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The mountains are calling and I must go, and I will work on while I can, studying incessantly.

- John Muir

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Adventure Travel

Oct 18, 2017

EOFT is Back With 7 of the Year’s Best Adventure Films

The European Outdoor Film Tour or EOFT for those in the know, Europe’s largest outdoor film event is playing once again across 300 locations in 14 countries.

WRITTEN BY

Apoorva Prasad

Here’s our review of this year’s selection. Keep reading for a chance to win free tickets! You can also click here to find a screening near you.

Choices
The show begins with ‘Choices’, an emotionally-charged portrait of Steph Davis – American climber, BASE jumper and wingsuit flyer. Steph rose to serious prominence sometime in the early 00s thanks to her ever-increasing list of achievements, as well as the fact that she became one half of a famous couple – her late husband, the inimitable Dean Potter, kept the climbing world equally, if not more riveted.

But Steph has suffered several tragedies (read our review of Steph’s second book, ‘Learning to Fly’). Both her former spouse and second husband died in separate wingsuit accidents. As Steph climbs and BASE jumps in the film, her current partner reiterates that Steph’s choices in life are driven by her desire to constantly seek ‘ultimate freedom’. “Climbing makes me happy”, she says, and while that might sound simplistic to some, maybe even juvenile, in reality, it is a very deep and powerful statement when we drive deeper into the meaning of a life lived to the limit of absolute freedom. A great film on why outdoor athletes do what they do.

Ice Call
Short film on the European Outdoor Film Tour following Sam Favret freestyle skiing inside the giant Mer de Glace glacier, like it’s some kind of grownup terrain park. Whoa.

Follow The Fraser
A bunch of downhill mountain bikers downhill mountain bike some biggish hills in Canada. “The closest you’ll get to skiing with two wheels”. Nice shots. ’Nuff said.

Dug Out
“Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun”, and our two British lads decide to not prove Noel Coward wrong by heading off into the Amazon jungle of Ecuador to live with the remote and isolated Huaorani tribe, where they ‘befriend the natives’, chop a tree, build a dugout canoe and paddle down the river back to civilization. Simple, right? (This reminds us of our very own Brit kayakers exploring and paddling remote rivers across India.)

Of course, hilarity ensues, including nakedness and survival on banana-water and maggots. The film ends on a deeply troubling, somber note, reminding us that the Amazon is today under a deep and existential threat from oil and logging interests. One of the best films of the tour.

Into Twin Galaxies
The world’s only female Master Polar Guide Sarah McNair-Landry (read an exclusive interview with her here), and two dudes decide to kite-ski across the Greenland ice cap so that they can maybe, possibly, kayak a river they think they might have spotted on Google Earth. Erik Boomer and Ben Stookesberry went on Google and found a meltwater stream from a Greenland glacier they thought they could make a first kayak descent of.

So they got Sarah involved as the experienced expedition guide, took a boat to the eastern edge of Greenland, to travel 1000km across on foot dragging their kayaks and supplies to the western edge to a place they call “Twin Galaxies” (no, it’s literally just a location on a map with no inhabitation or life of any sort). Is this river actually flowing? Is it even kayakable?

They don’t really know. Kiteskiing across the ice cap is the only way to do it without support; and well, I guess it does make it more of an adventure. Unfortunately, <<SPOILER ALERT>> on Day 3, Sarah’s safety gets stuck during a gust of wind and she breaks her back… But they carry on. <<END SPOILER ALERT>>. Of course, to kite-ski you need wind, and some days there just ain’t any, so each person just has to haul that 100-kilo pig with their kayak, sled and supplies. On other days it’s booming, so they do “10-on, 2-off” – ten hours moving, two hours resting, repeat.

My level-headed hiking friend next to me whispered that she couldn’t understand what drove these people. It seemed a bit too insane for her. But rest assured, it’s a beautifully shot movie and I’d watch it again.

Ushba
My heart skipped a small beat when the lineup announced Ushba, a movie about skiing in Georgia. I was in Georgia last year, in Mazeri village at the base of Ushba and I’ve been worryingly developing an obsession with this peak, and this part of the world.

Unfortunately, after the epic nature of the previous films from the European Outdoor Film Tour, this seemed to be a pretty random, “dude, that was extreme!” kind of film with some good images of skiing, but an abrupt shift from the pensive, exploratory and environmental nature of some of the other films.

Good shots made want to get back to surfing some snow soon, but I could barely tell if they were even on Ushba, fearsome killer mountain, testing ground of Mikhail Khergiani, Tiger of the Caucasus? A bit unfortunate.

MARKUS EDER, SVANETI, GEORGIA

La Congenialita
The legendary Italian mountaineer Simone Moro has one of alpinism’s most storied careers, as the only person to have made first winter ascents of four of the world’s eight-thousanders. This film about the relationship between him and his much younger climbing partner, Tamara Lunger, 30-year old ski alpinism champion during a 2017 expedition to attempt the world’s highest traverse on the Kanchenjunga massif, shows how the mentor-mentee equation has begun to invert with the passage of time. Touching and also one of the best films of the tour, especially for anyone who’s followed Moro’s career.

And if you haven’t already seen it, here’s the trailer:

All images copyright the photographers / EOFT 17/18.

