Sunday, October 11, 2009

East coast??

Things I learned from our last mission:

1 - Mothers are bad for you. Not the people. The energy drinks. I already knew this but time had blurred the memories of what happens when you drink three of them in three hours.

2 - Take a topo map. Then your walk in will only take the specified 2-3 hours instead of five and a half.

3 - The east coast is the business. When the next cyclone comes, go there.

In the midst of a post race day hangover, with no motivation to do anything except sleep, I found myself being turned back five minutes up the Taupo road because it was "snowed under mate!" Getting back home I found the Taihape and Waikaremoana roads were also closed because of a freakish spring storm and the road south was shut because some nutter was running around with a gun.

This left the interesting situation of being essentially stranded at home. Not too much of a problem when you have a fire to sit next to and a deep pantry but it was a slight issue because we were supposed to be doing the motu the next day... (turned out it was ish high - 1200 cu at the bottom...) Anyway after much frantic communication with the other half of the team (DnB Bayly - in Ohope), "Where's the rain!?, What are the Kaimai's doing?, shall we hit the Mangawhio?", we remembered a sneaky little third option - "bro the Ruakituri is going straight up".

So with the entire east coast getting hammered we made a plan to meet at an obscure tiny little place called Te Reinga which boasts an impressive five houses, six horses and a big beast of a waterfall. With the Ruakituri looking a little high (like Africa big) we decided to do little creek just south of Te Reinga which the Matt Danes had sent me some info on the day before. It started off super promising with lots of cool hydroslide action and a couple of big drops which needed more water. But then it suffered from some dodgy strainers and went a bit flat. But all was not lost, after the creek joined the Ruakituri we had the sickest surf session in our creek boats all the way to the takeout!

Then the next part of the plan emerged. A quick Korero (discussion, for those of you not bilingual like me), and we decided to stay somewhere in the vicinity of Wairoa and have another look at the Ruakituri the next day. A few quick phone calls and we were en route to Colin and Marg Baynes' house for the night. Some awesome hospitality from them saw us reluctant to leave the next day but we had places to walk and shit to run.

The upper upper Ruaktiuri was pioneered by Ben, Zac and Elby last year and had sparked a lot of interest since then due to one particular photo of a multi tiered slide which looked amazing. So ten thirty on Wednesday found us in about the most remote area of the country looking at a rather large hill which we had to wander over (rose tinted sunnies anyone?). We were guessing the walk would take about 2-3 hours and hopefully wouldn't be too bad. Little did we know...

Five and a half hours later we stood at the side of the put in slide (yes it was the multi tiered one) having been stuck in mud, lost, bush bashed, lost again and stung by nettles. All thoughts of our walk were immediately forgotten as we prepared to put on and run some Papa goodness.

What followed was two hours of choiceness.

I've been waiting to use a new word I made up for a while now so prepare for a rant. If the plural of hoof is hooves and the verb of groove is grooving... Guess where I'm going with this. Thats right, I feel it's time we expanded our vocabulary as kayakers so the plural of boof must be booves and the verb must be booving???
Anyway, thats what we did down the Ruakituri - got our boove on - Slides, big water rapids, west coast boulder gardens and clean drops made for one of the most unique rivers I've seen. And the best part - portages = 0

Check it. Note - we didn't video most of the best rapids because, well, we were just having to much fun. And true to form, it was getting dark. Same old.




After this is was an all out rush back to vegas over three hours of winding, gravel, horse infested road - hence the 1.5 litres of energy drink. We arrived home at two in the morning just in time for Daryl to drive to Hamilton and start work at four. He's a committed man.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What a cow? not a cow!

"You guys can't paddle that, you're idiots! don't you read the newspapers?" This is how our latest creeking foray into the Kaimais started.
For the last wee while rumours have been rife around here about a new creek that was sounding like it could be our answer to the Styx on the west coast. Almost natural flowing, nice and steep and super easy access.

