Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Intermission update - Upper seti mission and head cam footage

Heading into the upper canyon, Porters make life a lot easier! photo Anton Immler

Montage pic of Me on and looking at OUT, Photo Anton Immler

While i take some time out to update you on the Nepali Girls kayaking Expedition I had the opportunity to head back into the hills once more with some old and new friends to check out what Will Clark and Anton Immler had found a few weeks ago. At 5.45 the alarm went off and Anton and I gathered our gear and in the darkness headed for the main st. As light came in over Pokhara a few other guys we had met arrived for the same mission. With the Jeep loaded up we headed about an hour out and with porters laden with all our gear we headed for the Upper Canyon of the upper Seti River. We thought we may have time to get the Upper canyon today also but with no idea on where the track was and diminishing daylight we were forced out of the first descent and down into the gorge that had only been run for the first time a week ago. This was no dissapointment as i knew we were still in for a ful on afternon! We nailed about 100m of First descent then it was into the lower canyon section. About 20mins of class 3 bombing then we were at the canyon entrance. We made the call that we had enough time to make it out with light and dropped in. Within minutes we were at drop 1, now named 'IN'.

Josh Neilson - Rapid IN - Photo Tim Ripper

The reason for this is this is the only way to get into the gorge is to run this drop, no portage. It is a sweet 40foot drop but has a nasty cave on the right and a not so bad one on the left. After comiting to the gorge there is another must run drop called ' twist', a manky drop which u have to bust hard left but avoiding the wall so u dont bounce back into the right and into an undercut seive! 2 people have been through this sive already and its no t pretty. They made it through fine though. Right after twist is 'OUT'

Me loking at Tim Riper running OUT - Photo Anton Immler

The reason for it being called this is the only way out of the gorge is to run this drop, no portage. Once again it is a 40foot drop with a fast wavey lead in. this time there is also caves on both side but not so bad.
Now that your out of the canyon you still have 2 more sweet drops, 'Scream' and Shout'. Smaller but a lot of fun! from here the steepness lowers but the drops keep coming. Due to our late afternoon paddle we got in a line and bombed our way down to the take out following the tail in front and keeping an eye out for the person behind. At the take out we thought we might have the natural hot springs to ourselves but no luck, seems there was some sort of festival on and people everywhere.

Paddling away from OUT - Photo Anton Immler

The boys have headed back into the Seti today with overnight gear to try get up above the Upper Canyon and explore up there as well.

Tomorrow there will be more info on the Himilayan River girls trip and maybe a head cam vid from the upper seti, Internet here is pretty slow so have to do things slowly. It will come

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Nepali Girls Expedition Part 2

Camp 1 morning 2 - Photo Josh Neilson

With the trip now well underway and making our way steadily down the river the Nepali girls were out in force at camp 2 practicing their eddy truns and some more rolling. Anita, who i hadnt even seen learning to roll told us to watch as she submersed and came back uop with a big smile on her face. While doing this in the moving water would be a different story, the girls were making swift progress.

Sambhovi Making her way down the Whitewater - Photo Anna Bruno

Day 3 on the river a few Nepali girls were in kayaks paired off with the Kiwis and Sweeds. Some of the Girls had picked up kayaking pretty quick and some slower than others. Due to this they had a raft there to swap round on and kayak when the rapids suited them.
At lunch the girls swapped round and others go to paddle their first rapids of the Sun Koshi.

Camp 2 Nighttime rest and relax - Photo Josh Neilson

Where we were at this point there were no roads, not power, and definatly no kayak instructors in the river side vilages. Over time the local people have addapted ways of collecting food from the river in various ways. Fishing with a pole was slow and a long net would be hard to get into the current. With large rubber tires the kids had manufactured their own river craft designed to get the net out but soon they had discovered running the rapids would be fun too.
As I neared a rapid mid way through the day 3 boys raced me toward the entrance. As I made my way down in a big bit of plastic designed for these conditions these kids charged by me in their tries and sticks. A very cool experience and at the bottom we swapped paddles, He almost got away with me chasing him with a bit of wood for a paddle.

