Brass Monkey Races

The Brass Monkey race series, run by the Whitewater Canoe Club, is a popular annual event in the Canterbury multi-sport / kayak racing calendar. It allows experienced competitors the opportunity to keep their skills up over winter, as well as allowing newer paddlers to take part in a relatively easy race before entering more challenging events like the Mount Cook to Christchurch “Bloody Good Race”. The race involves a 12km time trial down the Waimakariri River from the Pylons (near MacLean’s Island) to the State Highway 1 Bridge.


 2012 Yakima Brass Monkey Race Series 2012 Yakima Brass Monkey Race Series

Race 2: 8th July 2012, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
 66.52 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water cold and clear.
Weather Conditions: Cold but sunny, occasional clouds
My Race Time: 1hr 7min 11sec
Comments: It didn’t look like there was going to be a Brass Monkey race series this year, but thanks to Colin Hogg and his team, we got a 4 race series spread over two weeks. Lack of motivation had me skipping the first race on Saturday but I managed to get along to the Sunday race. Paddled hard down the course but lack of pre race training and missing one of the fast channels meant a less than impressive race time and John Hunter, in another long, old school white water boats, beat my time by several minutes. I still got my chocolate fish but I vowed to do better in the next race. Unfortunately after some extensive training with Lauri’s coaching and a few scouting trips down the course to determine the best routes, followed by some floods which changed the channels a bit, my work schedule changed and I found myself heading back to Australia in the week before the race and so missed the last two races.


2011 Tuatara Tours Brass Monkey Race Series 2011 Tuatara Tours Brass Monkey Race Series

Race 4: 31st July 2011, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
86 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water cold and clear.
Weather Conditions: Cold but sunny.
My Race Time: 1hr 5min 39sec
Comments: This was the only race I was able to make this year, having just switched back to fly in / fly out again. Lauri was keen for me to go, although part of me would have been happy to remain in bed. I’d picked up the Invader from the storage locker the day before and expected to have the slowest boat in the race, changes to the race format meant the race classes based on boat types had been removed so there would be no more chocolate fish for fastest white water boat on the river. There was a good amount of water in the river but it was hard work, especially not having done much paddling in the past year. Still I managed to keep up a good, steady pace and managed to come in 122 out of a field of 125 (or 51st out of 52 in the veteran male section, damn I’m old now). It was good to be back on the river and it was especially good to be met by Lauri at the finish line, with hot chocolate and jellybeans. Afterwards, it was back to the Peg for the prize giving, a drink and some hot chips. It was nice to catch up with some of the members of the White Water Canoe Club and find out how they had fared with all the earthquakes. A big thank you to all those who helped out to make the race series possible this year.


 2009 Tuatara Tours Brass Monkey Race Series

Race 2: 5th July 2009, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
60 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water cold and clear.
Weather Conditions: Cold, cloudy with occasional light rain
Our Race Time: 1hr 4min 54sec
Comments:   I actually managed to be in New Zealand for a race, having missed last year’s series while working in Queensland. Lauri and I decided to do the race in the Topo Duo so as to get double the fun. The week’s weather was pretty cold and miserable, especially after the sun and warmth of Moranbah, and race day dawned cold and grey. We had a stiff head wind and were both a little tired so not a particularly good time. The low flow meant there was really only one channel to follow, which was good, but sometimes it cut fairly close to the trees, not so good. Other competitors rescued Dr Bob after he had a swim and was flown to hospital by the Westpac Rescue Helicopter. Fortunately he was none the worse for wear and was keen to get back into training the next day, pretty keen for an 85 year old. Pretty cold day out but we managed to enjoy ourselves and even managed to win a chocolate fish for placing second in our category (there was only one other double in the race). It was also good to see a number of keen people paddling white water kayaks and keeping my tradition alive, good on you!        20070819_Brass_Monkey_Race_Five_04

Lauri and I jockey for position at the start of the race. Photo by PhotoChick

Lauri and I jockey for position at the start of the race. Photo by PhotoChick


2007 Vok Brass Monkey Race Series

Race 5: 19th August 2007, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
77 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water slightly discoloured.
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm.
Our Race Time: 59min 22sec
Comments: Did the race with Lauri in the Topo Duo and managed to break the 1 hour mark. Paul Massie broke the 40 minute mark by 15 seconds.

