Monthly Archives: December 2004

2004 Kayaking Season

Date: 2/12/04
River: Hurunui River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 35 Cumecs at Mandamus. Grade 2+ (3), water cold, clear and swift.
Weather Conditions: Sunny but cold with strong SW wind gusts.
Number on Trip: 13
Comments: This was Retro’s Hawarden Gap trip, running from the Maori Gully take out down to the Peaks station, a distance of about 20km and well away from the road. This is a great run and one not often paddled due to the long distance and the lengthy shuttle. The river winds down through pleasant farm land for the first 5km and is pretty wide with plenty of rocks to play around. Further down the hills close in and the river narrows and becomes more windy and the corners become a little bit more challenging. The hills close in still further, until just beyond the Glenrae river the river enters a narrow gorge with the Hawarden Gap as its’ entrance.

We all duly inspected the rapids, set up safety and then ran the first drop. Everyone ran the first rapid with some surprising results. Hugh took a swim after his deck popped and Ian had to recover his boat some distance down stream. I ended up swimming after I got pulled backwards into a hydraulic on the left hand side of the rapid and ended up upside-down after a tail stand. I kept hold of all my gear and swung out of the main flow on a thrown rope and then swam into an eddy and got back into my boat. Lorcan ran the drop with out any problems and paddled into an eddy with a “oh my God, I’m still alive” expression on his face. Presently the clubs Kendo floated past without anyone in it, so I set off in hot pursuit to protect the clubs investment. I was unable to push it into an eddy before the second drop and ended up following it down and ran the drop backwards without any problem and the managed to push it in to an eddy. Shortly after the Kendo was reunited with its’ grateful paddler (they happily missed paddling the second rapid!), Lorcan’s boat floated by without him (he’d apparently tipped exiting the eddy below the first drop, probably due to the shock of surviving the earlier rapid unscathed). Two of us set off in pursuit and had a pretty hard time trying to shunt the boat into an eddy as it was pretty full of water (without air bags it would have be almost impossible). So we chased it down several rapid before we go it to shore, just in time to catch the clubs’ 230. Both boats were emptied out and then ferried across to the waiting paddlers on the opposite bank. Eventually we caught with Ian and were able to regroup before completing the rest of the gorge.

A number of the paddlers were pleased when the hills receded and the river widen again, as the Hawarden Gap offered a reasonable challenge even to some of the more experienced kayakers. After leaving the gorge section, the river winds through a more open section for a couple of kilometres before entering another short gorge (where the Mandamus flow meter is situated) before flowing out on to the plains. There are still a number of rapids, even on the plains but nothing that should cause too many problems. The river becomes braided once on the plain and it is important to keep in the main channel to prevent grounding and to head for the right bank when you get near the take out at the Peaks. Another really enjoyable trip and probably one of my favourites, I look forward to doing it again.

Date: 11/12/04
River: Waimakariri River, Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 98 Cumecs at SH1 Bridge, 1.68m at Gorge. Grade 2, water cold, clear and swift.
Weather Conditions: Sunny but cold, fresh snow on the surrounding mountains.
Number on Trip: 4
Comments: The WWCC was providing safety boaters for the Awara Clubs’ Waimak Classic race down the Coast to Coast course from The Mount White Bridge to the Gorge Bridge. We walked down to the river below the first rapids of the Rock Garden, meaning we weren’t covering the top rapids, plus we had to lower our kayaks down a precarious gravel cliff and clamber down ourselves to get to the river. We weren’t on the river long when our first customers arrived. No real problems as there were only a few swimmers and most people were able to hold on to all their gear and swim to the side. The water was pretty cold for swimming though. After all the competitors had gone past, we paddled down to the take out at Gooseberry Stream. Quite a pleasant paddle on a superb day with some nice easy rapids to play around on, no promised jet boat ride through the gorge though (wah).