2 Local boys towing out their net for fish- Photo Josh Neilson

Two different goals, both very interested in the other - Photo Josh Neilson

Day 4 - The first of the sickness. Early on morning 4 Laura and Emi went down as the first patients of the trip. It goes without saying when you travel in places like Nepal that while you can be as careful as possible around food but some sort of sickness is not far behind you. These two were the first but definatly not the last on the trip.
By now we are about 70kms from our start point and deeper into the Sun Kosi. Tomorrow we hit the biggest rapids of the trip. A small village called Hakapua will mark the entrance to the Hakapua rapids.
Check back in a day or 2 for that story

Rada charging through rapids on day 3 - Photo Anna Bruno

A familiar site from the river, While it looks like men going toilet its actually 5 women with their Shewee's and one man - Photo Josh Neilson

Local girl intrigued by all the people on her beach - Photo Josh Neilson

Every day the food was spread out on tarps, almost as colourful as us on the river - photo Anna Bruno
Photo Anna Bruno

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nepali Girls Expedition part 1

The crew at lunch one day at a nice waterfall - Photo Josh Neilson

Firstly i have to say that everyone is safe and made it down the 10 day section of the Sun Kosi River. We started in Kathmandu early morning loading up the Rickshaws and making our way through the streets before light to the bus stop. Once on the bus we had 2 and a half hours East to the put in at a small village called Sukute. Almost in Sukute we were stopped by a road block. The reason we were not able to leave a few days earlier was due to this road block and the information we had was it was now open. The next few hours we shuttled our gear to the put in by foot. By dark the road was opened and everything was set.
We spent 2 days at the put in sorting gear and the kiwi girls got into some teaching. On the 16th the rest of the crew arrived and met the kiwi girls. The crew was now set and 40 people hurried round the beach getting their gear on the gear rafts and packing their own kayaks.
Day 1 on the river was short due to a late start and we made it to a small beach just on dark. Everyone was put into groups so that tasks on the river and at camp would be much easier. I was in Sophies group and our first job was fod on day 2. At 5am we were both woken by what we though was a alarm clock. Feeling very much awake we both got up. To our supprise this was not an alarm but the sound of a flute in a vilage high on the ridge above us. This really set the tone for soph and I on this trip. Day 2 was an early start and a long day on the river trying to make up from the day before.

Colourfull crew! - photo Josh Neilson

Our days consisted of -
6am-ish wake up
7am- yoga
8am breakfast
9-10am on the water
1pm - Lunch
4.30ish take off
5pm set camp and prepare dinner
7-9pm dinner
9-10 bed

Susmita, Nepals first woman kayaker - photo Anna Bruno

Ill keep the updates on how the trip went to a few days at a time so that people can read and see it unfold rather than loking at the pictures and discarding the words.
In a few days there will be more on how the girls go in the water and how things unfold as the trip gets deeper into the 280kms of whitewater and Nepali wilderness.

Sita, Nepals Second woman kayaker - Photo Anna Bruno

Hester from NZ and Sambhovi from Nepal - Photo Anna Bruno

The biggest smiler of the trip! photo Anna Bruno

Kiwi Girls never without energy! - Photo Josh Neilson

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Team NZ and the Nepali girl kayakers!

Holy Lodge, Kathmandu - sorting gear

With all our gear loaded on the plane and thousands of dollars of excess baggage snuck in under the maximum limit and we were off. Arriving in Kathmandu we re-gathered the 7 kayaks and hundreds of kgs of gear and headed to Holy Lodge, Kathmandu's kayaker hang out.
We have spent a few days sorting gear and the girls have been in the local pool here teaching the girls rolling and basic paddling skills. All the Nepali girls are super keen and motivated to get into it.

Radha in Kthmandu pool, Loving it!

Most of the Nepali girls in the pool

Learning the ropes!

Today I spent time searching for music for the film and went to check out a local temple.
We were supposed to leave for the Sun Kosi River this afternoon but a road block means we cant get there. We are hoping that the road opens in the morning and then we will be off.
there will not be many updates for a while as we will be putting on the Sun Kosi, 2.5 hrs south of Kathmandu, and will spend 10 days on the river almost to the Indian Border.
Check back soon!

