PADDLING IN TIANZHU CITY, CHINA

This is a translated version of the original article. To see the original article in Chinese (Simplified), visit: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/V15I3dPlXMl1ltO3x0sDWg

Looking down to the Hongshui River, we felt the deep blue emotion coming from the canyon. This is one of the most challenging and distinctive landscape in the Tianzhu City region blessed by China’s famous Red River.

Tianzhu City is a place where the famous Red River of China split the city in half. It’s calm and soothing. During the period of the Tomb-Sweeping Day, the busy train station full of people on their way to the tomb of their ancestors is a stark contrast compared to the city street where only a few dogs casually roaming around.

The view from the Tianzhu City Bridge is stunning and the backdrop of mountain range and canyon constantly reminding us how beautiful the place actually is. Perhaps, one of the reasons why this place is so peaceful is that the lack of easy transportation make it difficult for tourists to go to this place. However, once you have overcome the challenge of coming here, your heart will tell you that it’s well worth the effort.

At this point, we would like to thank you our sponsor Molokai SUP for funding this expedition.

The word Molokai comes from an island of central Hawaii (between Maui and Oahu). On the other hand, SUP brand Molokai actually comes from Australia.

This is it, the first day of our expedition. Our Molokai ambassador – Black Cat, finally arrived and will lead us to the Tianzhu City we heard so much about. We can’t stress how excited we were and couldn’t wait to depart.

During the evening in the hotel, we hurried up and started preparing for the journey for the next day. Five Molokai Hero Air iSUP boards have arrived at the hotel and are ready to be loaded to our transportation. We also prepared our water-proof gear including raincoat and bags. Meals were packed for the trip and we went to the start point to survey the water condition. Everything was ready and all we have to do was wait.

It’s 3 AM in the morning, we woke up and quietly packed our gear. With one last look at our hotel room, we journeyed into the darkness.

Needless to say, we were all feeling a bit sleepy, but once we arrived near the start point we were all amazed by an indescribable feeling of excitement and calmness.

With the city lights still on, the sun was starting to raise up. The view was amazing as we can still see some stars on the night sky. We formed a column of five paddlers and started the expedition, towards the horizon.

Just when we hit the water we noticed the water level had dropped over 4 meters overnight with a much slower flow of water. We immediately realized that this trip is going to be much more challenging than we originally thought.

After the sun was up, we were all energized by the beautiful weather and started paddling towards our rally point where we will be joined up with team 2.

After paddling for nearly 60 kilometers, we have finally arrived at the Donglan Town Rally Point and meet up with team 2. After some chit-chatting, we once again launched ourselves forward and continue the journey, this time as a group of 9 paddlers.

We were all feeling pretty exhausted after the first leg so we contacted our support boat to back us up in case anything went wrong.

Near the evening that day, we were starting to approach the western valley. We’been told the western valley is calm but dangerous. After serval recommendations from the support boat, team 2 decided to stop the journey after 88.8 km and get on the boat for safety reasons.

Two members of Team 1 (our team) however, decided to soldier on! With the support boat helped to light the way, we’ve arrived at the First Bay and started our 8km run around the valley.

Most of the paddlers were now ashore and started to prepare for dinner. Nevertheless, they were cheering for 2 teammates who were still paddling, aiming to break the 100-kilometer record.

At 22:00 local time, our two teammates successfully broke the record with a total 100.15-kilometer paddling distance! We all cheered for them and celebrated with a glass of beer. The rest came naturally as the dining table full of food was now empty and our paddlers rushed to the bathroom then crashed to their beds.

The next day morning, light rains started to come from the sky and we’been told there was heavy rain during the night, although we haven’t noticed due to the fact we were all sleeping dead.

After a quick breakfast, the rain had stopped. Heavy clouds were forming around the mountain range which made it not suitable to climb the mountain, so we’ve decided to stop the expedition here.

Our friends from Linyi County finally arrived and joined us for one last quick paddling section here at the First Bay.

And that was our first Tianzhu City SUP Expedition! If you are looking for an unforgettable SUP journey in China, you really should consider coming here! In my mind, there is nothing more satisfying and enjoyable than paddling through these nature splendid. For more information, you can contact the related tour guide via WeChat : 雷声桨板

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