Asahan River Festival
By Mike Dawson
By Mike Dawson The Asahan River Festival in North Sumatra is home to some of the world’s best whitewater and for the first time in well over a decade it attracted the best kayakers on the planet to battle it out on the raging rapids. The Toba Caldera Championships introduced a new generation of white water kayakers and rafters to the warm whitewater of the Asahan in hopes of earning there share in $25,000 USD in cash prizes.
One of the most classic sections of whitewater in the world, hidden away in rural Western Sumatra was almost forgotten about before event organiser Lachie Carracher was shown the river 8 years ago by Indonesian kayak group Tritaseta, since that time Carracher has been working closely with the local community and now the Indonesian Government to promote the region and put it back on the map as one of Asia’s top adventure destinations. The 10-day event saw competitors from numerus countries including strong contingents from Japan, Italy, France, USA, Canada, New Zealand & Australia. The first 4 days of competition saw Sprint, Head to Head, Down River and Slalom rafting events on the “bridge to Bridge section of continuous class 3+ warm big water”. The strongest teams were professional rafting organisation Phoenix Rafting from Java, a rouge international assembly by the name Phuk Ricketts and a Czech rafting team, These teams were consistently placing across all events. Competition was tight and the whitewater was unforgiving. Hundreds of spectators crowded the famous Bridge in town and cheered as days of competition went down in the humid Sumatran Jungle.