Tuesday, June 16, 2009


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.

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.