But the story doesn't start with that. Last Friday, after I did a late night mission to Te Awamutu to catch the Mangawhio (and then missed it again), I got back to the falls only to hear that Brad, Ryan Lucas and Petey had gone to the Kaimais to run this new creek - the Whatakau. At about seven o'clock rumours started trickling in that something had gone wrong...
Slowly all the pieces came together and we heard the pretty sobering news that young fulla was in Tauranga hospital with a broken back after running a big slide. This news, while pretty bad, only served to get the gossip really flowing, "It's a first D", "It got ran the other day", "It's even steeper downstream"....

Naturally we had to check it out. With the weather coming to the party and filling it up a little, Big dog Bayly and I decided to go and see what the fuss was about and what the bottom section held. After the usual logistical organisational hiccups (get lost in Tauranga trying to find a topo map, stop at bakery, etc etc),we finally got to the top of the creek where we met a little resistance in the form of a farmer who was convinced he would be the last person we ever saw, "Look if it was able to be done we all would have done it", "I've done some kayaking myself ya know".


Anywho, we decided we might just back ourselves on this occasion and off we went. The put in is just below a massive, savage, unrunnable beast of a slide and we kicked off straight into some cool little slides and drops. A little way down we decided that the "Almost natural flows bro!" call may have been a bit optimistic.

B about to get on



Contemplating a terrible slippery portage. The other option looked like fall off - to piton. More water and she'd be sweet.

Everything would have been mean with another couple of cumecs to pad it out. Anyway eventually we came to Ryan's slide (don't think there'll be any challenges to that name) and both decided we were quite fond of our backs so we got our portage on with the help of a pipe which runs down the side of the rocks.

Ryan's slide. The top two thirds look inviting but the bottom has a few rocks. More water? who knows.

After that it was the inevitable, kayak eating, elbow pad needing, Kaimai boulder gardens which Definitely needed more water. Just as we were starting to hate on said boulder gardens, we came to another horizon line into a gorge which precipitated another scout. The entrance rapid loooked a little rowdy with rocks inc, and then we got a look at the exit drop. Money. A perfect twenty footer with the roll in - to boof - to stomp type deal that most kayakers slobber over. My boat decided to run it without me as I was portaging the first one so B got to send 'er first to retrieve it and get it back up to me.

Sending it.


Mean

This drop definitely made the day - more boulder gardens another portage around another unrunnable beast and she was all over.

Another Kaimai creek ticked off, not quite in the same league as the Tuakopai etc but definitely worth a go with some more water, and, funnily enough we didn't die. Go figure.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Burton open

So things have been pretty slack on the paddling front lately,just general laps on the Tuna and the occasional smokey run to keep things interesting, however, we did have a sick week in Wanaka a while back for the circus that is the Burton open.
Basically it was an all expenses paid trip to wanaka to help out at the open and then party in the town at night.
In cases like this pictures are usually way better at doing the talking but I forgot to pack my camera because I was super hungover from my birthday party the night before. Hence the blatant stealing of a video off youtube for your entertainment.
All the big kids were there and gave a whole new meaning to hucking - Mr S White is a freak and set the bar with not only previously unheard of double corks in the pipe but he had to do them back to back. And switch. Enjoy.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Maraetotara Stream

Given that I'm from the Hawke's Bay, it's only natural that I would love it if there was a sweet creek run preferably within an hours drive of my house, with big drops, clean rapids and an easy shuttle. Sounds a bit far fetched I know, but I haven't given up just yet.
With a masssive storm thrashing the east coast I was watching the weather charts somewhat whimsically from up in Rotorua umming and aahing about whether to head back home to find some water. With awkward work hours and no one else to rally with I had basically given up hope. That is until Mr S. Davidson turned up at the Tuna on holiday from uni and jokingly I said to him "Bro shall we head to the bay tonight?"
No hesitation,
"Yeah bro lets do it"
So the foundations were laid for a long distance overnight mission to the bay to try and catch the water.
We cruised down home on Wednesday night and checked the flow guages praying it was still holding up. With about 12 cu she was looking good to go. So at the ludicrous hour of 5am (I'd forgotten that time of day existed) we were out of bed and on our way out to Waimarama beach.
Credit at this point must collectively go to Matt Danes and Joshy Neilson for finding and publicising this creek respectively. By some freakish coincidence it's one of the only watersheds in Hawkes Bay that has a flow guage which makes it easy to check etc.
With the flow peaking at 30 cu two days earlier and then bouncing up and down a bit (we put on with about 5cu at the top) we turned up at the farmers door (waking him up in the process) and got the low down on where to put on (below the floodgates/man made death sieves).

