Monthly Archives: December 2003

2003 Kayaking Season

Date: 21/12/03
River: Rangitata River, South Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 113 rising to 156 cumecs at Klondyke, water discoloured and swift. Grade 2+
Weather Conditions: Overcast at first then sunny and warm with north-easterly winds.
Number on Trip:14
Comments: Two inches of rain in the hills during the night caused the river to rise, meaning that Rangitata Rafts weren’t paddling the gorge and it was decided that we would just paddle from the weir at Klondyke down to the Outdoor Pursuits Centre instead of splitting into two groups with the more experienced paddlers doing the gorge. Surprisingly enough we had no swimmers at all, despite having some new beginners (they managed to stay upright or roll when upside-down, took me years to manage that). The river was quite different from the other times I had paddled it, with much more pressure waves and less boulders to dodge, the hole where I banged my head on a previous trip was just a series of waves. Lots of fun trying to surf the waves, especially once the sun came out and really brighten the whole trip up.


Date: 7/12/03
River: Hurunui River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 57 cumecs at Mandamus, water clear and swift. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm
Number on Trip: 16
Comments: This was the second day of our river rescue and trip leaders course and covered the crisis management side of the course. Ran down through Jollie Brook in the morning and practised various rescue techniques before heading down to South Branch in the afternoon to put our lessons in to practise. This culminated in a full on disaster scenario, with the whole of the second group needing to be rescued. I managed to tow Simon to “safety” and get him back to his boat. I then pulled in to nasty eddy to “rescue” Dave who was too “scared” to paddle out of the eddy without assistance, I offered to assisted ferry him out but he was too “scared” for that (which was fortunate as I was too scared for that for real), fortunately Barry arrived back from rescuing some others and we rafted up and floated out of the eddy, it was a bit rough but everything held together. Paddled further down the river and set up our own scenario, which involved multiple unconscious paddlers floating face down as well as a couple of pinned boats, a real trip from hell. Paddled out to South Branch and got out, some talk of paddling Maori Gully but that fell through as it was getting quite late by the time we had had the final debrief. Had a great weekend but was very tired by the end, hopefully I will remember what I had learned and will be able to be a bit more useful when it comes to rescuing beginners in future.


Date: 6/12/03
River: Hurunui River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 27 cumecs at Mandamus, water clear and swift. Grade 3
Weather Conditions: Rain clearing to sunny and warm in the afternoon
Number on Trip: 17
Comments: This was the first day of our river rescue and trip leaders course. In the morning, we paddled down through the Jollie Brook rapids and then proceed to lock at various instructional techniques and river safety and risk management strategies. After lunch, we paddled down to South Branch putting into practice what we had learned and role playing various scenarios. I managed to get pin at one stage perpendicular to the current with my nose against a bluff and my tail against a rock. Fortunately I didn’t tip over and our instructor provided some support with his boat on the downstream side and we were able to work the nose out with out to much drama and free the boat. Took a swim later on trying to play off a pillow at the base of a bluff, tried a roll but bailed out as I didn’t feel particularly comfortable. Had a really good day and learnt a heap of new things.


Date: 3/12/03
Location: Lake Wakatipu, Queenstown, NZ
River Conditions: Actually it is a lake and was generally flat with a slight swell
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm
Number on Trip: 2
Comments: Lauri and I went sea kayaking on the lake during our stay in Queenstown. We hired the two sea kayaks from Thomas’s Hotel for a discounted rate (we had to do some maintenance on one of them as someone had set fire to the seat). We managed to picked the right day with minimal wind or swell and paddled around the bay and across Frankton Arm and up the back of the Kelvin Heights peninsula. We managed to get back just in time to return the boats by nine o’clock.


Date: 23/11/03
River: Hurunui River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 62 cumecs at Mandamus, water clear and swift. Grade 3
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm
Number on Trip: 17
Comments: This was probably one of the best kayaking trips I’ve ever been on, the weather was perfect and the river was reasonably high and the water was clear and swift. We broke in to three groups, with us in the lead, and paddled down from the Salmon Farm (above the top gorge) to the South Branch confluence, catching eddies and playing on waves all the way down but still making good time. It was good to be in the lead as congestion in the rapids was kept to a minimum. The top gorge was quite cool, similar in some respects to the Ashley, I had never paddled it before and quite enjoyed it, although it did take a while to fully build up my confidence. From the South Branch down we changed the groups around as some people didn’t want to paddle the whole distance. Paddled down to Seawards without much drama, just the odd rescue and then on through Maori Gully with the more experienced paddlers. Maori Gully was quite exciting and this was the highest flow I’d ever paddled it at, tipped once but rolled up immediately, really exhilarating. Felt much more confident about my abilities after this trip.