Lauri and me racing down the Waimak, Lauri providing the power, me the hot air. Photo by PhotoChick

Lauri and me racing down the Waimak, Lauri providing the power, me the hot air.
Photo by PhotoChick

Race 4: 5th August 2007, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
57 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water slightly discoloured.
Weather Conditions: Sunny with slight tail wind.
My Race Time: 1h 5min 37sec
Comments: Tried out the wing paddle, which made things hard going, hence the slower time.

Race 3: 22nd July 2007, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
40 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water clear and swift.
Weather Conditions: Cold and overcast.
My Race Time: 1h 5min 37sec
Comments: Lower flow, meant a slower time. Still no competitors in the white water class, even the class B and C groups are fairly small with most competitors now paddling A class boats.

Leading the pack in Race Three. Photo by PhotoChick

Leading the pack in Race Three. Photo by PhotoChick

Race 2: 8th July 2007, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
Approximately 85 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water brown and swift.
Weather Conditions: Cold but sunny.
My Race Time: 1h 0min 15sec
Comments: The extra rain earlier in the week raised the river level and this lead to a faster race time, I just missed out on breaking the one hour mark, Ian Huntsman came close to breaking the 40 minute mark.

Race 1: 24th June 2007, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
Approximately 40 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water clear.
Weather Conditions: Cold but sunny.
My Race Time: 1h 6min 23sec
Comments: The first race of the a new series found me back in the Invader after the plans to learn to paddle a race boat the weekend before the race came unstuck (it is certainly harder than it looks). With the low flow (the ECAN site listed it at 20 cumecs but it has since been corrected) and a change in the channels, the race started further down stream and over to the left bank which meant driving on to the river bed and walking across to the main channel after get your feet wet in several minor channels (I chose to paddle across these and kept my feet dry). Not much drama for me, but Dr Bob had a swim in the willows and another competitor broke his paddle whilst rescuing him.


 2006 Vok Brass Monkey Race Series

Race 5: 20th August 2006, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
130 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water brown and discoloured.
Weather Conditions: Warm and sunny with strong nor-westerly winds.
Our Race Time: 1h 2min
Comments: The final race of the series was run in sunny and warm conditions with a strong nor-westerly wind blowing. The river was running at about 130 cumecs up from 64 cumecs the previous day due rain in the mountains. It should probably be noted that had the Central Plains Water Enhancement scheme been in operation, the river would have been running at 90 cumecs up from 41 cumecs. All the paddlers welcomed the extra water in the river as many were expecting a real grovel down the shallow channels in the first half of the course. As it was, there was still a few grounding as competitors misread the river due to the silt discolouring the water. There were also a number of swimmers just down from the start where the river swept close to the willow trees. There were 125 competitors taking part in this race, the largest field so far for this series.

Ian Huntsman was back from competing in the 130km Avon Descent in Western Australia, where he managed to finish 8th overall despite a dislocated rib and damage to his boat. Ian Huntsman once again managed to post the fastest men’s time at 40:55 and Emily Miazga posted the fastest woman’s time at 48:17. Ian Huntsman manage to take away the newly created trophy (thanks to Josh Stevenson from Vok Kayaks) for the fastest men race time in the series (40:45 posted in race three) and Emily Miazga took away the woman’s’ trophy for her time in this race.

Since this was the last race in the series and you only need to compete in four races for the series results, Lauri and I decided to do the race in a double kayak. We chose to use the clubs sea kayak, which in hindsight may not have been the best option. We hadn’t tried paddling it before the race so when we got in and tried to fit our own spray decks, it turned out they were too small (Lauri’s eventually went on after a real struggle but mine was just too narrow). After we launched, I had to figure out how to use the rudder and as Lauri would probably tell you, none too successfully either! We probably jumped the start with the encouragement of the WWCC race officials (our competition were all paddling tandem race boats so had a bit of an advantage anyway) and successfully managed to avoid the willows that formed the first hazard. We then started weaving down the river as I came to grips with the intricacies of using a rudder, we also discovered that the clubs sea kayak is really slow, as a sit on top cruised pass as though we weren’t moving. We also had raised voices when I ran us aground in stupid places (I couldn’t see where I was going, there was some one sitting in the way) and had to get out and push, which was really easy, not using a spray deck.

