Vaal River, Gatsien rapid. Gatsien is an Afrikaans word for ‘see your arse’. Ruben (10), on his blue Kwando, didn’t. For paddlers, Gatsien is probably the most well known rapid in South Africa. At this time of year, as we go into winter, the water level is low making this rapid a friendly class 1.
There are two sides to the Vaal River’s Gatsien rapid. On river left is a wave train at low levels – and a super surfing wave when the water is higher. On river right is the chute. Ruben (10) takes a line to the right of the chute on his Kwando children’s sit-on-top. He catches an eddy and then continues down the rapid. The orange whitewater kayak that you see briefly near the end of this video? That’s a Pungwe, the smaller size of our two creekboats.
Young Luke is 8 years old and he loves paddling his Vagabond Kayaks Kwando. He paddles regularly on Zandvlei and the sea around Simon’s Town with his parents. His confidence has grown since he first took to the water a year ago.
“The Kwando has really changed how he feels about being on the water. He can pretty much handle a 5km circuit now. He loves his kayak!” says Luke’s mom Tracy.