A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

miscellaneous news
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

WHITE WATER (article first published : 2002-12-19)

A book on whitewater rafting reviewed on an arts site? Did we suddenly take a great quantum leap into the unknown and become incredibly sports conscious and long for the spirit of adventure?

Nope. We just saw a few of the photographs featured in Graeme Addison’s White Water: The World’s Wildest Rivers and just had to see the rest of them. The list of photographic credits at the end of this beautifully presented coffee table book is impressive and picture researcher Sonya Meyer has done a good job in choosing a wide range of images to portray the many aspects of this – to me – totally alarming sport

In his foreword Ranulph Fiennes puts it succinctly. “If you have ever dipped your toe in white water or even listened in awe to the distant thunder of great falls, you will really enjoy and treasure this book. If you haven’t, it may even encourage you to have a go.”

The grading guidelines would put me off for a start, identifying grade 1 as “fast water with waves but no serious obstructions” to Grade 6 which is described as “extreme water that is continuous and offers no routes of escape”. On a danger level, it is means that a single mistake could be fatal.

This is a sport which became accessible to the man in the street from the comfort and safety of his cinema seat with movies such as Deliverance or The River Wild.

But it’s the pictures that will undoubtedly create energetic conversation if this publication is left lying casually on a coffee table. They are riveting, bursting with action and one can almost feel and taste the spray of the boiling waters. And the waters aren’t always sparkling clear, many photographs show brown, muddy waters where it often looks as if the canoeist is steering his craft through a gigantic cup of thick coffee with foaming cream. One action-filled photograph shows a swimmer battling the turbulent waters of the Colorado, Grand Canyon, as if emerging from a dish of melted chocolate!

One of the most impressive pictures comes in the chapter on Africa which shows a kayaker launching off the lip of the Thrombosis Falls, Mzimkulu River in KZN. The fall apparently gets its name from the steep hike out. One look at the sheer drop and the angle of the airborne kayak would have given me immediate heart seizure let alone thrombosis!

Another superb shot follows the drop down the Drakensberg escarpment of the Tugela Falls, the world’s second highest after the Angel Falls in Venezuela. There is also a half a page dedicated to the annual Duzi Marathon.

Graeme Addison pioneered whitewater rafting in southern Africa during the 70’s and 80’s, establishing the first river tourism company, Rivermen, in 1982. He has rafted and kayaked around the world and now writes about river sports for Out There magazine. Living in Pretoria, he is currently the chairman of the Instructor Council of the Professional Rafting Association of South Africa.

White Water: The World’s Wildest Rivers would be a magnificent gift for any whitewater enthusiast. It retails at R220.00. – Caroline Smart




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart