A few days ago I embarked on an adventure to China. I got the opportunity to head over to the Nu River/ Salween River for the most highly anticipated whitewater event in China, the Red Bull Freestyle Challenge.
The Mighty Salween River, in Chinese Nu Jiang is the major stream of Southeast Asia. Steep canyon walls line the swift, powerful and undammed Salween, one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the world.
I jumped on the new Boeing 777-200 from Air New Zealand and headed out over the Tasman before landing in China. I had no clue where I was heading to in China, but soon enough I figured out I made it to Baoshan airport in the Yunnan province of China
Two friendly Chinese holding a white paper with Martina welcomed me (The sign wasn’t really needed, as I was the only white, tall, blond person coming of the little plane) and drove me for 5hours and through a couple check points to the hotel in Weighbeam village.
The next morning I met up with the team for some rice noodle breakfast. The guys where way ahead of me with there chop sticks practice!
I missed out on the BoaterX race, which was a couple days earlier and looked like a wicked race! Instead we had the Freestyle Challenge in a rowdy hole. I was the only female competitor and was racing against the boys. Although I wouldn’t call it racing as I was competing against Dane Jackson, Nick Troutman and such. No chance there :).
The last challenge of the festival was the Stay Up Right Challenge. A wicked concept! It was held on a massive big water rapid called Tiger Rapid on the Salween River.
The race definitely set the bar high, as racers pulling out and it was questionable weather it was possible to make it, up upright.
Of course if one can do it, it is Dane Jackson. With a little bit side surfing action and some close calls he made it up right no worries!
Straight after the event we hopped back into the 40 seater bus and started our journey back across to Kunming Airport.
A million photographs, signatures (on everything possible) and a day later, we arrived at the airport, where I boarded a flight back to the homelands, The Netherlands!
About the author
About the author
With her father running a kayak school and an older brother and sister already hooked on paddling, Martina had pretty much no choice than to become a kayaker. She grew up in the small seaside village of Schoorl, just to the north of Amsterdam, spending her teenage summers working as a kayak instructor for her father or following the European freestyle circuit.