Waihi Stream is a Kayaker's dream, a 1km stretch of whitewater that drops 100m's over smooth Papa (A soft, clay like rock found in abundance on NZ's east coast), with road acess put-in and take-out. Josh Neilson and Matt Danes had scouted this Jem a couple years back and have been waiting for a rain event big enough to over-flow the dam at the put-in.
I had arrived in New Zealand the day before and as always the boys were fired up to see another familar face back in Okere Falls. When Sanga (Sam Roil) showed up proclaiming that it was bucketing down rain on the east coast we quickly made arrangements to get there. Within 48hrs of touching down in NZ I was rolling off the lip of a swollen brown Maraetotra Falls, followed by a run down the lower stretches. But this was only to be the warm up. With all the river graphs reading beautiful vertical lines reaching the upper limits of all time records, this was are chance to check out Waihi.
Not knowning if it would be spilling the dam, we made the 1.5hr drive from Hastings into the ranges around Waikaramoana. Finally reaching the bridge above the put-in, well its really hard to explain the feeling - maybe similar to waiting 2 years for the perfect X-mas gift then getting it and realising it was 10x better than you imagined, but thats how we all felt as we saw a perfect foot of water spilling the dam.
What followed may possibly be my best day of kayaking, at least Top 5.
Video by Josh Neilson - Southern Underground Productions
Photos coming soon.
Waiting for Rain,
Team Wave Sport