She’s five-foot-nothing and sounds like Minnie Mouse with an accent, but no one is pushing whitewater kayaking harder than 27-year-old Nouria Newman. A former world champion with the French kayak team, Newman traded the sheltered world of slalom racing for the freedom of expedition paddling, and promptly became the first woman (and fifth paddler ever) to run Site Zed on the Stikine River, the sport’s ultimate big-water test piece.
Since then she’s only turned up the heat. Last summer she teamed with whitewater legends Erik Boomer and Ben Stookesberry to open Big Creek and the Tongue River in Wyoming, which Stookesberry calls “the hardest river section in the continental United States.” Newman led most of the way, forcing the notoriously hard-charging Boomer to throw rock-paper-scissors for first shot at some of the crux drops.
All of that was preamble for Newman, who made an audacious 7-day solo of India’s Tsarap, Zanskar, and Indus rivers in August 2018, and shared this remarkably raw account of the 230-mile expedition in the most remote corner of India. The self-shot film provides a strikingly honest view into an experience more terrifying, and more exhilarating, than most of us will ever confront.