Ducky Anyone?

Ah yes. We've all done it, seen it done, laughed at it: the famous ducky. And I do not know about you, but I have gotten totally munched trying to control the darn thing on a rapid. So, why not take it down a thirty foot waterfall? Um...what? Somehow New River Academy students got their hands on a three person ducky (inflatable kayak) and decided to take it down Los Leones Falls in Chile. Los Leones is a 25-30 foot waterfall on the Rio Fuy, and is pretty much clean. Maybe this seems like nothing to you guys, and it's true that I have seen raft guides take groups down a 20 footer in New Zealand (no thank you!), but I was a little um...uncertain. It sounded...uncomfortable.

Stephen Forester at the top of Los Leones Falls on Rio Fuy in Chile

Lots of cheering and laughter later, New River Academy junior, Stephen Forester, paddles the large ducky off the falls. Turns out it was perfectly safe, similar to jumping off a high ledge into water (except harder to mess up). But oh man, Stephen's face! It is definitely a different way to experience a waterfall! He looked like the guy from Scary Movie 2...what was his name? Scream? Or was the the first Scary Movie. Whatever, those gave me nightmares. Yes, I realize they are comedies. I don't want to talk about it.

Can you see Stephen Forester's face? 

Anyway, Los Leones falls is a sweet drop to practice tucking, boofing, and stomping. You can even just "park and huck", although the trail can be tricky to find...or maybe I am just completely obtuse (there was a big sign, but in my defense, it was sorta off to the side...and I did not go too far past it!). I would not recommend trying any freewheels or anything because there is a kind of shallow rock shelf, but other then that, it is a good practice spot for any skill level. You can make it as hard or as easy as you want.

Head of New River Academy, David Hughes, tries a different
technique off of the falls. Jump Dave, Jump!

I have decided to take the Ducky down the Trancura run here in Chile. It should not be so hard, but I am so wearing nose plugs. I'll let you know how it goes. Am I the only one who is kind of scared of Duckies? Is that weird? 

-Tracy d'Arbeloff

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