International Kayak Championships|Malabar River Fest-Kerala|MRF18 & SBF

"Whitewater Kayaking in the southern part of India is not viable", Malabar River Festival or MRF started to change this common perception about the Rivers of South India. Years back this event was just in its infancy with participants from just 5 countries, and today on its 5th year the watersports championship has grown really big with professional Kayakers competing from more than 18 countries apart from India. 

Kayakers with world records, Olympic medal winners, Kayakers who have invaded most of the worlds whitewater river currents, kayakers who have done the world's scariest whitewater descents like Niagra, and Mexico's Big Banana falls, all united in this small Northern part of Kerala, for a world championship on Kayaking.

Malabar river fest has become one of the most prestigious and fruitful adventure sports events of Kerala, which is making much of bells and whistles in Kerala's Monsoon Tourism Events chart.

MRF18 Kayaking Event Classification

  • Slalom - This is the only event in Olympics Kayaking. Kayakers have to reach a downstream river stretch quicker as possible negotiating gates properly. Penalties will be there in breaking the rules which will add up to the lap time.
  • Boater cross - The Downriver race between 4 kayakers
  • Freestyle or Playboating - Its the artistic form in Kayaking where the kayakers talent and style gains him points. The kayaker has to find a play spot on the river where he can stand still against the current and perform his moves. best moves will be awarded points.
  • Downriver Time Trial - Down river sprint between all competitors. Conducted in fire alarm Rapid, and the winner is named Rapid Raja. This is the Super Final event.
All the events have Pro and Intermediate levels.

Kayak Facts: Kayak is also termed as hunters Boat, as it was mainly used to sneak towards the prey in water silently. You may say a Kattamaram used in fishing is an Indian version of Kayaks.

Malabar river festival or mrf18 inagurated at pulikayam, calicut kerala, international kayaking championship
Malabar River Festival 2018 Inauguration - MRF18 Kayaking Championship Kerala
Photo Courtesy@ SayeeshaKirani
MRF, Kerala's one, and only Kayaking fest is not about a formal water sports championship, but is also about the culture of God's own country, blending in with the international and national level Kayaking community who has become guests here to participate in this event. The world champions themselves admitted the vibe they are getting here is entirely different than in any formal championship events they participated in. This event is something like a Festival, at the same time a competition by all means with the River, also with the fellow champions.

Kayak Facts: One Man two, Men and three Men kayaks are there. Two men kayaks named as Kleppers is once used by Americans in the War. Foldable Kayaks also is widely used for their portability. Oldest Kayak preserved is in the museum of 5 continents in Germany which is 439 years old which was made in 1577.

malabar river fest, kayak training session in a dagger Kayak
Training sessions, in a Dagger Kayak-Kayaking sessions for  Malabar River Fest 2018
Photo Courtesy@ SayeeshaKirani
The events are hosted across various rapids in rivers Chalipuzha, Iruvanji and Kuttiadi.

MRF 2018 River Rapids Classification:

  • Game of Thorns - 250 meters, class 3 rapid, which is hosting the intermediate kayaking events of MRF18.
  • Malabar Express Rapid - Class 4 rapid, 400 meters hosting slalom freestyle and boater cross events.
  • Fire Alarm Rapid - Class 5 rapid of 300 meters. Hosting Pro level super final event.

Towards the Venue By Road-Kayaks In Pickup Trucks
Photo Courtesy@ SayeeshaKirani

Malabar River Fest Kayaking Participants-KAYAK Team MRF18
Photo Courtesy@ SayeeshaKirani
MRF18 being having the top participants from the Kayaking world, the intermediates are also allowed to compete and train with the top in the class, so that the young paddlers of India will get a taste of the expertise with the real World Kayakers.
Kayakers, and the canoes, In the Rivers of Kerala
Photo Courtesy@ SayeeshaKirani

Types of White Waters - Whitewater Hazards

  • Rapid
  • Continuous Whitewater
  • Pool
  • Flatwater
  • Wave
  • Wavetrain
  • Hole of Recirculation
  • Eddy - Eddies are currents that are right opposite to the flow of the River, and is often Kayakers comfort zone, whereas the line between the Eddie and Rivers main current, called Eddie lines are treacherous. If you get stuck in an Eddyline, whirlpool may form around you and it will be more trouble
  • Waterfall
  • Drop and Ledge
  • Line - Line is basically the kayakers path through any River feature, the path he should be taking to get through the feature unharmed.