Date: 16/11/03
River: Rai River, Nelson Region, NZ
River Conditions: Rai falls 3.3 cumecs. Water slightly discoloured. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm
Number on Trip: 2
Comments: Just Lauri and me reliving our Outward Bound experiences at the Rai Falls before we had to head back to Christchurch. I ran the falls a couple of times, including once backwards to try and recapture the Outward Bound experience, kind of funny, I ended up doing some sort of tail stand before being able to paddle out of the falls.

20031116 Rai_Falls_backwards

Running the Rai Falls backwards. Photo by Lauri.


Date: 15/11/03
River: Pelorus and Rai Rivers, Nelson Region, NZ
River Conditions: Pelorus at Bryant’s 5.4 cumecs, Rai falls 3.5 cumecs. Water clear. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Overcast but cleared to be sunny and warm
Number on Trip: 2
Comments: Lauri and I put in at Pelorus Bridge and paddled up the Rai, portaging over the rapids. We went as far as the “Chicken Run” rapid (near the derelict wire swing bridge) above the Rai falls. Both ran the rapid and then paddled back down to the Rai falls where I left Lauri to have a paddle while I paddled back to Pelorus Bridge to pick up the car.

20031115 Rai_Chicken_Run

Lauri on the Rai River.


Date: 13/11/03
River: Pelorus River, Nelson Region, NZ
River Conditions: Pelorus at Bryant’s 6 cumecs. Water clear. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm
Number on Trip: 2
Comments: Put in at Pelorus Bridge and paddled around the bridge, played on the rapids just above the bridge. Lauri enjoyed her paddle and it was hard to pry her out of her boat. I quite enjoyed playing on the small rapid and even tried (unsuccessfully) to do a whoopee and got to do a roll, much to the delight of Lauri.

20031113 Rai_River_kayaking

Lauri in her Fly on the Rai River.


Date: 11/11/03
River: Pelorus and Rai Rivers, Nelson Region, NZ
River Conditions: Pelorus at Bryant’s 6.5 cumecs, Rai falls 4.7 cumecs. Water clear. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Hot and sunny
Number on Trip: 1
Comments: Put in at Pelorus Bridge and paddled up the Rai as far as the Rai falls and then back down again. Was quite surprised to find that the stretch we paddled on Outward Bound took less than ten minutes to paddle, it seemed a lot longer in the middle of winter with all the stops and swims. Beautiful area to paddle though, not sure that I fully appreciated it on Outward Bound.


Date: 2/11/03
River: Hurunui River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 60 cumecs at Mandamus, water clear and swift. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Strong westerly winds, cold and showery with fine patches.
Number on Trip: 13
Comments: This was my first proper Hurunui trip of the season and I was feeling a bit nervous, I don’t think the previous trip helped my confidence. We put in at the South Branch confluence and then paddled down to Seawards with part of the group doing Maori Gully, I decided not to this time as it was cold and windy and my confidence levels were a bit low. It was a reasonably interesting trip as the river was quite high and running pretty swiftly. There were a number of swimmers, especially amongst a group of beginners I ended up shepherding because I was generally taking the chicken routes. I found myself on several occasions being the only vaguely competent paddler in a position to aid some of the swimmers and didn’t feel completely comfortable with this, however there were no serious problems and by the end of the trip I was feeling much more confident in my ability.


Date: 19/10/03
River: Hurunui River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 73 cumecs at State Highway 1, water cloudy and swift. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Warm Nor-wester, sunny.
Number on Trip: 14
Comments: We were doing the run down the lower Hurunui from Cat Hill Station to the State Highway 1 bridge. This was Lauri’s first club trip for a while, unfortunately the river was still quite high and this caused a few problems for her and the other beginners on the trip. There were a number of swims, particularly at one of the first corners where the water flowed into a bluff and formed a reasonably strong whirl pool that saw Lauri and her gear doing a few circuits before being washed out. The rest of the trip went reasonably well without too many problems, and we had a pleasant lunch sitting in the sun on the historic and rather rickety bridge (it is wooden and was built in 1911 and definitely shows its age) watching the river rush along beneath us.