We knew there were some drops in there somewhere and for the first few hundred metres this was all that kept me going as we were constantly getting out to portage willow choked messes of rapids. We finally got to a mini gorge with more native style trees and the entrance drop was a sweet 1o footer. The next hour was basically more of the same - mini gorges with cool entrance drops and then some form of strainer/manky/sieve - some of which were runnable and some not so much.
I was getting slightly despondent at the amount of portaging we were doing and then we came around the corner to find the money section. A ten footer into a fifteen footer then a cool little double drop then a slide. The flow was a little low for them to be super clean but they still made it all worthwhile. After this was all little cascade/ledge things which again would be sweet with double the flow. Then in the true spirit of unplanned, spur of the moment missions we slogged through an hour of flatwater only to get forced off the river by more devil tree strainer pile ups. "Sounds average" I hear you think, and you would be correct except that we paddled past about three ideal takeouts kidding ourselves there were more drops 'just around the corner'
Anywho here's some pictures and a little vid of our adventure.




Now for the inevitable question.... Would I go do it again?? The top section is a catch 22 - the bigger drops would all profit from more water. But, then there would be heaps of savage strainers which may or may not come into play. The good section and everything down from there would be super sick with more water. All in all, if it comes up and I'm in the bay I'll definitely be back in there.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Vegas

Well, I've finally bitten the bullet and moved to Rotorua to save the hassle of driving here every weekend. We've got a sweet pad with a lake view and an excellent potential trampoline site which I intend to fill as soon as I have enough money to live on.
It was pretty much an ideal start to residing here, I arrived on the Thursday, then on Friday a dirty big front came through and landed on the Kaimais. So naturally Saturday saw about ten of us putting on the Tuakopai/pae. It was pretty low so we were trying to beat the water which resulted in no one getting any photos but it was an amazing run which I cant wait to get with more water. Then it was a quick run down the Mangakarengorengo/Wairoa, by this stage the crew had swelled to about 15 and my lasting mental image of the day is of a riot of colours all bombing down different lines on the last rapid of the Manga's at once. It was pretty choice.

So that was two weekends ago and since then we've pretty much had bluebird days which basically = the Kaituna at threes - not super exciting when you're too cold to roll/play anywhere. This lead to a cunning plan to get a cheeky smokey gorge run in. Brendan (as always) was one of the instigators of said plan so it was basically a given that we'd be paddling out in the dark. Same old. Anyway it was good fun with the log rapid claiming another victim. Our current scheme is that hopefully gnarly is good to go at 4/5's so we don't have to do the portage. We'll see...

Anyway, I digress. Seeing as we are well into the throes of winter, I thought I'd try and go for the optimistic approach and cheer people up with a movie of happy fun summer times.
Although in saying that it could also have the opposite effect and make you even more depressed. If you're in NZ that is. If you're overseas then you will have forgotten what winter is like anyway, so it doesn't really apply.
Therefore, watch at your peril (or leisure - you choose).

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Queen's birthday weekend

Lake Waikaremoana lies in the heart of the Urewera national park. It is one of the most remote areas in the north island and is a long gravel winding road from whatever direction you drive from. For this reason it seems to have escaped the attention of kayakers and so there isn't a whole lot of info on creeks/drops etc in there.
The lake is a mean spot, being super remote and surrounded by bush it has a cool atmosphere and amazing scenery.
So with my family deciding to go there for queens birthday weekend, I thought it would be rude not to take a kayak to scout and hopefully run some new stuff. Brendan came over on Saturday night (having taken seven hours to arrive due to scouting every drop he saw on the way) and after an epic game of 500 on Saturday night (I know, exciting stuff huh!) we made a plan to scout as much as we could on Sunday.

