Monday, September 26, 2011

Project Unknown: Team Member Lorenzo Andrade Astorga

Lorenzo taking in another sunset along the Rio Futaleafu, Chile. Photo: Matt Smink

Name: Lorenzo Andrade Astorga

Nationality: Chilean

Age: 24

Strengths: Down river racing, Safety, Logistics, Creeking, One of the strongest bastards around

Background: At the tender age of 19 Lorenzo was one of the top soccer players in Chile. With a career cut out for himself in the world of professional futbol Lorenzo decided that he had other goals and dropped out of the beloved Universidad Catolica futbol club to pursue his passions in the outdoors. He quickly became a force to be reconned with in the popular adventure race circuit in Chile. Mean while Lorenzo's immediate and extended family had been practicing the sport of kayaking all over the world since Lorenzo was a small child. It wasn't until Lorenzo took a job teaching the Spanish language in the New River Academy (a traveling high school for the worlds top junior whitewater kayakers) that he began to commit himself to the sport. The late start didn't hurt him at all, lodging solid top three finishes in races in Chile and the United States not to mention stints of freestyle in Uganda and Canada's famous Ottawa River. Lorenzo wasn't just a start up savant in the sport. A few years back, just after leaving the soccer world Lorenzo began to train raft racing with a team made up of 7 of his cousins. They competed in Chile taking 1st in every competition. A year later his team went on to compete in the world Championships of rafting and returned back to Chile with a top 3 finish in the sprint race.

Where is he right now: You can find Lorenzo living with his giant extended family on the banks of the Maipo River kayaking on the local class 5 runs and defending his home river from big hydro companies that want to put in a hydro station above his families land, leaving the river with a third of the flow it normally has. Lorenzo has been holed up over this past winter training for the upcoming rafting world championships in Costa Rica and waiting for Chilean spring to hit and its world famous creeking season to begin.

Check out Lorenzo's Unknown Segment! Shot on location in the Andes Mountain's of Chile. These segments are short profiles to get to know the team members of Project Unknown. Enjoy. 

Here is the spanish version if you are interested or use spanish as your first language!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Welcome to Project: Unknown

A few years ago while on a kayaking trip in Chile I hatched a plan to put together a team of the most stylish and talented paddlers for a mission starting in the northern Atacama desert of Chile and ending in southern reaches of Patagonia, Chile. After traveling and working for a few years I decided to start looking for those team members. People who have an unmatched fire for the sport of kayaking. People who are in it for the long haul. People who are committed to making the world a better place. People not afraid to take on the  Unknown.
This project has been named Unknown because that is what we want to document. Be it bad politics, good stories, untouched rivers, perfect landscapes, or rising stars. Life is intensely beautiful. A close friend recently wrote to me saying that "we are living in times of great possibility". Inspiring words that are ringing truer and truer around every bend. So here's to exploration, courage, remote places, good times, and living in moment. Things are taking shape. Stay tuned. 

As it tradition. Here are some photos of Chile. Enjoy. 


The Maipo Valley in spring time. As the water melts from the peaks above kayakers flock to the valleys, rivers, and waterfalls of Chile to challenge themselves and see what they are made of. 

A broken corridor in the ruins of a prisoner camp from the Pinochet era in Chile's history. Heavy energy in this place. Photo: Matt Smink
Eric Bartle eats it off the kicker on the first slide of the Nevados river in Pucon, Chile. Photo:Tracy D'Arbeloff
The moon rises over the Maipo valley and the Andes mountain range.
Lorenzo Andrade Astorga runs safety on the Upper Volcan  crux rapid.
Tino Specht exiting the bottom of Zeta rapid on the Futaleufu river in Patagonia, Chile. Photo: Matt Smink
Power lines carrying energy across the Andes mountain range to Argentina where it is sold. This is becomming a more and more common sight in Chile. Energy is made with hydro built by Spanish companies. The energy is then sold to bordering countries. Chilean citizens don't see the profits of their own land...
The ferry ride from Puerto Mont to Chaiten, Chile. There is nothing like waking up to floating through snow capped peaks at sunrise. Photo: Matt Smink
The results of a swim on the Upper Volcan river.
Lorenzo Andrade Astorga boat scouts a random rapid in the 22 waterfalls section of Rio Claro.
Graffiti art in Pichilemu, Chile. Pichilemu has a unique mix of surf art with Chilean culture.

The famous Middle Palguin 70 foot waterfall. Clean as a whistle.
Kira Tenney drops Garganta Del Diablo (throat of the devil) on the Rio Claro in Chile.

Rio Nuble. The Gauley of South America.
Locals walking with a stunning back ground. The Andes.
Salto Huilo Huilo on the Rio Fuy. Unrun.

The waterfall on the Yeso river in Chile. There is a tricky must make move at the top of this one. Photo: Matt Smink
Jake Greenbaum, Logan Grayling, and LJ Groth triple up on the 20 footer set on the classic Upper Palguin.
A tarantula on the hike into Rio Claro.

The parting shot of yours truly(Tino Specht) entering the Garganta Del Diablo on Rio Claro, Chile. Photo: Jason Terry


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Greener Side

As the leaves turn color. As they get cracked from the trees by the cold wind, I sit here planning my escape. I'm going to point south and go, skipping through Mexico for a short video project on spanish ripper Aniol Serrasolses, and settling finally in Chile without a return ticket. A commitment of sorts to staying in one place for longer than four months. 
So with a sense of a hard worked, surf laden summer behind me and an open road ahead of me I commit myself to the sport I love and the passion that drives me. Kayaking. 

Mexico. The land of cheap beer, tacos, and clean water falls.
Chile. Where the young run free and women flock like the salmon of the Capistrano.

My quiver of boats from this past summer. A squirt boat, carbon playboat, surf kayak and plastic playboat.

Aniol the subject Unknown 3: Mexico. Aniol lived for the past four months on the banks of the Ottawa River with just a tent, kayak, and the clothes on his back.  Here we see him cooking up some lunch at the secret "Rata" hide out.

Chilean boater Marcos Gallegos throws a huge Clean Blunt on Garburator wave. Marcos has been living in Canada for the past year or two and is becoming a freestyle machine. Keep an eye out for him on the river.

The Spaniards. From front to back, Ali, Alex, Aniol. Watching Garburator after a day long session.

The Ottawa Valley in full bloom.

Flat farm land/huge rapids... Wierd

Anna Bruno busting out some crazy yoga moves.

(Left to Right) Dane Jackson, Keegan Grady and myself in awe of the rapid above Detonator wave in Quebec.

Keegan Grady. Keegan is the subject of Unknown 2: Ottawa Valley. Keegan is a local boy from the Ottawa River who's athletic abilities have taken him on travels all over the world.

Joel Kowalski snaps a shot of the wave with his Iphone. Who needs a 7d when you have an Iphone?

Taking in the Power.

The River Cabin. I spent my summer living in this cabin next to McCoys rapid on the Ottawa River. It is one of my top 3 places to live ever.