Expert kayaker Todd Wells recently went for a nasty swim on his local run, the Little White Salmon River in Washington state.

He and two others, Alec Voorhees and Owen Doyle, were navigating the river at higher-than-average flows when Wells was stopped by a powerful hole–and it didn’t take long for things to go sideways from there.

Of the rescue, a spokesperson for the Whitewater Awards wrote: “There isn’t a whole lot of time or space in between the island, and a horrendous cave at Sac-relig. A gargantuan effort by these two to get Todd safety to shore in the nick of time. Staying calm, cool and collected is so important in these scenarios, the boys stayed relaxed, didn’t put themselves in additional harm, and took their chance to eddy out when it arose.”

The impressive rescue was nominated for the new, Kokatat-sponsored category for 2022: ”Best Save.”

2022 Whitewater Awards–What Exactly Is It?

The Whitewater Awards is an annual rider-submitted, rider-voted award ceremony that highlights and celebrates whitewater kayaking’s best accomplishments. The awarding body has traditionally focused on visual media – such as “GoPro Line Of The Year” and “Photographer Of The Year” – but has now branched out to additionally include categories such as “Activist Award” and “Best Save.”

“This new [Best Save] category will acknowledge the skills that aren’t always on display while pushing the limits of kayaking,” the organization explained in a recent Instagram post. “Safety skills are an extremely important aspect of kayaking on expeditions, first descents, and on your backyard runs. Submissions for this category can be video, or a written description.”


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