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.
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
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!