Southern Agenda

Rapid Effect

The bouncing, bubbling, wave-whipped currents of the new Montgomery Whitewater park’s man-made channels rage in stark contrast to the smooth, serene flow of the adjacent Alabama River. And while the pumped white-water courses are the centerpiece of the 120-acre outdoor recreation facility in the state capital, they aren’t the sole attraction. Raft guide manager Anthony Lopez, who got his start guiding at Charlotte, North Carolina’s U.S. National Whitewater Center, is stoked about all its offerings: green spaces, trails, a restaurant and beer garden, an outdoor concert venue, and those Class II–IV roller-coaster rapids. “The adventure channel has six significant angle changes and really weaves and bends,” he says, “calling for more technical guiding.” Yet Lopez looks beyond paddling skills when hiring his crew. “A great guide is a good storyteller,” he says, “connecting with the rafters and connecting them to each other, creating a fun, but also a really communal, experience.”