High water levels result in changes to HOHW planned events


Guess what?  The water is high.  Really high.  In fact, we are at near record breaking flows.


Our high water “cut off” is roughly 150 cubic meters per second (cms) or 3.5m on the Environment Canada gauge.  The current flow is over 400 cms, and while it is falling we expect to see levels in the range of 275 cms on race day.

In most cases this is a great situation for whitewater paddlers, and it will make for a very exciting event; however, in the interests of ensuring that Hell Or High Water (HOHW) is a safe and fun event for everyone involved we are making a number of changes to the event.



Guided Raft Teams:  Cancelled. After frequent and ongoing discussions with ESPRIT, our guide team for the event, we have made the difficult decision to cancel the guided team races.  We realize that this is disappointing for many, but we didn’t want to compromise paddler safety or the quality of the experience.  We considered a wide range of course alternations and safety programming but in the end decided this was the best course of action given our predicted flows.  We do hope you can attend and take part in any of the other planned activities.

Canoe/Kayak / Private Raft:  Given the high flows, we have changed the format of the races.  The start line has been moved to just above the start of Railroad.  Same parking location but the river access is on private property.  Be respectful please.  Registration opens at 9:00. Please race both classes.

Short Course (11:30 – 13:00):  This course begins above Railroad, and finishes above Lovers Rapids on river left.  There is a substantial eddy and the finish will be well marked.  The higher start and eliminating Lovers from the course makes this option more approachable for less-experienced paddlers, and provides incentive for the confident to give their all without worry of the bigger rapids below. It is an awesome Class III wave train from Railroad down Lovers!

Long Course (13:30 – 15:30):  This is the standard HOHW Race but the start line has been moved to above Railroad.  Racers are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with the course at these flows before racing.          

Boatercross:  Sorry, cancelled.  As entertaining as it might sound, we do no encourage pushing masses of paddlers into Lovers at the same time at these flows.       

Slalom:  At present flows, the options for a quality course are pretty limited.  While the flows may drop enough to provide options, at present it is unexpected.  We’ll confirm on the facebook page and at registration is a course is set.

Playboating: Really great play waves in Catwalk and Golf Course (Tall Pines Rd), some with eddy access.

River running:  Take this opportunity to paddle the entire town section.  You can put in just off Rantz Rd and paddle from the highway all the way to the Ottawa.  Roughly 2.5 hour trip. Or, paddle the Class IV race section and carry on down through Suicide (CIV with CV options) and Golf Course (CIII wave train).

Whitewater SUP (13:00 – 14:30):  If you haven’t tried it, this is a great opportunity to come play in the waves on a SUP board down at Golf Course Rapids.  There is a simple,class III wave train with some good, safe surfing opportunities. Demo equipment is available. No cost but no wetsuits.  Location: 10 Tall Pines Rd.  Pre-registration required: hohwpetawawa@hotmail.com

Raffle:  This is a fundraiser for Whitewater Ontario and our local ski club.  Please put some money towards the event by participating in the raffle.  A $20 ticker gets you a 1/100 chance of winning $1000 gift card to Trailhead Paddleshack.  To get your ticket just send an email to hohwpetawawa@hotmail.com

Dinner and Awards:  Come get a great dinner, music from the Big Spoons, great raffle prizes from NRS, some cold drinks and a great atmosphere.  We have lots of food, so please grab a few friends and come to dinner at the Legion. Doors open around 4:00 with food rolling out shortly after.  $10 gets you a great meal.  We will announce the winners around 7:30 p.m.


In closing…  This year has brought us a lot of great water levels, but after many sleepless nights by the entire HOHW committee and I’m sure some of our supporters (and possibly some boaters too) we made these changes to the event.  All that said, we are confident that HOHW is going to be spectacular, and the changes to the programming really bring some exciting new options.

Riverside camping is still on.  The Upper Petawawa is a beautiful section of whitewater, and we always have a great time with paddling friends new and old.  The short race course gives a fresh option for tentative boaters and the big kids can race through to the standard finish. The SUP intro is a nice option to help fill the day, and we always have a great time surfing and playboating.

We really hope you can join us.

Philip, Brad, Mike & Kim.



Hell Or High Water 9 is made possible through the support of our sponsors: NRS, Rapid Media, Trailhead Paddleshack, Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, Quality Inn & Suites, Whitewater Brewing, Little Caesars,

Please support them in return.  Thanks.