Interview with Marcos Gallegos, Organizer of the 2016 Futaleufu XL (Feb 22-27th)
Marcos Gallegos is the organizer of the upcoming Futaleufu XL, held in southern Chile on the Futaleufu river. Dates are set for February 22nd through February 27th. With kayak Session mag being the official media sponsor (coverage of the event to be expected online and in print afterwards) we wanted to catch up with Marcos to get the beta on this new and very ambitious event.
KS: Marcos, could there be a better place in the world to organize a kayaking event than The Futaleufu ? Un paisaje pintado por dios!
MG: The Futaleufu river and valley are a breath taking place. “Un paisaje pintador por dios” or ¨A Landscape painted by God” as most of us know it. Futaleufu offers some of the finest whitewater in the world to paddle combined with some pristine wilderness, Turcoise waters and wonderful landscapes. With different types of whitewater and over 30 Kilometers of Class IV – V Rapids along roadside Futaleufu makes the perfect place to step up on the Kayaking competition and hold an event not to forget.
KS: Is the Futaleufu XL event you are about to organize, the logical suit to what was the Futafest, organized by Mitch Sasser ?
MG: The Futaleufu XL was never meant or designed to replace the FutaFest, event that has been happening on the Futaleufu for the last 7 or 8 years and will continue! The first thoughts of throwing an event on The FU came after the first “Whitewater Grand Prix” had taken place in Ontario & Quebec. back in 2012. I brought the idea to the Municipality of Futaleufu, they reviewed it, liked the idea and helped me make it happen. As we moved forward with the organizing of Futaleufu XL the only thing the Municipality of Futaleufu suggested was to involve the community of the Valley in order to be a public friendly event, so we decided to double the days from three to six days and have kids compete on the Espolon River, The Laguna Espejo and The Pros on the Futaleufu river. This way making it not only Futaleufu XL but also a Festival del Rio or River Festival. The Futaleufu XL has turned into a Full six days Festival del Rio or River Festival, Which includes two days on the Espolon river, one day on the Laguna Espejo ( Lagoon ) and 3 days on the Futaleufu River.
« If I had to sell you a product I would straight say this is a Full six days of an Outdoor Cultural Event »
KS: What inspired you to organize Futaleufu XL? What are the models that you would to follow for this event?
MG: I feel lucky I have got to live the era of the Whitewater Grand Prix, the Whitewater World Series and all the other kayak showcasing awesomeness. I have also been traveling to Canada every year for the past seven years and I have a really good feel for what STAKEOUT is, the big waves and rapids around Ontario & Quebec. I have been part of this game changing event since its beginnings and I am already qualified for the next one in Canada. I think it is just great that everyone can compete in different events around the World in order to get a chance to go to WWGP in my opinion the worlds greatest kayaking event. I think every event around the world has got its own uniqueness and just that makes them really awesome. Whitewater Grand Prix and all of the Qualifying events around the globe have marked an era in the history of Kayaking and I feel really happy to be part and be helping with that progression. I would also like to thank WWGP and his director Patrick Camblin for giving us the opportunity to be part of the Qualiying series.
KS: Is there a relation between the Ottawa XL organized by Joel Kowalski and the folks at Ottawa kayak school ?
MG: Yes there is. I think Joel and the folks at OKS have done a great job with Organizing the Ottawa XL. I also think there is a strong connection on what is the Ottawa River, Futaleufu River, the Valleys and the lifestyle around the river & the love for the river and the Kayaking. Joel has taken the competition to a super high level around the Ottawa River and that makes me real stoked everytime I go up there and paddle or whenever I get to share my experience down in Chile. I have spoken to Joel before and I want to thank him too for what he has done on the Ottawa Valley and for helping us with The Futaleufu XL aswell.
« the Whitewater Grand Prix is in my opinion the worlds greatest kayaking event »
KS: What is the goal of the event ?
