Salto y Saltos: Day 6 of Chile Adventures

by Kyle Thomas on February 24, 2015

The stoke was high after three days of paddling on the Rio Claro.  Big waterfalls, one-of-a-kind boofs, mind-blowing scenery, and a wonderful 1st international camping experience.  Immediately after finishing up the dawn patrol lap on Veintidós Saltos (see blog post), our group packed up the truck with as many kayaks as possible and started our journey south to Pucón.

Our loaded up rental vehicle from PKH Our loaded up rental vehicle from PKH


Several hours in the truck and a mandatory empanada stop later, we finally arrived in beautiful Pucón.  Pucón is reminiscent of ski chalet towns in the United States, but blended with Chilean culture.  Like many chalet towns, Pucón is saturated with opportunities for adventure!  Pucón is located in the southern lake district of Chile and has an overwhelming amount of waterways.  As both an avid sea kayaker and whitewater paddler, I fell in love with Pucón, its waterway diversity, and the view of Villarrica Volcano!  So many opportunities, such little time!

View of Villarrica Volcano as we drive into Pucón View of Villarrica Volcano as we drive into Pucón


After snapping a bunch of photos and settling in at the Pucón Kayak Hostel, we were ready to paddle!  Right outside the doorstep of the hostel is river access to the Rio Trancura.  The PKH river access splits the river into an upper section and a lower section.  The Lower Rio Trancura is a class III-IV playground and is a smooth ride from top to bottom.  The beginning of the Lower Trancura features a sweet play wave beneath the bridge (see photo below), a quick park-and-play opportunity for PKH guests.   This was the perfect place to get acquainted with Chilean runs with a little more flow and have a fun and relaxing day.  The waves were smooth, the river features had the perfect amount of water to air out some great boofs, and Pescador rapid did not disappoint!

Put-in for the Lower Rio Trancura Put-in for the Lower Rio Trancura


The logistics for the Rio Trancura were super simple!  When running the Lower Trancura, our group was able to just put-in at the Pucón Kayak Hostel, and then have another guest drive our vehicle down a little ways to meet us at the take out.  When paddling the Upper Trancura (a future blog post covers this section), we had a guest of PKH drops us off at the put-in and we paddled to the river access by the hostel.  With the extended hours of daylight in Chile, it was easy to paddle on the Trancura before and/or after the primary paddling destination of the day.

Video of Kyle paddling the Lower Rio Trancura


Product Spotlight for Day 6:  Accent Premier Fluid Whitewater Kayak Paddle (MSRP $250)

On my trip to Chile, I brought an Accent Premier Fluid Whitewater Kayak Paddle to test out.  The Accent Premier Fluid has quickly become a favorite of mine, as it combines an effective downturned blade shape with a large surface area for generating the power I need while on the river.  I prefer a downturned blade shape on rivers like the Rio Trancura because it affords high quality low bracing, draw strokes, and ruddering techniques.

Airing out a boof on the Lower Rio Trancura with the Accent Premier Fluid Airing out a boof on the Lower Rio Trancura with the Accent Premier Fluid


The Accent Premier Fluid is big and powerful!  The paddle design is optimized for short bursts like the initiation of cartwheel, a change in direction, or a boof stroke.  I have used this paddle while playboating as well as creeking in the southeast, and it has performed exceptionally in both environments.  The tri-axial fiberglass is durable and capable of withstanding the significant punishment of a whitewater paddler, as shown by blade design featuring thicker edges to enhance durability and the fiberglass being layered in three different directions.  I have put many miles on this paddle and aside from a few surface scratches, the paddle remains in incredible shape without whittling down like so many other paddles in the market.  Creeking in the southeast can be brutal on a paddle!

As with any paddle with a large surface area, the Accent Premier Fluid needs to driven by the paddler’s core muscles instead of arms and shoulders.  By taking special attention to engage these core muscles, I was able to take fewer strokes, produce a lot of power, and do all of this while minimizing shoulder fatigue.  I recommend this paddle for freestyle paddlers that enjoy a good bit of creeking and a lot of power in their strokes!

Video, photos, and words by Kyle Thomas, Effort Inc.

Kyle Thomas

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