Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Back to Tree Trunk

-In the car park gearing up - Photo Josh Neilson

Almost 2 years to the day from my last mission to Tree Trunk I found myself standing on the bridge again scouting the lines! This time we had a team of 6 keen to fire it up! As this is such a sick place for footage and photos and a pretty difficult place to run safety we decided to split into two groups and 3 go first and the others runs saftey and media and then swap round.

-Setting up safety in the gorge - Photo Will Martin

Once we had scouted from every possible angle Brendan, Trent and I geared up and headed to the top. With the flows looking rather burely B and I opted for the seal launch entry while Trent ran the guts. Ask him about how this went down...!

-Trent Garnham firing up the crux - Photo Will Martin

-Brendan Bayly going first on the biggy - Photo Tyler Fox

At the top on the big one we circled round a few times before B rolled off the drop..... Boom....."yeaaaahhhooooo" (muffled by the sound of rushing water) and we guess he made it good!

-Trent following suit - Photo Tyler Fox

Next up was Trent... BOOM(even bigger sound)... and another cheer which signaled my time to roll of the sweetest lip into the canyon. about 30ft of freefall then a 10ft reconnection and into the pool!

-Josh Neilson rolling off the big one, with the coolest view! - Photo Will Martin

-Josh from above - Photo Tyler Fox

In the middle of it we re gathered and Safety and photos moved down to the next drop for us. As the light came out it lit up the last drop perfectly as B boofed off (if you want to see the shot of this you will have to ask Tyler really nicely or keep a look out in the Mags as it was the shot of the day!), Another cheer from below and Trent and I followed suit till we were making our way out of the slot canyon in one piece! Stoked to have made it through again!
-Josh getting air on the bottom drop of the gorge - Photo Tyler Fox

With a bit of bush bashing we made it back to the car to fire up the next group and get in place for safety and footage. Sophie opted to coordinate the safety side of things in the gorge and due to a recent broken back Ryan was behind the lens. Soph tied Ryan and I in and we hung off to gorge wall to get in position for shots while the others set up above. With a quick game of paper, scissors, rock deciding that Tyler would go first we gave the signal and he was off. In the same fashion as our run Tyler, Sanga and Wils all had sweet runs and made it out!

-Will taking the sickest line of the day - Photo Ryan Lucas

-Wils with a hole in the chin! The best type of battle scars! - Photo Josh Neilson

Unfortunalty somewhere in Wills perfect line off the big one he managed to connect with his paddle and come out with a hole in his chin!
So with everyone back in the carpark safe and excited we peered over the shots from the day and shared all the stories of epic landings and airborne time in the gorge. With the gear loaded ther was just one last thing to do... in true athlete form we headed to Turangi Burger King to re-fuel the bodies before we went our separate ways for a bit. I am back in the bay for a few days, B and Soph headed South for a few days and the rest of the crew headed back to Okawa Bay for some more Kaituna action. Cheers everyone for a super sick day! Keen to hit it up again next week!

P.s Footage from this, Aratiatia and the rest of the world trip this year coming soon...

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Uganda, Africa in less than a page!

Murchison Falls - Photo Josh Neilson

Alright so it has been a while since the last real post but the African internet speeds just were not inviting enough to slog over the computer in order to get the story out!
So now after spending 4 months living in Uganda on the banks of the White Nile i am back in New Zealand and enjoying the luxury of good food, fast internet and the joys of buying a car!
After being home a week I have sorted through hours of footage and photos to bring you a quick update from the past few months.
- View from my room, Uganda - Photo Josh Neilson

-In the local Jinja Market, Fishy - Photo Josh Neilson

-View from the deck - photo Josh Neilson

So it started off in usual NRE (Nile River Explorers, the raft base we lived at) fashion with a good welcome back party which would turn out to be the start to the down fall of my body! About 10 days later the mosquito that bit me on those early nights turned into yet another bout of Malaria! So for a few daysI spent my time in a fever, feeling sick, tired, bored etc, generally feeling like Shit. After that i decided to give up the preventative meds that have failed me a few times now and decided to take on the malaria mozzys head on with just my positive thinking! And it worked! No more malaria for the remaining 3 and a half months!