MG: The goal of this event is to give an opportunity to the paddlers to step up on the Kayaking competition on the different disciplines and showcase the local talent and the friends who visit us down on the Fu every year; There is also the Village of Futaleufu, as well as Chaiten and Palena real close by and we don’t want to miss the opportunity to involve them all in this dream and why not keep raising more and better kayakers. I have always thought of river people as ambassadors of the rivers of the world no matter what your sport is; That is why I think there is no purpose on having these events if you will not teach or create awareness on the threats that put in danger our Natural Resources. We want to showcase Kayaking, create awareness, bring people together and enjoy life around the beautiful Futaleufu river.
KS: Seeing the ambitious program, it looks like to be bigger than a regular kayaking event right ?
MG: For the 2016 edition of the Futaleufu XL and Festival del Rio we have created events for everyone. In order to increase the numbers of paddlers and showcase the local talent around Futaleufu; We have a two day event on the Espolon river for the kids which is located right by the Village of Futaleufu with disciplines like: Men and Women Slalom, Boatercross & Downriver. Men and Women SUP Cross, Downriver & Slalom. One day at the Lagoon ( Laguna Espejo ) with Rafting , Kayaking and Stand Paddle Boarding. Three day event on the Futaleufu River. All of this mixed with all the local magic, Trekking, Horseback riding, Biking, Live Music, Organics, Meetings others
« We want to showcase Kayaking, create awareness, bring people together and enjoy life around the beautiful Futaleufu river »
KS: Will you be racing down Infierno canyon ? Terminator ? Detail the kayaking events and describe shortly when it will be held ?
MG: The races we have thought on for FutaleufuXL 2016 are based on the classic sections paddled during “Chile Whitewater Grand Prix” in 2012. Besides in order to follow up with our sponsors we want to hold a Public and Media friendlier event for the first year. We have extended the sections of Whitewater for the men and kept the sections for the ladies. Boatercross/ Men and Women From Cara del Indio all the way to the botton of Mundaca. Downriver/ Men compete from Bridge to Casa de Piedra and Women compete on the classic Bridge to Bridge Section. Freestyle / This is an open big wave event where Men and Women compete on Morocco right above Pillow rapid on the Bridge to Bridge Section. We will judge on Biggest Trick ( Air ) & Best ride. Giant Slalom: Men and Women compite on the gates of Casa de Piedra. Inferno Canyon is on the list but it will go to votation and according to Municipal safety rules.
KS: The festival will take place in the Village of Futaleufu right ?
MG: The heart of the event will be the Village of Futaleufu. We will be mixing every day of river with local activities around the Village.
KS: Was that easy to throw such an event ? in other word did you get support ? If so who ?
MG: It is never easy to throw such events in southern Chile, especially Patagonia. We are very far from all the bigger brands located mostly in Santiago, Central Chile and it takes a little bit of effort to bet for us down here. The Municipality of Futaleufu has been key in the organizing of the Futaleufu XL, they have provided all of the info and infrastructure in order to have a good event.
I want to thank everyone that is helping with the event and to all our sponsors.
GoProChile / Outdoor Tech / Level Six / AndesGear / Taragui ( Mate ) / Kayak Session Magazine / Municipalidad de Futaleufu / Gobierno Regional de los Lagos / Sernatur Los Lagos / Kanay Salud / Copec / Tribe rider / Whitewater Grand Prix.
KS: Any big names committed to come ?
MG: I know we have the Adidas Sickline athlete and Champion Gerd Serrasolses with his lady Alicia Saragoza ( SPA ) We have the Andrades Brothers Lorenzo and Pangal ( CHI ) Matias Lopez ( ARG ) , Jaime Lancaster ( CHI ) , Momo Castillo ( CHI ), Tino Specht (USA) …
KS: In case we want to know more about the event, what should we do?
MG: Our website is www.futaleufuxl.cl and you can find us in social media as Futaleufu XL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Thanks Marcos and good luck with year’s first edition…! Stay tuned on kayaksession.com and in the pages of the print edition for more on the 2016 Futaleufu XL.