Saturday, December 17, 2011

Xmas at the Kaituna!

Yesterday here in Okere Falls we celebrated Christmas in true style. The day was filled with 4 events- Individual downriver sprint, downriver freestyle, a mass float and freestyle in the bottom hole.
It was hot competition with big names such as Sam Sutton, Brendan Bayley, Louise Urwin, Jamie Sutton, Courtney Kerin, Toni George and many more of NZ's top paddlers.
The first event was the Individual sprint race that ensured everyone had aching muscles and the game of endurance began!
In the Mens Sam Sutton won with a time of 6min 38sec and was followed closely by Jamie Sutton with a Slovak dude in 3rd.
I took out the Womens class with a time of 7min 12sec(11th overall) and was followed closely by Toni George and Louise Urwin- both less than 10secs behind me! It was awesome to have such a tight race in the Womans and we definately showed our game all placing in the top 15 of the mens class!
In the Junior class Cole O'Conner Stratton dominated most events! Jamie Sutton owned the Mens combined events so overall trophy and Toni won the womens overall(Freestyle, time trial and downriver freestyle combined.

Big Thanks to Louise Urwin for organising such a wicked event! It was a huge success once again!!! Thanks to all the sponsors of the event also! There were heaps of wicked spotprizes and this made for some happy faces to kickstart the party!
Photo Courtesy: Martin Hammer.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Huka Falls!

The Huka Falls are a set of waterfalls on the Waikato River that drains Lake Taupo in New Zealand. At the top of the falls is a set of small waterfalls dropping over about 8 metres. The most impressive, final stage of the falls is an 11 metre drop. This 11metre drop is a large mass of clear blue water and a great spectacle wonder for many. It is a well known section of pushy white-water to not just the kayaking community but to most Kiwi's and tourists.
When at low flows (50-75cumecs) it is quite runnable and not a very technically demanding piece of work. A large number of white water kayakers that are able enough have run it at these flows. At higher flows (100-200cumecs) it becomes quite the maneater and it should be left to only a select few such as the Ryan Lukus's of the world.
I have been meaning to run Huka falls for years now, but everytime I go to Taupo I either don't have my gear or the river is too high! On Friday night Luuka Jones and I roadtripped to Taupo to meet my parents for dinner. On arrival we stopped in at CanoeandKayak Taupo only to hear that Huka Falls was running at a nice low flow of 50! Unfortunately earlier in the day Luuka had damaged her AC joint while we were out mountain biking in the redwoods so this put her out of action! I was not super keen to run it for my first time so Laura and Dave (owners of Canoeandkayak) rung up a young local boy named Scotty to come and join me. I was a little unprepared as I didn't have my kayak with me but lukily Canoeandkayak had a few spare:). They gave me a Bliss-Stick Huka, a kayak I had never paddled in my life but was stoked to try out!!:) It seemed quite suitable to use on Huka Falls too!
So me and Scotty were off to the falls only to realise on arrival that it was flowing slightly higher then 50...a bit more like 75 or 80. But I wasn't going to miss the chance so jumped on and boosted down anyway. Scotty led the way and after a little surf in the top ware I decided to maybe take my own lines:). All went well in the end and I was stoked to finally run it, its been a long time coming! My parents even rocked up just in time to watch too! Pictures are from the lead in rapids.
Checkout the video of me on Luuka Jone's blog-

Wish Si was here as he would have been stoked as always!:)
Big thanks to Canoeandkayak Taupo for sussing me the boat and Scotty for hitting it with me!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Whangamata surfing

Time here in NZD is going quite fast!
With stand-up paddle boarding to the hot-pools, kayaking, early morning surfs and work, I have been pretty busy. Last week I headed up to Whangamata to babysit and it was a wicked opportunity to get in some good surfing and beach time! I have also picked up some work on PureCruise's sailing yaght, it is a beautiful and enjoyable place to work. I have been trying to work hard and save up lots of money as I have big ideas for 2012! But look forward to getting more active on the water and pushing my physical elements!

