Sunday January 21st. Everyone in the whitewater world knows what happened that day: Davey Hearn, current C1 World Slalom champion, was arrested for paddling his home river, the Potomac. The story was picked up by the evening news, and earned a front page story in the Washington Post, a mention in USA Today, and a spot on NPR’s “All Things Considered”. It was an impressive if dubious honor for the paddling community.
In part, we can blame a hydrologic conspiracy for the situation. A record breaking snowfall, followed by unseasonably warm weather and rain. As a result, the snow melted catastrophically and cause the Potomac River in Washington D.C to crest at its highest level in 23 years, peaking at 19.3ft on the Little Falls gauge.