Lauri and me racing down the Waimak. Photo by PhotoChick

Lauri and me racing down the Waimak. Photo by PhotoChick

Eventually we made it to the finish line, both of us paddling hard the whole way (well done Lauri) and were greeted by Betty with a flask of hot chocolate and marshmallows. Prize giving was quite successful too, I picked up my 5th series win certificate and chocolate fish. Plus I won a nice wing paddle from Cobra Kayaks and Lauri won a pelican case from Canoe and Outdoor World in the spot prize draw, which was very lucky. Lauri is hooked on racing now, so look out next year!

Race 4: 6th August 2006, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
85 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water clear and cold.
Weather Conditions: Overcast and cool.
My Race Time: 1h 1min 53 sec
Comments: This race was held in overcast conditions with occasional slight drizzle and the river running at about 85 cumecs. The first half of the course was still pretty convoluted with the main channel weaving back and forth. The lack of glare on the water made it a bit easier to spot the best routes but groundings were still common. There were 115 competitors taking part in this race, the largest field so far for this series.

The absence of Ian Huntsman (competing in the Avon Descent in Western Australia instead this weekend) and Bianca Porteous left the top spots wide open. Paul Massie managed to post the fastest men’s time at 42:15 and Emily Miazga posted the fastest woman’s time at 49:22. Steve Gurney once again made an appearance, this time in a double kayak. WWCC paddler Gary Wake just missed out on being 3rd overall by a mere 5 seconds. Jessie Mortimer managed to pick up the major spot prize of $400 worth of dental treatment from Paul Grainger Dental.

Lauri was waiting at the finish line with a chocolate fish on a string to spur me on for a strong finish. I also finally managed to break my jinx on winning spot prizes by picking up a nice split paddle courtesy of Cobra Kayaks.

Race 3: 23rd July 2006, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
93 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water brown and cold.
Weather Conditions: Sunny but cold.
My Race Time: 1h 1min 53 sec
Comments: A bright sunny day made a nice contrast from the weather earlier in the week and was greatly appreciated by all those taking part in the race. The river was running at about 93 cumecs, which made for faster times. The channels were more defined with the higher flows but there were still plenty of “sneak” routes for those competitors with a little extra knowledge or a willingness to take a risk to gain a few extra seconds. There were 102 competitors taking part in this race with all finishing successfully.

Ian Huntsman posting the fastest men’s time at 40:45 and Bianca Porteous posted the fastest woman’s time at 48:56. Ian’s time was a personal best for the course, as well as being the fastest race time posted by a competitor in a single kayak since the race series began. David Hunter and James Feathery currently hold the course record with a time of 40:13 posted in Race 4 of the 2004 series while paddling a double kayak with the river flowing at 170 cumecs. No one has yet been able to break the 40-minute mark yet. Steve Gurney also made a welcome return, managing to place 8th overall and 1st in the Category A Veteran Male Class. TV3 interviewed Hugh Canard, Ian Huntsman and Bianca Porteous and was covering the race as part of a story looking at the effects that the proposed Central Plains Water Scheme on the Waimakariri River would have on this race series and on river users in general. Junior competitor Zoe Klomp managed to pick up the major spot prize of a 4-day kayaking course with the NZ Kayak School in Murchison.

I was running late for the race as I found it too hard to get out of bed and so just lay there listen to the RDU children’s show. Eventually I crawled out, had breakfast and got on my way. By the time I dropped off my gear at the start and drove to the finish, there was no one there to get a lift back with so I had to drive back to the start again and cadge a lift back to my car after the race. I also managed to hold up prize given while Chee Chang waited for me to turn up with my pen drive to get the results. I will have to remember not to be so lazy next time!

