Island Rapid is made up of two significant drops around the right of the island, namely Island 1 and Island 2. Only about 5% of the field will attempt to shoot Island 1&2, including those who simply have no idea where they are.
The rest of the field will take the sneak left of the island, which meets up with the main channel, just before another significant drop, sometimes referred to as Island 3.
The channel to the sneak veers off the left at 90 degrees to the main flow and is clearly visible. There are also some distinct landmarks to help you get orientated. To get your bearings look out for a large flat section after Molweni Causeway with a beautiful, huge cliff face on your right. This is a good landmark to the approaches Island.
Option 1: Portage
The portage is only about 50m long and essentially avoids a tricky little drop. Enter the sneak channel and exit the river on your right. Put in again and then bump down the left channel looking for the deepest water. At the end of the channel there is a shallow rock slide with some hard protruding lumps down the centre that can damage your boat. To avoid these, keep extreme left, sliding over the rocky shelf if need be.
Option 2: Paddle the entire sneak.
Paddling this entire section adds an element of risk, to state the obvious, otherwise paddlers wouldn't portage it. The water flows fast over a shallow rocky shelf, limiting your maneuverability once committed. In medium/high water there are some decent sized lateral waves coming off the right & left banks. The exit flows over and through some large boulders that you have to avoid by aiming for the gap in the centre of the mess.
Option 3: Paddle the Main Channel
We recommend that you only attempt Island 1 and 2 once you have a very thorough idea of where you are going and have scouted in on foot. There is a lot of broken concrete and old metal re-bar under the water below the broken causeway in Island 2, so your line is critical. On the correct line, there is still a steep drop, a hole or two and some big stoppers to negotiate. A swim here usually ends in tears.