Me on Kalagala Falls - Photo Ben Jackson

-Ben filming and Berno running Kalagala Falls - Photo Josh Neilson

- Will freewheeling into Bujagali Falls - Photo Anna Bruno

Ben Jackson - Kalagala Falls - Photo Josh Neilson

Kirk Hollis, melting in! Photo Anna Bruno

Sam back on the water after many months recovery! Photo Anna Bruno

So with 4 months in Uganda and a very very low budget and a fast growing bar tab i decided to do a bit of rafting which was a great time! Good mates out on the river each day causing trouble and smashing the clients!
With Anton (who did the rafting videos) leaving and Davey (owns the video production company there) also going home for a month I took the job and spent the next month or so paddling every day, editing the film at night and selling the videos. Was a awesome experience for the editing and made a bit of coin to bring home!

-Our Safari Camp in the delta - photo Josh Neilson

-Sneaky Leopard in the trees - Photo Josh Neilson

- Wandering Giraffe - Photo Josh Neilson

Once that was all over I got into some of my own kayaking and filming which was good fun. Got all the necessary shots for the up coming film which was slightly last minute but all good! Ben Jackson came over from NZ for the last month and that was a blast! We went to the market and kitted our selves out in safari suits and headed to Murchison Falls National Park to check out the animals! Was the highlight of the trip with an abundance of Hippos, Elephants, Lions, Giraffes and even a sneaky Leopard in the trees!

-Morning elephant- Photo Josh Neilson

-Me standing by Murchison Falls - Photo Ben Jackson

- Filming with a boat boom, look carefully - Photo Anna Bruno

Once back from safari it was into the leaving Parties! Halloween was a crack up which lead into my birthday and then the next day was the makeshift Nile Festival where we loaded up the rafts and kayaks and headed out to the day 2 section of the Nile! What a memorable few days! Thanks to everyone who was there! definatly a highlight!
After that i just had a week left to paddle, rest and film the last things before i embarked on the 60hr journey back to NZ! Almost missed the first plane as the car broke down half way! Luckily i had a similar problem on my car 8 years ago and i knew how to fix it! hahaha!

Bujagali Falls, Where the lake from the dam will drown to! - Photo Anna Bruno

- Me at the Equator - Photo Liss Raymond

So now im back in NZ and its good to be home! Still got a few things to film before i can get into the edit for this years film but its underway! Hanging out to get over to the tuna to catch up with the crew there and go kayaking again!
There will be a few photos up on here as I find them from the last few months!
Sorry for the long delay in Updates and the briefness of this one! If ya wanna know more ill tell you when i see you!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Over the Fijord and far away

With a day off to nurse the hangover and do a bit of board surfing on the local wave it became apparent that my time here in Norway was almost over! I could fit in one more trip but where to go?? Then i heard a knock at the door and Dag ame up and asked if i wanted to head across the Hadanger Fijord and up to to mountain tops to run a river with some cool slides on it and camp the night. My time here in norway has been Hot, and ive been in a house every night so the thought of getting a camping trip in was top on the list! We loaded up the cars and headed South toward the fijord. After a few hours of driving and a quick ferry ride we were at the river.

-Everyone sheltering from the rain at our camp by the road - Photo Josh Neilson

-A Clear patch in the night enough to get a fire going and warm up the feet! - Photo Josh Neilson

- The darkest point of the night at about midnight - Photo Josh Neilson

Through the trees we could see glimpses of slides in the distance which we knew we would see closer the next day! At the top on the mountain where is flattens out (Vida) which felt like the moon or some foreign planet, we set up camp along side the river and the road and settled in for a nice dinner, fire and good sleep! Early next morning we got up and drove a few Kms up the road and hiked across the Vida towards where the river was.