Race 2: 9th July 2006, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
73 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water brown and cold.
Weather Conditions: Sunny but cold.
My Race Time: 1h 10min 53 sec
Comments: The day was cold (though not as cold as the previous race) and clear, with light northeasterly winds. The river was running at about 73 cumecs, well down from the previous race, and this combined with head winds meant that times were generally slower. The first half of the course was even tricky with the lower flow and groundings in shallow channels were not uncommon. Picking the right lines and spotting good channels was made harder by the strong sunlight glaring off the water. There were 108 competitors taking part in this race with all but two finishing successfully.

Ian Huntsman posting the fastest men’s time at 44:43 and Bianca Porteous posted the fastest woman’s time at 54:43. The only slight reduction in the times posted by the top competitors shows their real skills in the face of less than optimum conditions.

Race 1: 25th June 2006, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
120 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water brown and cold.
Weather Conditions: Sunny but warmish with ice.
My Race Time: 1h 3min 41 sec
Comments: The day started crisp and clear with plenty of ice crusting the tops of the puddles at the starting point. The river was running at about 120 cumecs and was still quite brown from the preceding weeks rain and snow. The first half of the course was quite tricky with numerous shallow channels, even with the higher than usual flow, and picking the right line could make all the difference to a competitors finishing time, especially with less than 2 minutes separating the three fastest times. There were 108 competitors taking part in race one of the five race series, with most completing the course without too much difficulty, just the odd person deciding that a swim would be really refreshing on such a fine sunny day.

Ian Huntsman posting the fastest men’s time at 43:26 and Bianca Porteous posted the fastest woman’s time at 51:41. Ian Huntsman won the race in an Olympic class kayak (actually a Category B kayak though he competed in Category A) that he had only just completed building the previous night. Ian will be representing New Zealand in competitions in Australia later in the year, using his new purpose built kayak.


2005 Paddlerzone Brass Monkey Race Series

Race 5: 24th August 2005, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
83 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water cloudy.
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm.
My Race Time: 1h 5min 54 sec
Comments:   A lovely warm sunny day had competitors stripping off poly pro and wondering if the race was actually part of a summer race series instead of a “brass monkey” one. We had over 140 competitors taking in this race, the best turnout for this series. The river was running at 83 cumecs and a lot of the channels were quite confused. Ian Huntsman posting the fastest men’s time of 41:47 taking out the men’s series title. Rosie Shakespeare posted the fastest woman’s time of 46:17, taking out the woman’s series title. The fastest race time was 40:45 posted by David Hunter and James Featherson in a double race kayak. Kerry borrowed another Invader and we raced head to head most of the way. I had the lead for most of the first half until a short cut down a narrow channel down the right bank slowed me up, allowing Kerry a good lead managed to close the gap to cross the finish line together. Kerry tipped me over after crossing the line, I kind of bounced off the shallow bottom and rolled upright with my paddle under my boat and my hair wet. Kerry got disqualified, though not for pushing me over but for not wearing his helmet for most of the race. Naughty naughty, no chocolate fish! I didn’t win a new race boat, so I’ll be back in the Invader next year!

Race 4: 7th August 2005, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
75 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water cloudy.
Weather Conditions: Overcast but warm, some drizzle.
My Race Time: 1h 8min 15 sec
Comments: Despite the overcast day with a bit of drizzle we still had 132 competitors taking in this race, the best turnout so far for this series. The river was running at 75 cumecs and a recent high flow had changed a number of channels, making some previously good channels a lot less worthwhile. Made the mistake of taking the left channel that had a lot less water than last time. I also had to get out of my boat when one channel petered out. Played cat and mouse with Colin Hogg, but he managed to overtake on the final straight and I just couldn’t catch him before the finish. Gary Wake decided to get his “Chocolate Fish Award” entry in early by taking a swim where two channels converged. Paul Massie posting the fastest men’s time at 43:55 and Rosie Shakespeare posted the fastest woman’s time at 47:53. Thanks Kerry for the picture below.

