with.
We got about 4 days of surfing on Gladiator, though most of the time it was just myself, Dane Jackson, Ben Marr, Luke Pomeroy and Joel Kowalski. It is one of those waves that most people don’t session for long, and even myself, I am still super intimidated every time that I drop in to surf it. I was stoked to get some massive tricks out there, though the highlight of the week was watching Dane get some crazy combos including a wild 5 trick combo. He was definitely blowing my mind, and seems to be on a whole other level on these waves. For Dane and I, the Double Diamond seems to be the paddle of choice for freestyle and big waves. I honestly find this the most versatile paddle for most conditions out on the river.