River: Hurunui River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 26 Cumecs at Mandamus. Grade 3, water clear.
Weather Conditions: Sunny, warm with NW winds.
Number on Trip: 14 kayakers.
Time on River: 2 hours.
Comments: Another spontaneous Gully Run trip to provide some entertainment for those left behind by the WWCC weekend away trip. Nine kayakers traveled up from Christchurch and met up with a number of other paddlers keen to join us on the river. With a nice easy flow, this was an excellent opportunity to make the most of the river, to catch every eddy and surf every hole (well, not including the big, nasty ones, just the little easy ones for me). Phil A, one of the people who taught me how to kayak, caught up with us above the Magic Roundabout and we had a great catch up between surfing and cutting in and out of the flows that form this feature.
We worked our way down the river, taking our time, ferry gliding from side to side, catching eddies and surfing. It was sunny and warm and a real pleasure to be out on the river. There were no dramas in the boulder gardens, no problems at the Elevator and everyone managed to take the hard right line and avoid the kick to the left on Cheese Grater. It was good to see Phil on the river, as even after not having paddled for years, he still made his moves look easy and managed to surf some of the holes I avoided.
I eddied out below the corner rapid and after an failed attempt to get on the wave at the bottom, I tried to get back into the eddy but managed to tip and due to fatigue and an awkward position, I took a swim. I got my self in to the eddy and Phil help empty my boat and held it steady while I climbed back in. Then another failed crack at the wave and then on down to the Pop Up Spot for some fun. With a bit more water than the previous weekend, results were better and some pop ups were achieved.
We had played hard and by the time we reached the take out, I’d spent two hours on the river (a record time for me to paddle Maori Gully) and was pretty tired. Another failed roll while playing found me swimming into the get out point, which was slightly ironic as I had planned to take a swim there to cool off. I drained the water out of my kayak, got back in and did a few practice rolls (each worked first time) and then got out and climbed the hill. Most of the group headed back to the put in for another run while the rest of us enjoyed the warm sunshine and chatted. The second run was quicker than the first and then we gathered up our gear before heading back to town via a beer at the Brew Moon cafe.