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

- John Muir



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.


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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Jul 10, 2018

The 2018 Whitewater Awards: Nouria Newman and Benny Marr take the spoils.

The Whitewater Awards is a gathering of the world’s best kayakers to show off the biggest and best things that have happened in the sport over the past year.



Brooke Hess

 To be considered for an award, athletes, photographers, and filmmakers submit media taken over the past year that they believe showcases the best progression in the sport.  

There are sixteen different categories for submission, including separate male and female categories within the “Best of” kayaking categories. Categories include Photographer of the Year, Film of the Year, Expedition of the Year, Best Trick, Best Line, River Stewardship, Grom of the Year, Rider of the Year, along with several others.  Awards are decided upon by a voting process done by the Association of Whitewater Professionals.

This year’s Whitewater Awards was held in the Egyptian Theater in downtown Boise, Idaho. It was hosted on June 14th, the same weekend as the North Fork Championships, which takes place on the North Fork of the Payette River just outside of Boise.  The North Fork Championship is regarded as one of the hardest kayaking races in the world.

The race takes place on Jacob’s Ladder rapid, which is a rapid so difficult and consequential that most kayakers feel accomplished simply by surviving the rapid, much less racing the rapid. Nouria Newman, a 3-time NFC racer and winner of this year’s Whitewater Awards Female Rider of the Year describes it well,

“The NFC is the hardest race in whitewater kayaking. [Jacob’s Ladder] is a scary, consequential rapid. Running it is challenging, and it only gets harder to race it and make the gates.”

In order to minimize the risk involved in the race, event organizers have developed a strict qualification process for racers. 30 racers will qualify to race Jacob’s Ladder. Ten of them are pre-qualified from placing top ten at the event the year before. Those ten then read numerous athlete applications and vote on the next ten racers who will join them.  The last ten racers are decided through a qualification race on S-Turn rapid, another one of the North Fork’s infamous class V rapids.

Every year on this same weekend in June, kayakers, photographers, and filmmakers from around the world flock to Idaho to celebrate quality whitewater, progression of the sport, and the community that surrounds it. Both the North Fork Championship and the Whitewater Awards had great turnouts of athletes and spectators this year.

John Webster

The finalists of each category in the Whitewater Awards were presented in film format at the Egyptian Theater for the entire audience to view, with the winner being announced live. Winners were presented with an award and expected to give a short speech at the event. The big winners of the night were Nouria Newman and Benny Marr, who were awarded with Line of the Year and Rider of the Year in the female and male categories. Nouria says that voting for the “best” in each category is a challenging process, “…voting is always tricky, (look at both French and U.S. presidents, not too sure if they are really the best available option). And it is also very hard to compare lines and rapids. What’s bigger? What’s harder? I got voted Best Line of the Year with a good line down Parque Jurassic, a long technical rapid, but Rata’s line down Graceland, which is a huge slide, was equally as good, if not better.”

No matter how tricky the voting process can be, Nouria agrees that the Whitewater Awards plays a large role in the progression of the sport, “I think it’s super cool to see what people can do in their kayak, how they push the limit of the sport and how they open new possibilities.”

For more information about the Whitewater Awards, you can visit whitewaterawards.com, you can also follow them on Facebook and on Instagram.

You can follow Nouria on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

You can follow Benny on Facebook and Instagram.

Cover photo courtesy of Ari Walker

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