Kyle Faram grew up camping and fishing on stretches of the 184 kilometre Logan River, or Dugulumba as it is known by the Yugambeh First Nations people of the region. Forming at the base of Mt Lindsay, the iconic river weaves and winds through the City of Logan on its long journey towards Moreton Bay.
These days Kyle is a Sergeant Retired from the Australian Army and Director of 2530 Tours established in 2020, to take veterans and first responders away on kayaking adventures, now operating on the Logan River.
Kyle is all too aware how important creating time and space away from whatever is going on in your world is, to ease your mind. Setting up 2530 Tours was driven by the multiple health benefits he saw for others, as they head out on the water with he and business partner Michael Partis, for a paddle.
At the age of 30, Kyle was discharged from the army, diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after serving on three tours of Afghanistan, leaving the only job he had known and facing the breakdown of his homelife.
Joining the army at the age of 17, Kyle was first deployed to Afghanistan in 2008 at the age of 24, leaving his young family behind. He had only been in the country five months when he was injured: shot in the arm during a search and capture mission for Taliban leaders. The injury was so significant that Kyle came close to facing amputation, but for the arrival of a specialist US Navy surgeon in camp the same day, who ensured his limb was saved. That day was also Kyle’s 25th birthday.
Kyle was returned to Australia for a series of operations to continue to repair the damage before he was redeployed on his second tour eighteen months later. During a season of heavy casualties, he lost ten colleagues. Three and a half months before he was due to return, Kyle was involved in three fire fights and an IED blast. That same day his youngest son was born back in Australia.
On return from his third deployment the accumulation of trauma experienced saw his world beginning to crumble. He was finally diagnosed with PTSD.
Kyle and his business partner Michael Partis met by chance at the Springwood Tavern.
“We met at a pub and hit it off,” Kyle tells. “With my personal life falling apart and all the stuff I’d experienced in the military, I had been wanting to go home and find this different version of me. I was trying to find this new positive version of me.”
Kyle’s family moved to Mt Warren Park when he was two years old, but he was born down south in Corryong – Snowy River country – in close proximity to the mighty Murray River.
“I’d decided I was going to kayak down the Murray on my own because I needed some sort of long solo adventure to find myself, and next thing you know, Michael and I are driving off in the car together, didn’t even know each other’s last names. We’re figuring each other out on the drive down…” he pauses to chuckle, “He found out that I liked caramel lattes,” he pauses as his resonate laugh rolls out. “He’s heckled me for the last two and a half years about that.”
An entrepreneur and born adventurer, Michael has been to six of the seven continents including making his way to both the North and South pole.
Together they set off to begin an epic journey down the Murray River, the third longest navigable river in the world, starting and ending in Albury covering 2,530 kilometres on the water and 85 kilometres of alpine hiking.
“We start paddling and exploring this whole new space. Every time we went into a town along the way, people thought we were doing it for charity.
I was doing it for my own mental health. Michael was ticking it off his bucket list.
But everyone we met were like, I have a mate who was a water cop, or in the fire service, or in the army, or I’ve got a sister in the air force. Everywhere we stopped it was the same story: everyone knew a first responder who would love to do something like this. We started to wonder if there was something in it.”
Drawing on Michael’s corporate experience, Kyle began to develop a business plan. Focusing on the three key things they both got out of the trip, ‘Adventure, Accomplishment and Community’, they developed 2530 Tours, and launched in early 2020.
“We started out with our target demographic being veterans and first responders. But with COVID and so many people at home, healthcare workers, mum’s and dad’s cooped up who need to get out and do something, we saw the opportunities grow. You’ve got your social distancing sorted out on the paddles. You’re exercising, releasing oxytocin, everyone’s got a good feeling about coming out in the fresh air. You get people with a paddle in their hand and out on the water, and you find people open up and start sharing their experiences.”
2530 Tours are now operating a range of opportunities to get out on the Logan River with them, including dawn paddles, fishing trips, stop off points at iconic locations and future plans to activate on the City of Logan’s Albert River also.
“The river is a constant through the landscape. No matter what is going on in the communities around it, the ebbs and flows of the river, from dry seasons to flood, it reminds us that the constants in our lives remain but not everything has to stay the same,” Michael says.
To find out more about how you can escape from your everyday life and explore the Logan River with 2530 Tours, visit 2530 Tours on You Tube, Instagram and Facebook.
Launching from Larry Storey Park or Carbrook boat ramps from Monday to Saturday depending on the tide and weather a 90 minute paddle is just $39, 3 hours on the water is $69 or take a 4 hour fishing tour with bait and tackle for $89.
To book, email Kyle at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Author: Jacqueline Bawtree 2021 for Logan City Council.