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.