British pro kayaker and member of the “Senders” crew, Bren Orton, got more than he had bargained for on a recent trip to the Austrian Alps.
In the video, Bren talks us through the troubles that he and his group had experienced with the fluctuating temperatures and unpredictable water levels. So, when the water levels began to consistently rise for a solid week, creating technical, big water rapids—the experienced whitewater enthusiasts were more than ready to jump in their kayaks and hit the river.
The incident occurred on a challenging and continuous section of the Oetz River. At 3:00, Bren turned a corner and—we can only imagine—was filled with the same sense of impending dread as we are. He spotted the river-wide log just meters away from him. In the fast-moving current typical of snowmelt rivers, there is little opportunity to make any stops.
Bren hit the log and his kayak flipped backward underneath it. He experienced a second or two of downtime before resurfacing on the downstream side. It appears that he narrowly made it under without getting stuck.
Moments later, he glanced upstream, only to see his paddling partner undergo the same terrifying ordeal.
Both kayakers were lucky to escape from this ordeal unharmed. Bren’s incident reinforces the importance of scouting rapids, bringing appropriate safety and rescue equipment on the water, and ensuring that the group’s skill level is a good match for the section of water in question.