From a 1952 issue of Life, Desire Herr hits the rapids and looks like he's about to hit the rocks as he gets tossed from his kayak. Or is he actually getting tossed? Maybe he's just popped his leg out to brace himself against the rock. Either way, I'll bet his heart is pounding!
Haven't these guys heard of neoprene? Or PFDs? Or helmets?
From the same issue, Philippe Martin is seen testing his bracing skills.
Here, a gallant competitor helps an injured Caroline Van Landschoot to shore.
Here's Life's coverage of the event, the Kayak Club of France running a Class 3 river with some Class 4 obstacles.