Monthly Archives: November 1999

Early Paddling Experience

Date: 16/11/99
River: Avon River, Christchurch, NZ
Comment: We floated down the Avon the other weekend, me towing Lauri in a rubber raft with my kayak. That was great, the sun was out and it was really warm, we ended up floating past the car (parked by the WWCC boat shed, not that we knew that at the time) and carrying on, as it was so pleasant (the only problem was that I had to paddle 30 minutes back up the river to go and get the car, a lot easier not towing Lauri!). Occasionally got shouted at by hoons in passing vehicles, who seemed to be suggesting that Lauri should have been paddling too!

Date: 5/6/99
Location: New Brighton Pier, Christchurch, NZ
Comment: Brought a wave ski the other day and finally got to try it out at New Brighton last weekend, quite fun and the sea wasn’t too cold (would have been if not for the wet suit). Pretty tricky to stay balanced though, will need a bit more practice to get the hang of it. Still it is easy to get back on when you do fall off, nice not to have to drag it back to shore to empty the water out before having another go.

Date: 10/4/99
Location: New Brighton Pier, Christchurch, NZ
Comment: Had a busy Easter, took my kayak (the trusty Dura) out in the surf at New Brighton. It was great fun and the surf was pretty big. I canned out twice and at one stage had to swim back to shore from the end of the pier dragging a kayak full of water (air bags? what are air bags?) while holding my paddle. Still got some good rides.

Outward Bound, Anakiwa, NZ

This was the kayaking section of my Outward Bound experience with the notes taken directly from course diary with no editing, except for a few comments in brackets. Roger Reardon was our instructor and he now runs Sea Kayaking Adventure Tours in Anakiwa.

Date: 13/8/93
River: Rai River, Marlborough, NZ
Comment: Another morning, another PT session, this one seemed harder than before, just couldn’t seem to make headway on the run. Packed up late, so we were late out, got to the Rai River, got set up and practiced rolls (or at least turning over) and basic paddling. Got very cold and wet, played a few games to keep warm, then had a game of canoe polo, great fun, especially with the current and eddies creating interesting effects. Finished on dark, packed up then cooked tea, a sausage stew. Went to bed after tea, sleeping inside for a change, on a hard wooden floor, crammed in like sardines.

Date: 14/8/93
River: Rai River, Marlborough, NZ
Comment:Woke up early, but not early enough, so had a late start due to difficulties lighting the fire and getting in to wet gear, Roger wasn’t too pleased. Set off for our first kayak expedition down the river, pretty slow with the safety precautions required, people with throw ropes and ready to jump in to over turn upside down kayaks. Got pretty cold standing around, especially after jumping in to rescue people. Went through a few rapids with one having a little water fall, pretty scary looking, managed to get through it ok, pissed around a bit more in the kayak before Rog suggested doing it backwards, did that but tipped over when I hit an eddy. Chris went over at every chance but was ecstatic when he finally got it right (sort of). Went over a few more rapids before carrying the kayaks back to have some lunch. Had lunch, some bickering over serving etc. Back to the river to move a huge, long log that had lodged under the bank, through a bit of muscle, intelligence and axe work. Then we did seal launches off the bank (into where the log was), after we did that it was over a 1m high water fall, three times, each different, forwards, backwards and backwards with no paddle. Impossible and irrational but we did it. Then another game of canoe polo, then tea and to bed with the prospect of an early start.

19930814 Kayaking_on_Outward_Bound

Kayaking the Rai River, I am in the centre of the photo ready to leap in a rescue anyone who tipped over. Ironically for the middle of winter, I was wearing less than what I now wear for summer kayaking trips. Photo taken by Keri Hoglund.

Date: 15/8/93
Location: Rarangi Beach, Marlborough, NZ
Comment: Up early and away by 7am, a long ride in the truck to various locations, then to a beach for some sea kayaking. A spectacular coast line, with cliffs and caves. We paddled through the caves and around the rocks, with the swell making things interesting, got to a bay and had a rest, while others collected pauas for tea. Paddled back, pretty hard going and a bit frustrating with the nose going everywhere, still made it back to the beach with a bit of “encouragement” from Phil. Had lunch, more bickering, then out to do some surfing, good fun, then Rog suggested that we kiss our kayaks on the nose, slipped off, got soaked and filled the kayak with water so had to swim back. Got dried off then headed back for tea at camp, a disappointing stir fry. Ran our own debrief and sorted out our lunch problem (we got food for a 14 person watch and we had a 15 MAN watch and thus food was always in short supply and we got quite hungry and there were arguments about people swiping food or not sharing it fairly). Kayaking was great and I’ll have to do more when I get back (and that is exactly what I did, eventually!!!).

Date: 1984
River: Whanganui River, Taranaki, NZ
Comment: This was a family trip down the Whanganui River in Canadian canoes with a commercial group. We paddled down from Whakahoro at the confluence of the Retaruke River and down to Pipiriki. The trip took 4 to 5 days and covered about 90km. We had a great time and got plenty of blisters. My brother David paddled a kayak (possible a Dura, I’m not sure) and each morning it would be full of sand flies and he had to climb in to it just wearing shorts and seal all the sand flies in with the spray deck. The rapids were pretty cool but it rained heavily about half way through the trip, raising the river level and washing out most of the rapids. Only my parents took a swim, whilst ferry gliding across the swollen river, and you could hear the drama from quite a distance. Lauri and I never shout at each other when paddling the Topo Duo (unless of course I do something wrong!). One of the main highlights was getting to stand on the Bridge to Nowhere (a large concrete bridge with no connecting road in the middle of the bush). There was some great scenery and it was a pretty amazing trip.

1984 Canoeing_on_the_Wanganui_River

Loading up the canoes before setting off down the river. Photo taken by my mother.

The Early Days

I’m not exactly sure when I first got my hands on a paddle, but it was probably on the boating lake at Fantasyland in Hastings as a young child. They had kiddie canoes that you could hire for a paddle around the lake that formed the moat for Fantasyland’s signature castle. They were made of fibreglass and shaped sort of like “Indian” canoes with turned up ends and you paddled them with a wooden zero offset paddle (in those day “proper” paddles had a 90° offset). We had fun in the and occasionally resorting to horseplay such as splashing or ramming into other canoes.

My family also used to rent a batch at Waipatiki Beach, which had an old row boat and a heavy wooden skiff stored in the garage. We used to paddle down the small river to the lagoon by the beach and when we got our own canoe, we paddled down in that too. Eventually we had two long fibreglass two-person canoes which we would strap to the roof rack using a range of bungy cords and rope. We paddled these on various lakes and rivers around Hawkes Bay.


Paddling down the Tukituki River with my two brothers in our canoes. Ironically, we probably paddled past what is now my parents farm at Undercliff. Photo taken by my mother.

We also did a little bit of kayaking in Scouts, this mainly involved paddling Alphas around on Lake Tutria. One of our stunts involved doing Eskimo rolls, these involved tipping the kayak upside down and then bailing out (we knew it was possible to roll them upright, but just didn’t have the faintest idea how to actually do it). Some times we would deliberately tip the kayaks over in the middle of the lake, which then involved a big swim back to shore.

1981 Canoeing_in_Western_Australia

1981 Paddling a Canadian canoe near Albany in Western Australia. Photo taken by my mother.