Saturday, July 16, 2016

Kawarau River - New Zealand

New Zealand is famous, or infamous, for it's rivers and whitewater. Pristine, remoteness, continuous gradient and often helicopter access are all images that resonate when people dream about paddling in New Zealand. There is one thing, however, that people do not think about and that is "Big Water'. No, New Zealand cannot compete with the Himalaya and the Coastal Range of BC for their big water titles but there are are still a few gems to be had. The North Island has Aratiatia and Huke Falls on the Waikato River and in the South we have the Kawarau. With David Bain over from the UK and Ari and myself not working for the entire summer, we continually found ourselves back there to paddle the warm and exhilarating rapids of the K, namely Nevis Bluff, Citroen and Retrospect. 

 Jordy entering Nevis Bluff

Road side, but you feel isolated in there

 Ari about to enter the 3rd part of the Bluff

Stoked to rip the Braaap in there.  

David launching

 Adrian Kiernan feeling small. 

Ari on Citroen.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Karangarua River - New Zealand

In 2015 Jordy Searle was awarded the North Face Expedition Adventure Grant - 2015, with the objective of paddling the Karangarua River, NZ. The expeditions goals were:

(i) to paddle the Karangarua from it's source, adding 12km to the lower Karangarua and being the first people to paddle the entire river. 

(ii) To highlight the importance and value of rivers on the West Coast, by illustrating the beauty, recreational value and fruitfulness of the Karangarua Wilderness Area.

(iii) To provide sufficient social media, through our blog, Facebook page, NZ Adventure Article and potentially a news article, to contribute to point (ii) and ultimately to inspire other young New Zealanders. In essence, to illustrate that people can achieve their goals if they’re willing to sacrifice and work hard towards them. 

In late November Jordy, Ari Walker and David Bain scouted the entire river, leaving with the impression that is was a possible and worthy adventure. 

 David scouting the section just below Christmas Hut

We used a drone to help with scouting, incredible scenery

 Jordy and Ari scouting the 'Serpent Gorge'

Trying to see as much as possible...

Less than two weeks later the team, this time with Barny Young, returned to the Karangarua and paddled it from it's source at Christmas Hut down to the confluence with the Copland River.

 James leaving us at Christmas Hut, the trip was all go.

 The team committing to the Upper Gorge
 David putting a lot of faith in 3 sapplings.

 Not the usual scene for a couple of kayakers

 About 1/4 of the way through the first cascade portage

 Working and being rewarded at the same time

 The drop below the First Cascade portage

Barny cashing in too

Barny and Ari stoked to link some moves

 Ari is a big guy, but is dwarfed by the Karangarua

Barny accepting his reward

 The 'Reward Falls', after the second cascade portage

 Paddling the section below Cassel Flat with the added water from
the Douglas River.

This definitely wasn't a classic but was a worthwhile adventure and would be worth doing again, for a crew with the right skill-set and mindset. Get after it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Gradient & Water Calendar 2016

We're back again and stoked to be sharing the past years experiences through another picture calendar! And it has been an EPIC year all around, starting with an expedition to Brazil, spring in the Pacific North-West, Summer in Norway and other bits and pieces thrown into the mix. Contributing photographers are Ari Walker, Barny Young, Blair Trotman, Jordy Searle and Shea Kitchin. We're lucky to have the support of Liquid Logic Kayaks, Kokatat, Werner Paddles, Snapdragon, Earth Sea Sky, Watershed and the NZ based Performance Paddling, thanks team! We appreciate the support over the last 6 years while producing this calendar and thank you again for you support in 2016! 



NZ Sales Only

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Norway 2015 - High Water and Big Lines.

Norway has always been that destination for me, the one I have always wanted and the one I was always nervous of. Its reputation of pushy, stout, 'high-volume' creeks was always alluring, and 2015 would be all that and more. With a near record snow pack in Western Norway, everything was going to be high... but we didn't realise exactly the extent of what we are about to drop in to. Ari Walker and Sam Grafton were also keen to escape the drought of the Western USA, so we booked tickets and gave ourselves 26 days in country. This would turn out to be more than long enough. 

Ari Walker - Myrkdalselva

Sam Grafton - Lake to Lake

 Ari Walker - Eskingdalen

 Dag Sandvik - Branseth

Jordy Searle - Money Drop

Jordy Searle - Tyselva

Adrian Kiernan - Tiegdal

Ari Walker - Teigdal "Double-Drop"

Jordy Searle - First D of Upper Hildalselvi

Jordy Searle - Bottom Tora Slide

 Ari Walker - Matze's

 Anton Immler - Gaula #3

And these are just some of the highlights. High water made things scary and somethings impossible. We didn't even manage to get on the Rauma or Raundelselva, but there is always next time, right?