UNLEASHED 2017 – Stage 4 – Video/ Report Big Trick Freestyle, Molly Wave – Mistasibbi River
Towards the vast northern lands of Quebec we travelled, into the land of the giants and endless winter. We arrived in Dolbeau on the shores of Lac St. Jean as the rain continued to pelt down, passing by frozen lakes and lingering snow banks in search of Stage 4. The Mistasibbi River is home to many of the most infamous river waves in the World; from Black Mass and Ginormica to Catta Be Kitten Me and H20, it is truly the promised land.
The crown jewel of the north also lies within the Mistasibbi, the illusive Molly Wave lives a further 60km upstream of the classic section and was only discovered a few years ago. Since its discovery, many crews have staked out hoping for Molly to come alive, but being so far above the gauge with so much volume, levels are almost impossible to predict. Crews have spent full weeks living in the true middle of nowhere without even getting a glimpse of the perfection.
As we rolled into Dolbeau Friday afternoon, we knew the ice was breaking, snow was melting and the water levels of the Mistasibbi were skyrocketing. After 3 stages with perfect levels, we were sure our luck was out and the 4th Stage of UNLEASHED was going to be on a sub-optimal wave. It was close, but too low for Molly, while land access to Black Mass was limited.
As we awoke Saturday morning, we couldn’t believe our UNLEASHED luck continued and as far as we could tell, we were in the range for Molly and trekked the 2 hours upstream on the slim chance we could compete. We pulled onto the bridge to see a never-ending train of ice coming downstream and passing directly though an absolutely perfect Molly. We couldn’t believe our eyes, and neither could the athletes as the pulled up to see the perfect wave; only to see the ice at a second glance, so much stoke dashed in an instant.
We got together for a quick team meeting, we had the wave we wanted, the wave we had always dreamed of, but there was just too much ice, too high of a risk. So we decided to wait a few hours and observe the ice flow, we knew the water was rising and that our perfect window wouldn’t last till the next day, but we figured we could push it into the afternoon and give the ice a chance to clear. As all the athletes reconvened under a small tent, sheltered from the rain for a moment, we made the call to run the comp. Stage 4 was going to be a Big-Trick Competition on the biggest, sickest and smoothest wave of them all! With a special spotter for ice and other floating debris, we got things kicked off for the final stage.
Two heats, each with an hour to battle it out and fire off there best and biggest tricks, with there top 3 being scored on the day. Heat 1 featured an all out free for all with James “Aussie’ Rowlinson, Raoul Collenteur and Kalob Grady throwing massive KY’s/Pistol Flips, while Bren Orton consistently threw down some of the biggest tricks of the day. One of the many jaw dropping moments was Aussie’s final ride, a ridiculous KY kicked off a sequence of so many massive tricks that he could fly back home over the Pacific with the Air Miles earned. Heat 2 featured Dane Jackson doing his best to win all four stages of UNLEASHED, and with some of the most creative combo’s and impressive airtime of the day, Dane left nothing to chance and secured 1st place for the 4th consecutive stage. The ladies also stepped up in Stage 4, sending surfs on the giant Molly Wave, overcoming the tumbling eddy lines and charging onto the wave. We were ecstatic, seeing so much success from athletes who had a total of 0 previous surfs, Molly came out to play, and so did the athletes, enjoying each and every second while keeping a keen eye for oncoming ice.
In the past 8 days, we have not only been able to paddle, but compete on the most sought after waves and epic sections of river in the World. Looking out over Molly as the sun tried its best to peak through the clouds, a glorious and calming feeling fell over us. Watching the last few athletes get there joy surfs in, battling the cold for just one more ride, it was everything we wanted in this event. Incredible athletes and awesome people, stoked on doing whatever it takes to compete and paddle on the best features available in the most inspiring places! From the old walls at Ruins, to the forests of the Rouge and the Basse-Cachee; all the way north to the bridge at Molly, these places mean so much more when these memories are made. And being able to overcome unpredictable levels, uncontrollable ice flows and elements, the memories of holding an UNLEASHED Stage on Molly will be a day that we never forget.