Wednesday, December 24, 2008

merry christmas ya all!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

!GLOBAL ECONOMIC CRISIS! -but the snow keeps melting and the rivers flow full!

All pics by me (Nick Gordon) unless otherwise credited.

Spring is prime time to go boating in the south of New Zealand, so what better plan than to quit your job (again), spend your savings on a beat up old van, and go run the shit with like minded legends. Of course we could heed the advice of the wise economist, huncker down, save that coin and weather the financial storm… but there would be no Xtreme after Team if we decided that was the way to live. Booyah!

I charged on down to CHCH and picked up this sweet thing. I had bought her on Trademe a few weeks prior just going on the pics that had been posted... test driving is fully overrated.

The Homy in all her glory.

First stop the Upper Waiau for some long weekend fun time.
Hiking over into the Upper Waiau.

Views like this kept the crew ploddin. KT gettin it done.

And with an evening like this who was to know.... we were gonna get snow!

The resurrected bivvy after a catastrophic failure due to unexpected snow loading. Unfortunately there were no practicing engineers present so we could only blame the heavens.

We got snowed on at night, we were hailed on during flight, we were shouted down by the gail who hid outta sight... we dominated!

From Left: Ben, Coop, Rach, Mike, Viv, Me, KT and James strikin up a grand finale pose.

After a soak at Hanmer and a bit a shut eye Coop, Ben and I were off south to score some Waikaia treats.
As usual we wern't disapointed.

Nick, Waikaia. Photo: Coop de loop Lambla

Runnin one of the burlier lines on the run, its actually a lot nicer with more water than less. We had a nice flow.
Paddler: Me Photo: Coop Lambla

The Waterfall of Death is a two tier drop which flows off the first 2.5-3m drop, takes a right angle bend to the right and then off the second 3-4m drop pictured below. A choice of three or four runnable lines off the first drop makes it a very funky rapid. I had a dodgy line getting shunted into the wall after the first drop and held there for some time way back in the shadows in the photo below. I managed to keep it under control holding rail and slowly ruddering to the position i am in in the shot below getting a hurried last minute boof stroke in to clean up the mess i was in. The others had mega lines down.
Me defying death on the Waterfall of Death after a hairy but upright line. Photo: Coop Lambla

Ben airin it out on the first drop. Coop to the left runnin that all important safety.

Ben Robson, sweet lines all day long....

Coop with a style line on the double drop.
1 of 2

2 of 2

We then rallied to Queenstown to get some of what the Nevis had waiting for us. On the way we showed QT what kayak scum is all about.
Quote Coop: "We couldn't afford a room at Rydges"

I was chargin on the Nevis, running a few apparently usual portages.

#1. Photo: Coop Lambla

#2. You wont believe me but I barely even got my hair wet. Bens got the film. Photo: Coop Lambla

#3. Photo: Coop Lambla

The runout to one of the many very continuous rapids on the river.
Sandy and Si spewin out the lines for us all day long.

But all good things must come to an end, unfortunately this was a pretty shit end for our day out. Sandy had run Big Brother (the top rapid in the pic below) among the other gnarl that was on offer only to pop his shoulder on some G4 boogy water. He swam some heinous little drops with his dislocated wing flapping around at the mercy of the rapids before getting to the side. Ben and Si paddled out the 40mins to call for a chopper. Three hours later and nearing nightfall we were stoked to hear the 'thunk' 'thunk' 'thunk' of the rescue chopper. We were greeted by a single policeman with "you must be in a lot of pain, sorry were a bit late!" No complaints from Sandy, just "no worries, get me the fuck outta here". So with his shoulder out for three hours and with failed efforts from Coop and me at relocating the shoulder, Sandy showed what a TC he is and hauled himself back up the river to where the chopper was perched on a massive rock (top left of the pic below). Sandy your the Man. Heal quick bro.

Sombre times. Sandy wrapped in a space blanket, Coop keepin his spirits alive and what was a sunny day turning into dusk.

We needed some cheering and the towns of Cromwell and Ross must have known. On consecutive nights we were greeted like kings and almost banished in the same instance. Coop decided he wanted to get real close to the action and drove onto the launch pad within 2 minutes of detonation. Lucky hes a smooth talker "oh yer sorry mister, we were just trying to turn around". And since when has a barrier ever meant keep out? sheesh!

Me. 'Showcase' on the Taipo. Photo: Simon Henson

I then made it back to CHCH, boasted to Nev about all the cool shit I was up to and then told him to get back to the study while I set off for round two on the Waikaia. Haha, I mustn't have made that easy for you aye bro. Cheers for puttin me up!
Kent Huxford on the Waterfall of Death. Much lower flow than last time.

Si had been lonely since his main bro Sandy was outta action. He was stoked to see me back in town and keen for some huckin. Si and I hit Nevis Bluff and Citroen while we waited for Ben and Kent to shimmy on down from CHCH and Wanaka respectively. The Waikaia was the go once again. Lower water meant we could clear logs from the cave entrance to get this little gem cleaned up and free flowing once again.
Si (Rudsy) with the massive over boof. If you look hard you can see light through the cave entrance above the falls.

Nev goes the big 2-1!

Art by Rach Saartoff, captured by me.

The next day Nev's flatmate Andy lined up the free diving catch of his life.


Nev and Gaz giving me that all important safety net from the eddy below.... the high five.
Photo: Rach Saartoff. Styx river, West Coast.

The last two weeks have been special with Nev and Rach rollin in the Homy with me. Always a mission on the mind, a smile on the face and a mean feed. Even eel for breakfast! Gosh, we did roll in style.
Ma 'Homys' Rach and Nev at the Crooked put in.

Wilzy showin us grandpas how the new school rolls... mad style. Crooked River, West Coast.

Team Epic... i mean .. um .. er..... prepared?? hmmm. Dando musta been shakin his head lookin at my sorry ass haul itself into the whirly bird. Funny where a handful've cash 'll get you aint it.
From Left: Nick Gordon, Wilzy Martin, Cooper Lambla, Nev Wilson, Mike Nash. Arahura River, West Coast.

-a big long story of epic proportions goes in this space but it's long... infact it went past midnight including a 111 call and SAR, but like i said.... its long, so ask either Mike, Nev, Coop, Wilzy or me for the low down-
Mike 'MacGuiver' Nash launching off Dent Falls, Arahura River. RIP Burnie.

To wrestle with the Homy and win is a feat only mother nature could pull off. "Wind so strong it peels gutters off a Homy and destroys Thule racks" its a myth that will be told through the generations of kayakers to come. At least we got two unreal runs down the Totara'bezi' at its wambezi-best. The rocks rolling on the bottom of the river bed actually sounded like thunder over our heads. Insanely good times.
Coops shiny new Magnum 80 once again showed us that its not afraid to tackle the big stuff be it on the river or the side of the road destroying fence posts as they got in its way.

We hauled another monsta cray from the depths. Stretched out he measured the length of an arm! Needless to say we dined very well once again. Bam!
Spied by Nev (glove and flipperless - Nev style) and hauled outta the depths by 'Action Man' Gordon.
Photo: Rach Saartoff.

With full bellies we headed off up the Perth.
The back of my head. Photo: Nev Wilson

Sam and Nev charging on the Perth River, West Coast.

The coast definitely delivers on the sunset front. Okarito, South Westland.

Thats been the most of my 5 weeks trippin
around the south gettin some quality time with quality people in quality NZ. Bring on the summer time sunshine. Did someone say Crisis??

Cheers to all you that put me up for a night or three. See you again in Jan!

Nick and the Homy