Love the outdoors? Love good cinema? We’re giving you and a friend the chance to get FREE PASSES!*

Step 1: Subscribe to our newsletter here.
Step 2: Share this post from The Outdoor Journal!
Step 3 – Join The Outdoor Voyagers Group.
Good Luck!

*Competition Rules & Guidelines:

· Entrants must follow The Outdoor Journal’s Facebook Page and publicly share the competition post on their profile. Entrants must also subscribe to The Outdoor Journal’s email newsletter, and request access to the Facebook group “The Outdoor Voyagers”.
· Entrants must clearly enter their complete name and email address on the subscription form. Incomplete or inaccurate entries will be rejected.
· Only one entry per person. All eligible competition entrants must be at least 18 years of age.
· The winners will be randomly selected via a draw on Monday, October 30th, 2017. Two attempts will be made within 24-hours to contact the selected winners via the provided email. If at the end of the 24-hour period the winner has not replied, another winner will be contacted and the process will repeat until winners are selected.
· The winner must present a valid form of identification in order to collect the passes at the screening of their choice.
· Winners may choose from any of the approximate 300 screenings of their choice in Europe.

· The Outdoor Journal does not accept liability for any lost, stolen, unclaimed or expired prizes. Any unclaimed or expired prizes will be retained by The Outdoor Journal. The winner agrees to allow The Outdoor Journal to publicly use their name and likeness in association with the competition and agrees to present The Outdoor Journal, EOFT and any other partners in a positive light in any interviews, social media posts or other public communication now and in perpetuity.

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Adventure Travel

Jul 31, 2018

Kayaking’s Elite Return to India at the Malabar River Festival

During the week of July 18th to 22nd, the Malabar River Festival returned to Kerala, India with one of the biggest cash prizes in whitewater kayaking in the world.

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WRITTEN BY

Brooke Hess

A $20,000 purse attracted some of the world’s best kayakers to the region for an epic week battling it out on some of India’s best whitewater.

The kayaking events at Malabar River Festival were held on the Kuttiyadi River, Chalippuzha River, and the Iruvajippuzha River, in South India on the Malabar Coast. The festival was founded and organized by Manik Taneja and Jacopo Nordera of GoodWave Adventures, the first whitewater kayaking school in South India.

Photo: Akash Sharma

“Look out for these guys in the future because there are some future stars there”

One of the goals of the festival is to promote whitewater kayaking in the state of Kerala and encourage locals to get into the sport. One of the event organizers, Vaijayanthi Bhat, feels that the festival plays a large part in promoting the sport within the community.  “The kayak community is building up through the Malabar Festival. Quite a few people are picking up kayaking… It starts with people watching the event and getting curious.  GoodWave Adventures are teaching the locals.”

Photo: Akash Sharma

Vaijayanthi is not lying when she says the kayak community is starting to build up.  In addition to the pro category, this year’s Malabar Festival hosted an intermediate competition specifically designed for local kayakers. The intermediate competition saw a huge turnout of 22 competitors in the men’s category and 9 competitors in the women’s category. Even the professional kayakers who traveled across the world to compete at the festival were impressed with the talent shown by the local kayakers. Mike Dawson of New Zealand, and the winner of the men’s pro competition had nothing but good things to say about the local kayakers. “I have so much respect for the local kayakers. I was stoked to see huge improvements from these guys since I met them in 2015. It was cool to see them ripping up the rivers and also just trying to hang out and ask as many questions about how to improve their paddling. It was awesome to watch them racing and making it through the rounds. Look out for these guys in the future because there are some future stars there.”

Photo: Akash Sharma

 

“It was awesome because you had such a great field of racers so you had to push it and be on your game without making a mistake”

Vaijayanthi says the festival has future goals of being named a world championship.  In order to do this, they have to attract world class kayakers to the event.  With names like Dane Jackson, Nouria Newman, Nicole Mansfield, Mike Dawson, and Gerd Serrasolses coming out for the pro competition, it already seems like they are doing a good job of working toward that goal! The pro competition was composed of four different kayaking events- boatercross, freestyle, slalom, and a superfinal race down a technical rapid. “The Finals of the extreme racing held on the Malabar Express was the favourite event for me. It was an epic rapid to race down. 90 seconds of continuous whitewater with a decent flow. It was awesome because you had such a great field of racers so you had to push it and be on your game without making a mistake.” says Dawson.

Photo: Akash Sharma

The impressive amount of prize money wasn’t the only thing that lured these big name kayakers to Kerala for the festival. Many of the kayakers have stayed in South India after the event ended to explore the rivers in the region. With numerous unexplored jungle rivers, the possibilities for exploratory kayaking are seemingly endless. Dawson knows the exploratory nature of the region well.  “I’ve been to the Malabar River Fest in 2015. I loved it then, and that’s why I’ve been so keen to come back. Kerala is an amazing region for kayaking. In the rainy season there is so much water, and because the state has tons of mountains close to the sea it means that there’s a lot of exploring and sections that are around. It’s a unique kind of paddling, with the rivers taking you through some really jungly inaccessible terrain. Looking forward to coming back to Kerala and also exploring the other regions of India in the future.”

 

For more information on the festival, visit: http://www.malabarfest.com/

Subscribe here: https://www.outdoorjournal.com/in/subscribe/

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