Sand Flies, Sheep, Helicopters and Rain??

New Zealand, Kia Ora.

Having packed up and fled the oncoming winter in BC I have found myself working for a Helicopter rafting company in Greymouth on the West Coast of the South Island NZ.

This is a land of abundant gradient and terrible access, either walk through the mud with your boat, or my new favorite, the Helicopter! With the Southern Alps right behind us there are dozens upon dozens of rivers and creeks fed by snow and glacial melt combined with an annual rainfall of over 4 meters a year.

However it hasn’t rained for a month! This is a West Coast drought and the rivers are getting low, low, low. (Pray for rain)
Since being here we have picked of some classic runs including the Arahura, Upper Crooked, Upper Kokapotahi, Whataroa and more. On off days there is often pumping surf close by to keep you entertained.

Early Last month I hooked up with Lofty from Paddler Zone in Christchurch, New Zealands Fluid distributors, and we made our way out to the man made course at Tekapo for round two of the new NZ freestyle series.

I jumped into a flirt for the two day event with an “Extreme” ball race and freestyle competition in the small shallow hole. Thanks must go to Antz Longman and Cumec Magazine for putting on the event. I took away 3rd place to a fleet of Bliss Stick kayaks.

For a country with more sheep than people New Zealand has some of the best paddling I have seen any where. If you are prepared to trudge through the mud or hire a helicopter and put up with the swarms of sand flies then you wont be disappointed.

Cheers Ben Earle.

Thanks to:
Fluid kayaks, WRSI, Paddler and Cumec magazine (www.cumecmagazine.com)

Its Raining today!!!!!!!!!

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