Monthly Archives: September 2015

Paragliding World Cup preparations in full swing at Bir-Billing

bir-billing_cf215c6e-44e9-11e5-a8da-005056b4648ePreparations for the Paragliding World Cup-2015 scheduled to begin at Bir-Billing valley here on October 24 is in full swing.
As many as 125 pilots from 23 countries, including World Number 3 paraglider Julian Wirtz from France, have registered for the competition. Apart from Wirtz, many top-ranking pilots are participating in the week-long mega sporting event that is the first-ever paragliding world cup to be held in India.

Himachal Pradesh urban development minister and president of the Billing Paragliding Association (BPA), the main organiser, Sudhir Sharma said over 400 pilots from across the globe had applied for the competition. “However, the Paragliding World Cup Association (PWCA), the parenting organisation, selected 125 pilots on the basis of their world ranking,” Sharma added.

Of the 125 competitors, Sharma said, 79 had confirmed their registration while 46 registrations were pending for want of fee. Of the 79 confirmed registrations, six were of women, he added.

Speaking about the facilities being set up for the mega event, Sharma said work on the take-off site at Billing and landing site at Bir was nearing completion.

During the competition, Sharma said, the rescue, safety and medical services would be in place as per the PWCA norms. “We would have a helicopter, five ambulances with full medical team on both take off and landing sites,” he added.

Besides, trauma vans with doctors and paramedical staff and 25-member mountaineering rescue team with 50 marshals would be on standby for emergency evacuation, the minister said.

Surrounded by the Dhauladhar range and sprawling tea gardens, the Bir-Billing valley is among the top 10 aero-sports sites in the world.
The PWCA cleared Bir-Billing as one of the venues of the World Cup Tour 2015 after the valley successfully hosted the 2013 Pre-Paragliding World Cup. Paragliding World Cup tours six countries every year.

 

No More Barbie Gear

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The adventure sports world can be an enlightened place when it comes to gender. Athletes like alpinist Melissa Arnot and ski racer Mikaela Shiffrin are as celebrated as Dave Hahn and Bode Miller. But that doesn’t mean the gear industry got the memo. In January, at the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City, business leaders gathered to strategize about how to attract more women to sports like skiing and mountain biking. We appreciate the effort, and as gear editors at Outside, we’d like to suggest a way to start: by producing as much high-performance equipment for women as you do for men.

Don’t get us wrong. Gearmakers have come a long way since hall-of-famer Jeannie Thoren convinced Blizzard to produce a women’s ski in 1986 and Santa Cruz debuted its Juliana mountain bike in 1999, named for legendary racer Juli Furtado. But most of what’s out there is still designed for and marketed toward beginners (many of whom, judging from the offerings, can’t get enough of flower prints and the color pink).

“I don’t need softer flex or a heel riser to help me get out of the backseat,” says professional skier Caroline Gleich, who is sponsored by Patagonia. Gear manufacturers would be smart to listen.

Female participation in skiing and cycling has grown 4.4 percent since 2009, according to the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). The number of female mountain bikers jumped 22 percent from 2012 to 2013, and among snowboarders under 35, female riders are the only segment on the rise. As participation has gone up, so has our desire for the tools we need to play hard. The most recent OIA report showed that sales of women’s gear went up 10 percent between 2012 and 2013.

Which is why it’s frustrating that, where performance is concerned, most of what’s available tops out at the beginner or intermediate level. At Outside’s 2015 mountain-bike test, the Liv Intrigue 1—the company’s highest-end trail bike—performed adequately on tame singletrack, but female testers unanimously preferred the aggressive build of the Juliana Roubion, which is really just a Santa Cruz Bronson clad in teal and slapped with pink grips. At last year’s alpine ski test, models designed and constructed specifically for women—including options from Armada, K2, and Nordica—scored consistently lower than those that were actually repackaged versions of men’s skis. The biggest complaint: lightweight cores made the former too flimsy for hard riding.

We understand that the women’s market is smaller than the men’s, and that companies must allocate their R&D budgets accordingly. But as more women excel at their sports, it behooves manufacturers to make higher-level products available. Companies like DPS Skis and Santa Cruz do this by offering identical specs in their men’s and women’s equipment. “We all ride the same trails,” says pro mountain biker and Juliana athlete Anka Martin. “Some of us are taller and some shorter. But I want the same geometry as the guys, the same bottom-bracket height, the same badass bike.”

That’s not to say we’re against gear tailored for women’s bodies. But high-performance examples scarcely exist—men’s equipment is usually the only choice. “I like how men’s skis perform,” says Gleich, “but as a petite, powerful woman, I need a shorter size.”

We also want to be taken seriously when you sell to us. We’re fully capable of hucking cliffs and sending hard lines—but giving us products with cutesy names and drenching ads in My Little Pony colors isn’t the way to inspire today’s women. Instead, show us succeeding at our sport. That’s exactly what Black Diamond did last year when it used gritty black-and-white photos of ice climbers and mountaineers to showcase its new women’s apparel line.

