Aug 14, 2014
The Indian Kayak Road Trip 2014 – first descents across the nation
Powered by Ford Endeavour, five paddlers from the UK and one from India will travel across the country, exploring new whitewater rivers to descend.
The Outdoor Journal
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while following the monsoon rains from the southwest to the northeast.
For decades paddlers have been flocking to India to kayak on its high quality whitewater. But the focus till now had been firmly on Himalayan rivers. Good quality whitewater rivers require a combination of water and gradient. Shift your gaze from the Himalaya in India’s prolific monsoon season and you will find many mountainous regions of India which have been completely overlooked by kayakers until now.
The UK Expedition team consists of Callum Strong, Dom Burrow, James Smith, and brothers Joe and Dan Rea-Dickins. Although young and “extremely good looking” (as they claim), the team is an experienced bunch of whitewater expedition kayakers. They successful descents of challenging rivers in locations such as Siberia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Borneo, Pakistan, Chile, Venezuela, Iceland and India, including the states of Ladakh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Meghalaya.
The UK team are joined by Ayodhya Prasad, Indian kayaking ace and Rapid Raja of Malabar River Festival 2013. Ayodhya is a professional kayaker and raft guide from Uttarakhand with a solid experience paddling whitewater classics and first descents in India. The first Indian to compete at the Freestyle World Championships in Germany 2011, his skills on the water, level head, enthusiasm for exploring whitewater and way with the ladies make him a very strong addition to the team.
Starting in the Southwest state of Kerala at the Malabar River Festival, where a budding kayaking scene holds future promise, the team will complete some local first descents with logistical support of the Malabar Festival organisers. These granite bedrock jungle sections promise to develop into classic runs of the area as the Southwest kayaking community continues to grow. The UK team were not alone in the area this year, groups from Rishikesh and an all-star team of international kayakers have also been searching for wet gold (woof woof) in Kerala. What is becoming apparent is that kayakers have only just scratched the surface of Kerala’s potential and the region promises to attract more paddlers year on year.
Racing across India will be a true challenge – after transporting kayaks to India by air, our team will finally road trip a Ford Endeavour, fully loaded with six kayaks atop and all their gear into the wild southern and eastern states. In Orissa and Chattisgarh, they will descend the famous Indravati river. The rivers of the Eastern Ghats are getting them very excited and logistics look set to provide some entertaining challenges.
Stay tuned for updates from the team as they follow the rains in search of quality whitewater and adventure.