Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kawarau, Nevis and Hollyford Rivers

"Ya paddled much big water?" These were the words of Kevin England as we pulled the cars over to peer into the guts of the Nevis Bluff rapids on the Kawarau River. Kev, Barney and JJ discuss the game plan.

This is Paul Current. He likes to smile...and style difficult whitewater...sometimes he combines these two hobbies. It's quite the spectacle to watch.

PC punches through the entrance hole guarding the start of the Bluff. Your success on this move determines if the rest of your run will be full of panic or relaxation...sort of.

About to drop into the crux hole of the rapid, P-to-the-C reaps the rewards of a styley entrance. "Hey-diddle-diddle, right down the middle!"

Speaking of Hey-diddle-diddle, Mr. I've-got-a-riddle...Barney Young sets up to punch the first hole. A punch he will get.

I always enjoy paddling a wide variety of styles of whitewater, just to keep ya on yer toes. Too much of one style will draw blinders over a paddlers eyes, making kayakers more like horses rather than donkeys. Donkeys don't wear blinders. Here's a picture of the post-bluff carnage footy review...the real carnage came later that night. (Photo by Kev)

The Dogleg put-in scene, post-carnage and after a couple mid-day Bluff runs. This session on the Do-Little-Do-Nothing Wave was made possible by Matt McCloud. Thanks Matt, for the van full of playboats, the hospitality, the crashes and everything else during our stay(s) in Queenstown!!!

Following that perfect blend of blue weather, we once again found ourselves in Fiordland gearing up on the banks of the Hollyford...This time upstream, on the mighty Monkey Creek section.

And if the people of the party are feeling hardy tonight... This is one of the first long, complex rapids you come to on Monkey Creek, it really sets the tone for a run that ranks up there with any of the classic Coast runs. (Photo by Kev)

The Hollyford River valley after a good rain is one of the most magical places I've ever paddled. Every glimpse out of the tree-lined river bank you get, has one of the tallest waterfalls I've ever seen perfectly framed in it.

Dave Kwant, charging the burl to avoid burling the charge. (Photo by Kev)

This unsuspecting double drop is placed precariously at the top of a rather perplexing mumble jumble of a rapid. Not the most uncommon sight on Monkey Creek. (Photo by Kev)

More gorgeous waterfalls provide a surreal backdrop to more fantabulous rapids. The exit of this rapid which Dave is entering was one of the sikest boofs on the river...S-turn into a white-out charging left auto-air. Tasty, but I was too slow on the trigger to provide any visuals.

Some rocks are good rocks, and some rocks are bad is amazing how fast a good rock can become a bad rock. PC finds no bad rocks...and is thankful.

After Monkey Creek, we headed back north in a chase of the last of the water to the put-in of the Nevis River. On the way, this van depicted a typical conversation with one of our beloved crew members...Mr. Baranabus Young.

Following a highly amusing drive the night before, we woke to a river level dropping off towards the low side of ideal. But thanks to some inspiration from this feller, Mr. Matt McCloud, we opted to still give 'er the ol' college try...level be damned! To roughly quote Tommy Hilleke, "I've never been disappointed by making the decision to go kayaking."

The Barn-Dogg eying up another chunker of a rapid, somewhere in the midst of the never-ending Nevis action. Big ups to Mr. Kevin England, who took this and the remaining pictures of our trip down the Nevis.

"Welsh Matt" opting for a slightly different angle on the same drop.

An absolutely classic representation of Barney's unique heart of gold, personality and style. The only thing unrepresented here is the volume at which smack is spewed out of that gaping mouth!

Cranking one out, at the end of the same, long mamajama.

Appearing only after heavy rainfall, these desert flowers are often found sprouting up in some of the most harsh environments on earth.

Due to its guidebook fame, climaxing location on the run, and its mere size, Big Brother could easily be considered the Nevis River's most infamous rapid. Giving his chops a rest, Barnabus' boat loudly persuaded anyone else from attempting the left "slot."

Sometimes a suspected boof becomes a toosh, and sometimes a suspected toosh can transform into a boof. Here, I experience the later.

The Nevis flows into the Kawarau River just above Citroen Rapid. Below Citroen lies Retrospect, arguably the Kawarau's largest rapid. After a false end to our day, we were rallied to continue downstream by a large floatila of Central Otago's finest rapid riders partaking in a stag-due for Mr. Kent Huxford. Here we have the likes of Dylan Thompson making the crux move on the frothing monster.

The Longman Antz, of Cumec Magazine fame, improvising a rather styley line through the maw. In an attempt at making a new "down the meat" line, the remainder of Team Nevis (Kev and I) failed to represent in the style department.

The Stag himself, after paddling all the whitewater on the Kawarau River had only just begun his evening!

To conclude this evening's concerto I will leave you with few points of interest...

It's known world-wide that Kiwis are some of the most hard-out mo-fo's out there. This was recently confirmed by my good friend and flatmate, Dr. Simon Hensen, who despite having a broken leg still rallied and came kayaking with us down the Huranui. Good on ya mate!

Kiwis are also rather legendary for their unique sense of humor...which is demonstrated below. This actually has everything to do with kayaking, at the same time as having nothing...

And lastly, having nothing to do with Kiwis, or New Zealand...

Another good mate of mine, Joey Hall, has recently produced a new website for his company Deadman Productions. Deadman is a sort of bastard child of all of Joey's combined talents, which include graphic design, illustration, web design, video production, and more. The new site sports samples of his past work, (like the rad-as design pictured above...everyone should write Joey and get him to make a Deadman t-shirt with this design on it!) and also includes ramblings, a Top 5, a "Mix of the Week" and more. Mixed tapes are BACK!!!! Check the freshness HERE!

Until next time, Catch yuns on down the trail.