Racing in the Invader. Photo by Kerry

Racing in the Invader. Photo by Kerry

Race 3: 24th July 2005, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
63 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water cloudy.
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm.
My Race Time: 1h 3min 57 sec
Comments:   The glorious sunny day brought out a few extra people, so there were 130 competitors taking part in this race. The river was running at 63 cumecs, making channel selection very important, I took a number of less popular routes, which proved worthwhile. I paddled down a couple of major channels off to the left bank in the first section of the race and this enabled me to get in front of Colin Hogg again. During the course of the race he over took me about four times but his faster C category boat pulled ahead on the flatter stretches so I wasn’t able to catch him again before the finish. I also took a couple of fast sneaks down the right bank, at one stage following Steve Gurney down a three metre wide channel that involved ducking for the odd tree branch! There were a number of swimmers, especially in a couple of places where two channels joined forming large boils and eddies, quite challenging for narrow race boats. Ian Huntsman posting the fastest men’s time at 42:52 and Rosie Shakespeare posted the fastest woman’s time at 47:49.

Race 2: 10th July 2005, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
72 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water cloudy.
Weather Conditions: Sunny with light SW winds.
My Race Time: 1h 1min 15 sec
Comments:   There were 116 competitors taking part in race two of the five race series, with most completing the course without too much difficulty, just the odd person deciding that a swim would be really refreshing. The day started with the promise of showers, hail and even snow down to low levels. However most of the bad weather ended up on Banks Peninsula and by the time the race started, the light showers had dissipated, leaving a beautiful sunny morning with light sou-westerly winds. The river was running at 72 cumecs and was a bit cloudy and very cold. There were several navigable channels in places, allowing the canny paddler the opportunity to shave seconds off their time or the unlucky to throw the race completely. Ian Huntsman posting the fastest men’s time at 42:11 and Mary Fitzpatrick posted the fastest woman’s time at 46:21. The race also had two age extremes, with the race being completed by our youngest competitor so far with seven year old Rowan Simmons taking the front seat in the Topo Duo paddled by her father Paul. Eighty plus veteran and regular competitor Dr Bob Hunt also completed the race in the respectable time of 58:32, beating a number of much younger paddlers.

Race 1: 26th June 2005, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
58 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water brown.
Weather Conditions: Cold but sunny, SW winds.
My Race Time: 1h 5min 22 sec
Comments: The first race of the series went well and the weather was excellent, cold but sunny with not too much wind. The river was running at 60 cumecs so channel selection was important to avoid grounding in the shallows. There were 115 competitors taking part, which was less than expected but was probably due to the rugby and weather on the Saturday night before the race. The reduced number of competitors was particularly noticeable in the small number of C division entrants and the complete lack of double kayak entries (apparently some better halves thought better of going out in the cold). The A division was still very strong, accounting for most of the competitors. The fastest competitor was Ian Huntsman (WWCC) in a time of 42:12 followed by Gary Wake (WWCC) both managed to head off Dick Brunton (3rd) Paul Massie (6th) and Steve Gurney (7th), who is apparently nursing a few injuries from training for his upcoming Fight for Life fight. Gary commented that his knowledge of the river helped him get a fast time as he was able to use some of the smaller but more direct channels as shortcuts. Rosie Shakespeare posted the fastest woman’s time at 45:58.


2004 Paddlerzone Brass Monkey Race Series

Race 5: 22nd August 2004, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
170 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water swift and brown.
Weather Conditions: Cold and overcast, clearing. No wind.
My Race Time: 55min 32 sec
Comments: There were 126 competitors taking part in the final race of the five race series, with most completing the course, though some took the odd swim. The day started out cold and overcast but with no wind, but the sky cleared as the day progressed. The river was the highest it had been for the Brass Monkey series, running at around 170 cumecs, and this was reflected in the faster than usual times across the field. The channels had change considerably from the previous races after the heavy rains last weekend, possibly making the course quicker as well as avoiding a number of hazards. Ian Huntsman posting the fastest men’s time at 41:01 and Rosie Shakespeare posted the fastest woman’s time at 45:20, however the fastest overall time was posted by David Hunter and James Feathery in a double kayak at a blistering 40:13. Managed to beat the one hour mark again by a goodly margin thanks to the high flow and had a really great race. Used the Prijon Invader this time, which was faster and tracked better. The 1000 cumecs the previous weekend had changed the channels considerably and my route was quite different from previous races. Another win and a series victory too, but no spot prizes.