Kathmandu from the monkey temple.

Emi at the Temple

Sunday, November 9, 2008

11~11~08 Nepal Expedition Begins

This morning marks the start point of a 28hr travel period to the start of the 'Nepali girls Kayak Expedition'. In 28 hrs we will be met at Kathmandu airport by hundreds of people wanting to carry bags, drive us the the best accomodation etc etc, but most importantly we will be met by someone carrying a paddle who will take us to our hostel. For a couple of days the trip will be sorting gear and buying extra gear needed before we head to the Sun Kosi to start the trip. I finally got insurance to cover all my cameras and that alone nearly broke the bank.
So from here there will be as many updates as i can possibly do with the internet and access situations but there will be some!
My filming starts today as I follow a group of NZ's best women kayakers and instructors on thier expedition to Nepal.
Check back soon!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Off to Nepal

So far this year i have had high hopes for big kayaking missions but with a shoulder unable for such excursions I have had to modify my plans to keep the excitement up and keep on the road. In Cali this year i did something to my shoulder which gave me troubles throught the season there and in Norway. Back in NZ i was attending Physios and Dr's to try figure out the problem. With my time occupied by this working was not really a possibility. I decided to take some time off to sort it and get into another film project. With all that over i was ready to get into it. But my Wisdom teeth got infected and then had to be taken out. This was another 3 weeks off which really did not do good on the bank account. With the Uncertainty of my shoulder and fast deminishing Bank account I was forced to pull the pin on joining EG and others on a sick mission in Chile! This was a super hard decision to make but it was the only option.
Then as i buzzed over my budgets and posible work money for the next month it dawned on me that joining a bunch of wicked girls on the 'Nepali Girls Kayak Expedition' as a videographer could just about work. I made the appropriate phone calls to everyone and then one to Sweden with the guy who would be making a tv doco for the trip to see if I could help him out as well as make my own film for the trip. All was good and the next day I was equipt with a very expensive piece of paper saying i was on my way to Nepal.
I wil be joining the girls to tell their story from 11th november till 22nd December and will use the footage as part of my Film shows around New Zealand next year.
I will be posting updates on how the trip is going on here over the trip so keep an eye out. I will hopefully be meeting up with a few mates from round the work for a bit of personal boating too which should be sick! I have been keeping an eye on Will Clarks Blog on his trip there so will hopefully get on the River with him. I spent 6 weeks in Thailand with Will this time last year.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Google earth master! shots from creeks found by Matt Danes in the Hawkes Bay

Matt Danes - photo by Marcus Thompson

It is always cool getting updates from people who are out there on their weekends searching and exposing some of New Zealands more undercover drops and slides. Over the past few years I have been getting emails from Matt Danes from Hastings who has a skill to scope out drops from Google Earth like no other. I have seen his waterfall folder and its definatly a well researched and elaborate piece of his kayaking equipment. While a few of his prospects have come up unpaddlable the one that have worked have opened my eyes to what Hawkes Bay has to offer.

Walk in to the Upper Esk River - Matt Danes and Skux dissapointed that this one does not go, well maybe with rain?! - Photo Josh Neilson

On Saturday Matt Danes and Marcus Thompson went into the hills behind my place in Hawkes Bay and slid down this little beauty. Matt found it many years back but never got to paddle it and it was believed to be paddled first last year by someone which you can see in a copy of Cumec magazine. Myself, Skux and kurt went in earlier this year which was a good day out but I can imagine that a lot more water would make it a lot more fun.
These shots were from the boys trip in there on the weekend just past!
Be warned, Bay paddlers out there if this creek gets high there is a beauty just upstream that might go! HUGE

Marcus Thompson - photo Matt Danes

Kurt Jane montaged on his descent down the slipery slide by Josh Neilson

Once Me and a few mates were out for a surf at Ocean Beach but with the storm coming in we decided it was too big. On the way home we stopped to check out Maraetotara River. The falls were low but I rocked up and ran my first waterfall ever. It was so low that i pretty much seal launched off the lip into the pool but that was it, i loved waterfalls. I then returned a few years later in flood with Kurt and we flew off the flooded drop. With Matt there watching and talk of waterfalls below and above we decided that one day we would check it all out.