Date: 21/9/04
River: Ashley River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 30 cumecs at Ashley Gorge, water brown. Grade 3
Weather Conditions: SWS, overcast with occasional showers. Cold.
Number on Trip: 9
Comments: This was supposed to be my first trip as trip leader, a nice leisurely cruise down the Waiau, but that was running at 235 cumecs so it was off to the Ashley. As all the beginners that were intending to come decided not to come, we just ran the grade 3 section down to the domain. The river looked pretty scary (the brown water cascading through grade 3 rapids does that) and I took a swim off a different buffer wave from last trip and the water was very cold. Overall a good trip with no problems but pretty exciting and scary.


Date: 14/9/03
River: Ashley River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 25 cumecs at Ashley Gorge, water clear. Grade 3
Weather Conditions: Fine and warm with nor-westerly winds
Number on Trip: 20
Comments: This was supposed to be a Hurunui trip, but with the Ashley river flowing at suitable levels it was decided that it would be a better trip. Most of the group paddled down the upper section to the middle bridge, where the less experienced paddlers took out and a group that only wanted to paddle the gorge joined us the rest of the way to the reserve. The sun was nice and warm but the water was freezing and not really appreciated by those of us who took swims (I tipped over after hitting a large buffer wave coming off a massive boulder on one of the last major rapids of the gorge). The trip was excellent with great scenery and the weather and river conditions were almost perfect (it was quite a surprise to find that it had been bucketing down in town).


Date: 6/9/03
River: Rai River, Nelson Region, NZ
River Conditions: Water clear. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm
Number on Trip: 2
Comments: Just Lauri and me reliving our Outward Bound experiences at the Rai Falls. Great fun and the weather was excellent but the water was very cold. On a disappointing note, I learned afterward that Outward Bound no longer use this excellent location due to pollution from dairy farming upstream, this probably also explains our itchy rashes that developed after this trip.


Date: 5/9/03
River: Pelorus and Rai Rivers, Nelson Region, NZ
River Conditions: Water clear. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm
Number on Trip: 2
Comments: Lauri and I put in at Pelorus Bridge and had a bit of a paddle before it got dark, really enjoyed it as the scenery, water and rocks were superb.


Date: 18/5/03
River: Hurunui River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 27.5 cumecs at Mandamus, water clear. Grade 3
Weather Conditions: Cold and overcast with sou-westerly winds
Number on Trip: 13
Comments: This was my last trip of the season and supposedly the “Mystery” trip, however the mystery river (possibly the Orari) didn’t get enough rain so we paddled the Hurunui instead. The air was cold but the river was even colder, I decided to wear my wet suit jacket and poogees this time so I was a lot warmer that the previous trip. Paddled down from the bridge on the South Branch , some of the group got out at Seawards and the rest paddled through Maori Gully. Not a bad trip, though the cold certainly reduced my urge to play and risk a roll (managed to keep both my feet and head dry as a result). I paddled the harder route above the Dozy Stream put in and caught the eddy without any problems. Also managed to get into and more importantly out of the large eddy where the river runs into a bluff between Dozy Stream and Seawards. Remembering to lean forward certainly helped on a number of the drops in Maori Gully. Tried out the Brew Moon cafe on the way home, quite good but I’m pretty sure they were really ready to have almost 20 kayakers descend on them all at once, Chee Chang and Annabel had finished there meal before others had even received their coffee.


Date: 10/5/03
River: Hurunui River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 24 cumecs at Mandamus, water clear. Grade 3
Weather Conditions: Cold and rainy with strong nor-westerly winds, with very strong gusts
Number on Trip: 10
Comments: Cold and miserable summed up this trip, the water was freezing and having icy rain blasted into your face certainly didn’t improve things, plus I didn’t bring my wet suit jacket (it isn’t that cold, wrong!) and my poogees were buried at the bottom of my dry bag. We were supposed to go to Lake Brunner and do the Arnold and Crooked Rivers but heavy rain got that idea canned and we decided to do the Hurunui as a consolation paddle. We paddled down from the South Branch convergence and part of the group did Maori Gully while the rest got out at Seawards and took care of the shuttle. The paddling side went ok with no real problems, did a roll after a spill coming down the Elevator and then accidentally ran Murray down whilst trying to regain control. He ended up upside-down holding on to the front of my boat as I tried not to tip again, oops.


