An incredibly freak and tragic accident has left the co-founder of a paddleboarding company dead.
Nicholas Zawadzki was out on the Payette River in Idaho enjoying the sport he has dedicated his professional career to. Zawadzki is the co-founder of Hydrus Board Tech. This is an outdoor company that sells whitewater paddleboards.
The 36-year-old was enjoying what seemed to be a normal day out on the water.
According to The Idaho Statesman, Zawadzki was suddenly pulled under the very rocky waters of the river in what is considered a “complete freak and unexpected accident.” The rapids he went through must have been unexpectedly strong and hit his board the wrong way.
Nicholas Zawadzki Dies in Paddleboarding Incident
His brother, Nicholas, was unfortunately there to witness the terrifying event. He told the news outlet that his brother was one of the best whitewater paddleboarders, which made the tragic event even more confusing and disheartening.
“It was just a complete freak and unexpected accident on a section that Nick had rode standing up on his paddleboard hundreds of times. Just one-in-a-billion chance bad luck. It was his time to go,” Jason Zawadzki said.
The two founded the company together back in 2013. He lost both his brother, business partner, and adventure partner.
“My brother was so loved. Going to miss him. Thank you everyone for such a special tribute! Nick’s favorite boards mean a lot to me, as we shaped every single one together just as we built Hydrus together over the course of 8 years. Nick was an incredibly special person who was loved very deeply by so many! I’m going to miss my little brother dearly!” Jason Zawadzki wrote in a heartbreaking Facebook post.
The evidence that has been pulled out of the water all suggests that the outdoor businessman drowned that day. Both his helmet and life jacket surfaced.
According to People, there have been crews from the Garden Valley Fire, Mountain West Commercial Diving, Horseshoe Bend Fire, and different local rafting companies all out on the water trying to find his body. Even a helicopter helped scan the area.
Jason is now trying to contact dam operators and get them to lower the water level for a single day. This could help recover his body naturally and quickly.
Deaths in Whitewater Activities
Sports that take place on the dangerous and unpredictable whitewater across the U.S. have led to several deaths over the years. One of the most common activities is whitewater rafting.
As it turns out, according to the Tennessean, there were more whitewater river paddler deaths in Tennessee than anywhere else in the U.S. There were eight deaths on the rivers. Meanwhile, Arkansas had seven and Washington had six.
There has been a growing interest in different paddling sports, such as kayaking or rafting. Most of the deaths are a result of people not wearing a life jacket, hypothermia, or overall inexperience.
There has been a sharp increase in deaths in 2020 and 2021. Many people believe this is a result of COVID-19 and people’s urge to get outdoors and escape boredom.