American River's 'once in a decade' conditions draw thrill-seeking kayakers

The rain is creating "once-in-a-decade" conditions on the American River for expert kayakers.

The rain is creating “once-in-a-decade” conditions on the American River for expert kayakers.

“We don’t have the option to run it this high maybe but once in a decade, so it’s special for us local paddlers to be able to come out and take advantage of it,” said kayaker Dylan Nichols.

Nichols and other expert kayakers paddled in to the South Fork of the American River by the Chili Bar park in Placerville.

“It’s extremely unusual conditions,” said professional kayaker Isidro Soberanes. 

Soberanes and Nichols estimated that the river was moving at 20,000 cubic feet per second, compared to a normal pace of anywhere from 1,500 to 3,000 cubic feet per second.

“It gives me the opportunity to experience a river I know really well at extremely high, high levels,” Soberanes said. “Basically, I’m expecting to paddle some of the biggest rapids I’ve paddled in California.”

Nichols and his fellow kayakers traveled from Chili Bar to the Salmon Falls Bridge in El Dorado Hills.

“Definitely tired. Twenty-two miles in two hours is a fast pace,” Nichols said.

Despite the exhaustion, Nichols said kayaking the river lived up to high expectations.

“We left with five smiles and came back with five smiles, so it was a successful day,” Nichols said.

Copyright 2016 KXTV


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