Wednesday, March 12, 2008
A Southern Boy Goes Further South: Rapid Ridin' in New Zealand!!!
New Zealand. These two words have just always automatically come out of my mouth whenever anyone has ever asked me where in the world is Carmen Sandiego. No, wait...when they ask me where in the world, if I could go anywhere, I'd like to go. Yeah, that's right, Carmen Sandiego might be in New Zealand as well, but that just rolled off the tongue too well not to write. That was an amazing show, by the way. If I had a show called "Where in the World is Cooper Lambla," New Zealand would be the correct answer at the moment. Sadly, my name doesn't have the same ring as Carmen Sandiego, so I'm just going to say, that New Zealand is the JAM!!!
I've been here since New Year's Day, and have been paddling all summer, all over the country. Starting up on the North Island, and working my way south to the South Island throughout the summer, I've been able to get a great taste of what whitewater action New Zealand has to offer. (Click on the map to see a rough idea of my route thus far!) This is the first installment of many, recapping my dream summer vacation, paddling my heart away, in one of the most amazing places in the world...New Zealand.
Walking through the airport with three kayaks is a sure way to get some funny looks. Most people would just stare, and then sputter something like, "You're going to have some fun, aren't you?" "Yes I am!!!" I'd reply...and I have!!!! One Boogie, an Astro and a Magnum are a perfect combination of kayaks to bring to a foreign country for a year's study. Whatever condition of paddling arises, you are equipped with the best kayak possible to optimize those conditions!
After landing in Auckland, I immediately headed straight for the closest whitewater...The Kaituna. While not containing the grade V heli-boating that makes New Zealand famous among the creeking crowd, the Kaituna pleases on a whole different level. "Sweet as" playspots, clean drops, warm water, and a great atmosphere are what you get when you take a float trip down the Kaituna. I couldn't have asked for anything better to start off my summer adventure. Here I am boofing the Weir. (Photos by: Wheels)
The Kaituna is most famous for its bigger drop in the middle of the run named Tutea Falls, as well as the Take-out hole, named...The Take-out Hole. (So Original!) Because these features are so amazing and famous, I didn't take any photos of them. The camera did, however, come out below the take-out at a drop called Trout Pool Falls. This is a picture of me running the Falls of the Pool that supposedly has Trout in it. It has an amazingly stout hydraulic at the bottom. Since I brought three kayaks down to New Zealand, I decided to take the one that was most likely throw-down the hardest, if I got caught in the hole at the bottom off this drop...I didn't get caught, and there was no throwing down, I was happy, and there was much rejoicing.
And that was only my first day of paddling in New Zealand!!! There are tons more pictures, even more stories, and then maybe a little video action (coming from Rapid Transit), if you kiddies out there behave! Make sure you keep tuning in here to the Team Riot Blog for more updates as the action moves South to the real goodies!!!
In the mean-time check out a new post I put up on my website, Downstream Movement, for the real story of how a Southern Boy went further south. (There ARE points below the Mason-Dixon line that are further south than THE South, and they aren't even named "The South." I know it's amazing, truly remarkable, and I'm still having a hard time getting over it. I think I'll cope, but we'll see.) (While The South Island does contain the words "The South" in its title, it is not referred to as "The South." Its official nick-name is "The Mainland" therefore still further south than THE South, and still not called "The South.")
Until next time, this has been Cooper Lambla sayin' Kia Ora! from Tutea Falls on the River Kaituna, in NEW ZEALAND!!!! (I still can't believe that I'm actually here!)