“10 people, 10 boards, one virgin river.”
The Sun Kosi and Tamur River roar through Eastern Nepal. Born in the Himalayan mountains its rapids are fierce, its interior littered with rocks and wild surf that set out to crush and devour you.
It was a free river, until last week when ten adventurers stepped up and attempted to tame the beast. A round of applause to the steaming crew that ticked another first off a rapidly diminishing list. The people who river-boarded all 305km of the ‘Meatgrinder.’
The journey was organised and undertaken by Miles Away Ltd, an expedition company; “I guess we want to inspire people. We wanted to show that there´s still people pushing the boundaries of what people accept as being possible or not. It´s getting increasingly difficult to achieve a world´s first now a days so I think that´s a big draw for the crew.”
These hot and sacred rivers mean business. They will test you, they will push you to your very limits and if you move a fraction in error, they will punish you. Riverboarding is the new body boarding; constant waves, constant danger and constant adrenaline. In order to survive you must work with the river and if you succeed and obey the water, your life will be irreversibly altered;” It’s extremely dangerous, physically exhausting and probably the toughest thing anyone on the trip is likely to have done to date. It’s about so much more than fun. It about so much more then the furtive, superficial fleeting moments of “fun.” ” Banality will be a thing of the past for these guys who have got a sparkling new pair of goggles to view the world through; “This journey brought joys that outweigh the pain.”
For eight hours a day the team carved their way through the river, taking ten days to cover its mass, grade IV style; “Once we start the only way out is downstream.” They hold the position that in a world obsessed with safety, people need someone to break through the barriers of conformity and tumble recklessly into categories of risk; “We want to encourage people to think not only what they stand to lose by taking risks but what they stand to gain. For us the joy, the unbridled passion, and freedom of riverboarding outweighs the risks. It’s love and we are lucky to feel it.”
Their original riverboarding territory and the place which spawned the idea for the Nepal Riverboarding expedition was Queenstown, New Zealand. But Cardiff’s International WhiteWater Centre in England is catching up quickly.
The trip was not all flying down the River Tamur and Sun Kosi. There was much more drama including running out of food, rafts flipping nearly losing all their camping gear, rescuing members of their support crew and several illnesses. But alas, laughter dominated; “This goes beyond riverboarding. The expedition is for anybody who shares our adventurous spirit and is after a victory. Whether you’re a climber, kayaker, snowboarder, surfer or mountaineer; outdoor folk are all in it for the same reasons; for the love of adventure and the love of pushing ourselves. This is a message to those (and there are many) who say this cannot be done. “