While I was overseas Matt and Marcus ran the top section and found some cool stuff but a bit more water would again make it a faster trip.
There was also talk of them running the bottom section but I am still trying to find these photos.
All in all these local boys have torn up the back blocks of the Bay and found some nice little creeks!

Matt Danes- Upper Maraetotara River - Photo Marcus Thompson
Matt Danes- Upper Maraetotara River - Photo Marcus Thompson

Matt Danes- Upper Maraetotara River - Photo Marcus Thompson

Matt Danes- Upper Maraetotara River - Photo Marcus Thompson

Marcus Thompson- Upper Maraetotara River - Photo Matt Danes

These next drops have not been Paddled but are part of a creek near the sea that matt walked into to check out. There is one more waterfall that you can see from the rd but that is too shallow. All the bay needs now is a bit of water and it has a bit of fun!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


Photos by Kenny Mutton from Kaituna Kayaks

Sam, Josh and Dylan at the bottom of the main section but still one more to go

Dylan clearing the weir - Sharn in front filming

Josh entering the rapid at the top.

Josh coming out of the melting drop feeling very small compared to the water

Josh at the weir

In December of last year I was lucky enough to join a film tour for the North Island part to paddle a number of cool rivers.  I just came across some photos that Kenny Mutton shot the day we ran Aratiatia Rapids for the second time. 

Sam at the top

We paddled it a few days before and this was our second attempt.  I think i was more nervous at the top this time than the first but all went well.  This would definatly be up there with one of the scariest things I have paddled.  It is not like a big waterfall that looks super impressive but is much harder.  This thing is committing from top to bottom. 
The crux comes in the middle at the weir but has many other parts that you need to be on your game for.  
Here are the SWEET shots from Kenny!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mangawhio - Blue duck Stream

While a bunch of us have been overseas in the northern hemisphere summers kayaking, some of the crew has been sticking it out here in the winter of New Zealand! One tends to see winter as a good opportunity to roll under a pile of leaves and hibernate for the duration of the cold but not these guys!

Ben Jackson and Brendan Bayly at an early confluence slide - Photo Bernard Oliver

A few years ago while studying with Brendan Bayly he told me about this little creek next to his house that had some big drops on it! he had a little video of him and his bro Darryl scouting it out. I was hooked! This thing was the business! That summer we went and stayed at B's house to check it out. It was low but we still wanted it. We bush bashed in to the lower section and ran a few small drops into the gorge. With minimal water and lots of trees in the bottom of the first drop we portaged to right about the 15m clean drop. We all ran it and it was sweet but we wanted more!

A view from the Bottom - Bernard Oliver

The next summer B told me there was more upstream that we needed to check out. While on a weekend in Taupo i got a call from B stayin it was raging and we needed to put on. I met him at his house and we ran from the top to bottom of this sick creek.

Drop 1 about 30 seconds into the run - Photo Bernard Oliver

With the second to last 10m drop still unpaddled we were left wanting more! While I was sitting in Norway this year I was talking to Ben on skype and he mentioned there was water in the area and he wanted to get this creek. I told him to ring B and go to it! They got on in good flow and B finally took out the drop we had been waiting for!

The one that kept us coming back! (this 10m drop is only 10m from the lip of 15m!)- photo Bernard Oliver

This is a Super classic river if you can catch it with water in it! Watch for trees and enjoy!
These photos are courtesy of Bernard Oliver who was on the latest descent of the Mangawhio!

Ben Jackson at the lip of drop 1 - Photo Bernard Oliver

Shot 2 - Bernard Oliver

Ben on the Boogie water heading into the gorge - Photo Bernard Oliver

Brendan setting up film at the 10m - photo Bernard Oliver

Brendan at one of many cool looking drops - photo Bernard Oliver

B sitting below the second to last drop - photo Bernard Oliver

Ben Jackson Lining it up - photo Bernard Oliver

The Last but not least drop! Is there anybody in there? Photo Bernard Oliver

Keep an eye out on www.jacksonoutdoors.blogspot.com as i hear there might be a little film coming out from this trip!
Cheers for the photos boys!