Xmas@Kaituna is a strictly social, seriously fun, event held annually on the Okere River. Each year on the last Saturday before Christmas it brings together kayakers from all around New Zealand and some from the rest of the world for fun in the sun.
The event kicked off with a 'progressive' boater X. The river was split into four sections and the kayakers into heats of four. If you were one of the first two in your heat you progressed to the next round and got to race against different people on a different section of river. Just to add interest there was also a banner on the front of John Snook's kayak which you had to tag with your hand. The trick was that nobody knew exactly where he would be so you had to react fast when you found him. This made the race more fun, more challenging, and caused quite a few upsets.
Next was the 8-ball race. The aim was to avoid rafts, kayakers, Santas, fire hoses and objects hanging from the bridge, as well as other people in your heat to make it to the finish line first. A crazy race where you can go zero to hero and back to zero again in no time.
Next up was the beach ball race. Everybody made up teams of three and decorated a beach ball with their team name and designs. Then the very difficult task was to bring your beach ball down the river using team work and hand eye coordination skills without paddling with the ball on your deck and whilst sabotaging and being sabotaged by other teams. Hilarity ensued as balls and kayakers went everywhere.
Finally we finish the day off with a float down the river on pool toys. Warm water, sunshine, good friends, thats what Christmas is all about in New Zealand. Merry Christmas everybody!
About the author
About the author
Hopping back and forth between Rotorua (New Zealand) and Voss (Norway) is Toni’s way of following the summer and the water to where the boating is best. After graduating with a degree in Biological Science, she boarded a plane, then a kayak, and found that nothing else is quite as good as being on the river.