Date: 5/12/04
River: Hurunui River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 45 Cumecs at Mandamus. Grade 2+ (3), water cold, clear and swift.
Weather Conditions: Cold with showers and heavy rain.
Number on Trip: 10
Comments: Another trip down the Hurunui from Jollie Brook down to Seawards and then on through Maori Gully for those who were keen. A pretty cold day with plenty of rain and sand flies, so it was a quick trip down with not too much hanging about. We got to reintroduce Duncan, a paddler from the North Island, to the joys of white water paddling, as he hadn’t been in a kayak since “What colour is your Dancer?” was a fashionable saying. He was quite impressed with the variety of kayaks available and the various tricks that Barry and others could perform with them. He adjusted well to the unfamiliar boat (I did offer him the clubs aged Dancer but decided that the 240 would be a better choice) and he soon got back in to the swing again without too many problems, thanks the Barry and Hugh’s help. Even though the weather was pretty awful (Heather from Ireland spent most of the trip shivering while her teeth chattered), the trip was pretty good (being warm and dry makes a big difference to ones enjoyment levels). My new Rasdex semi-dry jacket kept me warm and dry despite a roll in Maori Gully. However I did end up with a wet bum as some how the bung in the back of my kayak came slight loose causing some leakage and requiring me to empty out the boat at Seawards. We had the quickest run I’ve ever done through the gully, no real stops or playing, just straight down. Most of the drops are washed out at 45 cumecs but there are still some big waves and plenty of holes to avoid. We had a long wait in wet gear while the shuttle was carried out due to a slight miscalculation but fortunately the rain held off until we had changed and packed up before it let rip all the way home. Stopped at the Leithfield pub for a beer and pie, pretty smoky inside and too wet for the garden bar, will be interesting to see what it is like next time with the new smoke free legislation in effect.

Date: 21/11/04
River: Hurunui River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 55 Cumecs at Mandamus. Grade 2+ (3), water cold, clear and swift.
Weather Conditions: Sunny and hot.
Number on Trip: 23 approximately
Comments: This was the second half of the Hurunui Fun Weekend, we spent the morning paddling around Jollie Brook, testing out various kayaks from PaddlerZone. I tried the Pyranha S8 235 (I think) and the I3 221 and found them to be comfortable and quite good to paddle (didn’t really push their limits as my play boating skills are pretty limited). Also tried the Necky Switch, it was a bit uncomfortable and seemed a bit big on me. It also tipped over and after two rolling attempts I ended up swimming for shore. Had lunch with Lauri at Jollie Brook before heading off down the river. The day was perfect and the flow was good, it was really nice to do the section above the South Branch confluence, as it is really beautiful and we don’t seem to do it much these days. Graham from Paddler Zone, on his first trip in a couple of years, found a large hole and ventured in, only to receive a bit of a spanking for his troubles. He was duly rescued but received a bit of a ribbing from Lofty. My new Rasdex semi-dry jacket performed well, and it was a nice change not to have cold water running down my sleeves or neck whilst running rapids (thanks again Rasdex). I ended up getting out at Seawards so we could shuttle the vehicles, but most of the group ran the gully. Stopped off at the Nor-Wester on the way back for a pizza and made it back into town in time to catch a Bolliwood film at Readings.

Date: 6-7/11/04
River: Tekapo River and white water course, Central Otago, NZ
River Conditions: 15 – 20 Cumecs released. Grade 2-3, water cold, clear and swift.
Weather Conditions: Sunny and hot.
Number on Trip: 40+
Comments: Something I have wanted to do for a while now is spend a day or so at a single rapid, to practice my “moves” without feeling I was holding up the group or getting in the way of better paddlers or worrying if I took a swim. I’d also be keen to check out the artificial white water course at Tekapo. I’d seen the course before, when returning from a work trip to Wanaka, its’ gates closed, the river and channel dry and tried to visualise the rapids that would form once the water was added. I definitely had to go there when it was flowing. The WWCC was responsible for November opening of the course, with Phil and Kelly organising the weekend’s events, I had to be there. Saturday morning, the weather was perfect and we drove up to the course. Most of the gates were set up but the course was still dry and so we waited for the waters to come. The dam released a 15 – 20 cumec flow at 11am with the first water arriving 20 minutes later and the course gradually filling up over the next half hour.

20041106 Tekapo_Here_is_the_water

Here comes the water.