Thursday, December 08, 2011


December 2011 is now upon us and so summer here in New Zealand is official! With the Kaituna River dropping down to 200-300's a crew of around 10 of us (John S, Jamie G, Ryan, Ben J, Dan, Willz, France etc) did a full river run and 4 of the boys descended the Knarley section and declared it good to go- clean of logs and other threatening features. At this lower flow I found 'Awesome Falls' was a lot stickier but the 3 drops in Smokey were a lot easier.
Here are some pictures from Simon's Birthday last weekend, taken by Imanol Garcia Badiola of Argentina.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Si's 21st Memorial

It has been just over 5months since one of my kayaking brothers Si passed, and yesterday was his 21st Birthday.
A couple of car loads of people from Okere Falls missioned it down to Taupo to meet with some of his family and remember in a place where Simon loved to kayak- Huka Falls! It was a beautiful day with lots of sun and we enjoyed a picnic with the Huka Falls in the backround. This was followed by a mass kayak down the Kaituna River with over 60 kayakers and a few rafts (including 1 with his family). The turnout was really wicked and the day was ended with a mass booty skull! Simon would have been stoked!
photo credit- Lou Urwin and Tyler Fox

Friday, November 25, 2011

Waiariki Academy of Sport Training Camp- Ohope Beach!

This week Waiariki Academy of Sport held their annual beach training camp!
The strongest members of the Bike, Kayak, Golf and general squads all attended and brought good form for the organised events, activities and challenges that were set by the camp leaders, Sam Thompson and Rebecca. It was a wicked three days on Ohope beach filled with mini surf comps, morning runs, orienteering and sports seminars. A great opportunity to mix and mingle with different athletes from different sports and chill out at the beach:)

Summer Missions!

Summer missions continue! Last week I made it down the full Kaituna River twice with different groups each time. It was good times paddling with Lou Urwin, Maxi, Severin, Joe and the Scotsman. Some Mountain Biking with Leela was also a good way to get back into the aerobic fitness;). And a trip to the hotpools in Elsy's boat was a very wicked way to rest and recover:).

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Troutpool Road!

We are now fully moved in to our home for the next 6months or so! With four ladies- Leela, Shilo, Laura and myself and Lauras Argentinian man Ima! Its halfway between the put in and get out of the Kaituna river and is perfect for living!Tommorrow I am planning to head down the lower Kaituna Gorges again with Lou Urwin, Francey, Severin and maybe some others! Getting fit again and missions are back on the agenda now exams are out of the way!:)


After getting my final exam done for the year I cruised back North via the Outback of Taihape where I picked up a brand new very hot Red Bliss-Stick kayak! Currently the fastest Extreme boat in the World and on the market, the 'Tuna'. On arrival back in Okere Falls I didn't even make it back to my flat, I saw Kenny Mutton at the put in and so busted out a sweet run in my shiny new boat!

It felt amazing! The Tuna is a very wicked boat and although it caters for the heavier build I findit carries me on top of the water very effectively and its speed pickup is great. It boofs nicely and shoots wickedly out of drops!

On the Sunday Ryan L, Ricketts, Maxi and I boosted to the Wairoa for a couple of laps which was good fun. There we met up with Swiss born and bred Severin and kidnapped him to bring back to Okere Falls!

On the Monday Maxi, Severin and I boosted down the lower Kaituna Gorges! It seemed very suitable with my new 'Tuna' kayak! And it was a really awesome day! The river was at around 500's so the flow was quite descent and pushy, we walked Knarley. The Tuna performed super well and flew out of the 3 Smokey drops:)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Lower Kaituna Gorges- Awesome and Smokey!

Summer days are rolling on in here in NZD! Yesterday Tilzy, Ricketts and I decided to go for a river run in the lower Kaituna Gorges. The flow was at 500’s so we decided to give Knarly a miss and got out just below ‘Awesome Gorge’ and then hopped in below it and into ‘smokey’ gorge. It took us 4hours from the Kaituna control gates to the get out and this included the small hike around knarly gorge. It was soo good to get back on this run, I would definitely rate it as one of the best river runs in the North Island. There are several drops in each section and the run is very continuous with many good features.It was a good way to start the season here and my new Duemstuff gear held up really well so I was stoked! The Dry top is primo and the pants are super nice and lightweight. Checkout Sam Ricketts blog for a good report of our paddle:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cruising Kiwi style

Summer seems to have arrived with nearly all of the season travellers arriving back for another one here in the falls. I have been enjoying the sunny days with some running in the redwoods, river runs, and I have been back doing laps in my slalom kayak. Work at the resort has been going well and this last week was celebrated by the locals here with the Okere Falls Bier Fest. Last night we all crowded around the screen here at the store to watch NZ win the Rugby World Cup against France, a very close and nerve racking game but stoked we pulled through in the end! My Czech friend Martin Hammer is here in New Zealand at the moment and as you can see he is a talented photographer. Pics include- Me on the Kaituna, Night Sky at Blue Lake, Sunset at Lake Rotorua and the Redwoods forest.