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I am tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote

- Herman Melville

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Focus

Dec 30, 2016

On Freedom, and the Facade of the American Dream

Many people spend their entire adult existence trapped in what others might consider a dream.

Me? I stand for freedom; and it’s worth dying for.

The fact is that life, for the most part, is spent sleeping, dreaming. The only thing you maybe do more than sleep is work at some shitty job, which someone may have convinced you is your dream. You pay for a place to live, to stay in the town you work in, and to keep working so that you can have your house and car to get back to your job.

America as a whole has lost track of its foundation. Lost respect for its populace. Lost direction towards the greater good. The federal government is fucking all of us, and we just take it like a skinny white inmate. Try for yourself to make a change — you will be met with rifles and police who are brainwashed by the system. Paid not to think, paid not to feel, with promises of benefits later in life. Just follow orders and keep the status quo at all costs. Many people haven’t even read our constitution, and when you do, you will see how far away from our roots we have traveled.

“The land of the free and home of the brave,” has turned into “the land of the fat, and home of the afraid, lazy, pathetic, and insecure;” many people turn to drugs for help. People barely go into nature anymore and can’t even start relationships on their own, turning to the internet as a helpful, non-committal, courage-less way to meet people. What happened to courage?

The fact is that most of these “social problems” stem from the horrid way of life America has put upon you. Everything, I mean every-fuck-ing-thing, is standardized, regulated, and controlled specifically to benefit a third party you probably aren’t even aware of. It’s utter bullshit, and the fact that people can’t take responsibility for their own actions anymore, without regulations, astounds me. This is why I think it is bullshit when people complain to me about the dangers of BASE-jumping. They tell me I’m crazy, that I am stupid, that I am selfish, that it’s a dumb sport, and it’s heavily regulated because of this. Did you know it’s a felony to BASE jump in Yosemite National Park? Seriously, you will be arrested, fined, and stripped of all your gear, for parachuting in a national park that is supposed to be for the public. I still jump there, partly because it’s got the most amazing cliffs in the world, but also because I really want to just say “fuck you” to the park authorities. If you want to stop me, you will have to catch me. Plain and simple.

Even though BASE-jumping is risky — the consequence can be death, or serious injury — what is wrong with that? I’m consistently immersing myself in nature, developing social relationships, staying physically active, and enjoying the fuck out of my life! Not only that, but because I have an intimate relationship with death I appreciate my life more. Why do you think death, injury, and drama in general are on TV? It’s edgy, it’s interesting, it’s moving.

The fact that many of my closest friends have died BASE- jumping, and many others have been seriously injured in their pursuit of the sport wears hard on me. But the media speaks nothing of the benefits and positivity surrounding the sport, just the negatives. Why doesn’t the media talk about fat, lazy, sickly insecure people rotting away in a pathetic facade of an existence? Well, because the system is designed for them to be there.

I clearly remember walking up to the fresh corpse of my best friend, 22-year-old Daniel “Money Makin’” Moore, and not understanding it. I got a call from a friend. He said, “Hurry, Daniel hit hard, he needs help.” I was in the car, and didn’t know what had happened. I turned around and rushed to the cliff. I ran up to the base and, well, people had told me that my friends would die, but I never really thought it would happen. In fact death and dead people these days are almost entirely removed from daily life. Families no longer bury one another, feeling the weight of the body, and naturally dealing with the passing. Morticians do that for us now, to “protect us” they say. Well there is some logic to it, because it does and has affected me heavily. Seeing his face, eyes helplessly open, dripping blood slowly from their corners, down his cheeks and from his mouth. I held his hand, which was still warm, but there was no pulse, no life, just meat and bones. It was the most intense experience I have ever had and I cried and fled. But, I’ve come to think that people need this feeling. TV tries to manifest this feeling because it is potent, visceral, and meaningful, but mostly it keeps people watching through the commercials that pay $$.

Well I am sick of this shit. Yes, BASE is scary. Yes, it kills people. But part of being human is death, injury, and the emotional and spiritual connections made from those experiences. If BASE takes my life too soon, yes it is going to be tragic, yes it is going to be wasteful, but it’s going to be my choice. It’s my life, and my death.

America has let me down. Insurance and liability are ruining our society’s ability to pursue happiness freely. The general public isn’t even trusted to make their own decisions anymore. That’s why the police can say that they are just protecting me from myself. Well, from me to everyone out there: Fuck you and fuck off. I’m going to live this way no matter what, so you may as well let me live the way I want to, and maybe even embrace it too. I don’t come into your office and ask you why you are a CPA, or a waitress. In fact, that would probably come across as condescending, because it is.

If you enjoy pretending that money makes you happy, keep going because there are pills you can take to fill the void inside you. None of my fallen comrades died in vain, because they all the stood for freedom, which is something most people these days take for granted. Soon it will be gone forever, and the sad thing is most people won’t even see that it’s missing.

What would you die for? Or would you die for anything? My bet is that most people in America would choose to be a coward like the rest of the brainwashed, uninspired, pathetic populace that crowds our lands like mosquitoes in a stagnant pond.

Me? I stand for freedom, and it’s worth dying for.

Feature Image: Without a harness or protection, Sketchy Andy doing justice to his name. Photo by Apoorva Prasad / The Outdoor Journal

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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/

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