Alex Nicks and Tweaking the Nose of Terror

Alex Nicks is probably the best white water kayaker I’ve ever paddled with. Perhaps that’s not saying much, as I’ve only been white water kayaking about a dozen times, but the fact is Alex is a phenomenal kayaker. He is, as I understand it, one of Britain’s best.

I took a clinic with Alex a few weekends ago in the frigid waters of High falls near Kingston, New York. We paddled in very small boats, which I believe are made for freestyle paddling. Either way, they were much smaller boats than I was accustomed to.

So Alex took me through a series of Class II rapids (ripples, really) and then we ran a quick Class III that was one fine hoot. It had been a while since I paddled on a river (I’m mostly sea kayaking these days) so the experience was a reminder of how much fun it can be. Then we came to a wicked class IVish rapid that I had to portage around. Alex did not. Alex plunged right into the rapids and spent five minutes doing graceful pirouettes in the maw of the beast. I was amazed. Blown away.

Anyway, all of this is to make a further plug here for Alex’s work. You see, he is not only a superb kayaker, but he is an excellent filmmaker. He not only shoots for Jon Bowermaster’s awesome paddling series for National Geographic – the highly regarded Ocean’s 8 series (which I’ve blogged about before) – he also makes his own films. I got a copy of one of these DVDs and can tell you it will take your breath away. The DVD I have is called Tweaking the Nose of Terror and features a “terrorizing 43 minutes” of the most amazing white water footage you will ever see. From Patagonia to Iran to a run down the exceedingly treacherous stretch of the White Nile, this is a DVD that both amateur and extreme paddlers should own. I’m going to re-watch mine several times and, in fact, and going to try and get it autographed. ;-)