Friday, March 13, 2015

Expedition Brazil - Drought, Stout and Broken Back

Ari and Barny arrived to Sao Paulo December 27th and once we got through the bureaucracy of hiring a car, thanks Marcelo Ludvicah, we started on our way north towards Espirito Santo. This mean't driving up the Dutra and pretty much going directly past the Rio Preto (MG), one of the stand out runs from Ari and my trip in Feb 2014.  So we figured this would be a good way to warm up for the rest of the trip. 

Jordy running the first big slide

Low water but still spicy

 Barny enjoying his first river in Brazil

After this we made the charge to Espirito Santo and scout out numerous First Descents that Ari had identified with google earth. And it was all GOLD! All we needed was rain, but sadly it wouldn't come.

 All we needed was water!

Barny wishing

Granite river-beds are always exciting to look at. 

Another sick drop, just not enough water.

We spent two weeks drooling over class V granite goods, but paddled nothing. Eventually we decided to flip our plans and drive towards some rain. The next phase of the expedition would be 28 hours south, back in Santa Catarina where they were getting mad rain.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Brazil - Sport NZ and a Quick Whip South.

So once again we're been fortunate enough to represent New Zealand under the banner of Sport New Zealand, Sir Edmund Hillary Adventure Trust, and this time it is in Brazil. 

Thanks again for the amazing support - From the crew

Ari Walker and myself went to Brazil in February 2014 and were amazed with every aspect of the country. The climate, culture, biodiversity, white-water and, more so, the white-water potential! A part of Brazil that we kept hearing about... Granite, rain, waterfalls, bandits and massive mountains... was Espirito Santo. Other than one stretch of river the is commercially rafted below a reservoir, nothing in the state had been paddled. The only catch is, there had has been a two year drought in the state. With this in mind, we set a broad expedition goal of 5 First Descents and were set to meet in Sao Paulo just after Christmas. But I figured I might go ahead and try organise a few things ahead of the boys and catch up with some friends in Santa Catarina. It just turned out that Chris Korbulic had the same idea as me, with his Kaiak Season 7 filming, so we figured we'd link up and do some stuff down south. 

 Jordy charging in Sanata Catarina in Feb 2014

Chris and I had a pretty relaxed schedule planned for being down south, which consisted of paddling when possible, doing our best to mingle with the local paddling community and spending some time researching into our individual projects. 

 Chris and I enjoying some Brazilian hospitality before heading on out 
separate expeditions

As it just so happened, the rains came and we did a lot more paddling than we expected. We got a raging flow on the Rio Vermelho, but not raging enough to turn us away. We had a nice padded run down the little mirco creek and once we got to the first major confluence I looked up stream in amazement. There was more water coming out of this trib than in the Vermelho itself and there was a raging falls in sight. Chris and I expected the falls, both deeming it good to go. I ran it first and Chris styled it after me. A dream really, a first Descent within days of being in the country. Stoked. 

Jordy on the First Descent of 'Amarelo Marcelo Falls' - Photo Chris Korbulic

After this was mostly laps of the classic Rio Benedito, but one particular day our friend Fabiano Pasqualli told us of a potential first descent just upstream. A little unmotivated but always curious, we decided to head up and see what it was about. It was sick! A big slide with an entrance, and you had to get left. Neither of us wanted to think about the consequence of ending the slide on the right. After 5 minutes I decided I was gonna fire it and was running to get my boat. Chris decided he would sit this one out and would be there on safety. Ten minutes, later Fabiano was helping me into my boat and I fired off another first descent, which I called 'The Hardt Way'. Two first descent in two days in a well kayaked state, incredible.

Jordy on the First Descent of 'The Hardt Way' - Photo Chris Korbulic

After this Chris and I would just get some more Benedito laps, do some more research and logistics before the boys would arrive to Sao Paulo. It was a pretty successful time in the south for us. That said, I was amped for the boys to arrive and get to work in Espirito Santo.

 Showing Chris down 'Formiga' on the Benedito - Photo: Fabiano Pasqualli

Chris making the locals pay their dues

After all this we had some more good food at Marcelo Ludvichak's and then headed North to collect the boys then to ES... hopefully Ari has done his Google Earth homework!

