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- Henry David Thoreau


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News

Feb 13, 2017

Following the Line: A Triathlon Across the Border between Europe and Asia

A triathlon spanning 9,000km, across the perceived border between Europe and Asia, will test Charlie Walker and Callie Morgigno’s endurance as they explore what it means to be European or Asian in a world divided by imaginary lines.

WRITTEN BY

Madhuri Chowdhury

An Alaskan woman and British man are set to embark on a nine month long expedition that will follow the perceived border between Europe and Asia. The line accepted by current academic consensus is formed by two mountain ranges, two seas, and a river. The team will ski, paddle and cycle over 9,000km, from the arctic coast of Russia to the Bosphorus in Istanbul.

The team comprises of Charlie Walker, who went on a 4-year, 43,000 mile solo bicycle journey across 60 countries when he was 22 years old. And Callie Morgigno, who has worked in an Antarctic research base, donkey trekked across Mali and hiked through Afghanistan’s remote Wakhan corridor. The team first met in Tajikistan five years ago when they crossed paths on extensive cycle journeys. Since then they have discussed several expedition ideas, but this was the first one that ‘felt both challenging and important’ according to Walker, and will be their first expedition together.

The triathlon will test the endurance of these experienced adventurers. During the course of the journey, they will cross the length of the oldest mountain range in the world, paddle the Ural River from source to sea, and cycle 2,500-miles across the Caucasus range, the Black Sea coast, and finally end on the Bosporus. The expedition aims to understand the conceptual divide between Europe and Asia, between ‘us’ and ‘them’. Conducting interviews with people along the way, the team will answer the question: is there as much of a divide as we think?

The team seeks to raise £30,000 for Médicins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). Speaking to The Outdoor Journal about how they chose what charity to represent, Walker says, “I’ve always respected the work of Medicins Sans Frontieres and their tremendous courage in completely ignoring arbitrary, human-imposed borders for the purposes of their vital humanitarian work.”

Walker and Morgigno will set off on their journey tomorrow (14th February 2016), and are still looking for sponsors. Visit their expedition page here, where the team will be posting regular updates during the course of their trip. 

Feature Image: Charlie Walker cycling across the Namib desert during an expedition. Photo by Hanz Zweigers 

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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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