Galicia Trip

Hiko Team ve Španělsku

“To bring a full-face helmet or not?”, elbow pads were already in the bag when I asked myself this question. I'm no Michael Jackson, and so far, I'm pretty happy with my face as it is. Needless to say, I had broken my nose a few years ago on the Tobalina waterfall. I didn't hesitate too long and put it in the gear bag. Two weeks before the trip, we checked the forecast as heavy rain was continuously hitting Galicia and the surrounding areas of Spain and Portugal. It was going to be the first "bigger" trip with the team members - Eda, Michal, Tereza, myself, and some of our crazy animals. We were pretty excited, more about the rivers than the animals.



Planning a trip to this destination is nearly impossible due to the unpredictable weather. You hope for rain and better be prepared for cold. Tereza and I arrived in Cantabria a day before the boys, so we could start with a nice and easy class III-IV section of Rio Gandara with the local legend, Javvi Gonzales.

The boys arrived in town the next day, and they quickly figured out that the best idea to shake off the car stiffness after a 2000km drive was to run a waterfall. Salto de Tobalina is only about an hour's drive from Rio Gandara. The level was on the lower side, and it reminded me of my nose break from 2017, so I was pretty happy and warm behind the camera, cheering up Eda and Michal as they were hucking and warming up for the trip on this 12-metre drop.



We knew that the levels would be dropping, so it was a race against time to squeeze out the most before it gets too low. There was no rain in the forecast, so we were thinking fast about what to hit next. The choice was made for Rio Ulla on the way to the west, which still had high water. It was a great choice. We got what none of us was expecting - a beautiful stretch of river with plenty of juicy rapids, slides, and fun class IV drops, as well as about 4 rapids of class V.



As we moved towards the west, Rio Deva was on our way. Locals said that this stretch always had water and was a good place to be as the shuttle was walking distance, and the run was still interesting, even after doing a bunch of laps as there were a lot of fun moves and plenty of eddies to catch.

I certainly enjoy the scenery and views that rivers have to offer. Rio Deva was a spectacular and continuous class IV as it flowed down through the Galician "jungle". Even though I said class IV, it could still be challenging, and in one of the steeper rapids, Eda unexpectedly became a C1er when breaking a paddle in the middle of the rapid. I was quite proud of him. He didn't love it for too long, though, as he decided to quit the run with half the paddle and hiked out. Too bad nobody wants to C1 anymore.



The "must run" river on this trip was the iconic Castro Laboreiro, without a doubt. This river had plenty of water even a week after rain, so that's why we could paddle other rivers before. We decided to paddle both the upper and lower sections in one day. We had to take time with scouting as no one had run it yet. With filming and portaging through the Galician bushwhack full of thorns, it added up to a big and long day.

For the upcoming days, we got in touch with Frenchies Nico and Marlen, and we spent some quality time on the Rio Oitaven as everything started getting low. That river kept us entertained for a few more days as it is dam released.



The last but not least thing to do if rivers are low is ocean surfing. For all of us, it was the first time meeting this powerful natural element. Big up to all the surfers out there chasing big waves with no life jacket or helmet. The feeling when you are about to get trashed by a wave that suddenly crashes on top of your head is intimidating.


Ocean surfing in Galicia


That was hell of a trip and I am sure we will be back because there is just so much more to paddle if you get the liquid sunshine – rain! Hooray for rainy days, see you guys on the river! Take care!

By Honza Choutka

Eda Skalický

Castro Laboreiro

This iconic river was a must run on this trip.

“The joy of paddling is less about how much stout rapid you paddle, but rather about how you style it.!"
Says Eda Skalicky.