Date: 13/4/03
River: Boyle River, Lewis Pass, NZ
River Conditions: 8 cumecs estimated, water clear and cold. Grade 2+
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm.
Number on Trip: 18
Comments: This was another of Hugh Canard’s rarely paddled trips and was worth the little bit of extra travel. We put in above the Engineers Camp on the way to Springs Junction and took out at Windy Point. The river was a bit bony in places but the scenery was great on this section of the river especially in the gorges. There were a couple of grade 2+ rapids in the gorges, with some good drops and the odd hole, one of which Chee Chang mistook for an eddy and I followed him in to it, quite exciting. The Fly performed admirably and I even managed to keep my feet dry (the river was really cold so it was good not to even have to try a roll). We had a couple of swimmers but no major problems and everyone enjoyed themselves, so another great trip that is definitely worth repeating.

20030403 What_to_do_if_your_kayak_turns_upsidedown

Here is a handy idea if you forget what to do when your kayak tips over, just read your boat!


Date: 30/3/03
River: Buller River, Owen river down to Doctors Creek section, Murchison, NZ
River Conditions: Low level, approximately 30 cumecs, water clear. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Warm but overcast, occasional showers.
Number on Trip: 18 approximately
Comments: This was another nice and easy trip, but quite long but the scenery was great. I took a very refreshing swim (without a kayak) in the river whilst everyone got things sorted out. The water was lovely and clear, though I did get some funny looks from the other paddlers. I took Ian’s Reflex and let his partner Debbie paddle the Fly (it was the smallest boat available). Ian’s Reflex didn’t seem to have the same foot room as mine and so it got a bit painfully, I also hurt my knees when I got out after trying to surf a wave (this is one of the few things I don’t like about the Reflex, it has a small cockpit and is quit hard to get out of). One of the more impressive sights of the trip was watching Matt, Andrew and Dominic (apparently he is going to some pool sessions and actually learn to kayak now) doing seal launches from about 4-5m up a cliff.


Date: 29/3/03
River: Buller River, Granity Creek run, Murchison, NZ
River Conditions: Low level, approximately 30 cumecs, water clear. Grade 3
Weather Conditions: Warm but overcast, occasional showers.
Number on Trip: 20 approximately
Comments: This was the Granity Creek run from Gowan bridge down to the Raits Road take out, no exactly a grade two trip but everyone was game to give it a go, even our absolute beginner Dominic (he must have been on the fast track, it took me about three years before I tried a grade 3 river). The trip started fairly mildly but soon moved up a notch with some technical rock dodging due to the low flow (Dominic decided to have a swim at this point but was rescued with out any problems). Carried on down to the Granity Rapid were we caught up with a group of people on river bugs (sort of floating arm chairs) and got out for a look. Pretty scary looking, but most people ran the rapid with out much problems. I got down the first drop and then ended up with my kayaks nose high in the air and then I went over. Tried a couple of unsuccessful rolls and decided to bail out after I noticed I was heading for a big rock. Kicked of the rock and then noticed I was heading for the next drop over a couple of rocks, with a large hole at the bottom. At this point I decided to let go of the Fly and watched it disappear into the swirling mass of white water, I soon followed and popped up a couple of metres down the river, grabbed the throw line Ian had tossed me and swam to shore. Pretty exhilarating, I’d do that again, even the swim was neat (oops kayakers aren’t supposed to enjoy swimming). Carried on down the river pretty up eventfully, except for a bit in a shallow rock garden near the end when Chris deliberately rammed me on to a rock and then I got run down by Becs who was paddling on my other side. As the water was so shallow I had to get out and walk to shore to empty my boat out. I gave Chris dirty looks for the rest of the trip. We were off the river just before dark after a pretty long day, nicely finished of with a cider and a huge steak sandwich at the pub in Murchison.