The course consists of a really good play hole just below the entrance gates to the course. This hole is 2-3 metres wide with good eddies on either side plus a good washout zone and pool below it, in case a swim is on the cards. The hole is also above the slalom course so anyone can play all day (or until their arms fall off) without interfering with any other events. Below the play hole and eddies is a large pool without much of a current, this is where the slalom course started with an easy downstream gate followed by an upstream gate with a reasonably strong downstream current for an extra arm workout. After gate 2, the course then narrows and runs through a series of grade 3 rapids, which require fast reactions and good boat handling skills to navigate all the gates without faults. Gates 3 and 4 were positioned above two very sucky holes, which were OK if you got the line right but after having the reflex sucked in backwards and spat out, I decided to stick to running the course in my Fly. Gates 6 was an upstream gate in a very small eddy and was quite difficult to catch, then across the current and up through gate 7. Down through gate 8 with a drop into an eddy and up through gate 9. Down though gates 10 and 11 into a large pool. The gates in this pool look deceptively easy but the currents below the surface make them trickier that they look. Exiting the pool and running the upstream gate 19 then down stream and across the finish line. Below the finish line is are few more bends then the course runs through a series of 1m drops (photo below) that promise a bit of a spanking to anyone screwing up their lines, before it rejoins the Tekapo river .

20041107 Tekapo_Botton_Rapids

The last drop on the Tekapo White Water Course.

Once the course was open, we got to practice running the course or do some playing in the hole. Some of us headed up the dam with Phil and Kelly and paddled down the river, a nice easy river trip, suitable for beginners (it was also a chance to scope out the course for the down river race later in the afternoon). When we got back, Kelly gave me some tips on how to surf the hole without getting thrashed. Later about 15 people headed back up to the dam for the down river race, this started with a mass start but Alan Hoffman and Phil Abraham quickly took the lead, closely followed by two young slalom paddlers, with me in the rear of the lead bunch. Alan (Sarge) just managed to beat Phil by the smallest margin to win the coveted chocolate fish. I unfortunately took a swim after tipping over in the slalom course and had to paddle through the finish gate with a boat full of water, just after Lofty had become the first plastic boat to complete the course. Lofty organised a rodeo on the play hole and there was some pretty impressive displays of skill (though not from me, I came last equal, must have been because my boat was too long, it said it was a play boat in the catalogue). The planned boofing clinic failed to eventuate due to the lack of an instructor, however there was plenty of time for more playing or practicing before the water was once again reduced to a trickle.

20041107 Tekapo_Gate_4_Hole

Surfing the gate 4 hole.

The next day became the competition became more serious, with the each competitor getting two timed and scored runs through the course. It was quite impressive to see the skills on the display, especially in some of the younger paddlers, who made paddling the course look easy. It was also good to see so many young people involved, with a number of under 12 year old paddlers competing in their own competition. After the slalom competition was over there was still plenty of time for more playing around for those who still had any energy left.

20041107 Tekapo_Slalom_Run

It’s slalom time in Tekapo.

Overall I had a really great weekend, I got to do a lot of paddling, I tried some new and interesting things and I like to think that I learned something. I would like to thank all those that made the weekend possible in particular Phil, Kelly and Sarge, plus all those who assisted with setting up and taking down the course, as well as those who acted as judges or officials, without whom the event would not have been possible. A big thanks also to the sponsors who donated spot prizes, Rasdex and Paddler Zone, their level of generosity meant that almost everyone who enter received a prize. A personal thanks to Rasdex for my new paddle jacket, it was just what I wanted and is sure to keep me warm on future trips. The site is really well set up and offers something to everyone from beginners to experts, serious slalom paddlers to play boaters to people who just like messing around on white water. I would recommend attending the next opening to anyone interested in a fun time. It is not to far to go for two days of solid paddling. The course opening dates can be found here.

