We know the Verdon for its gorges with green and calm waters downstream from Lake Sainte-Croix, in the heart of Provence. But many are unaware that the canyon located upstream is much more inaccessible, technical and dangerous. The three-time world champion in extreme downhill kayaking, Nouria Newman took advantage of the end of the summer to venture there. In a magnificent video broadcast by RedBull, the young champion allows us to live this extraordinary experience at her side.
Cand summer, Nouria Newman had planned to face the tumultuous waters of the Canadian torrents. But the pandemic thwarted those plans. It is finally the Verdon, "one of the most beautiful canyons in the world", which welcomed the three-time world kayaking champion at the end of the summer. Accompanied by the world kayaking champion Éric Deguil, the expert kayaker of the Maxime Raux area, as well as two videographers experienced in kayaking descents, Nouria set off on the rapids of the vertiginous deep canyon of the Verdon.
“The covid19 epidemic threw all our projects into the water for 2020. We then had to adapt, find new projects and stay local. In the end, it was an opportunity to make the most of our playground and to rediscover French classics such as the Gorges du Verdon. "
Rapids, narrow corridors, cliffs, boulders and cavities followed one another throughout this journey, to the delight of experienced athletes.
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A magical canyon
Crisscross the Verdon in the middle of summer with the birds of prey, cliffs and vegetation as their only companions ... A waking dream to live while at the same time and only a few kilometers downstream the pedal boats are king. The four friends offered themselves a real luxury. The walls, the cavities, the passage of Styx, Imbut (funnel in Provencal) or the curtain gave them breathtakingly beautiful light shows. But also experiences rich in adrenaline!
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“Kayaking is more than going through big rapids and big waterfalls. I am eternally grateful for the places the kayaking takes me, for the people I meet along the way, and for my amazing “paddling” friends and partners. I think our last project with RedBull France on the Verdon canyon shows a little more than just kayaking. "
A technical and demanding descent
The descent sometimes seems to be within everyone's reach. It actually conceals many and dangerous siphons distributed throughout the 25 kilometers of the course. They make this descent a test of vigilance, including for high level kayakers. The smallest rock can hide a deadly siphon. “Constant vigilance” and precise precision in the choice of trajectories are therefore essential.
“We don't have the right to make mistakes, so it's very nerve-racking. "
Nouria is familiar with siphons. While on a solo expedition down the Tsarap River in Ladakh, India, she got caught in one of those water movements that eventually sucked her up completely. A chance that she came out unharmed a little further, after only a few seconds of immersion. A terrifying happy ending experience, which she hopes she will never have to relive. The video uploaded to Youtube transmits the anguish that Nouria must have felt when she was sucked in by this impressive siphon.
To discover the entire video of the Verdon canyon, go to the RedBull website, sponsor of Nouria.