I had seen a big slide on the way in and so we went to scout this first in the hope that it had come up overnight with the rain, but unluckily it was still too low. However after looking at the map we saw there was a drop on the Waikaretaheke which we decided to have a look at. It turned out to be a sweet little grade four rapid and was a fun start to the day.


B at the bottom of the drop on the Waikaretaheke




Me eyeing up the next move


Getting the boof on.


After this we boosted back to the visitors centre at Aniwaniwa where there were some big drops on the map close to the road. One of them was too big/shallow/manky to run but the others (Aniwaniwa and Bridal veil falls) looked like they had marginal lines.
So with these drops in tje back of our minds we carried on around the lake to the creek we hoped would bring us the goods. On his way in, B had noticed a steep section on the Hopruhine river which definitely looked promising. We hoped there was some more sweet drops below the section we could see from the road.

The view from the road of the Hopruhine.

Alas it was not to be. Just around the corner from where you can see in the picture, there was one more sweet drop and then the river fell out of the sky through a boulder garden with boulders the size of houses. It was a sievey, cavey, loggy, manky section with insane gradient which does not, and will most likely never go.
Super gutted we tried to mission up to the bottom of the gorge to try and run the exit drops but they were a mess and not worth the effort.

So it was a bit disappointing not to be able to run the choice section but now we started having the thoughts which go through your mind when you really want to go kayaking. They went something like this..
Me: "Bro do you reckon those drops at the visitors centre go?"
B: "Mmmm, yeah I reckon we'd probably make it down them"
Me: "Shall we have a think about them tonight and decide tomorrow?"
B: "Yeah lets go do that in the morning"
So pretty much we talked ourselves into running the first drop the next day and away we went.
Monday morning dawned with about 8cm of snow on the ground and a vicious southerly cranking but for some reason we still thought it was a good idea?
Anyway this is how it went. The drop was called Bridal veil falls. Check out the video below.

video

Not exactly ideal - flat land a 45 footer into green sideways and upside down - it was probably a first D just because no one else has been silly enough to try it but it was still funny. We were both sweet and we'd fed the addiction for another weekend. The other drops might go with more water but they're still marginal.
There's still some more stuff in there to be looked at with more time and water, no doubt we'll be back at some stage to check it out.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Hawkes Bay Represent!

co·er·cion (noun)
co·er·cion[ kō úr'n ]
1. forcing of somebody to do something.
2. force used to compel somebody.

I like this word.

It covers all sorts of scenarios; It is a classic technique of students used to persuade others to drink on weeknights, to spend money on toys instead of essential items (like food) and to guilt trip people into thinking they are carrying kayaks up a terrible razorback ridge with no water in sight because you have to do it "to pass my course bro".
However on this occasion, my intentions had no ulterior motive other than to run some shit.

On Saturday night while having a peaceful night in with the family (due to funds being absolutely non-existent), while watching the weather, I heard the words which make the ears of any self respecting kayaker prick up. "Heavy rain warnings for the Hawkes Bay ranges, expect 150mm inland and up to 80mm down lower". In the Hawkes Bay, this is pretty much unheard of so all of a sudden, said kayaker was paying intense interest to weather websites, flow websites, rainfall websites and every other website vaguely related to these topics.

Sounds a bit fanatical I know, but there was a good reason for it. For three years I had been slowly gathering info on the creek which I basically grew up next to. Usually a trickle, I had heard it took about 150mm to flood. Hence the intense scrutiny of rain guages etc.
On the map the creek looked like it had good gradient and was quite a tight gorge. In the words of Ping Lawrence - the local farmer "No, you dont want to kayak that, its full of big boulders" The ears pricked up even more.