Friday, November 21, 2014

BC - The Final Push

Well I have emerged from my 2 month hiatus in Mongolia, trudging away at work with Ari and dreaming of the next mission. Barny has been making the most of the spring rain on the west coast of New Zealand and things have been ticking over slowly. The last part of our tour together was a month or so in the Great White Gnarth, more commonly known as British Columbia. Barny had plenty of beta from his 2013 tour, although at times it was hazy at best, and we had time to burn. We kept it classic, keeping busy on the Cheakamus River between Ashlu releases, Fear Canyon, couple of laps of Tatlow and the obligatory nights out in Whistler. But what we really had on our minds was the Stikine, so once there was news that it was dropping in we dropped everything we were doing and began the rally north. But not without grabbing the 'young buck' Liam Fournier to come for the ride. 

Stock-standard check laps

Barny hiking into Tatlow

Tatlow laps!

Pete Lodge cashing in a day off for a Tatlow lap

Wall Drug, pretty damn committing.


The split 40 on Tatlow

Freedom into Nymph Pool


After 20+ hours of driving, sleeping beside the road, hassling Liam and listen the Barny preaching... we made it to the warmth of Tatogga Lodge, a kayaking friendly lodge only 20minutes from the put in of the Stikine. We waited a few days, maybe foolishly in hind-sight, for a good weather forecast and eventually it came. We put on for a 3 day trip, which would turn out to be a trip of the life-time for me! The Stikine was every bit, and more, as good as I was hoping for and really put value to all the time we had spent at the North Fork of the Payette. Barny knew most the lines, and those he didn't he guessed pretty well and we were all stoked. We ate racks of rips, ran a good amount of the rapids considering it was at 420cumec and had a safe and stoke-fulled trip. Sharing site zed camp with 14 mates but all splitting the next day to have the river to ourselves. It re-energized me, motivated me and gave me a new lens through which to look at kayaking. Fired up!

After a good debrief at Tatogga the night we got off, we sent Ari on his way, hitch-hiking the 25+ hours to Seattle to catch a flight. He nailed it and Barny and I managed to bag another lap with Evan and Sven, this time in two days. Then the plan was hatched for a one-day, but I was a bit sore from a beating in V-Drive on our second lap so I drove shuttle for the boys who banged out a 6 hour lap. Epic. And that was it, we were done. We would drive back down, do a little bending and paddling some Ashlu's until it was time to leave. We got a small taste of B.C. and I am pretty sure we'll be back for more very soon.

Sleeping en-route to the Stikine

A view of Wall II and Scissors from our flight over between laps
The team about to commit

 Ari leading me into Pass/Fail, we were 4 from 4

Liam 'Passing' with flying colours


this is what we have to deal with...

Might as well eat well

Kai time

Aniol entering Site Zed

Aniol about to melt in Site Zed

Gerd lining up the main hole in Site Zed

 ABC, the lead out of Site-Zed

 Sven scraping through the "Hole that Ate Team Weed'

Routing into Wall I

Wolf-Den, beware the mice

Me roosting into V-Drive at 420

Barny entering V-Drive at 280-300

Tanzilla's Slot

From here Barny was back to NZ for work and the spring and Ari and I would be working in Mongolia until mid November. This is come and gone and now we're working out what's next, and in a few days time we'll know exactly what we're doing.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Whitewater Calendar 2015

We're back at it again, FIVE years running.  We're ready 6 weeks earlier than usual and we're fired up about this seasons calendar! We've gone back to the format from the 2011-2013 calendars as although we loved last years format it was costing $13 each for international postage, which nearly crippled us. Nonetheless, we've had a good years paddling and come away with some stellar imagery from New Zealand, Brazil, the United States and British Columbia. Special thanks to our boy Ari Walker for providing a bunch of images (bottles of whisky coming your way). Anyway, here is the back cover to show you what is going to be in this years edition and you can order yours online right here too!

Cheers for the support,

Jordy Searle & Barny Young