It’s great being back in New Zealand once again. And the NZ summer has treated us well! ... The start of the year was quite hectic with lots of traveling around New Zealand and Australia, chasing the NZ selection races in Mangahao and Penrith.
In between the slalom sessions we have been able to dust out our creek boats and run Tree Trunk Gorge. A narrow, deep dark but mostly stunning gorge! The first drop has a sweet lip and a reconnect half way the drop, which looks a bit sketchy from top, but it all goes.
Landing the first drop gives a lot of excitement as it lands you even deeper in the narrow dark canyon, and the view from there is stunning! After the main drop there is another ten metre drop with a sweet soft landing but it has two nasty pockets to avoid before paddling out back into the sunshine.
January also held the NZ Extreme Race with the first two out of five races taking place on the Kaituna and Wairoa rivers.
A large international field of racers gathers together in Okere Falls for the annual Kaituna Timetrial. Despite it was a rainy day, the river levels where super low, which meant more slow water in between the rapids, pushing the laps to at least seven minutes of brutal sprinting!
From there it was off to the Wairoa the next day for the Head-2-Head racing. We started the day with another brutal time-trial. The time-trial seeded the rounds for the head-to-head part of the competition that'd be raced on the Roller Coaster rapids. It’s a brutal competition and basically you can be outclassed at any stage by anyone competing because the rapid is so unpredictable.
The rest of the summer I have been kayak instruction, canoeing guiding and working at the Okere Falls Store and Pure cruise yacht. Time has flied by! And it seems unreal that I’m boarding a flight in less than a week.