Ice cold low water laps were punishing on the hands, head and heart as we waited for the season to finally start. Dreaming of warm days and high flows even the most optimistic in the group didn’t think it would be for a while. Shivering in the car park after a lap and dreaming of sun and rapids, a text from Mike Krutyansky popped up mentioning that he was in Turkey, there were things to kayak on and it was sunny. Twenty four hours later we were at the airport and heading to Turkey. 

photo Eric Walter

If I’m honest I was not hoping for much, I had heard about all the dam projects in Turkey and hadn’t seen too many things that really sold me on going. With nothing to lose other than a few low water pre-season laps off we went. 

The first river we did in Turkey blew my pessimism and reservations about Turkish rivers out of the water. The Manavgat river quickly became our favourite! We got to know the river in low water and even attempted a sketchy lower gorge of it which involved an unrunnable – must run, a hike and paddle out in the dark. When the river levels rose, the Manavgat became one of the best joy sections I have ever gotten to kayak down. Pushy class four for endless kilometres, through a beautiful gorge and with only one portage / sneak line. Just incredible!

photo Eric Walter

The Köprüçay canyon is short but brilliant, imagine the classic Åmot river in Norway, with slightly harder rapids in a tight gorge. It’s so good in there, deep, powerful lines and no portages. The final tight rapid at high water is intense but good to go, I couldn’t really see anything on the highest lap down the river. Just crashing waves over me and once a glimpse of Phillip Brunner getting pushed into a pocket against the wall (he was fine).

photo Eric Walter

We did a few laps down the Alara roadside section, also great but not nearly as good as the Köprüçay and certainly not as good as the Manevgat. 

We only did three rivers and seven different sections in nine days in Turkey but for the Manavgat alone it is well worth the trip. Excited to find a location with potentially good flows right before the season kicks off in Europe, I will be excited to come back to Turkey in the years to come!

If you’re thinking of taking a trip to Turkey, Mike Krutyansky is the man to ask about it. From logistics, to accommodation and kayak rental and guiding Mike is your guy!

Photos by Eric Walter