Explorers Connect

Kayak Borneo Project

OtherJames Hipkiss

Kayak Borneo Project is a innovative rolling expedition to explore the rivers of the world's oldest rain-forest in Borneo.

With a wealth of experience, on some of the hardest and most remote white water on the planet, the team will have an opportunity to get a unique view of one of the worlds few remaining true wildernesses. Whilst there the team hope to complete a number of first descents with their sights firmly set on some of the most remote and challenging multi day rivers and exciting waterfalls. The rain-forest in Borneo has undergone significant deforestation due to heavy logging for the Malaysian plywood industry and forest fires started in order to clear the forest to provide farmland. Whilst in Borneo the team hopes help combat the loss of this great wilderness by collaborating with award winning charity, Heart of Borneo, and further their goal of conserving the rain-forests of Borneo through Exploration, Research, Education and Empowerment. www.heartofborneo.com

We have also teamed up with 'RiverBugs', a rafting company in Malaysia with whom we will pass on our expertise through continued training in technique and safety. We have many contacts within the kayaking industry who have provided us with kit sponsorship, however we are looking for ways to reach a wider audience and make the expedition more affordable! We are looking for partnerships with buisnesses and production companies who may be able to help us with media equipment or sponsorship. One of the easiest ways for us to help the Heart of Borneo is to publicise the region of Kalimatan where they are based. For an expedition of this kind having contacts on the ground is essential. We are doing well in this regard, however if anybody has been to Borneo we would love to pick your brains on travel and potential rivers you may have seen on your travels that we may not have yet found on Google Earth or on our Maps. For more information check out our website: www.kayakborneo.co.uk ; http://vimeo.com/56421525

Any of the rivers we come across in the Indonesian part of Borneo will be first descents, but the one we have set our sights on is possibly the most challenging in the region. It is the source of the Barito river the longest river in Indonesian Borneo at 890km long. A gradient of 45m/km marks it as being a steep, difficult river considering its substantial volume. We are expecting Grade 5 kayaking in dense jungle making portages and inspections difficult all this with 5 days worth of equipment in the back of our kayaks. http://vimeo.com/56421525 The next innovative part to the expedition is possible and worthwhile largely because the whole of Borneo (particularly the Indonesian part) is so unexplored. We are organising a rolling expedition, where when one team member runs out of time (and inevitably has to go back to work/study) they can be replaced by another, and the expedition can go on throughout both the less rainy season and the monsoon season (when smaller side creeks will come into condition). In this way the expedition can have some continuity with contacts, knowledge, maps, equipment etc all passed on and shared.

We will help to boost awareness of Borneo as a tourist and particularly a kayaking destination by publicising our trip and leaving river guides in different seasons for future kayakers via our website. We will also spend some time working on a leaving a sustainable legacy from our trip, including kayak coaching with the rafting company River Bugs in Malaysian Borneo. There are various techniques in rope work that boaters from the UK get taught by going on White Water Safety Rescue courses. We will take our knowledge and resources out to the rafting company and run our own unofficial safety and rescue courses for the raft guides the practice they would receive would give them the fast response needed should a situation arise in any river environment. We would also coach them in advanced kayaking skills. The ideal scenario would be first descents being completed by local kayakers in a few years time... http://www.riverbug.asia

Through forging these partnerships we can channel our enthusiasm and expertise to boost local skills, tourism and conservation. These partnerships will also be essential to the success of our expedition as we will be in need of local knowledge, both as rainforest guides and for hitting the right rivers at the right water levels. "