Date: 29/3/03
River: Middle Matakitaki River, Murchison, NZ
River Conditions: Low level, water clear. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Warm but overcast, occasional showers.
Number on Trip: 18
Comments: A nice easy run, with some good scenery and a nice gorge. This trip made a good start to our grade 2 weekend in Murchison, with no one having any real problems, even Dominic who was making his first white water river trip (little did he know what the weekend had in store). The wait at the get out got a bit worrying when one of the bulls wandered past, bellowing loudly (apparently one of the other guys had his car almost trashed by the cows on a previous trip).


Date: 23/3/03
River: Hurunui River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 16.8 cumecs at Mandamus, water clear. Grade 2 to 3
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm with nor-westerly winds, occasional strong gusts.
Number on Trip: 20
Comments: This was a very interesting and epic trip, very different from what I had been lead to expect. This rarely paddled trip was not the long, largely flat water paddle with just the one major feature, the Hawarden Gap, that I had heard it would be. Murray suggested doing Maori Gully as a warm up so two groups of four put in Seawards, while the rest of the group put in at the Maori Gully take out. We had an uneventful trip through the Gully, I was still a bit nervous so took fairly easy, so no swims or rolls. As we exited the Maori Gully and headed in to unknown territory, I (wrongly) assumed that the hard part of the trip was over. There were numerous rapids with plenty of good holes and waves to play on. The river had two gorges, the first with the Hawarden Gap and some quite exciting rapids, the second being much easier. Arrived at the start of the Hawarden Gap to find most of the other paddlers on shore inspecting the rapid, I joined them and decided it did indeed look quite exciting. The entire Hurunui River flows through a gap about 3m wide with a reasonable drop. Several newer paddlers decided to portage and there were some swimmers and the guy paddling the fibreglass slalom boat bent the nose quite badly (though nothing also a whole roll of duct tape couldn’t fix). The next rapid was a bit more technical and accounted for some more swims, as did a number of the following rapid further down the gorge. This made for a quite tiring trip (not sure we really needed the Maori Gully “warm up” after all) and most people were quite glad when the get out appeared and we finally got out of our boats around 5:50pm. A long shuttle followed and we didn’t get back to Christchurch until after 9pm. A very worth while trip for its scenery and wilderness appeal, plus some good rapids and play spots, though definitely a grunt in a play boat (I was glad to have the Reflex along).


Date: 16/3/03
River: Waiau River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 36.7 cumecs at Marble Point, water clear. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Generally fine and sunny with light NE winds
Number on Trip: 6
Comments: Took the Fly for a paddle down from the Hanmer river to the bridge at the irrigation out take. Was a very nice trip with plenty of opportunities for playing around and the Fly performed really well, possibly due to my decreased weight (from 82 kg to 72 kg) and increased ability. Went for a swim after tipping over by a bluff I was fooling around by and failing to roll up at least twice. Swam to shore in the almost flat water looking a bit sheepish. Also tipped over after running down Tracy at Sharks Tooth, but rolled up with no problems. Tracy got rolled upright by Murray and so missed out on a swim too. Maxine tipped out at the last corner and floated down the rest of the river behind Tracy’s boat, but got out well before the irrigation out take with its warning about swimming (always scares me that bit).


Date: 9/3/03
River: Waimakariri River, Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 67 cumecs at SH1, water clear. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Hot and sunny.
Number on Trip: 3
Comments: More safety boating for the Endurance race, this leg from the Willows to Stewart’s Gully (a little longer than the Brass Monkey course but shorter than originally planned due to hazards from over hanging willows). Ended up sitting on an island near a nasty corner that caused problems during last years Brass Monkey, watching the competitors paddle past in their race boats without a problem. Had a nice little paddle (practice for this years Brass Monkey?) but got too much sun and was glad to get off the river and in to the shade.