Brands may be squeamish about turning us away. According to Scott McGuire, a former product director at the North Face and president of the marketing firm Mountain Lab, “When you portray the hardcore side of female athletes, some companies think it won’t come off as aspirational, so they tone it down.”

Don’t. Treat us with the same respect afforded us in the field, and give us the gear that lets us tackle any line or trail we want. We’ll take care of the rest.

 

Wildcraft Day @ Malabar River Festival

Do you love the thrill of the outdoors? Ever watched someone charging down a river and wished you could do the same? Well here’s your chance make that dream come alive on Wildcraft Day at the Malabar River Festival 2015!

Wildcraft day, brought to you by Wildcraft and Goodwave Adventures features a kayaking competition for  beginners and those who have no prior experience with a white-water kayak. That’s right, you’ll get to enjoy the thrill of a competition, along with kayaking tips, safety advice and so much more.

Qualifying rounds will consist of a slalom style time-trial where competitors will be required to maneuver their kayaks between gates that are placed in the water between a designated start and end point. Each competitor will be allowed two timed attempts on the race circuit and the best timing of the two attempts will be considered.  The competition will be based on Olympic slalom rules that mandate a 2 second penalty for hitting a gate and a massive 50 seconds penalty for missing one. The top sixteen competitors will move on to the elimination rounds, which will consist of four kayakers racing against each other in Boater-Cross style and the two top qualifying for the next round.

While anyone looking for something less competitive, can make use of our recreational kayaks and stand up paddle-boards (courtesy of Jellyfish watersports) and explore the peaceful waters in the exotic, starfish shaped reservoir.

So what are you waiting for? Head over to our registration page and sign up for the Wildcraft Day at Asia’s biggest White-water festival!

Registration costs only Rs. 500 – which includes a free quick drying Wildcraft t-shirt, lunch at the venue and an invitation to the Kayaker’s party on the 26th evening.

 

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Indian women send epic lines

Here’s a look at the invincible lot.

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Climbing is an activity where a participant is expected to ascend a natural rock formation or an artificial rock wall from a specified starting point till the ending of usually an already pre-defined route. The objective here is to successfully scale without falling and complete the decided route in the least possible time. Unlike ice climbing, in rock climbing the athlete uses bare hands to support their weight as well as to provide balance. The onset of the sport, rock climbing came to be recognised as an independent activity; other than a salient feature of alpine climbing, as late as the last quarter of the 19th century and has ever since gradually progressed forward.

In India however, the sport of rock climbing is recognised under the wing of the apex climbing body; Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) and although this field is in its nascent stages here, the emergence of budding athletes can already be sighted. Amongst the men within the likes of Praveen C M, Shivalinga, Tuhin Satarkar and Aziz Shaik, who have been leading the charge by ascending some of the toughest routes established across the country. In addition to that, what is even more encouraging is the amount of female athletes participating in this field.

Archana Jadhav is one of the veterans in the field and has been affiliated with the sport for more than two decades now and her contribution to climbing is thus far unsurpassed. Now, at the age of 34, being a working mother, Archana regrettably is unable to partake in climbing with her former zeal but her passion for climbing is far away from dwindling. Having being introduced to the sport by a colleague during her time as a recruit in the prestigious BSG (Bharat Scouts and Guides), Archana started climbing at an early age of 11. Now in retirement she yet holds the position of the only female climber to be given the coveted ‘Eklavya’ award for Rock Climbing.

However, Archana isn’t the only one. Shanti Rani Devi made her debut in the climbing scenario begetting first position in the U-16 junior All India Climbing Competition in the year 1998, and has since been a premiere level climber of India. At present Shanti, is a semi-professional climber and a mountaineer, attempting to explore maximum adventurous outlets, she constantly yearns for outdoor endeavours. Belonging to the Far East state of Manipur adventure was not a far outreach from her comfort zone attesting almost to the depth and abundance of the natural beauty found amongst the ‘Seven Sister’ states. Shanti’s decision to pursue climbing was however not solely on her own accord as in school on the pretext of supporting a friend whose father was a climbing instructor, Shanti was first introduced to climbing and has ever since been an integral part of this athlete’s life.