Date: 31/10/04
River: Boyle River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 15 – 20 cumecs estimated. Grade 2+, water cold, clear and swift.
Weather Conditions: Sunny with nor-easterly winds.
Number on Trip: 8
Comments: The Boyle is a beautiful river with great scenery and some good white water as well. We had considered walking in above the start of the St. James walkway and running the section down to the highway bridge, which apparently contains some grade 3 rapids that can be walked. Unfortunately the road in had a locked gate (due to vandalism), meaning at least an hour walk in, instead of about half an hour from the road end. The key is apparently available from DOC in Hanmer. As this run was no longer available, we put in above Engineers Camp and paddled down to Windy Point. The river runs through three short gorges and these are interspersed with shingle shoots and boulder gardens. The second gorge contains the hardest rapids, but the other two offer a reasonable exciting run. There was more water in the river than last time we ran it and this made the rapids more challenging and the boulder gardens less bony and more fun. I took two swims, my first of the season, both in the second gorge. I tipped over on the first rapid, where the current ran into a bluff on a left hand corner, I rolled up again but with my tail down stream so that I went backwards into a hole and tipped over again but without enough air for another roll. The second swim happened shortly afterward whilst rescuing Nicole’s gear, I had her paddle and was trying to get it into an eddy and ended up going backwards down a small drop but was unable to brace as I was holding two paddles and tipped over. Wasn’t able to roll due to the extra paddle and so bailed out, tossed the extra paddle into the eddy. I thought I was holding on to the rescue tail on my kayak but instead I was tightly gripping the tag on my spray deck as my boat floated off down the river. As there was no one in a position to chase it, I swam after it, clutching my paddle and by the time I had caught it, dragged it into an eddy and had begun to empty the water out, Matt turned up to see if I needed any help. Had a really great day out and would recommend this run to anyone.

Date: 17/10/04
River: Rangitata River, South Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 110 Cumecs at Klondyke. Grade 2, water cold, clear and swift.
Weather Conditions: Cold and drizzly, southerly winds.
Number on Trip: 3 on lower section and 8 on the gorge section
Comments: This was another run down the Rangitata from the weir at Klondyke to the Outdoor Pursuits centre, with the more experienced paddlers running the gorge. The river was running reasonably high, making the rapids much more exciting, with the water covering most of the boulders and creating a lot more waves and holes. A really underrated trip, especially at this flow , and it was disappointing that so few people are keen to do it. The flow was good but 150 to 200 cumecs would be even better, Hugh has done it at 40000 cubic feet per second (about 1100 cumecs) and that was something else again, as they were able to paddle over a fence and into the camp ground to get out.

Date: 10/10/04
River: Ashley River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 16 Cumecs at Ashley Gorge. Grade 2+, water cold, clear and swift.
Weather Conditions: Cold and drizzly, light southerly winds.
Number on Trip: 14
Comments: We decided to run the upper Ashley, as the Waiau was running at 135 cumecs. Lauri also opted to stay home given the unpleasant weather forecast and the uncertain destination. The trip had a lot of beginners and not so many old hands, so we just ran the upper section of the Ashley Gorge and got out at the middle bridge. The river at this flow presented a reasonable level of interest without being too challenging for the beginners, some of whom took the odd swim. Poor Dylan, who was not that well prepared, got quite cold and needed to borrow extra clothing and is certain to bring his wet suit next time. Glen and friend (er sorry Michael) borrowed two very short play boats from Paddlerzone and had great fun playing on everything and everywhere. Some very nice rocks and scenery, with some fun white water, so all in all a very nice outing, in spite of the rain.

Date: 3/10/04
River: Hurunui River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 68 Cumecs at Mandamus. Grade 2+ (3), water cold, clear and swift.
Weather Conditions: Light NE winds, sunny and warm.
Number on Trip: 18
Comments: Another great trip, a bit warmer that the previous one so no poggees required this time. Higher flow but no problems in Maori Gully, with the drops mainly washed out and the holes reasonably easy to avoid. Weather was almost perfect, making the trip down from the south branch bridge through Maori Gully extremely pleasant, I also most wanted to go for a swim (I managed to resist the temptation).

Date: 19/9/04
River: Hurunui River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 68 Cumecs at Mandamus. Grade 2+ (3), water cold and swift.
Weather Conditions: Light SW winds, sunny and warm.
Number on Trip: 15
Comments: Great trip, a perfect way to start the season, especially with no snow. Paddled from South Branch down to Seawards with most of the group doing Maori Gully as well. Some drama with vehicles get stuck on the muddy 4 wheel drive track at South Branch (important note: don’t try to take an ordinary car with low profile tyres down this track, even if it is a 4 wheel drive, the ruts are too deep, just park on the road and walk down). It was great to be back on the river and I hadn’t forgotten how to paddle or how to roll, as I tipped over at one of the bluffs above Seawards (boy, the water was cold). Had a couple of swimmers along the way and Pat decided to have a swim at the Merry-Go-Round at the start of Maori Gully. Maori Gully was pretty easy as the higher flow tends to wash out some of the features, though there were still some big waves and some scary looking holes. I followed Gloria into a big hole, she got stuck and I crashed in to her tail, pushing her out of the hole and just about breaking my wrists. She rolled a couple of times before stabilising herself, so no problem there. Had a swimmer just before the get out and we had to paddle further down to rescue them, fortunately we were able to get back to the get out and didn’t have to paddle out the long way! Climbing up the hill is still a killer as it hasn’t shrunk over winter.

