30 July 2008

New Zealand Open '08'

Hey team, Sanga here. Me and Soph are down at the Burton open in Wanaka for the week so I thought I'd chuck a little update on here.
The reason we're here is through a company called High Cascade who do snowboard camps in the U.S and they're setting one up here in September. They have a deal with the dudes who run the open where they provide volunteers for the week and the open lets them put up a tent on site.
So for us this means we get a fully paid trip for seven days and get to watch the best riders in NZ throw down for the week. Burton has hooked us up with heaps of free stuff which is mint and we get a vip pass to all the gigs and after parties.

Our week so far has been sick! (if not completely tiring). We have to be on the mountain at six am which is pretty savage but we get a sweet brekkie. Then we set up all the sponsor banners on the pipe and slopestyle. We usually get a break to go riding, then we have to marshall the events for the day. All the big dogs turned up today for the slopestyle and some of the stuff they were doing is freakish (backside rodeo 5's and corked nines mup!!).

We rocked out at the opening party last night so its been a haul and we're pretty much living on coffee and red bull (there's like cases of it just lying around all over the show). Tonight we're going to the movie premiere for the new Burton movie and tomorrow the proper partying starts....

The net is rubbish here so i cant get pics but will get some on later. Peace.

9 July 2008

West Coast

Well...It's that time of year again when it snows quite often, heavy frosts are not a rarity, and we decide to go kayaking! The plans were delayed a day because of the closure of Arther's pass but this didn't stop us from having our winter adventures in the mountain valleys behind Hokitika.

It all started with Jarred bowling into my room Sunday morning, driving through snow and ice, losing a boat off the roof at 110, and some very to quality white water to be kayaked with not a moment to spare.

On Sunday we started walking at quite a fast pace into the Styx at 3 for an hour to get the trip started. With a good flow we continued to move just as fast down the river to get to the car with not a second of light to spare.

With not much else running we decided to check out a new run, gave Dando a call, and before we knew it (or the sun knew it) we were waiting on a frosty morning for the humm of the helicopter. For a not so cheap fare we were picked up by Dando, flown as high as we could get to the bottom of Toaroha canyon, dropped of with our kayaks going even higher to a small beach somewhere, in search of the biggest drop thus far in Jarred's kayaking career.

After an hour of exploration we found what we were looking for. A sweet 25footer that flowed out of the bottom of the canyon. After a few descents of this and a swim we were off down the river in search of that illusive winter sunshine. The river was awesome with some cool pool drop moves and a couple of fun boulder gardens to boot.

The next day it was time for a sleep in to see if it would be any warmer if we let that sun have a crack at melting some of that frost... the only problem was the sun doesn't really penetrate very deep into the steep valleys of the west coast, especially not the Styx valley.

After a later than usual start we hiked on in to the Styx, a little higher this time, unfortunately with less water. It really is true, the higher you go the steeper it gets. With this in mind we started as high as we could force ourselves to walk giving us awesome, continuous, steep, creeking which was just what we want! With Jarred giving me some inside local info we traveled down some of the most fun white water I have ever done back to the car just in time to catch the sunset. Choice!

1 July 2008

Mardi Gras '08

Who said kayaking was a summer sport....

The plan was: Sanga and Butters roll from the Bay on Saturday morning and meet up with Jamie in Waiouru who was doing the hitching mish. Then we were going to meet up with another crew and go run the Waihohonu on the desert road. After this it was mardi gras time on Saturday night and a hangover paddle at Kaituna on Sunday. Mean I hear you say.... Little did we know...

The weekend of the 28th will go down as one of the epic-ist (yes its a word) of the year so far. Well for Sanga, Butters and Jamie anyway.

It started off at 7.30am for the three of us, only we were all starting in different parts of the country. Jamie started with his thumb out on the side of the road in Waikanae and Butters and Sanga started in the Hawkes Bay.

As it turned out there was a slight hiccup in the weather and Sanga/Butters had to use the rolla as a snow plough to clear the Taihape road which had about a foot of snow on it on the way to Waiouru. Luckily the rolla is a beast (the thirstiest beast in the world as it turns out), and all was kosher. Jamie rolled into Waiouru 45mins later very, very, happy with himself and life in general (can't say why). By this time we had discovered the other crew weren't coming which was average but nevertheless, we went off to do the Waihohonu. By the time we did the shuttle and put on it was snowing pretty hard and we got some weird looks walking down the desert road in all our gear. It was a sweet run with a funny incident at the end involving a 25 foot concrete slide -"just tuck up bro, it'll be sweet"

After this it was off to Ohakune to celebrate/prepare for the next day. The night was a stunner despite getting a flat battery (one of many) from listening to the stereo with the car off;

AA lady, "Hello how can I help?"

Sanga, (slurring slightly) "Hurro we're th' only car in O'kune wif kayaks on the roof cin u send someone to fix it?"

The night was a stunna! 4 goons + 3 of us...Probably the less said from here the better. But Jamie did some how scam a ride on the kamikaze. (the sweet show ride that was there)

The next day we awoke to more snow, another flat battery (simple minds people, simple minds..) and news that all the roads out of Ohakune were closed due to snow. After a couple of hours of waiting, the roads were good to go and we were off in our petrol drinking beast. It was all looking good for a few relaxing afternoon runs on Kaituna, when all of a sudden Jamie awoke from feeling sorry for himself and noticed the level at the control gates in Taupo looked suspiciously low....

Heart rates started to rise as we walked onto the bridge at Huka and saw it was at a mint flow. Not paddling it was not an option as it was Sanga and Butters' first time and Jamie's first in a playboat. Everything went sweet and it was three very amped boys at the bottom pool.

From here we continued on our way, it was finally time to head to the Kaituna! We arrived there with an hour of light left and managed to sneak in two cheeky runs that couldn't have happened without the help of Sam's sister as shuttle bunny. That was choice! Then we headed back to the Hawkes Bay to end a primo weekend.