- Making our way across the barren landscape - Photo Greg Dashper

-A quick shortcut across a lake on the hike in - Photo Greg Dashper

- I can see the river valley in the distance but its not getting closer! - Photo Greg Dashper

A few hours in and we could see a nice gorge and a sweet drop to start us off!

-Drop number one on the river, a good start - Photo Greg Dashper

- Greg Dashper having a go too - Photo Aril

It was not long and we were back at our camp spot and where we needed to portage round a section dry from a dam! After some lunch and a quick drive we were bck on the river below the dam. From here the river was slide - lake - slide - lake!

-Dag going left on a nice slide! - Photo Greg Dashper

perfect way to end the norway trip! In the pools we chatted about our summer and other missions and then every few minutes we had to fire ourselves up and run the slides! The biggest one on the river required a bit of thought! You had to roll in, hit a pool, push right on a shallow but fast ledge but not too far right, then boof off a drop onto a slide and pillow then come out down the slide and off a kicker into the pool!

-Josh Neilson at the top of the big drop - Photo Greg Dashper

-And again on the kicker at the bottom, Sweet drop! - Photo Greg Dashper

-Dag coming out the bottom of the big drop - Photo Greg Dashper

-Greg showing us the way on the last big one - Photo Josh Neilson

-Aril going left about to take a paddle to the face - Photo Greg Dashper

What a sweet drop! stoked with this trip and would recomed this river to others for sure! At the bottom we were stoked and loaded up and headed back to Voss! A quick ferry and short drive and we were home sweet home!

-This Drop is downstream of our take out and what looks like a sweet section below too - Photo Josh Neilson

Well temporary home at least! One more day here to sort my things and then back to Uganda! Im really looking forward to being back there and seeing old friends! The Blogs from here may slow down a bit due to the internet speed etc in Africa but keep coming back and reading! Ill update as much as i can!

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tunnel drop and kittle Breaker

For a while there my trip was all consumed with traveling, racing on controled sections of water and the party scene around the races. While this is fun it does lack the adrenalin hit required to run this human being! With a now limited 4 days left in Norway we knew we had to get some drops under our belts! At the end of the last post I was rushed out the door and off to check out Nosebreaker, the Tunnel drop and Kittlebreaker falls. At Nosebreaker we were met by a huge flow and no one that keen to follow in IG's footsteps and run it to the bottom!

-Sam Sutton in the light before the darkness of the tunnel - Photo Will Clark

So back at the car we headed 5 more minutes up the road to the Tunnel. This is an interesting drop because it once used to be a waterfall but the train needed to go over it so they dug out the river above and made a tunnel for the river to go through and the train now goes nicely over where the waterfall once did! Last year i was in a self inflicted bout of sickness and didnt get to run this drop but this year was fired up to get on it! standing at the top it was about double the flow and far more intimidating! Sam and Dylan went first right after each other to act as safety for each other on the other side if one was to break a paddle etc. Dylan lost part of a blade and did the bottom bit upside down but all sweet!
Next up I ran and the boys set up cameras and safety at the bottom and top. I was a little left than planned but came down the tunnel at full speed and out the bottom into the hole and backwards into the pool! good fun times!
Will took it next and got his paddle stuck inside the cave which got ripped out of his hand and ran the rest paddleless! A nice hand roll at the bottom and all was good!
Next up was Kittlebreaker! From the tunnel you have about 100m then the water falls down a rolling drop with some kickers to keep you on your toes!

-Sam Sutton about to stomp it! - Photo Will Clark

-Dylan tucking for the plug - Photo Will Clark

Sam landed flat and soft, dylan followed with a nice plug and then i folowed with a similar line but had a hard impact. Somewhere in there i hit rocks, my paddle, my boat and lots of water. Im not sure how long i was stuck in there for but I am very happy for the autonomous skill of rolling!

