We had a couple of wicked races in the New Zealand summer season this year! After the Whitewater XL it was time to dust out our creek boats for the Kaituna Time Trial, Christmas of the Kaituna, Andy Duff Race and the Wairoa Extreme Race.

There are so many mint paddlers in New Zealand that most extreme races have a great turn out, wicked atmosphere and a healthy amount of competitiveness to claim the NZ pride!

The first three races are held on the popular Kaituna River. The Kaituna is a long time classic in the Central North Island of New Zealand and is famous for its waterfalls, park ‘n’ play spot and its magical deep green gorge. With easy access, low commitment, warm water and close to a large population base, this short run has become one of the most used runs in the country.

Every race on the Kaituna is stacked, competitive, but most of all heaps of fun! With each race being different there is enjoyment for everyone. Time trial, boater-X, short boats, long boats, raft races, swimming and sledging races and mass start. It’s all happening on the Kaituna!

Towards the end of summer the Wairoa Extreme Race was held. The Roller Coaster rapid is a wicked spot for a head-to-head race! I was lucky to get through to the heats and ending up with Sandra Hyslop in the final round!

This was a pretty funny experience for me as in the final round it is mandatory to run the Cauldron. I hadn’t run the Cauldron since the last time racing the Wairoa three years ago, and I wasn’t aware of the new lines since. From the start I had a very small lead on Sandra and right before the Cauldron, Sandra kept pushing me to the right into what looked like a gnarly slot. I was so confused why she kept pushing me right and totally in the wrong place, as I thought. As we almost hit the slot I held back being super confused and sort of annoyed why Sandra why she would push me into this dangerous place, but as I hold back Sandra went through the slot nailing her line :) I was to late to head back to the left and as I saw Sandra go the slot I saw it was super legit and probably the best line to go down, so as I followed, no so much nailing my lines :D At the time it was so confusing and crazy to me, but a pretty funny experience after all. I guess it pays off doing a couple practice laps before hand ;)

After the Wairoa Extreme Race there where two more races for the NZ series. The Buller Fest and the Citroen Race. Unfortunately I couldn’t attend either of them, but hopefully I get back there next year! Both are amazing events in super cool places!

The winner of the 2016 NZ Extreme Race Series also won a beautiful trophy designed by local Okere Falls legend Roi Toia. The trophy is to commemorate the scope of Lulu’s awesomeness! ♥♥♥