MRF 18,Dane Jackson Kayaking and doing Freestyle performance in Keralas river.
PlayBoating- Freestyle or Rodeo Championship In MRF18- Winner Dane Jackson
Though he was not in a position to smile.
Photo Courtesy@ Neil.Productions

International Kayaking championships Held in India

Malabar River Fest- Kerala

Malabar River feat is the major extreme adventure championship of South India as of now. This Kayaking fest of Kerala is now on its 6th year and is very successfully hosting this watersport event.MRF, Malabar River Fest is organized on behalf of a Society for adventure tourism in Kerala named, KATPS, Kerala Adventure Tourism Promotion Society under Kerala Kayak Academy and Madras Fun Tools. Madras Fun tools is one and only world-class Kayaking, and standup paddling equipments provider in India as of now.

Though not officially backed by the International Canoe Federation(ICF), which is the world body who organizes Olympic standard events on Kayaking, workshops are active from ICF for intermediates and learners, which implies the organization's like on this event.

Kali Kayak Festival - Karnataka

Karnataka celebrated 2017 as the 'Year of Wild' and started a Whitewater Kayaking championship in River Kali, Uttara Kannada, Dandeli in June17. With this Karnataka is now placed in the international map of adventure sport. Kali Kayak festival is also going to be a yearly international kayaking event as Karnataka is taking the River water sports seriously. Kali kayak Festival is backed by Karnataka Department of Youth Affairs, and the General Thimayya Academy of Adventure Sports. The event is also supported by Goodwave Adventures, which is the only school in south India giving training on whitewater kayaking.

Ganga Kayaking Festival - Uttarakhand

Towards North India, Whitewater Kayaking championships are done in Ganga, the Holy River of India, and is called Ganga Kayaking Festival,(GKF). It's happening in the foothills of Himalayas, In Rishikesh, Uttarakhand. This International Kayaking championship happens during the month of March usually and is happening yearly from 2013 alike the Malabar River Fest.GKF is organized by TASS, The Adventure Sports Society. Ganga is one of the world's Biggest river and has Class 3 and Class 4 rapids in areas near to Rishikesh.

The progress of MRF, Kali Kayak Festival, and GKF, in the last few years, its a promising place for India that is getting built in the world map of whitewater kayaking, one of the world's most daring adventure sport.

Kayaking River Fests, There is more to it than just festivals for India

India, Kerala is gaining more than just getting noticed by letting the sports gain popularity here through these fests. yes, the Global Kayaking community and champions started looking into this region where the sports of kayaking, canoeing, or rafting were alien.

Our national champions and young aspirants are today into this adventure sport on shoulders with the world champions and Olympians. The exposure they are getting with the international talents, hopefully, it is going to build up a great Kayaking community here in India, and soon Indian Kayakers may start competing in International events. Still its a fact that the kayaking sports ecosystem here has to grow miles ahead to compete in world standards, but still these small but big steps is going to count for sure in developing this Adventure sport here in India. 

Big about MRF18- Serrasolses Bros Program(SBP), is coming to India, accompanied with MRF18

This could be the biggest thing an aspiring young talent in kayaking can get, getting into the SBP. The first session of SBP got done in Chile by Feb 2018,  and this is the second one in this Program going to happen in India, the Emerging region of Kayaking.

SBP Training First batch -Chile

SBP started by the Brothers Gerd and Aniol the Serrassolses brothers, is getting conducted in Kerala from July 23 to July 29th, 2018. SBP is termed as a moving Kayaking school for the young talents who are passionate and talented for this adventure sport, but less privileged to paddle. The Kayaking session is designed to cover river running, freestyle and slalom. But it will be finally decided based on the talents the trainers meet in the camp. 

Kayaking in Iceland with Serrasolses Brothers Source: Serrasolses media youtube
SBP kayaking program in India will teach the aspirants paddling techniques in whitewater, safety and rescue, Hydrology and environmental conservation. The program aims at empowering talented and passionate young minds to be part of the Kayaking community and also nurture the sense of River conservation, and love for this outdoor adventure sport. 

Malabar River Fest 2018 Promo Video, Covered By Neil Productions.

Neil and team had to train Tyrolean Traverse, to equip themselves to dangle across the river terrains with only supporting ropes, so that the best of this watersports event can be captured and presented to the world across.

After Event Video of 2016 MRF, which is captured edited beautifully

More on MRF18 is coming up in pixelshots, Stay tuned.

Disclaimer: Photos and videos used in this post are not owned by Pixelshots, but sourced from sole owners and copyright belongs to rightful owners.
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