FRANÇOIS TREMBLAY, 30
Years Paddling: 11
Homeland: I was born in Saguenay, QC, Canada. I’ve been living in Quebec City for most of my kayaking career.
Current Boat: CROSS
About Me: In 2009, out of the blue, my friend LP and I decided to get into kayaking. At the time, I was deep into an engineering physics degree. The next summer, I began to work as a safety kayaker on the Mistassibi River where I learned a lot really fast. My life has revolved around whitewater since then. Hydrological forecasting presented itself as an obvious topic choice for my master’s degree. It was going to be useful in planning daily runs and first D’s.
Now, when the rivers aren’t frozen at home, I pretty much paddle every day. I spend some time boating in Mexico or the US to relieve winter cravings. To keep balance, I also do climbing, snowboarding, some fishing and sometimes I even eat veggies! However, kayaking always remains in the corner of my mind. I am stoked whenever I sit in a kayak, whether it’s to paddle class II or V. I also enjoy racing from time to time. But at the end of the day, I think a steep canyon at high water is what this is all about. I love to paddle hard whitewater and push myself for the sake of it. I am comfortable in remote places facing hard decisions. I see clear when my mind runs fast and my heart pounds rapidly while I stare at a big rapid.
On flat-water stretches, j’en profite pour wairer un peu and to remind myself that I’m lucky to be able to admire those canyons and valleys from the inside. But then again, moving current is where I belong. Enweille, on ressoud en bas!
Favorite Rivers/Sections: The list goes on: Rivière des Huit Chutes, The Taureau on Rivière Jacques-Cartier, Rivière Valin, Rivière Mistassibi, Lower Rio Jalacingo, Big Banana on Rio Alseseca… I could name so many. In my opinion, what makes the real difference is the way one goes down and with whom. I like it Quebec Connection style, which means bombing down with way too many paddlers for the water level and the number of eddies. Just a big crew of solid and fast reacting paddlers, confident in each other, fluidly going down with no particular plan or order. Every one of them stoked kel chien at every boof.
Favourite Country to Paddle In: Quebec. It has steep creeks, big water, big waves, continuous technical rapids, no snakes… and it’s just cold enough. It has so many rivers that it’s like many countries within one. I just feel I was born on the perfect playground, but I’m probably biased.
Paddling Ambitions: I want to hit some renowned areas in South America, BC and Norway. I will continue on charting new rivers in northern Quebec. And on a long term basis, I’d love to do some multi-days in Asia.