Race 4: 8th August 2004, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
140 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water swift and brown.
Weather Conditions: Sunny with no wind.
My Race Time: 59min 45 sec
Comments: There were 121 competitors taking part in the fourth race of the five race series, with most completing the course, though some took the odd swim. A relatively warm day with plenty of sunshine and no wind, making for excellent race conditions. The river was running at around 140 cumecs and pretty brown, with a number of good channels to choose from and most of the hazards were easy to avoid. The high river level meant that good race times were possible. Another win for Steve Gurney, posting the fastest men’s time at 43:07 and Rosie Shakespeare posted the fastest woman’s time at 48:13. Managed to finally break the one hour barrier and score another win (plus I also managed to beat Glens’ time, next race I might try paddling an Invader too).

Race 3: 25th July 2004, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
81 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water slightly discoloured.
Weather Conditions: Cold but sunny with no wind.
My Race Time: 1h 5min 18 sec
Comments: There were 127 competitors taking part in race three of the five race series, with very few failing to complete the course. Another cold start with plenty of sunshine and no wind, making for excellent race conditions. The river was running at 81 cumecs, very cold and only slightly discoloured, with reasonable channels to follow and not too much in the way of hazards. Steve Gurney once again showed his class posting the fastest men’s time at 45:01 and Rachel Robertson posted the fastest woman’s time at 52:37. Glenn and his Invader turned up so this was more of a serious race (I have the blisters to prove it too) but the lower flow meant a slower time (even for Steve Gurney). Fortunately Glenn took a wrong channel so there was not neck and neck race for the finish line, so another first and a chocolate fish.

Race 2: 11th July 2004, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
97 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water slightly discoloured.
Weather Conditions: Cold but sunny with no wind.
My Race Time: 1h 6min 24 sec
Comments: There were 138 competitors taking part in race two of the five race series, with only a handful failing to complete the course. The day started with quite a frost and there was plenty of ice around, making it a real “Brass Monkey” event, however the glorious sunshine and light winds made the day almost perfect. The river was running at 97 cumecs and was only slightly discoloured but very cold. Most of the course had good water levels but some parts were a little bony in places (or really bony if one picked the wrong channel). The hazards were reduced from the previous race with the lesser flow, but with the sun out, some people still felt the desire for the occasional swim, one apparently lasting over twenty minutes. Steve Gurney once again showed his class posting the fastest men’s time at 43:21 and Rosie Shakespeare posted the fastest woman’s time at 48:24. Not really a great race, with no competition I tended to take a very casual approach, stopping to put on my poggees (boy, that water was cold) and trying to play on the rapids, hence the not very good time. However scored a first (against no one) and a chocolate fish.

Race 1: 27th June 2004, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions: 141 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water brown.
Weather Conditions: Warm but overcast with strong nor-westerly winds.
My Race Time: 1h 2min 43 sec
Comments: There were 139 competitors taking part in this race with only 5 failing to complete the course. The weather was overcast but warm with strong nor-westerly winds and there was certainly nothing “Brass Monkey” about the race. The river was still reasonably high (around 140 cumecs) and quite brown from recent rains in the hills and this made for good swift race conditions, unfortunately the strong head winds slowed things up and made it hard going at times. Good swift channels were easy to find, though sticking to the main channel was generally seemed to be the best option. There were some hazards in the 3rd quarter of the race with the main flow running through trees on the left bank, plus some exposed railway irons which caused a couple of swims plus some damage to one boat, though nothing serious. Steve Gurney once again showed his class posting the fastest men’s time at 43:10 and Rosie Shakespeare posted the fastest woman’s time at 48:45.Quite a good race, though I was overtaken by one of the juniors in a Prijon Invader and was beaten by almost 1 minute, however I still managed to get my chocolate fish.


