Nouria Newman in ‘Wild Waters’ » Explorersweb

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Nouria Newman wants to be the first female kayaker to run a 30m stunt. And in the first minutes of wild waters – Red Bull’s film about her life and accomplishments – you know somewhere, somehow, she’s going to make it.

Perhaps it’s because of the way her contemporaries describe her: “She plays chess on the river better than anyone.”

Or maybe it’s her own words, which suggest that this accomplished athlete has transcended childish protestations of fearlessness.

“People often say to me: ‘You’re never afraid!’ But I’m still scared,” Newman says over footage of her acknowledging a huge, muddy, intimidating waterfall. “And sometimes I’m extremely scared.”

Nouria Newman discovers the rapids in the film “Wild Waters”. Screenshot: Red Bull

The 31-year-old French kayaker’s professional career began in 2010, but her life as a kayaker began much earlier. Newman caught the paddling bug at an early age, but her parents forced her to take swimming lessons before she was allowed to seriously pursue kayaking. She complied, learned her moves, then happily insisted her parents keep their end of the bargain.

Nouria Newman at a young age

Nouria Newman, lifelong paddler. Screenshot: Red Bull

Fast forward a few years, and Newman is racking up victories not in one or two, but Three paddling disciplines: canoeing, freestyle and extreme kayaking.

Oh yes, and she also has a master’s degree in journalism and political science.

Adventure and fun

Newman is more than just a competitive paddler. She also has a habit of going big – some would say extreme – kayaking adventures. In 2018, she paddled solo on the Tsarap, Zanskar and Indus rivers. In 2021, she spent a month paddling extreme rivers in Iceland – not a landscape known for easy travel.

HBO introduced Newman to a non-paddling audience by including him in its adventure sports documentary miniseries “Edge of the Earth.” Newman appears in Episode II: Unleashed Torrent, alongside fellow elite kayakers Ben Stookesberry and Erik Boomer. The episode covers the kayakers’ attempt to cross the Chalupas River without a prisoner from Ecuador.

Throughout all of his competitions, victories, and adventures, Newman retains a sense of playfulness. For her, kayaking is much more than medals and podiums. This is pure, unmixed fun.

A first in kayaking

Like we said up top, anyone who watches “Wild Waters” knows that Newman will achieve her goal of becoming the first woman to kayak a 30m waterfall.

That doesn’t make it any less thrilling as she slides into her boat, centers herself, takes a deep breath, and pushes through the water above Pucuno Falls in Ecuador.

Nouria Newman flies over Pucuno Falls in Ecuador.

Nouria Newman flies over Pucuno Falls in Ecuador. Screenshot: Red Bull

As she pilots her boat over the falls, the music is muffled and breathless, a fitting accompaniment to the stunning heights the kayaker has just soared from.

“You take a bit of everything you’ve been through, everything you’ve built, to make a waterfall flow that lasts 2.5 seconds,” Newman says as she descends into the murky brown waters below. -below.

“What’s crazy is all I had to do to get here.”

Watch Red Bull’s “Wild Waters” here.

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