By Nouria Newman and Nicole Mansfield
After some freezing cold big wave surfing earlier this spring Nicole and Nouria met up in India for the Malabar River Festival. Here is a few things you might want to know, or not, about kayaking in Kerala during monsoon season.
#1 During Monsoon season it never stops raining. You will be wet and you will stay wet. No chance your gear ever dries.
#2 You will be lucky if you don’t get foot rot. Your hands might start rotting too…
#3 Shuttles are various, loose and fun. Make sure you dodge trees and electric lines.
#4 Rivers and landscapes are beautiful, but there is a lot of cleaning up to do.
#5 Food is yummy, cheap and healthy. Coffee not so much.
#6 Selfies are a national sport and personal space is a very abstract concept. Kayaking in India can feel like going to the zoo except that you are one of the monkeys. If you’re lucky you might even get peanuts!
#7 Rivers can get really high and scary, but they can also be lower and equally as scary.
#8 If you swim, it’s okay to postpone your bootie beer. The water is super gnarly. Also make sure you close your mouth when you run big rapids. Swallowing water will give you diarrhea and make you puke for at least a day.
#9 Leeches are a thing and you will most likely get your blood sucked after scouting and portaging in the jungle.
#10 If you feel adventurous, you can try the local alcohol.
#11 You won’t win the party, but you can try.
#12 Indian administration is…mmmm…messy. You will most likely spend hours in offices trying to obtain permits, without success. If you end up kayaking, you will probably get arrested by the police at some point.
#13 If the police don’t stop you before you get to the river, you might find some good first descents. 🙂
#14 You will meet friendly locals.
#15 You will probably end up with dozen new WhatsApp chats, but eventually, it will also lead you to check out and try out some very local activities.