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Massive moves at the Montreal Eau Vive

The Montreal Eau Vive, created by several prominent kayakers within the whitewater community that centres around Lachine rapids in Montreal, Canada, celebrates both the whitewater and city of Montreal with as many people as possible.

The event is unlike other events in both its format and judging. Taking place over two days throughout the weekend and consisting of both a freestyle and race stage, the overall crown is given to the kayaker who performs best in both events. A cash prize and an invitation to the White Water Grand Prix make winning this event a highly sought after prize.

Day one consists of two freestyle events. The first is on the well known and beloved Big Joe wave, a six foot tall bowling wave that allows for any trick to be thrown consistently and has great combo potential.

The other freestyle event takes place on the infamous Mavericks wave. The biggest wave of the Lachine rapids, an eight foot tall, surging beast; with a surfers right shoulder that behaves much like a barreling ocean wave.

Mavericks is exceptionally hard to surf and throw tricks on but those that are willing to tough out those missed tricks and crashes will be rewarded with some of the best tricks of their lives. This wave is also difficult to get to and nigh on impossible to take multiple rides on due to it’s lack of eddy service and location, in the middle of a three mile wide river. Fortunately the organisers had come up with a solution to this problem in the form of two high powered jet skis, to allow kayakers to access this unique and rarely surfed wave.

Bren Orton on Mavericks from Montreal Eau Vive on Vimeo.

I had been in Montreal a week prior to this event to get ready for this competition and was stoked to take first in both freestyle events with a record high score on Mavericks.

Day two saw competitors load up on a high powered jet boat to be taken to the boater-X course. The rapids that form the course are located in the middle of the St Laurence river which is several miles wide. Without the jet boat these rapids would not be accessible to even run, let alone hold an event on, as such a big thanks to Saute-Moutons Jet Boating Montréal for sponsoring the event with both a boat and captain for the day.

The boater-X was a hard fought battle, but in the end I managed to take first place, against local hero Seb Clermont, the Quebec Connection crew and the Ottawa valley locals, Kabob Grady and Seth Ashworth.

I have wanted to take home the win in this event for the past three years and I was so stoked to finally be able to do it and procure my spot in the 2017 White Water Grand Prix.

The Montreal Eau Vive celebrates the famous rapids and city of Montreal in style. Aided by jet skis and Jet boats, the event manages to show new sides to well known rapids and provide people with new surfing opportunities. The vibe for this event is very special; owing to the unique format and location of the event, a scoring system that rewards style and amplitude and the awesome attitudes of the organisers.

Much love to everyone that makes this event happen and thoroughly looking forward to next year’s edition! Bren.

All photos by Damien Larrigaudiere