South: Murchison- The Buller festival is an annual Kayak festival that brings the small Southern town of Murchison alive with kayakers flooding in from the North, the South, the East and the West. Probably one of New Zealand’s biggest kayak events in terms of participation it is always successful and a lot of fun! 2011 once again provided a primo event with a good turnout.
After a scenic journey along the rugged West Coast we came to rest in the small town of Hokitika, with no time to waste Phil, Martina, Collin and I hiked a dreadful 2 and a half hours into the Styx River. It took longer than usual due to landslips. Our same crew then saw Monday in with a Helicopter Kayak trip into the Classic West Coast run- Arahura! A few rapids had changed since the last time I ran it (2years ago), but it was still primo!
There was a big crew staying in Hokitika for the week which was awesome. We had heaps of grills out the beach and hung out with our new mate Don who was quite entertaining to say the least! Wednesday came and a big crew of 10 of us flew into the Hokitika river- Sutton bro’s, Mike D, Martina W, Willz, Ryan L, Fabian (Argentina), Brad L, Issac L (Team America) and myself. It was an awesome day and I loved the run, probably one of the best days I have ever had on the West Coast!
Another long yet beautiful journey along the Western Coastline (via Franz Josef Glacier) landed us in what I call my second home...Wanaka! Stoked as always to be back and back staying in my home away from home, the Bailey household. A bit of casual training on the local slalom course and then on to the Kawerau river and Citroen Rapid (Venue for this weekends Extreme Race).
Citroen Extreme Race: New Zealand Extreme Kayak Nationals- I was feeling super pumped for this event. I love the river here and the atmosphere is always top class! Martina Wegman (Netherlands) and I were the only chicks so we decided to join the 30 strong mens class for a couple of rounds before racing off for the final. This meant my first heat involved myself, Sam Sutton, Bryden Nicolas and Martina- very sweet! The river was flowing at about twice the level of last year, pumping a solid 200+ cumecs down the valley, this created some massive waves and holes and some very entertaining races! There was a lot of tight racing and our women’s final was no less. It was a wicked race, both Matina and I had a pretty solid run, I managed to just take her out at the end of the run to be crowned Women’s Citroen and New Zealand Woman Extreme Race Champion! Stoked! Big ups to Lukus P(Poland) who took out the mens race, followed by 1st New Zealander Willz Martin and then the Sutton bros. Now I am resting up in Wanaka alongside some training with the future of NZ Women’s kayaking- Holly and Jess Bailey!
Pictures from top:
Citroen Extreme Race
Helli-Kayaking Hokitika River
Queen Charlotte Sound