ARea 51 (Adventure Racing Equipment Australia) was established to fill a significant hole in the market for a specialty multi-sport / adventure racing gear store. The catalyst for starting ARea 51 was due to the difficulty experienced by the owner (Greg Toman) in obtaining quality, light-weight gear suitable for AR events such as the 10day / 750km XPD race.
Major outdoor adventure stores visited by Greg did not understand what was required or needed for such events, the staff tried to sell him classic hiking/trekking gear and this gear was too heavy and / or over engineered for AR.
After completing XPD Broken Hill in 2004, Greg and Tom Landon-Smith (AROC) discussed the need for AR specific gear shops in
EQUIPMENT RESEARCH & SELECTION
In 2004 Greg and Debbie travelled to the heartland of multi-sport and adventure racing (Colorado, USA). Greg was fortunate to have the opportunity to meet and spend time with two international AR legends, Mike Kloser and Ian Adamson. Both Ian and Mike had been involved with product testing and design for a number of companies over the years including GoLite, Nike, Nemo Equipment, Axis Gear, Splashcaddy and many other brands. Team Nike had been the #1 ranked team on the international AR scene for many years, and so Mike & Ian had a wealth of knowledge and information to share with Greg.
After meeting with Mike Kloser in Vail and Ian Adamson in Boulder, Colorado – Greg continued his research by visiting GoLite LLC Headquarters (the pioneer and leading company in light-weight and ultra-light weight outdoor gear design). Greg & Debbie also visited numerous outdoor adventure shops to inspect the options in light-weight products and talk ‘gear’ with store owners.
The research trip to the USA led to ARea 51 introducing to the Australian AR community products that were not previously available in Australia, such as: Axis Gear Mapboards, Sportslick Skin Protection, GoLite packs and apparel (including AR specific items), AR books, Adventure Medical Kits, Aloksak Bags, Blist-O-Ban and Emergency Bivvy Bags.
In 2008, Greg and Debbie once again travelled to the US to research and view the ‘latest and greatest’ in outdoor adventure technology and products. They attended the US national Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City (which made the Australian Outdoor Trade Show look like a school yard meeting) … and once again they returned with great new ideas and products for the AR/MTB and Multi-Sport communities.
GREG'S SKILLS & EXPERIENCE
With a strong background in outdoor adventure activities, Greg is suitably qualified to test and evaluate gear for a range of outdoor pursuits including Adventure Racing and Multi-Sport events. The following is a brief overview of Greg’s experience and qualifications from his 20+ years in the outdoor scene.
While paddling whitewater since 1991, Greg has been an instructor and assessor with the Australian Board of Canoe Education. He has worked for numerous outdoor education centre’s, as well as commercial instructional companies such as Outdoor Pursuits Group. He has paddled many rivers in Australia, along with rivers in Indonesia and the USA.
Along with paddling in events such as the Hawkesbury Canoe Classic (111km), Greg has been a member of a number of canoeing clubs and has competed in 10km to 25km kayaking events.
Dragon Boat Paddling:
After winning the Australian Mixed Championships in Sydney, Greg represented Australia in the World Championships in Chicago, USA where the team placed third. Selected as a member of the Australian Men’s Team, he competed at the World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand where the team placed first to win the World Title. The following year he was selected in the Australia Team to defend the title in
Worked as a rafting guide for World Expeditions and Rapid Descent on the Murray, Mitta Mitta and Nymboida Rivers.
Worked as a rock climbing instructor and guide for various outdoor education centre’s and commercial company Outdoor Pursuits Group Pty Ltd. Greg developed climbing courses for beginners to advanced which became the benchmark used in SE Qld. Greg was on the executive committee of the Rockclimbing Instructors’ Association of Queensland from 1993 to 1997, when he transferred over to the newly established Australian Climbing Instructors Association (ACIA).
Guided canyoning trips in SE Qld while working for Outdoor Pursuits Group
Greg guided bushwalking trips for outdoor education centre’s in SE Qld and was contracted by Griffith University to assess Post Graduate students in bushwalking / expedition units.
Trained by Jim Segerstrom and Barry Edwards (internationally renowned experts in the field) in USA, Greg has delivered swiftwater rescue training throughout Australia to rafting guides, kayaking instructors and outdoor educators/guides. He has also trained emergency services personnel from Australia, Malaysia,
Cliff / Vertical Rescue:
Greg was responsible for bringing the Rescue 3 International – Low to High Angle Rescue course curriculum to Australia, as the lead Australian Instructor / Assessor. He developed vertical rescue courses to meet the nationally recognized competency standards and has trained the Malaysian Fire Service, SES, Rockclimbing Instructors / guides and outdoor educators in
Greg has completed all four editions of the XPD Adventure Race (750-800kms) including Broken Hill 2004, Tasmania 2006, Whitsunday Coast 2007 and Australian Highlands 2008. He has also competed in short course AR events, multi-sport, MTB, Rogaine, Orienteering and MTBO events. In addition to competing, Greg has developed and delivered workshops in paddling, expedition adventure race planning and navigation skills.
Greg has completed a Graduate Diploma in Outdoor Education (majoring in climbing & kayaking), Diploma in Fire Rescue Operations and Cert IV in Workplace Training and Assessment.
Greg was a registered climbing instructor with RIAQ and ACIA for over 7 years and holds an Advanced Whitewater Instructor qualification in Kayaking and Canoeing with ACF. Greg was the inaugural recipient of the Qld Govt and Qld Outdoor Recreation Federation – Safety & Risk Management Award (industry award)