So with frantic recruitment (facebook is marvellous), I convinced Ryan Hunt to make the drive from Rotorua to Hastings - not a drive usually associated with kayaking (unless its going the other way), hence the coercion part. I had to sell it to him but full credit to the man - he was committed, leaving Taupo at six in the morning and arriving at mine with another recruit Matt, who he picked up on the way down, to come and hopefully get on the first descent of the Omahaki stream.

We got to the put in after doing the standard shuttle drama and she was looking good to go. We got on and ran some fun, (if quite shallow) grade three stuff which was ticking along nicely. About twenty minutes in Ryan realised he had left the key to his car on the front seat of my car - everything had been going far too smoothly.

The put in to the unknown and unrun - mean!

The gradient started to pick up a bit as we entered what I knew was the steeper section. Just how steep I was unsure because, despite all my intentions to do so I hadn't quite got around to scouting the gorge in the summer....

Ryan on one of the first little drops

However it all worked out sweet and we discovered a fun run with some technical grade four rapids and grade three boogie in between. The rapids themselves were reminiscent of the Rangitikei at low flow but not as long. The cool thing about it was that although it was probably a little low and boney in places, it looked like it would be a mean, non stop freight train at high flows with nothing bad to cap the runnable levels.

Me crankin' on it


The end of a tricky little off-edge-S turn-boofy kinda thing

After the gradient sat down again, it was a run down to the main Ngaruroro river which was charging, and a fun big water muck aorund to the take out. Massive thanks to the Beamishes for lending us a car to go and run our shuttle with - it would've been a long walk otherwise....

Matt coming through one of the last rapids.


It wasn't huge, it wasn't super steep, it didnt have any mean waterfalls, but its the creek that runs through my place and it goes. And in the Hawkes Bay, that is definitely saying something!

Now I just have to sit and wait for 250mm of rain in the ranges......

Thursday, April 30, 2009

California dreaming

I'm not jealous of everyone who's going to California this/next week to go creeking at all.

Why would I be when I've got cold wet Rotorua to stay home for.

Lies.

Of course I'm jealous, I've even had sadistic thoughts of hoping people get savage beatdowns to remind them that back to back summers and clean granite 20 footers aren't all they're cracked up to be.

More lies.

I'd happily take beatdown every day to be getting on a plane for LA tomorrow bound for 30 degree days and endless slides.

But anyway, enough of the ranting, last weekend there was a massive crew in Vegas and after the mandatory party on Friday night, we succumbed to the peer pressure from B and rallied to do a run of the entire Kaituna. As always, there was a token hungover person (Berno), and it just so happened that he was also the only one who hadn't paddled trout pool, awesome gorge, gnarly gorge or smokey gorge - ideal.
So we put on and did the normal run, and then awesome, and then all of a sudden people had stopped talking and joking (and breathing fo some of us) because now we were in the last eddy before you drop into Gnarly gorge. For those out there who aren't kayakers (and for those who are), the best way to describe this gorge is like the biggest set of stairs in a house with the highest walls you've ever seen in your life - it literally just drops away in a non stop twisting, turning white rollercoaster. At one point I was back paddling flat out to stop from crashing into Jamie and Berno who were checking out the bottom of the river side by side.
The lines all turned out to be super cool and easier than I thought they would be but its still definitely the most committing place I've ever been into. After gnarly we busted down through smokey and were met with hot chips by Soph and Hess, Chur!!! It was a mean day and a cool feeling to paddle all the sections of the tuna in one go.

On Sunday we drove down to the central plateau to hit up the upper Waihohonu which is a walk in trip that is spring fed and flows off the side of Mt Ngaruhoe. This means it flows all year and you get some sweet, super tight, super low volume creeking for the easiest 1 hour walk in ever.
The river keeps dropping into these crazy little mini canyons which mostly have a big(ish) entrance drop and then tight little rollercoaster sections to exit. It's all pretty easy to scout but hard to portage and the gorges all look real scary because you cant see around the corner, (then it turns out to be flat) so there were a few nervous faces at some of the entrances to the gorges.
About halfway is the crux of the run, it has several names, none of which are super inspiring - touching dicks with the devil, the drain plug and the death sieve being the worst of these. As these names imply there is a terrible sieve on one side, and a slot on the other side and the catch is that you want to run as close to the sieve as possible. But not too close. Then its a slide over a rock into a 20 footer. It's one of those situations where the portage is worse than the rapid though so we all ran it.
The rest of the run was sweet except for butters and soph logging some out of boat time and Butters folding his brand new Mystic. Guts.
Then it was back to Taupo for a roast and a spa courtesy of Anna - she's amazing, and a general shit talking session about the last two days.
I didn't manage to get any photos of these days so you'll just have to take my word for it but on Monday we went to a little park and huck out of Turangi to cap it all off.


Soph styling Poutu falls


Jamie lining her up


Berno off the lip.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Freestyle nats

A while back we had the freestyle nationals at Fulljames just out of taupo. While it wasn't a huge turn out, what improved it vastly was the fact that it was the Auckland canoe clubs annual trip to Fulljames too. Basically this meant they were having a massive party on the Saturday night which we were shamelessly going to take advantage of.
The comp was sweet, sunny as, a cool bunch of people and the added bonus of watching the hapless aucc paddlers swim down the rapid at regular intervals.
It goes without saying that we had a massive night on the Saturday and then after a few more sessions on the wave on Sunday we called it quits. We even managed a cheeky Huka run on the way home to cap it all off perfectly.

(all photos c/o Brendan Bayley/Soph Hoskins)
Josh winding up


B throwing down


One of the crazy ass Jetskiers who hadn't quite mastered the concept of "I'll have a turn, then you have a turn" prefering to blue angel that shit and nearly land on top of each other.


The crew in the lead in to Huka

Soph busting her first time off the drop


If that's not a happy face I don't know what is.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Fast times in Tauranga

It was the week after Bullerfest (a massive kayaking party disguised as a competition) and I still hadn't made it home yet. I was doing some instruction on the Mohaka and thanks to the wonders of technology (apparantly Iphones get reception there) we heard it was dumping down on the Kaimai ranges in Tauranga. The Kaiamai's are home to some mean creeking runs like the Tuakopai so I was super keen to get amongst it. After rolling into Okere falls on Friday night and getting in touch with Mr Barnabus Young and Greg Thomas, it was all go for some sweet creeking on Saturday. 
Greg had all sorts of options on offer but the one which seemed like a goer was the upper Ngamuwahine. Only run a few times by some of the locals, word was that it had a super steep section and some cool drops. So after meeting up with some more of the crew at the take out we headed right around the other side of the ranges to get to the put in for what was hopefully going to be a mean day.
The old nerves were jangling a bit as we put on, mostly due to the fact that Greg and Blair kept reminiscing about the last time they ran it "Oh bro remember when I got concussed on that drop and then swam the next rapid...."
 
Anyway, the run had a fun little grade 4 lead in with some cool moves and then we came around the corner to see the river disappear over a horizon line. 
And then another horizon line.
In fact from what I could see, the next eddy was a long way and lots of stacked drops down.
The first couple of drops we portaged due to the rocks which lived at the bottom of them but then it was straight into handlebars, a 30 foot slide with a kicker 2/3rds of the way down which had sent people 'over the bars' so to speak. 
from there it was a couple more drops, then a rest, then into another sweet double drop which saw some interesting lines. 


Barny looking back up at handlebars and the drops above it



Matt coming over the exit drop of handlebars


DJ somehwere in the middle of the big slide


 
Me running the bottom of the double drop 

After the double drop, the gradient sat back down again and there was some more sweet grade 4 down to the take out. Then some of us ran the normal Ngamuwahine run and out into the Mangakarengorengo for some sweet bigger water, while the others went and did the shuttle.
All in all she was a mean day - bring on the winter storms!

(All photos c/o Barny Young)

Central Plateau

The central plateau has some sweet rivers and even better it has some sweet waterfalls. We did a mission down there to go and ride some of these bad boys. Matariki falls on the Whakapapa river was the big one that B and Tyler had been eyeing up so we went to check it out. 
(all photos c/o Tyler Fox)


It turned out that the river was pretty low and no one was keen to take on the falls at that flow. So now we were stuck above a 40 - 50 footer that we couldn't run and a big walk back out.
 So we took option C. 

Yeaahh!!!


After chucking the boats off and then ourselves we went to run another little drop on the Whakapapa road so Josh could test his new wire cam system.

The backdrop for the day

Unfortunately Josh's batteries were flat so the wire cam didn't work, but it was still a fun drop to play on.


Josh filming with me running it.










Place of the drifter

In the centre (ish) of the north island, there is a place, which to quote Sam Sutton is, "the epicentre of the world". I'm unsure about the world bit but I would have to concede it is possibly the epicentre of north island kayaking. I recently found out that Okere means 'place of the drifter' in Maori. This is probably the most apt name for a kayaking community anywhere in the world as kaykers are notorious for travelling the world chasing summer. Okere falls is located on the edge of lake Rotoiti, 15 minutes out of Rotorua and is home to a cool bunch of kayakers, a sweet sweet local store, and most importantly, the Kaituna river. 
With warm water, a short shuttle, a mean playhole, cool waterfalls, and some tight, long and committing gorges, the Kaituna is a kayakers paradise. Here are some photos to do the talking.  


Butters busting a loop in the hole.

The picturesque Okere falls

looking out over the lake





Jamie in the guts of smokey gorge (photo- Tyler Fox)

Me in the goodness that is smokey gorge (photo- Tyler Fox)

Smokey falls (photo - Tyler fox)

Basically the Kaituna has four sections. The top section is the most well known with heaps of cool rapids in a very short (1.5km) gorge. This makes it super popular and easy to run. Below the normal run is awesome gorge which is spectacular as it is only two metres wide in places with 50 metre high walls, the run is basically a hydroslide for kayaks with not many places to stop once you're in. Below awesome gorge is gnarly gorge. There is a good reason it is called gnarly gorge - it is steeper, higher and more committing the awesome and I heard a quote which pretty much summed it up the other day "bro if there were no trees in gnarly, there wouldn't be any rapids". Sound like fun? Below gnarly gorge is smokey gorge. Brendan Bayley and Tyler Fox are the curators of this gorge with the most runs, quickest run and darkest run (head torches anyone?) and will promote it at every opportunity (hence the darkest run). This gorge is mind blowing! the river widens out and almost turns bouldery and then its basically a three hour waterslide with no pools and a few bigger rapids in there to keep you on your toes. Then it has a 45 minute, dead flat paddle out to feed your k1 fetish.  
The Tuna is a mean place to hang, hence me spending half of my summer there. Massive chur to Lu, Tyler, and the girls for letting me crash at their places all summer like the bum I am. 













Summer

Summer has definately been a mixed bag. On the one hand I got diagnosed with Hodgkins disease right at the start of the sunny season. This meant chemo every second week, being hungover for five days straight, no drinking, and getting sunburnt in five minutes flat. "Sounds average" I hear you say  - and you would be partly right. BUT - there was an upside... Turns out that I was now one of those people who you pay your taxes for; thats right, Auntie Helen (and now uncle John) were going to give me money every week because I couldn't work for summer... So for nine days out of every fortnight, my car got loaded up and with my sickness benefit in hand, feeling good as gold, I'd go trundling off on an adventure.
 The glass is definately half full...

The mighty Rolla on a mission on the central plateau


Chasing water.

What up.
So basically I made a blog so I can feed my ego and to hopefully keep everyone (if there even is anyone) up to date on the happenings in my life that I think are pretty choice. Chasing water seems to be a theme which covers nearly everything I do 
and hopefully over time there will be missions from kayaking, wakeboarding, surfing, snowboarding and kiteboarding which will give people something to look at and maybe even inspire someone to get out there and get amongst it.

Work less. 

Play more.

Peace.

Photo - Tyler Fox