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This is really tough to hear. Conrad had probably run the North Fork a few hundred times.

Not a lot of people have heard of Conrad, but he was truly one of the world's best paddlers. Among his many accomplishments is the first descent of V-drive rapid on the Stikine.

The only day I ever paddled with him I kept wondering why he was always getting stuck in all the big holes on the North Fork. I watched him throw down some HUGE cartwheels in the giant hole in screaming left (the really scary hole river right in the lead-in). Just as I was about to get on shore and race up with my throw-bag he washed out of the hole, caught an eddy and got BACK IN the hole. My friends explained that Conrad liked to "playboat" the North Fork in his Phat so he'd be ready for rapids like V-drive in the fall.

Condolences to his friends and family.
 

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Yesterday the Boise community and the paddling community as a whole lost one of the best. Conrad Fourney drowned in Nutcracker on the NF of the payette. I know some of you paddlers in CO have paddled with him and most saw his rescue of the woman in the main payette last year.

He was an amazing and quiet guy that loved to kayak and was one of the first to run V-Drive on the stikine. He was a big water legend and was unreal to watch on the NF of the payette. He was soooo smooth. I remember being honored to meet and paddle with him on his home run. We had a bunch of great days on the NF last year, including some 5g + runs.

I remember all his buddies asking for his autographs jokingly and not, after he was invited to be on goodmorning america after he saved the womans life (he declined as it was just something that kayakers do). It was all over the news. He was up there to cut a x mas tree with his son and girlfriend when the rescue crew realized they couldn't get to her. He was having breakfast in Banks and grabed a wetsuit, helmet and inflatable kayak next door and went and got it done. She was trapped for over an hour before he got to her in minutes.

My condolences to his Family and all his paddling buddies.

It is so sad the NF has lost another that loved her so much. Last year Damon and yesterday another great.

RIP my brotha
Gary Edgeworth
 

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A sad day indeed, rest in peace brother.

A couple of years ago I hooked up with a big local crew including Conrad on the north fork and they showed me the lines on my first top to bottom run. I remember numerous rapids where the person in front of me would turn around and yell something like left, left right, center, boof hard, right...got it, don't get off line. One of my best days kayaking ever. Keep it safe out there fellas.
 

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Terrible news...RIP...condolences to family, friends and boating buddies.
 

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video

I heard that there was video of the rescue he performed on the pinned person while he was in a ducky, does anyone have a link to that by any chance?

Thanks,

My condolences to all he touched.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Rescue Video

Check the link in that news release we wrote on paddling life for the video of Conrad saving that lady.

Thanks for all the big water North Fork runs Conrad. You were da man.
 

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so crazy getting my latest issue of kayak session yesterday with the big article about the stikine and the few who have completed it. conrad was all over the article. cool seeing the chalkboard with Damo's and Conrad's name on it.
 

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Fuck that, not a Third Legend of the Payette. Don't have to wonder what Russell, Damon and Conrad doing right now. If there does happen to be another shot at existence after this first crazy ride is over, those three are killing it up there. Just thinking about it makes me feel like I'm missing out on something. Damon plotting, Conrad smoothing it and Russell hootin' and hollerin' the whole way.
 

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There has been no word on the precise cause of the pin and swim as of yet. Conrad's group is understandably devestated, and I think the time for discussing this in detail has not come.

However, this is the time to reflect on the safety measures that you and your buddies take while paddling. It is worth noting that Conrad was extracted from the foot entrapment by a member of his group who took the calculated risk of wading (while on belay) out into some very very serious current and clipping into his PFD. This is yet another case where an on-shore rescue was not effective, and someone had to step up and take a risk. So, it's worth considering what you are personally prepared to do to potentially save a life. It often takes more than throwing a rope.

The boat is still pinned on river left, below the Nut rock, immediately in front of a fan rock and approximately 6 to 8 feet from shore. The boat is about 2 or 3 feet under very fast current and you can barely tell that it is there. I know of at least one attempt to extract the boat that was not successful. My opinion is that the water needs to come down before the boat can be safely extracted, so that'll be a while. As it is, the pinned boat does not pose a hazard to those trying to run Nutcracker.

Peace,
-Mark
 

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Any word on how he got pinned behind nutcracker?
I think that there will be a detailed writeup by those involved. The facts on this accident do give a lot to consider.

There was a beautiful memorial for Conrad in Banks yesterday. The Idaho boating community really is something special.
 

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Doubt it

I seriously doubt that Conrad is "killing it" up there. What you fail to understand is that Conrad was a devoted father and has left a devastated 9 year old son behind. My guess is that Conrad is kicking himself and wondering why he didn't slow down a bit so he could be there to watch his beautiful boy grow up to be a man. I know that your love of the river etc. is huge, but there is a much bigger picture to look at, and a sensitivity that really needs to be shown to those who really knew and loved not only Conrad, but his son as well.

Fuck that, not a Third Legend of the Payette. Don't have to wonder what Russell, Damon and Conrad doing right now. If there does happen to be another shot at existence after this first crazy ride is over, those three are killing it up there. Just thinking about it makes me feel like I'm missing out on something. Damon plotting, Conrad smoothing it and Russell hootin' and hollerin' the whole way.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
No need to scold. I think he was just complimenting a great man in his own way. A lot of people new him in a lot of different contexts. Noah will appreciate that someday.
 