- Josh Neilson coming down the tounge - Photo Sam Sutton

- Going round at the bottom not knowing I was Kayaking - Photo Sam Sutton

Without knowing what I was doing I came out rolled and then tried to figure out what i was doing! Ok im in my kayak, there is a waterfall, i must be kayaking.... "Josh, Josh, Josh" I could hear from Sam on the rock above me. "Are you ok?".......... "I guess so, Shit, Im kayaking arnt I?''. My paddle was backward and I was a bit dizzy but all good! Todays injuries were a fat chin, smashed nose and a throbbing head! not too bad! I got out and waked round a bit then filmed Will coming off with a sweet line!

-Will Clark in the meat - Photo Sam Sutton

Jamie decided to fire up the bottom slide with a sweet line but the rest of us were too beaten to carry on today! This time we were home in time to get in a few beers and a BBQ on the beach! great way to end the day!
As i write this I am once again being dragged out the door on another mission! This time the kayak stays at home and we have surf boards on the roof! Off to a wave at the end of the lake here in voss where it drains into the river. Sunny day on the river bank doin a bit of surfing! enjoy!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Jordalselvi, Voss, Norway - Beautiful!

Michelle Ramazza getting air about to smash the ribs- Photo Josh Neilson

Right now the NZ dollar is worth about 4NOK Norwegian Kroner. And for that 4NOK you can buy....... nothing. and if you double it...... still nothing! If you want a liter of gas your looking at about 12NOK or $3nz!!! We all need gas to get to the river and its worth it when you get to paddle these amazing rivers in the sun! The weather has been great for over a week reaching 40deg yesterday, so when you get off the river it would be nice to sit down and enjoy a cold beer.... Well if you want to take that option for the evening you are looking at the cheapest beer possible for over $50nz for a 6pack! And for some reason if you decide to do this after 6pm your out of luck because after then you can not buy alcohol! So as you can imagine this has not often been the direction of our evenings! Instead we have drunk a lot of cuts of tea!

-Dylan trying to get out from the falls - Photo Josh Neilson

Due to the low NZ dollar and expensive living here in Norway the back account has taken a battering! Plans were to go up to Sjoa festival in a few weeks and compete in 1 last race for the year then head out to africa at the end of the month or possibly try find some work then head to africa in September. But a quick look at the account it became apparent that this was not going to be easy or possible at all really!
So after hours of tying to book cheap flights online and it never working out I waited till 11.30pm here when NZ was awake and at work and called Graci at the flight center in Hastings and she sorted me out! within a few hours we had a plan and I was off to Africa. The plan now is to spend 3 months in the pearl of africa, Uganda to kayak and film a segment for the upcoming film and take the money from the last film to the clinic!

- The first drop on the river, Jamie Sutton - Photo Josh Neilson

During all this flight booking mahem we have whipped out a fe times and yesterday we got on the Jordalselvi for a late afternoon bomb down the goods! The run starts off with a sweet little drop above a nice 10 or so meter waterfall.

- Michele feeling good but not for long! - Photo Josh Neilson

The flow was close to double what I had done it before and the boil at the bottom was looking juicey! I had a sweet line but the imapct hitting the boil was a hard one and spat me right out into the wall.

- Josh Neilson on the main falls about to impact with the boil at the bottom the the wall! - photo Will Clark

Michelle had a good one but hit his ribs on the side of his kayak and possibly broken ribs and the rest were all good too! we made our way further into the gorge and ran out of camera battery but everything was good! we had one portage which was definatly runnable but a very long and fine line! right after that was another sweet 8-10m drop and then we were pretty much done!
Happy days out! we took off at 9m and home in time to cook dinner by 10 and bed by midnight!

- Jamie Sutton running a small version of Troutpool Falls! styling it obviously! - Photo Josh Neilson

I have a few days more here in Norway so hope to get a few more posts up of this amazing place! The boys have just arrived to pick us up and go kayaking, sounds like tunnel slide and maybe some other falls so see ya later!

- This is Sam running a drop over the fijord from here that they did a few days ago - Hes small in there! -Photo Will Clark