Dec 08, 2014
Indian Kayaker gets Rescue 3 International Instructor certification
After years of kayaking and whitewater rafting experience, Bhupendra Singh Rana takes his river knowledge to the next level with a Rescue3 International Instructor certification.
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He graduated after a month-long intense training in California, USA with Sierra Rescue and will share his skills on the banks of the Ganges in early 2015. Here’s what the organiser of India’s first kayak competition told The Outdoor Journal in an email interview recently:
TOJ: Congratulations on the Rescue 3 international instructor certification. What got you into kayaking?
Bhupi: I grew up on the river Ganges so; kayaking was a natural succession in my life. As a young boy in Rishikesh, Uttrakhand I would watch the kayakers battle the rapids all day long. When I was told that these kayakers actually got paid to have fun every day and got to travel around the world doing it, I was hooked! I later realized what a big world there was out there and knew that I wanted to see it from my kayak. Kayaking has brought some amazing people into my life, opened many doors for me, and also brought me a great deal of exposure and experience.
TOJ: We’ve heard about this mad interest you have in hucking waterfalls?
Bhupi: I live for adventure and the thrill of trying something for the first time. Waterfalls give me that thrill each time. The feeling one gets when free falling off of a waterfall sticks with you forever. Overall, it’s simply just a fun experience that I cannot even properly express with words.
TOJ: Can you run us through your major descents of rivers / waterfalls in India and other countries?
Bhupi: My home river will always be the river Ganges which I know like the back of my hand now. In India I have paddled all the major tributaries of the Ganges, done tons of expeditions.
Rivers in India: Mahakali, Brahmaputra, Shyom, Zanskar, Bhagirathi etc. I’ve also completed some first descents in India: the Eastern Nayar Gorge of Satpuli in Uttarakhand, Super Slide of Kozhippara in Kerala, and the Upper Iruvanjipuzha river, also in Kerala.
Waterfalls in India: Gonichara waterfalls (30ft), Ariparra slide/waterfalls (70ft)
Rivers in Norway: Brandseth river, Strandal, Rondal, Sjoa, the Finna gorge, the upper Rauma river and the Store Ula
Waterfalls in Norway: Store Ula 3 drop (30ft), Stuttgangsfassen (50ft)
Rivers in Austria: Oetztal River, Upper Oetz Gorge.
Rivers in USA: Green River narrow, Ocoee River, Deerfield River
Rivers in Uganda: The famous White Nile
TOJ: How much has kayaking in India changed since the time you plunged into the sport?
Bhupi: Kayaking has changed a great deal since I first started over 10 years ago. The sport is growing rapidly within the local community in India but, also internationally. India is finally starting to be recognized as one of the top whitewater kayaking destinations in the world. This recognition of our country was one of the motivating factors in the creation of the Ganga Kayak Festival. Kayaking is gaining a great deal of exposure in India, so much so, that even local women are starting to jump on the bandwagon. The athletes are a very friendly and accepting community that is inclusive of everyone.
TOJ: Tell us about your Ganga Kayak Festival, which we hear is one of the coolest aqua sport events in India today?
Bhupi: It is absolutely one the coolest sports events! For years, I dreamed of creating an event that would enable local Indian kayakers to showcase their skills on a competitive level. And then 3 years ago, GKF was born. The festival takes place each year on the River Ganges with competitors from all over the world. Through various sponsors we are able to offer a variety of prizes to be awarded to kayakers from all different categories – women’s, men’s, pro, beginners, etc. Our hope is to bring the opportunity to compete to all kayakers no matter their skill level. The passion for the sport of kayaking is what motivates our GKF committee to create such an epic event.
TOJ: How much of India’s rivers and its rapids / waterfalls are still unexplored / unrun by kayakers, you’d say?
Bhupi: There are still so many untouched rivers and waterfalls that have yet to be explored in India! The Himalayan range in Northern India has a great deal of unexplored rivers. The world’s rainiest region is located in the state of Meghalaya, this fact coupled with the thick forest that is also there means that there has to be some rivers there that have yet to be paddled. Western and Southern India get hit hard during the monsoon seasons making their rivers and waterfalls much more powerful bodies of water during this time. The mix of different seasons in India allows for there to always be a variety river types to be run. Many other countries only have runnable rivers during specific seasons but, kayaking in India can be a year round sport.
Bhupi will be conducting classes in Hindi/English in India during winter/spring (Feb/March) 2015 in the upper Ganges valley.