Published on July 9 2015

Paddling down the Ardèche River

Ardèche is probably one the most beautiful and wild region of France. So when Harald from JP Australia, and a former kayak champion offered to go paddling there for a week, we said yes. And so we headed to CREPS Vallon Pont-d'Arc, a well-known place for all talented kayakers, as it hosts the national sport campus. The route was attractive: a first section brought us to Chames under the amazing and famous arch, a second got us paddling between the beautiful stone villages from Balazuc to Vogüé.

There were hardly no tourists in April in Ardèche yet, and so we enjoyed a pretty calm trip. Calm, but not easy, especially for me, as it was my first experience in white waters. I learnt about streams and counter-currents, ramps and rails and all kind of new traps!!! In many places, the water was not deep enough, my fin got stuck in rocks ... that was a fall. In others places, the current was so powerful, it chose direction for me. Grrr!

But the scenery there is astonishing. Light is beautiful, every curve of the river opens on a new gorgeous rocky panorama, each village we cross has gorgeous bridges and dungeons, it feels like another world and another time. Trip remained very physical: don’t go on such waters unless you’re well equipped (and trained). What do you need? an inflatable paddle (there are now inflatable SUP specially adapted for whitewaters paddling, like Rivair board), with or without your fin according how deep the water is, helmet and leash river. I met some branches and rocks on the way…Of course, keep in mind the water is fresh. 

Please inquire locally before going since navigation of SUP is highly regulated in this area. Otherwise…check our images, they speak for themselves ...

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