Guest Blog by Harman Gill

My name is Harman Gill , I'm 15 years old and I'm a kayaker.  I have been learning whitewater kayaking with Goodwave Adventures in Karjat on and off over the last one year.  During my summer vacations I felt the need to go to a different place to improve my skills so I got in touch with Goodwave and asked them if i could come over for a 5-day kayaking session.  They agreed, I was game so here is my story. 

Over the Eid weekend GoodWave hosted a wide range of paddlers on the Iruvazhinji river in northern Kerala. This diverse group included advanced, intermediate and beginner paddlers, all here for an exciting long weekend on the river. With paddlers arriving at different times, the first day started off with assigning kits and reviewing the basics. We then jumped into our boats and began practicing our ferries and rolls.

After a soggy lunch under the torrential rain, accompanied by the rain we tackled the rapids on the growing river. The fast flowing water and numerous strainers created a chaotic run for us, with multiple swims and flips.

Practising ferries on an almost flooded Iruvanjhipuzha River

Practising ferries on an almost flooded Iruvanjhipuzha River

 

The next day we ran the upper section of the river, where the large, continuous waves made for a very exciting descent. The run offered multiple opportunities to enjoy the beauty of the surroundings as well as the power of the river itself. Later we worked on our skills, including mastering the eskimo roll. My roll was finally starting to work successfully and this practice helped ensure I was doing it correctly. We then ran the same section as the previous day, although the lower water levels meant it was a completely different experience. After stopping to scout Jogi’s hole and gauge the best line, we all descended one by one. Even though many of us took very interesting lines over the drop, all of us managed to clear the hole without any problems.

Practising my boof stroke on Jogi's hole

Practising my boof stroke on Jogi's hole

On the third day – the last day for most of the paddlers within the group – we descended the Chali; a nearby river. This run was more difficult and was an opportunity to improve my technical skills on a more challenging river. We then went back to working on our rolls followed by continuing our descent of the Chali.

Over the night there was heavy rain and by the next morning the rivers had risen by a massive amount. Most of the original group had left with the end of the Eid weekend, but we were joined by more paddlers from Bangalore and together we ran the rising river. The dramatic increase in water levels meant that the descent was challenging and I had many nervous moments when I felt on the verge of tipping. The still rising water put a stop to our paddling and we took a break to let the water reduce. The fast flow also prevented us from being able to work on our technical skills.

My last day started sunny – one of the only sunny days that trip. The water had gone down considerably and I was able to dedicate a lot of time to work on my roll. At the start of the trip my roll was very inconsistent, but all the practicing helped me make my roll very strong by the end, and in addition to all the practice, I even got some successful rolls in the rapids! This trip introduced me to the rivers of Kerala and allowed me to run them for the first time. I was able to revisit my ferries, roll and other skills, helping make me much more confident in running these rivers, for they were very different from the rivers I had done previously.

Kerala, kayaking in one of the most exotic location in the planet.

Kerala, kayaking in one of the most exotic location in the planet.

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