Is it Selfish to Play Outside During the COVID-19 Pandemic? by Ben Osborne

"COVID-19 has taken over the news streams, our personal lives, and the lives of everyone around us. As outdoor enthusiasts, we have a pre-programmed response: Go get some fresh air and get away from it all. It seems harmless—a solo bike ride or ski tour won’t harm anyone and should only boost our immune systems and keep us mentally healthy.
But what happens if things go wrong?
Most of the sports we partake in—biking, skiing, climbing, hiking, and more—are dangerous on numerous levels. This may be due to their high intensity, remoteness, or a combination of the two. Any health complication undoubtedly puts a burden on our healthcare system, and with hospitals in the coming days likely to see far more traffic, putting yourself at risk could be considered an unnecessary risk.
There’s plenty of folks telling you to get outside—but it’s important to modify how you participate in these activities during a time like this.
In Italy, the situation is far worse than in most places. So bad that hospitals eventually became overcrowded to the point that “ventilators became like gold” according to Dr. Daniele Macchini, an Italian physician who published a long Facebook post about her working conditions. Patients were unable to be taken care of, and Italy quickly became the epicentre for the virus.
For many people in British Columbia, as the snow melts away in the valley and ski resorts shut down due to the spread of the virus, biking seems like a safe escape to clear your mind—but is that in the best interest of the health system?
A recent study conducted by the Enduro World Series clearly demonstrates the dangers of riding a bike—even for professionals. While most injuries are minor, is your broken clavicle an unnecessary burden on your local hospital’s already dire situation?
For the biking mecca of Squamish, it is. The local hospital has already reached out to the SORCA, expressing the fact that they “do not have the capacity to deal with mountain bike-related injuries”, and specifically requested that the local trails association spread the word.
For ski touring, a similar situation arises—if you get into trouble, the burden falls on search and rescue, your local hospital, and eventually rest of your community. Is that worth it?
The pull of social media to get outside is very real—but at what cost?
There’s nothing wrong with getting out, getting some fresh air, and getting some exercise. In fact, it will be vital during this time of social separation and for some, quarantine. The most important thing is taking care of yourself, and those close to you.
But, in the age of social media, as athletes, influencers, and brands set the example urging their followers to get out and self-distance, it’s important to emphasize playing within your own ability more than ever. Consider what types of activities you choose to do, and how you do them. Because when things go wrong, they could have an effect on someone who is in much worse shape than you. Your surroundings are more important than ever, and now is the time to pay attention. —ML"

I think it is a very good article as it is very important to approach those things responsibly these days. Whatever activity you take - make sure you stay within you abilities. Stay active - at home or outside but not at the cost of others. ~Bartosz


Galway Fest 2020

Galway Fest!

One of the most flourishing events around the Europe in the last years. If you love kayaking in any sense, great community to hang out with, taste of freestyle, whitewater and boatercross and all of it spiced up with few drops of buckfest – well, Galway Fest is dream to go! Oh. If you go – be prepared for weather changing from sunny and warm into hail into sun again and then into freezing snow that melts In another few seconds as sun comes out. All of that in land of sheep, Guinness and amazing whitewater!
This year it was massive with 280 competitors coming from all around the world to take a part in this amazing festival. Event tickets sold out in just 2 days! Event consists of three days. Starts on Friday with Freestyle, followed by ~1km time trial whitewater run on Saturday and final boater cross and mass start both made in centre of the city.
Freestyle feature is honestly one of my favourites – it has really nice circulation, deep enough for big tricks and allows you to throw all kind of combinations. It reminds an inlet gate from Nottingham but it is a lot easier to set up and do the moves. Also format is very encouraging as you have preliminaries with all the classes being mixed together and competing in very simple Jam Session mode where you get approximately 2:30 minute in a feature for each of the paddler with the rule that your ride can not be longer than 45 seconds. Also for preliminaries – bonuses do not count! Only the quantity of the moves to simplify everything. To the finals in Men and Women expert goes 10 people and those come with lights, music and huge crowd on the banks really making spot at Tuam feel like a amphitheatre. For Finals you are back to basic ICF final rules with 3 rides and best counting and all usual rules applying. This year’s champion was Quim Fontane, followed by Rob Crowe and David McClure. K1w
Galway Fest 2020
Saturday is a time trial at Boluisce. River is class II/III run that is around 1km long with top runs going under 6 minutes and best one going to Nick Benett with 5:33. Slightly slower was Lucien Schreiber and Jack Ledwith. K1w It is very interesting run as it is not very challenging however is entertaining enough to keep you occupied with both small technicalities and lines to pick yet at the same time it is accessible for all levels of skill which led us to huge numbers this year. Seems easy and fun but at the same time it is possible to make small mistakes that really influence your time! Definitely interesting one for those that are into racing and gosh, 6 minutes race can get you out of breath!
Galway Fest 2020
Saturday evening is the night that everybody is looking for. Warm up in local kayak club with Guiness and Buckfest – local wine which is sweet and has a lot of caffeine in it to get you running throught he night. For the highlight of the night – we have had amazing party at Arcades at Electric club with whole floor limited only to kayakers and on going back to 80’s costume dance offs and challenges.. well that was definitely worth coming just to see those stylish kayakers dressed up !
Galway Fest 2020
This year unfortunately due to high water levels mass start was canceled but I was so impressed about it last year that I will still spill a word about it here. All kayakers from your class starting in one place at the same time running into very narrow channels, small slides and drops, under the bridges, between 8 ball crew and finally joining the main flow – all of that craziness happening in the center of the town where casual people are walking around wondering who are those colorfoul, cherish people in weird water mobiles! That warms up all town for the boater cross which is final event of the weekend. Racing in groups of 5, starting off at flat piece, running through a narrow ditch that is narrow enough for two or three kayaks if you hug intensively and then joining main flow of Corrib river heading all the way to the other side, doing a downstream eddy and racing till the end.. all the way to the Docks by the Ocean! Finals of Men expert are taken even to the next level where
Galway Fest 2020
Check out RAW POV from Boater Cross to get a taste of in-town racing during the Festival!
Ending ceremony was held at University lecture hall with inspiring story from the legendary Dave Manby who has done it all from the heights of Everest and the Dudh Kosi to expeditions in Iran & Nepal which was warm up for final results. Overal K1W winner – Sage Donnely, K1M – Quim Fontane
Galway Fest 2020
It is an amazing event but definitely very intensive weekend. I can not wait to get back there next year.. If you want to come – Galway is just 3 hours drive from Dublin airport and community is amazing so I’m sure there wont be much problems with getting a kayak! Just be ready for Irish weather : )!
Photos: Jack Ledwith
// Bartosz Czauderna
Join some of mine adventures: