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)

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