Shannon Christy, kayaker killed at Great Falls, spoke to 60 Minutes Sports two days earlier

October 2, 2013

Shannon Christy worked for Confluence Watersports, a maker of kayaks, canoes and other paddle sports equipment. She described herself as an “all American girl that loves Jesus, ice cream, and whitewater.” (courtesy Christy family)

The fact that the dangers of extreme kayaking were so close to the Nation’s Capital attracted CBS reporter David Martin and producers from Showtime’s “60 Minutes Sports” to Great Falls in July. As they began filming, they found a young yet knowledgable kayaker who had traveled here from South Carolina, 23-year-old Shannon Christy, to talk about the hazards and joys of whitewater rapids.

The 60 Minutes crew filmed Christy on her first practice run on July 9 and interviewed her that day. Two days later, on another run through the “Five Fingers,” said to be one of the steepest drops in the world, Christy disappeared and drowned. Martin’s piece, which includes parts of the interview with Christy and footage from the recovery of her body by other kayakers, will air for the first time Wednesday night at 10 p.m. on Showtime, and then a number of other times throughout the month.

In August, The Post’s Steve Hendrix wrote a great piece about the deceptively dangerous Great Falls and its Class V+ rapids. But what you really must see is the sensational multi-media graphic demonstrating what happens in the swirling waters of the Potomac River, assembled by The Post’s Sohail Al-Jamea, Bonnie Berkowitz, Emily Chow, Laris Karklis and Todd Lindeman. It’s informative, scary and a real demonstration of interactive journalism at its best.

“I kayak because I love the sport,” Christy told Martin on July 9. “Kayaking takes you to places that most of society will never see. I love the act of kayaking for what it is.”

Here’s a preview from 60 Minutes Sports:

Tom Jackman is a native of Northern Virginia and has been covering the region for The Post since 1998.
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Petula Dvorak · October 1, 2013