 2003 Paddlerzone Brass Monkey Race Series

Race 5: 24th August 2003, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
70 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water slightly discoloured.
Weather Conditions: Warm (for the season) and sunny, Nor-easterly winds.
My Race Time: 1h 9min 23 sec
Comments: Final race of the series. More water but still not enough, also a bit of a head wind, so not a particularly impressive time, breaking the one hour mark will have have to wait until next year. Managed another win, another chocolate fish, some red poogees as a spot prize and maybe even a trophy (if there was one for D class).

Race 4: 10th August 2003, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
52 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water clear.
Weather Conditions: Cold and foggy, fog cleared by midday.
My Race Time: 1h 11min 0 sec
Comments: Less water, so an even slower time (did stop to briefly play on a small wave which probably didn’t help). Very foggy at the start but the fog had cleared by the end of the race. Another chocolate fish for first place, but the time was kind of disappointing, fingers crossed for more water in the last race.

Race 3: 27th July 2003, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
70 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water slightly discoloured.
Weather Conditions: Cold and overcast, cleared by midday.
My Race Time: 1h 5min 18sec
Comments: Not so much water, so a slower time. A flood had also changed some of the channels but with the lower flow there wasn’t much choice. I was the only one paddling in my class this race, so first and another chocolate fish was no problem. The below picture is of me “winning” the race against some very stiff competition.

Photo finish. Photo by Lauri

Photo finish. Photo by Lauri

Race 2: 13th July 2003, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions: 96 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. Water slightly discoloured.
Weather Conditions: Very cold but sunny.
My Race Time: 1h 4min 7 sec
Comments: More water this time so I got a faster time, also no Dancer so I managed to get first place and another chocolate fish to hang on my wall. The higher flow made conditions a little tricky for some and there were more swimmers and probably more mistakes made (I actually posted faster times than some people in higher categories).

Race 1: 29th June 2003, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
River Conditions:
80 cumecs at Old Highway Bridge. River level low, water slightly discoloured.
Weather Conditions: Warm Northeast winds with some high clouds, otherwise sunny.
My Race Time: 1h 7min 52 sec
Comments: The first race went well with no problems. The early channels were very bony and I made some error but nothing serious. Only 3 paddlers in the D grade (white water kayaks) so a chocolate fish (the placing prizes) were assured. I came second, being beaten by under 3 minutes by guy paddling a Dancer. Managed to win a Paddlerzone hat spot prize (I was the second to last name drawn). Will have to try harder next time.


 2002 Brass Monkey Race Series

This was my first Brass Monkey series and predates this web site so I don’t have any river flow data. I was paddling Lauri’s Prijon Fly and my main competition was Grant Poole in a creek boat and we generally raced neck and neck, banking on the other one making a mistake so you could steal the lead.

My times were as follows: Race 1: 1:07:52, Race 2: 1:04:07, Race 3: 1:05:18, Race 4: 1:11:00, Race 5: 1:09:23.

Race 1: 7th July 2002, Waimakariri River from The Pylons to SH1 Bridge
Race Time: 1h 7min 52sec
Comments: Had a good day on Sunday, was pretty cold and I had to get up early to be at the race start on time. There weren’t many people racing white water boats. Made a good pace down the river and didn’t let any other boats in my class overtake me. However about half way down, another competitor had got stuck in some willows over hanging a swift corner. The guy freed himself from his kayak but was pretty distressed, fortunately I was able to get over to the guy and tow him to shore, a couple of other people retrieved his boat and paddle. I helped him empty out his boat but as he was only lightly clad (bike shorts and a polypro top and nylon jacket), he was too cold and exhausted to continue. I let him use my spare polypro, hat and gloves and gave him some food to warm him up. Once we got that sorted I was back in my kayak and off down the river, unfortunately while I was busy everyone behind went passed so I got to follow up the rear. Still any time spent rescuing others gets deducted from your race time (so people don’t ignore people in trouble) so I still managed to come third in my class and get a chocolate fish, mind you there may have only been three people in total. I also won a spot prize of a folding chair, plus the grateful kayaker shouted me a drink, so it was a pretty good day out. Will try and get a better time with no interruptions in a fortnights time at the next race.

Pre-race with the Prijon Fly “race” boat.

Pre-race with the Prijon Fly “race” boat.

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