Efes Extreme Raft and kayak event. This was cancelled as two things – probably linked – happened. There was a lack of international entrants (WHY – free accommodation, food and local transport for the duration of the event) and the sponsor Efes pulled the money. Mind you as soon as I announced the cancellation I had three raft teams and a several individual kayak paddlers who said “Oh we were going to come!”
The River Coruh in Eastern Turkey has been a regular haunt of mine and I still go out there when I can. The Coruh is currently being dammed but there will be good white-water for many years to come and so catch it while you can. You can view some of the rivers of Turkey here: Turkey Photos and Videos
The news of the dams is not good but for those of you thinking of heading out there for a last run of the rivers then I can give this advice.
As of the summer 2011 the dam at Ispir has destroyed the narrow gorge at the start of the white water section of the river so you miss the first 4major rapids that arrive in the first 8kms. OK so you could run three of them but they are full of sharp new rocks from the construction up to you reward vs. risk! After this the river is pretty well as it was till just above Koprugorem (which is halfway between Ispir and Yusufeli) where there is a Coffer dam and the river goes through a tunnel. This means you have a 5 kms portage. Well, not really because you just finish one day slightly higher and put on a bit lower than you would have done previously. Ir does have the drawback that “Perfect Portage” Rapid is the first thing you run when you put back on! From there to below House Rock/Lava East/Aslam (all the same rapid just different names) is unaffected. In fact they were building 5 story apartment blocks in Yusufeli in June 2011 so till the dam at Koprugorem starts filling, probably about 2015-6 at the earliest, there is still 130-150 kms of white water on the main Coruh to paddle and the Bahal and Tortum are unaffected. So the area is still a good destination for a action packed week – June is your best bet but I can’t guarantee what the snow pack will be and when it will melt!
Birol at Greenpiece Camping is your man for the logistics once you get there – he know the put ins and take outs etc. In fact you can put in at his campsite for the Yusufeli Gorge and take out there on a lower Bahal run.
For those who would like to indulge in a bit of nostalgia, a PDF file of the participants and the results can be viewed here.
A gallery of piccies of the event is available here.