Monday, April 22, 2013

Wainui River

-Powerhouse Open Gates warm up

As I came home from the Tuakopai on Tuesday I figured with 2 weeks left in the country that I wouldn't be needing my elbow pads for any more kayaking trips this summer in NZ so packed them away and headed back out on the Kaituna! Thankfully the lake was still full and we got a couple of laps in at open gates which is always a fun time!

- Waterfall at Open Gates

The weekend was in full swing with a few drinks here and there and before I knew it I was waking up to the sound of the Neighbors running round our house talking of rain in the Kaimais again.  A few seconds later Tyler came busting into my room with a smile on his face and all he said was "CREEKING?".  While I am often able to use the excuse of work to pass on less exciting activities there was no place for excuses today.  It was a run I had always wanted to do but never been in the right place with the right flows.
~Cue inspirational dubstep soundtrack~
Everyone scattered and re grouped all piecing things together for the day ahead.  Out came the packed away elbow pads and once again we were in the car heading for the hills.
A little drive up the coast and we were there looking back down the valley to the sea and the thought crossed my mind that we had to paddle out to an estuary so all that gradient was going to be made up of  waterfalls!

-Hike in to Wainui through some wild country

At the end of the short hike in I pulled up and heard Jamie explaining the optimal flows we had ahead and downstream Lorenzo was playing his Quena (Flute).  A golden liquid flowed swiftly through the dense native forest setting the scene for the day ahead.  Although the big waterfall was hot on my mind all morning it was time to seriously focus as the rapids pretty much all drop 10 or more meters and they are unending.

-Jamie (aka Htzhamez) Entering B's Rapid

-Dropping into B's Rapid

-The exit to B's Rapid

- Making my way through 'Freight Train'

-Brad coming down 'Freight Train'

- Jamie and Tyler coming down 'Double Drop'

-Entering double drop next to the illegal water system

-Brad on the bottom half of double drop

-Tyler on the bottom of 'Double Drop'

- Sanga on 'Double'

The first scout was at B's rapid which is a nice entry, boof off a nose, land skip out, turn, head left then off another big slide in the middle.  All good lines and we were doing well.  After an uncountable amount of sweet drops we got to the next real crux called 'Little Brother'.  It is a tricky lead in followed by a 30foot drop that is shallow so you need to boof but stomp your bow down to avoid breaking your back. Again we set safety and made our way off the drop.  1,2,3,4,5,6 clean lines and big smiles at the bottom.

-Lorenzo navigating the entry to Little Brother
- Jamie on the lip of the 30

- Getting the stomp on

-Tyler getting his lean on

-Sanga on Little Brother

Now the mind has been on full focus for over an hour of solid class 5 and you are only thinking about the rapid you are running but the Big one is close and its trying to occupy your thoughts!!
Not a single bad line by anyone all day so far meant optimism was high and everyone quietly knew they were going to run the big one.  At the lip it all seemed pretty clear cut.  The idea here is to 1- not land flat and 2- not go over the handle bars.  The line is off the middle with as little speed as possible.  You sit facing upstream about 2m from the lip and as you float out the back of the eddy you pull yourself out into the flow, turning downstream.  You hold the stroke over the lip to stabilise your boat so it does not over rotate.  Once you have your angle set you spot the landing and your weight co

mes forward then you toss the paddle away and tuck forward some more.  Impact.

-Attempt 2 - Sanga
-Attempt 3 - Bradley Lauder
- Attempt 4 - Me
-Attempt 4 - Me again

-Tyler sticking the line clean

- Attempt 6 - Jamie Garrod

- Stoked to be at the bottom

So while this explanation is the ideal scenario there were some varying degrees of impact but all good.  Lorenzo went a little over the bars and was ejected but all good.  I took some skin off my nose from the elbow pad but had a soft landing.
From here we were all buzzing but it still doesn't end here.

- Big slide!!!

A few more big drops and slides and finally made it into the flat water.  A few days before we were talking about our best run ever and I think I would now have to say this one.  I could even be so bold as to say this was my best day kayaking I have ever had.  A quick pack up and we were on our way to Te Puke Mc Donald's for some much deserved burgers!
Cheers to Lorenzo, Sam, Jamie, Tyler and Brad for such a sweet day!
Next update will likely be from Cali! Looking forward to it!

For reference we had 6.5 on the Waipapa guage.


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