Date: 30/5/04
River: Hurunui River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 42 Cumecs at Mandamus. Grade 2+ (3), water cold and swift.
Weather Conditions: Gusty Nor-westerly winds, cold but sunny.
Number on Trip: 15
Comments: We put in at Dozy Stream and headed down to Seawards and most of us then ran Maori Gully. My confidence was a bit depleted again and I took a swim by the big eddy where the water slams into the bluff, no big deal as I was too hot anyway and needed to cool off and rearrange my clothing. The gully was good but harder than the previous trip and I had to roll coming off one chute. All in all it was a good trip to end the season on

Date: 16/5/04
River: Hurunui River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 70 Cumecs at Mandamus. Grade 2+ (3), water cold swift and slightly discoloured.
Weather Conditions: Clearing, cold.
Number on Trip: 16
Comments: This was my first trip out in the Fly for a while and it was good to be in the fast manoeuvrable boat after the Topo Duo. We put in at Dozy Stream and headed down to Seawards and most of us then ran Maori Gully. I was pretty nervous as the flow was up. I rolled at the put whilst finding my balance and confidence again. Kept my head out of the water for the rest of the trip as it was pretty cold, especially in the gully where the sun didn’t reach. The gully was good with the higher flow making more waves and less holes.

Date: 21/3/04
River: Hurunui River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 41 Cumecs at Mandamus. Grade 2+ (3)
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm with strong Nor-westerly wind gusts.
Number on Trip: 21
Comments: This was an awesome trip. The weather was almost perfect except for the wind gusts (which made paddling a little treacherous at times), plus with day light savings ending we actually met at the Belfast Tavern at 10am so we managed to get there early for once. Lugging the Topo Duo (we had three Topo Duos on this trip, must be a record) down to the get in at the end of Maori Gully was not fun and I’ll certainly never take it through Maori Gully if it means I have to carry it up the track.

The river was more exciting that I remembered with the section before the Hawarden Gap winding back and forth with plenty of grade two rapids and bluffs to negotiate, one of which resulted in a swim after tipping over and failing to roll. The Hawarden Gap was pretty impressive, we all got out for a look and Lauri and Annabel decided to walk it (portage on the left bank). I paddled the Duo through by myself (with a spare spray deck covering the front cockpit), it apparently looked quite funny because without any weight in the front I ended up tail standing through much of the rapid. Lauri got in again and we ran the next rapid (this runs in to a bluff on the left bank and then turns hard right with quite a big buffer wave at the base) and took a swim (Lauri probably could have portaged on the right bank, ah isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing), I tried to roll repeated but failed. Steve rescued Lauri and I ended up grabbing the tail of Chee Chang’s boat and he towed me to shore so I didn’t actually have a swim as I didn’t actually bail out. The rest of the gorge was quite tight and swift with some large holes to be avoided.

After that the river open out a bit and there were fewer and easier rapids, so we could sit back a bit and enjoy the scenery which was great and well worth the trip. The second gorge was pretty easy too with only a few rapids (sort of like the trip I had actually promised Lauri) and then the river flowed out on to the plains. After that we basically just floated along the braided section, trying to keep near the right bank until the get out at The Peaks (just after you pass the house on the hill on the river right). At the get out we had a bit of fun with the shuttle as most of the cars (except mine and one other) had been moved. So most people headed off to the Nor-Wester while we shuttled the remaining cars and our passengers waited on the river bank.

20040321 Hawarden_Gap_Duo

Doing a “solo” run through the Hawarden Gap in the Topo Duo. Photo by Lauri, who is cleverly not seated in the front seat & somehow got left on the bank.

