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Charl’s journey into the riverboarding world was inspired by reading about fellow South African Mike Horn’s source to sea traverse of the Amazon River by hydrospeed, and soon thereafter he began making his own boards.
With more than 15 years of ocean bodyboarding experience and an even longer history of competitive swimming, running whitewater in this fashion was a natural progression for him.
Charl first began exploring the international hydrospeed scene in the early 2000’s, and eventually connected with Raphaël Besson, who was helpful in providing advice and guidance for everything related to making hydrospeeds and running rivers.
After trips to Corsica and Uganda including the first known descent of the entire commercial section of the White Nile by hydrospeed – where a clip of Charl holding and gamely surfing the hole in Itanda served as one of the first ever ‘viral’ riverboarding videos – he began corresponding with Josh Galt and soon thereafter became the only non-American member of Team FLI.
Charl was voted as the “Best Creeker” in the first ever FLI Awards for his skills with a hydrospeed on steep creeks, and the following year he gained international attention when he took on the 3-3-3 project, intending to run 3 waterfalls of more than 30 feet on 3 consecutive days on 3 different rivers, including dropping Harts Hill falls, one of the heaviest waterfalls ever attempted on a riverboard.
Through that project he met Celliers Kruger, the owner of Fluid kayaks, and their relationship led to the development and manufacture of the Fluid Anvil, the most innovative hydrospeed-style riverboard ever commercially produced.
Charl has notched many first descents by riverboard on South African rivers and waterfalls, and is the African representative of RIPH, a long-time advisor for FaceLevel.com, and a vital part of the Fluid Kayaks family as well.
Learn more about Charl at his website My Life In Water.