The 'White Water Warriors' were formed when a bunch of naïve youths tried to organize their own expedition down the Grand Canyon of the Colorado back in 1993...
The 'White Water Warriors' were formed when a bunch of naïve youths tried to organize their own expedition down the Grand Canyon of the Colorado.
After months of flapping around they gave up and dragged Dave Manby, Rob Hind and Mike Hewlett in on the case. These guys got the show on the road and in 1993, 15 16-18 year olds entered the Grand Canyon. Here they were introduced to Big Volume White water, Americans, Budweiser and pot! For a few, this was the start of a long career of white water adventures!
It was on this trip that Jonny Pearson and Allan Ellard joined forces and dropped into the biggest holes they could find, the bigger the better! Due to a bet with a German (Markus Schmitt) the boys ran Lava Falls 16 times, once without paddles! To this day they still have not received the keg of beer from Germany! So the Warriors were Born, Jonny had for years dreamed of having a bunch of mates, 'elite Kayakers', to run the gnarly rivers of the world. When Jonny was a kid he wrote a story for English class, a fictional adventure where kayaks could fly, had missiles and could change shape! When he met Allan the dream became the reality and they cruised North Wales in search of waterfalls and cool creeks. The dream was not quite lived out, as they both had Fiat 126s and didn't drive much master than 50 mph!
Eventually the two Warriors headed out of the UK, Jonny worked in Nepal and Allan was dragged off to Turkey by Dave. They eventually all met up in India and that brought Mike Abbott into the scene. Mike had been kayaking up in India with a bunch of Kiwis and had been conned into working for Equator Expeditions by Gerry Moffat. Mike also seemed to enjoy getting the shit beaten out of him by dropping into the largest holes he could find!
Since then Mike and Al have been returning to Nepal Rafting and kayaking and exploring the valleys of Northern India in between. Jonny has become a Fire Fighter and a few other names have been added to the Warriors List. Bob learnt to kayak with Jonny in his early days, probably an original 'Warriors' but Bob was lost in the haze of University for a few years before emerging and staking his claim on the 1998 Ravi Expedition. Andy Philips was certified during a tour of NZ after the 1998 Pre Worlds. The cover boy / rodeo porn star impressed the boys with his energy for hard boating and drinking stamina. Andy's expedition Debut was the Sutlej 2000 Upper Canyons. Dropped into Asia at the deep end Andy compared the streets of Delhi to the familiar Birmingham markets and took the rest in his short stride.
The 'White Water Warriors' aim to basically have fun and paddle as hard as they can, as much as possible, whilst maintaining the right 'attitude' ... To find out what that means you really have to ask Jonny. There are many 'gnarly' paddlers out there, paddling huge stuff that would defiantly knock ya head off if you brushed more than just your shoulder, but they probably wouldn't make a Warrior. It is about the way you approach the river, a fall or a trip. It is not about being gung ho and charging off the edge of the world ready to the pain! It is about knowing your limitations, knowing your skill and finding the line. There is always encouragement and discussion, but no pear pressure. Through working together and utilizing their diverse strengths, problems are overcome and huge endeavors undertaken.
Today the 'Warriors' continue to kayak as much as possible and plan future expeditions around the globe. Their endeavors are diversifying as they cruise the globe. Jonny has bought a Chapel, a building project for the next millennium? Mike is currently enjoying stardom after kicking ass at the 'Zambezi Big Water' event in October and the South East Asian Circuit events. Mike has just made the NZ Freestyle team for Spain 2001 and is planning his attack for the year! Allan is currently undergoing brain surgery having fried a fried a few cells learning web design... You can now check out all the adventures of the 'White Water Warriors' at www.whitewaterwarriors.com. You can also have your own Amazing Adventures with the 'Warriors' in India or New Zealand. The site will also be used as a 'Publicity Machine' to potentially finance future Expeditions. Ultimately the site will provide resource for expedition Kayakers and have an 'Online Expedition' view where you can see the depths of the canyons from your nice warm armchair! (Any large Telecommunication companies out there?)
So that's the Warriors, more than meets the eye on the endless 'Mission' to find and paddle Hell Demon runs of this globe!!!
Pictures by Kevin Thompson, Mike Abbot and Allan Ellard.