Date: 8/3/03
River: Rangitata River, South Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 93 cumecs at Klondyke, water slightly cloudy, cold and swift. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Hot and sunny.
Number on Trip: 2
Comments: This wasn’t really a kayak trip as such, we were just providing safety boats for the Endurance Race (about 460km of cycling, running and kayaking from Mt. Cook to Christchurch and not via the shortest route, a real race for masochists). The two of us put in above the weir at Klondike and paddled down to the play hole and spent the rest of the day watching the 60 odd competitors paddle past, with only the occasional worried look as they went straight through the hole. No swimmers, so we didn’t actually have to do anything. When the tail end paddlers came through with the last competitor, we paddled to Lynn’s stream and got out, the competitors had to paddle down to the Arundel bridge. Most of the competitors were paddling sea kayaks, which handled the conditions really well. Though generally the top competitors used fibreglass race boats without any problems, some other people ended up with a few holes and leaks due to encounters with rocks. It was quite tiring and hard to keep up with Brad in his sea kayak with my reflex, especially when we were trying to keep up with the tail end paddlers in race boats.


Date: 2/3/03
River: Buller River, Murchison, NZ
River Conditions: Water clear and swift. Grade 3
Weather Conditions: Hot and sunny.
Number on Trip: 3
Comments: Phil, Kelly and I headed down the O’Sullivan’s leg of the Buller River, site of the Buller Fest Rodeo and Slalom competitions. This was a fairly short trip and we only spent around twenty minutes on the river. Did some eddy hopping and then headed down the main rapid, through the large pressure waves before stopping in the eddy. Did several runs down the main rapid before doing the next rapid and getting out. I found this quite a bit more scary than Maori Gully, especially breaking out of the eddy into the main flow above the “play” waves (see photo below).

20030302 Rich_at_OSullivans3

The Reflex on O’Sullivan’s. Photo by Lauri.


Date: 16/2/03
River: Hurunui River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 21 cumecs at Mandamus, water clear. Grade 2+ to 3
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm with nor-westerly winds, occasional strong gusts.
Number on Trip: 17
Comments: We put in at Dozy Stream and with the low water levels combined with a number of other groups on the rivers, it seemed positively crowded. I took and early dunking playing around before we got under way but managed to roll ok. Made our way down to Seaward and had a brief break and then the whole group carried on through Maori Gully. I was a little bit worried as we approached the infamous Simon? Hole, this being my first ever trip down the grade 3 section, but everything went ok. I took a swim after tipping over in a series of rapids, I tried to roll repeatedly but the water was quite turbulent so after a long period under water I decided to bail out. Unfortunately I had a bit of difficulty releasing the spray skirt and then got slightly stuck getting out of the cockpit (the reflex has a small cockpit and a central support), still I did manage to get out ok. Ironically I ended up in nice flat pool that I could have easily rolled up in and my would be rescuers arrived just as I had exited the boat, a short distance from the bank. Managed another roll further down river with out too much effort, also managed to rescue Annabel after she tipped out in some rapids directly in front of me (I even managed to grab her paddle with out actually tipping out myself). Found it difficult towing her up stream to her boat but in the end she was reunited with all her gear in a quiet eddy. An Australian, who was paddling with some friends, showed us some pretty neat tricks at one hole, cart-wheeling and rolling without using a paddle. Really enjoyed the trip and was quite impressed with the difference between the grade 2 and 3 sections.


Date: 19/1/03
River: Waiau River, Northern Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 60 cumecs at Marble Point, water clear. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm with nor-westerly winds, occasional strong gusts.
Number on Trip: 21
Comments: First trip of the year for me and the first successful club trip to the Waiau this season. The day was warm and sunny and the river was at a good flow (most of the rapids washout at higher flows). The first bluff tripped up a number of paddlers, myself included, fortunately I was able to roll upright without too much difficulty, however a number of beginners went for swims and needed to be fished out. It was good to have a quick dunking early in the trip as I often find that it boasts my confidence (as long as you don’t end up taking a thrashing). The main rapids saw a lot of playing, Murray pull a particularly impressive move and manage to get his boat completely airborne shooting backwards out of a hole. Someone also found a small brightly coloured rubber ball and we had a lot of fun playing a form of canoe polo as we made our way down the river. Bob tried out Hugh’s boat and decided to try a practice roll in a small and overcrowded (and rather boily) eddy and failed to get upright and ended up swimming, oops. He also managed to lose his Leatherman in about 5m of water due to an unzipped pocket on his buoyancy vest and was none too pleased.

20030119 Kayaking_Waiau

Surfing the play hole on the Waiau.