Sunday, May 29, 2011

Upper Clavey

After a 3 hour grade 5 shuttle mission which involved driving non 4wd vehicles through forestry, land slips and super steep rocky terrain we finally managed to get on the Upper Clavey. The guidebook stated an optimum flow of 800cfs and recommended an early start as the 7 mile run has a lot of stacked gradient. We put on around 2pm with a flow of about 1000cfs at the bridge (and found out later that optimum flow at the bridge was 500cfs because a tributary adds 300cfs to the flow shortly into the run). This goes to show that you shouldn't believe everything you read.

Daan lining up the first drop

Ryan styling the boulder gardens

Daan boat scouting

Me, perfecting the boof-plug

Pete Lodge on another cool boof drop

Daan looking for the line

Ryan Lucas firing the end of the world drop

This run is super sick, the flow was definately on the good side of high, and we got to camp and build a massive fire on a bridge at the top of the lower run!

Friday, May 27, 2011


I managed to escape the recirculating eddy that is Coloma and got on a sick two day mish down the Clavey. Turns out the level was double the recommended flow which made for some of best paddling of my life. I'll do a proper update late but heres a little teaser shot.

Ryan Lucas styling the 'little weir into bigger weir into terminal weir' drop....

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Whoop whoop Wainui

After sleeping straight through my alarm I woke to the sound of heavy rain outside and my phone ringing. Jamie's excited voice on the other end of the line snapped me awake pretty fast 'were you just asleep?! Get up, we're going paddling!'. After a bit of hustling and a quick stop at the Okere Falls Store for coffee we were on the road headed for the Wainui River. The boys have rallied the Wainui quite a few times this season but Pete and I were both Wainui virgins so keen as to see what all the hype was about.

Jamie stomping it

Despite leaving after us and having to drop the kids off at school Andi Uhl beat us to the river. German efficiency. We intersected him after he checked the gauge and followed him to the takeout where we found most of Okere Falls getting ready to rally the 4wd track to the put in.

Mike styling it with Ben filming him on his gopro-on-a-stick

As half the boys had been down the river during the previous week's heavy rainfall and knew the run pretty we were able to rally most of the rapids with just a few people getting out at each rapid and checking for new wood. I love the element of surprise when you're paddling a rapid you haven't looked at just trusting in the line you've been given.

Andi Uhl winning the against the hole

Sanga lining up the lip

Unfortunately about half way down the run Douglass landed a bit flat on a reasonably high drop and compressed a few discs in his spine. Luckily for him it happened right by a 4wd track and thanks to Greg Thomas' ruthless driving we were able to get medics and a supply of nos all the way in to the river. After a few deep breaths Dougie was away laughing to Tauranga hospital while the rest of us continued downstream.

Trying out the big waterfall for myself (Photo by Mike Dawson)

Paddling off a 60ft waterfall after there had already been a spinal injury on the trip felt a bit cheeky but the drop was so perfect looking and the portage was so steep that it would have been rude not to. My line wasn't as smooth as I'd have liked but plenty of room for improvement for next time. The only casualty to the drop was Carl's paddle with everyone reporting soft landings and Sanga had by far the most beautiful line out of everyone.

The rest of the run felt pretty mellow after that with just one short portage where the river decided to slam all it's weight straight into a rock wall. Sick day paddling in the Kaimais. Bring on more rain! Big ups to Andi, Ben and Greg for owning 4wds so we could get to the put in, chur boys!