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didn't sound scolding to me. this situation actually sheds some light on the struggles of trying to reconcile being a class 5 boater as well as a family man, and not in that order. I know my own situation [2 young daughters] has forced me to look at class 5 [risk] in a different way. it is tough to walk some stuff that i know i would be fine in, and maybe have run many times in the past, but the risk is definately there, as better boaters than me have died on runs i have run more than once. as i get older [now 40] this is getting easier thankfully. maybe my ego is easing up. that and the desire to not at all risk denying my daughters a lifelong relationship with their dad, and vice-versa. i know you can die walking down the street, but it is possible to limit some big risks in boating [and life] while still going for it and paddling hard.
 

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You are 100% correct KimmyC, Conrad would be devastated by leaving his family behind. I have seen much too first hand how ridiculous the sport of kayaking looks when someone dies and leaves behind so much. I would guess Conrad would have quit kayaking in a heartbeat if he knew this was even a remote possibility. I cry for those left behind and know the magnitude of the pain. I guess it is a consolation to remember the heroics of these people for those us who keep trying to convince ourselves there is a higher purpose in kayaking. I have just seen way too many people die in this sport and it kindof makes me sick. Hopefully later in life Noah can have some small consolation that his father was a true legend and hero to many.
 

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Noah will know that his dad was a legend and hero-he witnessed it every time he was with him. His mom is trying to pick up the pieces for him now, though. I guess my point is the same as steven's: the reward isn't really worth the risk once you become a parent.
 

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I have to agree with Smokey on the scolding; And with Kimmy's points also.

Death isn't easy for anyone, some people voice there thoughts and sadness in different ways.

One of Noahs proudest moments was going to school and telling the kids his dad was a hero. This was given to Noah because of the paddler and man his dad was. I'm sure if we could ask Conrad, about his great moments; They would probably be taking Noah and Cynthia up to banks for an x mas tree and some quailty family time that day and so many others.

As I sat and listened to the stories, met the family and Cynthia for the first time, I felt so sad for them and their loss. Than hearing Cynthia's thoughts that night with 300+ people there, and what she had to say, I felt nothing else needed to be said that night.

Conrad had a life, a great life with family and friends; He also built that life around kayaking; They both need to be respected and celebrated.

Maybe Conrad needed to slow down; I don't think that was the case, things happen, and it was his time. For his time to come on the NF, is very hard, as he knew the run better than anyone.

I wrote this article years ago, for AWA, for the people that don't get it. The fact is, most never will. But it's how Conrad lived and loved. Noah won't forget his dad, because his dad taught his son this in the 9yrs they spent together; Not because people will remind him of who his dad was, he already knows. Would Conrad want to see Noah become the man he is gonna become? Of course!

Paddling: Is it worth the risk?
This past June I had to do a lot of soul searching when my hero and friend died in Upper South Boulder Creek. It was a bad day in a place I have had other bad days in, as I almost died there the year before in an underwater wedge pin.
My wife, family, and non paddling friends ask me why I do this sport. They think I'm just an adrenaline junkie. I’ve said, “If you don't do it, you won’t understand,” yet, I still need to explain it to them. It’s as much for me as for them.
This sport is not about the big drops or who’s the best. It's about friends, unreal places, personal limits, and mental strength. This sport brings all walks of life together in search of the same goal - to live life to the fullest.
We all have friends we have known for years or grown up with. I have a group of eight or so paddling friends that I have spent the last 5 years with, paddling all over the country. These people are some of the most important people in my life - on and off the water. Most people don't or won’t ever be called to put their lives at risk for a friend. In kayaking, it happens everyday somewhere in the world. Water enthusiasts are special people with special values that create an untouchable bond between everyday paddling partners. Friends are the reason we are out there.
The places that I have been kayaking and what I’ve witnessed from being in my boat are simply beyond words. I've seen bear, moose, bobcat, and mountain lions. I’ve seen bald eagles hit the water and come out with a fish in their talons. Towering walls hundreds of feet above me, and trees so thick they create a roof over the river. From the aqua blue water in Washington, to the crystal clear water of California, to the Rocky Mountain watersheds, whitewater let's us have a purpose and a motivation to get out and see the world how it was meant to be discovered.
You don't have to be an “adrenaline junkie” to set and achieve your personal limits in whitewater. Everyone has their comfort zone. Some like it right there and others push themselves to a higher level. Either way, you’re out there getting it done.
Whitewater enthusiasts are beyond the norm in mental toughness. They make life-threatening decisions on their own and then follow those decisions through. Whitewater is no joke, it's relentless, unstoppable, and lethal for egos and for those who show a lack of respect. Whether it be Class III or Class V, when I am out with my buddy's, I make my own decision to run or walk, to go left or right. This is an important process that takes place a hundred times a run. Daring someone to run something is usually not tolerated. It's an individual sport, so you live and die by your decisions.
My favorite thing about kayaking is searching for that perfect moment we all have had while paddling. I like the focus I get above a big and scary drop (it's like tunnel vision). I like seeing some of my closest friends smiling and sharing what we have or are doing; looking up into the chaos after a run and knowing for this day the river made you special. The beauty of the unseen places that only a small watercraft can get to. The serenity and peacefulness, the campfires and the quality of people you spend these moments in life with. The bottom line is, whitewater is about the people next to you, so yes, it's worth the risk to me.
 
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