Thursday, March 06, 2014

South Island- 2014 Summer rally

 Charging down the left- Citroen
 Entrance to Nevis Bluff - Photo Credit Stefan Gilmour
 Looking down as we flew up the Waitaha River!!!
 Getting ready to fly!
 Retrospect- Entance rapid
 Lower section of Nevis Bluff

 Dropping into one of the many cool sections of whitewater on the Waitaha River
 Ready to fall down Maruia Falls
 Middle Rapid- Nevis Bluff
Startline- Citroen Extreme Race Womans Final

2014 New Zealand summer has been pretty dry resulting in the rivers being low- especially in the North! Fortunately a bunch of the international crew that are visiting for summer were heading to the South Island following the NZ extreme Race series. I saw this as a great opportunity to get on some different rivers and paddle with good friends!! After a busy week of teaching I jumped on a flight to Queenstown and met up with the crew- Joe Morley (UK), Jennifer Chrimes (UK), Anna Bruno (USA), Stefan Gilmour (NZ) and Brad Lauder (NZ).

First we hit up the Citroen Extreme Race on the Kawerau River just outside of Queenstown. This is a really cool section of whitewater with some tricky lines and burly eddies. We saw evidence of the gnarly consequences the day before the race with people coming back from the river with broken boats which just added to the already hyped atmosphere at the campsite. This race is hands down the most fun and scary extreme race in New Zealand. This year there were just 5females racing, representing 4 different Nations and 44men. We had two heats, the first eliminating just 1 female. Racing was tight all the way to the end with Jen & I charging the left line and Soph & Anna hitting the right, I was stoked in the end to take out both heats and to take home my 3rd Citroen Extreme Race win! Mens racing was tight too with a stacked final that was won in the end by Tom Cox.

After a rowdy night in Queenstown Jen, Joe & I made our way down the Nevis Bluff rapids, unfortunately we just missed the ‘Simon Davidson Memorial’ crew that were just minutes ahead of us. It was really good to get back on this fun but rowdy section of whitewater and we then continued on down Citroen and retrospect rapids.

Tuesday we made it to the West Coast and we were all super fired up to fly into one of the many epic runs on the Coast! We flew up the Waitaha and were treated to a beautiful sunny day of amazing kayaking. Kayaking on the West Coast is world class- Remote, challenging, beautiful and rugged. The whitewater is pretty intense and having a good crew can really make the trip. I was really stoked to have a good solid crew:) The Waitaha river provides a really descent day on the river and is one river that is currently a target from hydropower companies. We need to act on this and emailing the following expressing concern could help- Sue Cotton directly at Westpower: The Waitaha river has a (supposedly) 1hour portage around Morgans gorge. After getting lost for about 6hours in the bushes on the right 3years ago I was pretty stoked to have Brad guiding us on the river left. Brad decided to wait for the crew of boys in the group behind us- he didn’t want them to get lost...they had a big day however with a few swims and broken paddles so were a few hours behind. By the time they caught up to us we were near the final stages of the portage, however it was late (8pm) and getting dark fast! We needed to rally to get off the river before dark! We moved fast and made it back on the river just in time to make it down the final rapids before it got too dark! 10hour days on the West Coast can be pretty epic, but fortunately this one ended well:)

We then headed to Murchison to take on the Bullerfestival. After a few laps of Maruia Falls we set up camp with the rest of the masses. Jennifer Chrimes took the win for the Womans boater X and Brad Lauder for the mens. On the Saturday we had the slalom race, probably one of the cooler slalom courses in New Zealand with the wide river and cool moves. I was stoked to get back in a slalom boat and took the win for the females.

The Bullerfest rapped up the the NZ Extreme Race Series and I am stoked to have been crowned Female Champion with 3wins, Congrats to Joe Morley who took the Male trophy!

Thanks to the crew for the sweet times! Looking forward to next year!

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