Date: 14/3/04
River: Waiau River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 61 Cumecs at Marble Point. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm.
Number on Trip: 11
Comments: More double action on the Waiau with me as trip leader. The higher flow or recent floods had flattened out some of the rapids from last trip. No problems but did take a swim near the bit where the river curves to the right under some trees and then up against some high cliffs, nothing there really mainly just a case of not paying proper attention and doing the wrong thing at the wrong time, opps (picture below). Lofty and co provided some amusement by doing seal launches off a slopping rock above Marble Point. Had lunch at Marble Point and then continued down to the take out at the irrigation intake. Sharks Tooth had more water this time which covered some of the rocks making running it a bit easier.

20040104 Waiau_Duo_Swim

Bailing out the Topo Duo after a little accident. Photo by Lauri.

Date: 29/2/04
River: Waimakariri River, Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 112 Cumecs at State Highway 1 bridge (24hr min.) Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Overcast at first clearing to sunny and warm.
Number on Trip: 2
Comments: This turned out to be a nice leisurely drift down the Waimak with Shane from The Pylons to Stewart’s Gully, no real problems just one guy with a faulty rudder. The higher that usual flow meant we made good time with out too much effort, would be great if we could have flows like that for the Brass Monkey races.

Date: 28/2/04
River: Rangitata River, South Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 115 Cumecs at Klondyke. Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Cold and overcast with some drizzle.
Number on Trip: 3
Comments: This was supposed to be safety boating for the “Bloody Good Race” from Mount Cook to Christchurch, however the weather was a little cool so it was decided to cancel the kayaking leg from Klondyke to Arundel, much to the disappointment of many of the paddlers, including us. We did get to paddle from Lynn Stream down to the Arundel bridge to pick up the signs that had been put out earlier, didn’t get too cold (a little hot if anything in my wet suit) and decided that it would have probably been OK if people wore the right gear and could avoid swimming (unlikely given the higher flow). We had a nice paddle though it was a little bit hard keeping up with the others in my reflex (they were paddling a sea kayak and a wave hopper). One or two nice rapids plus lots of trees to be avoided.

Date: 1/2/04
River: Waiau River, North Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 55 Cumecs at Marble Point. Water slightly discoloured, swift. Grade 2+
Weather Conditions: Cloudy with occasional showers, warm with light northerly winds.
Number on Trip: 22
Comments: This was our first trip in the Topo duo and as such caused a few pre-trip worries. We had tried it out on the Avon and had practiced rolling in the QE2 pool, so we were pretty confident with our skills. However with the river running a bit high, the put in had a largish hole in mid channel above the first bluff (which often trips up beginners, myself included), so we nervously did a ferry glide across the river further up and avoided both hazards. The Topo Duo handled quite well (a bit more sluggish on turns etc than the Fly but very stable) and pretty soon we were catching eddies and actually aiming for the white water instead of trying to avoid it. Our group, composed of both the Topo Duos (Barry driving the other one) plus some newer paddlers ended up at the front and made quite good time (the two other groups took a lot longer as a result of more playing and some awkward swims). The river was a bit more exciting than usual with the higher flow and we had a couple of people in our group swim but nothing major. Lauri particularly enjoyed the wave trains, even though, being in the front, she got quite wet when she wasn’t high in the air. Sharks Tooth proved no problem but was sufficiently exciting for Lauri. However the corner just down from there resulted in a couple of swims as everyone just drifted in to it in a big clump without room to manoeuvre. Overall a really good trip with the rain holding off and then clearing up in the afternoon. We are quite looking forward to taking the Topo Duo out again.

Date: 17/1/04
River: Waimakariri River, Canterbury, NZ
River Conditions: 116 Cumecs at State Highway 1 bridge (24hr min.) Grade 2
Weather Conditions: Sunny and warm with strong north-easterly winds later in the day.
Number on Trip: 2
Comments: Shane and I were safety boating for the Ultragel Mega Race down the Waimak. This was intended to be a two day event from Mt White Bridge to Gorge Bridge and then down to Kaiapoi the next day (about 140km in all), however due to flooding the previous weekend the event was postponed and only the gorge section was run. We had a nice easy paddle down from Woodstock to a spot where the river hit the right bank and ran through some willow tree and spent the day diverting people down the left channel. No problems at all. Then we paddled out to Gorge bridge with a very strong head wind blasting spray in our faces. Quite a nice easy trip with some basic rapids but nothing too challenging as long as you stay away from the trees.