Michoacán: Say hello to Rio Hoye del Aire

True first descents are rare nowadays – but the Michoacán team scores one on the Rio Hoyo del Aire.
By Josh Sampiero

In the early days of whitewater, scoring a true first descent wasn't easy – but at least there were plenty of rivers left to run. These days, half of the battle is finding a river that hasn't been paddled before – but the First Descent: Michoacán team has found one deep in the Mexican jungle.

The river is called the Rio Hoyo del Aire and as the video above will show you, it's a virgin whitewater paradise, with some big drops, few portages and incredible river features that easily make it world-class paddling.

The crew spends two days exploring the upper and lower portions of the river. Highlights include a shooting a slot barely a boat width wide and ducking through a semi-subterranean water flow.

After meeting with some disappointment in earlier days of the trip, including both injury to the crew's cameraman and the safe but responsible decision not to run a big drop on another river, the two-day session on Hoyo del Aire was worth the pre-dawn wake up.

Joel Kowalski shares his stoke: “Just getting to the bridge at the start of the Hoyo de Aire was exciting – I'd been scouting this location for a long time!”, he says. 

They encounter just one portage, easily overcome with a ‘throw-and-go’ – in which the paddlers literally chuck their boats off a cliff and jump in immediately after, getting back in the boat once they're in the water.

“This river is turning out to be awesome!” says Rafa. “We're getting all these little drops – super good quality!”

Kayaker Dane Jackson on a Michoacan Kayak Expedition in 2013
No boat needed © John Rathwell/Red Bull Content Pool

The ‘centerpiece’ of the run is an 8m drop with big flow and a clean landing area, and the team all gets their licks in. Seth Ashworth, from the UK, puts it best: “The great thing about kayaking is we get to go places normal people never get to see.”

There's more coming, so stay tuned for the next episode of First Descent: Michoacan.

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