“Out with the old and In with the new”, although a mocking remark, nevertheless blunts out an obvious fact; with the natural course of time there will inevitably be an uprising of younger talent, an eager young buck trying ever hard to make their mark, and so upon that note, we look into some of the rising stars within the climbing sphere in the country;

Nehaa Prakash, who at present is one of the most, decorated rock climber the country has to offer hails from the city considered to be the climbing hub of India; Bangalore. She was introduced to climbing in 2006 when she attended an outdoor camp as part of the girls “scouts” team in Ramanagar, about 70kms away from Bangalore. Nehaa’s vigour for this demanding activity is as resolute as ever, however, being raised in a bourgeoisie contemporary class of society the decision to commit to pursuing sports was all the more of a quandary to her, as more weightage was sanctioned to academic endeavours rather than professional sports. Socio-economic aspects kept aside, Nehaa is and has been a proven gem amongst the growing climbing enthusiasts across the country.
On many an occasion comes a stage where the resolve of an athlete is tested and so was the case with Siddhi Shekhar Manerikar but with an iron will and a determined spirit this young athlete desires to pursue the Sport of Rock Climbing professionally. Siddhi always wanted to do something away from orthodox enterprises and this motivated her to take up Climbing. To her fated advantage her school already had a climbing wall and this helped her begin in a field where many people at that age are oblivious of its presence and so Siddhi began her climbing journey within the vicinity of her school in her 8th Grade when she no more than 13 years of age. Now this budding star claims a position in each passing nationals.

MRF 2015 Promo

The Malabar River Festival 2015 returns ! The biggest white-water festival in Asia is back with a bang and get ready to compete with the world’s best kayakers and be a part of the fast growing Indian whitewater scene. Described by many as the world’s next kayaking mecca, come July, Kerala is the place to be !

Beach activities along Chennai, ECR & Kovalam

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Surfing has caught on in Chennai and here an enthusiast rides the waves at Kovalam. Sailing clubs offer facilities that include sports kits, coaching and restaurants and boarding
Image courtesy: Sabyasachi Jana

Arun Vasu, CMD of TT Group, is Chennai’s top water sports professional and enthusiast for over 30 years. He supports the Covelong Point Social Surfing School’s water sports including sailing, surfing (wind and board), kayaking and also beachside road activities like ATVs, cycling and more.

And here we list the top beachside activities for you to try along Chennai, ECR and Kovalam.

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Arun Vasu says the best months for windsurfing here are April-July and October- December and surfing from April-October
Image courtesy: Rammohan Paranjape

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Chennai is good for water sports through the year. Sailing clubs offer facilities that include sports kits, coaching and restaurants and boarding

2015 Malabar River Festival, 12000 USD Cash Purse announced!!!

2015 Malabar River Festival, July 23rd-26th. Wildcraft India (www.wildcraft.in) in association with Kerala Tourism and Madras Fun Tools, is proud to present the 3rd edition of the Malabar River Festival. The kayak festival will take place at Thusharagiri, Kerala from July 23rd-26th, 2015. Building on the success of last year’s event, the 3rd edition of the Malabar River Festival promises to bigger and better, giving kayakers from across the world the chance to compete and have fun. The festival will feature the following categories of competition

Freestyle (M/W) Pro
Giant Slalom (M/W) Pro
BoaterX (M/W) Pro
Time-trials & BoaterX (Mixed) Intermediate
Time-trials & BoaterX (Mixed) Beginners
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There is prize money and gear to be won for each individual event, apart from the cash prize for winning overall, along with the title of Rapid Raja and the Rapid Rani title for the best male and female kayakers. The total amount of gear + cash prizes to be won is around 12000 USD.

The festival’s participants already feature some of the biggest names in the kayaking industry and continue to grow, with the likes of:

Joe Morley (UK), Darren Clarkson King (UK), Callum Strong (UK), Mike Dawson (NZL), Max Benetton (ITA), Mira Kodada (CZH), Bradley Lauder (NZL), Pierre-Antoine Comby (FRA), Lee Royle & Rory Woods (UK), Adrian Mattern (GER), Bartosz Czauderna (POL), Bhupendra Singh Rana (IND), Anton Sveshnikov (RUS)

The battle for the crown and the hallmark elephant ride is certainly heating up.IMG_4926

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July is a peak for kayaking tourism in India. Kerala’s unexplored rivers & creeks offer visiting kayakers the chance to claim their part in the rapidly developing Whitewater scene in India. Everyday of the festival offers new adventures, challenges and camaraderie like never before, in the worlds next kayaking Mecca.

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Travel within Kerala is convenient and inexpensive, elevated with friendly hospitality and delicious cuisines. With the interest in the festival and curiosity in the rapidly growing sport, you might even find some local support to help you portage that sketchy drop. The Malabar river festival offers you an adventure in Kerala that promises to be an experience of a lifetime. So if you haven’t signed up yet, make the most of current prices and get on it now at our official website www.malabarfest.com

And in case you needed anymore convincing… did we mention the free beer that all participants are entitled to at the festivals wrap up party? These are just a few highlights of what awaits you at the Malabar River Festival 2015. See you on the river!

Malabar River Festival

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We are stoked to announce that Wildcraft is teaming up with us as Malabar River Festival 2015’s main sponsor. Wildcraft, is a trusted brand amongst India’s adventure sports community and we are excited to have their support in bringing you Asia’s biggest whitewater festival! Participants and volunteers alike, can look forward to special access to awesome new Wildcraft gear through the festival.