39 minute read

NZ Kayak Magazine Preview Issue 92

Issue 92

A Sport for Life

- Interview with John “Shakey” Flemming

A River Flows to the Sea

- Paddling the Length of the Motueka River

Pucón, Chile

- A Village that Lies at the Foot of an Active Volcano

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A River Flows to the Sea by Nathan Fa’avae

PAGE 12 Issue 92 Summer 2019www.kayaknz.co.nz

Pictured from top left (clockwise): Sampling the Gelato, One of the many dinners eating El Fresco, Pizza night, Lunch en-route - a simple affair, Antipasto galore, and some of the many delicious breakfast cakes (centre).

www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 92 Summer 2019 PAGE 13

According to many a great song writer, a river flows to the sea.

It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m bashfully embarrassed that it has taken me so long to do it, a 100% authentic source to sea trip on a significant New Zealand river. I live in Tasman, close to Motueka, a small town nestled on the coast, a sand throws distance to the Abel Tasman National Park and situated beneath Kahurangi National Park, two gems of the crown lands. I live in the region for the world class outdoor adventure opportunities, the climate and a laid-back way of life - going to the supermarket in bare feet - that type of thing. The Motueka River is part of daily life for most locals, they cross the river regularly, it’s enjoyed for kayaking, swimming, fishing, white baiting and commercially it irrigates much of the horticulture along its banks. I wouldn’t say it’s the life blood of the town, but it’s certainly high value to the region.

Over my sporting years I have traveled most of the river but not all of it, there were some sections that I had in mind I’d like to see one day. Standing on top of a high ridge in Mount Richmond Forest Park in 2018 on an ultra-clear day, the landscape below me looked like a well-made hand-crafted papier mache model. It struck me how much the path of the Motueka River stood out, carving its way through valleys out to the sea at Riwaka, near Kaiteriteri Beach, and I thought, how special would it be to travel the entire length of the river?

PAGE 14 Issue 92 Summer 2019

“Let’s find out” I said to the party as we had lunch on the summit of Red Hill (1791m), the highest mountain in the park, which also forms the cradle where the Motueka River springs. It was early January, I was with my wife Jodie and my three children Jessie (16), Zefa (14) and Tide (12). Our intrepid friends Mark and Wendy with their daughters Kyla (15) and Nika (12) had joined us for the admittedly uncreative but aptly named trip ‘The Motueka Source to Sea’

From the summit our plan was simple, descend. We had logistics set up for a weeklong trip, but we were well aware there was many unknowns. Out there in the wilderness, mainly in the upper gorges, were sections that none of us had traveled through before. We didn’t know anyone who had, and we couldn’t find any trip information, so for us it was true blue adventure, outcomes uncertain.

The weather forecast for the week was burning sunshine and clear skies, so entering canyons didn’t have any risk of flash flooding.

The Red Hills is an impressively unique area, essentially a jumble of ultramafic rock. It is very high in minerals, mainly iron, copper, and chrome, it’s practically impossible for vegetation to grow, except for a few hardy plants. The result is a landscape that could be expected on another planet, maybe what Proxima Centauri looks like.

The Motueka River is claimed to be 116 km, but I had my Xmas present along for the ride, a Suunto9 GPS wristwatch, which suggested our route including every twist and turn was closer to 140km. I’m not sure where Wikipedia did their measurement from, but I doubt they travelled the river like we did. www.kayaknz.co.nz

Descending from Red Hill it didn’t take us long to find the first trickle of water seeping out of the rocks. This was a monumental part of our journey, from this point on we would never be more than a few metres from the water. In high spirits we set off, first stop, a swimming hole.

The first day we were treated to one pristine swimming hole to the next, it was a blistering hot day and the water was crisp and rejuvenating. The water in the upper Motueka River has been recorded as some of the cleanest river water in New Zealand and it’s not difficult to see why, it’s basically rainwater dropping onto rock, there’s almost nothing to discolour or pollute it.

We enjoyed numerous soaks and long refreshing drinks as we boulder hopped down the valley. We were all amazed at how quickly the trickle had established itself into a real river, it happened very fast.

By late afternoon we started to look for a campsite, there were some sandy clearings amongst the rocks so we sought out some areas for tents. There was ample daylight to push on but wanted to enjoy a night camping in the Red Hill area, absorbing the landscape and what we knew would be a remarkable starry night sky, something that would have inspired Vincent van Gogh.

Our campsite didn’t disappoint, we reveled in the remoteness, the wild open space, real fresh air and of course the simplicity of living out of a backpack.

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Our next day would see us transition out of the Red Hills and into beech forest. The morning was a mixture of climbing, traversing and swimming. We had to navigate through numerous small gorges, it was insanely picturesque, and we tried to absorb as much of the wonder as we could. It was and is such a stunning place. We crossed the Te Araroa Trail at Te Araruahinewai and soon after entered the forest. The map contours hinted that there was a chasm about 1km long to pass. This had the potential to be a show stopper. With trepidation we slowly made our way into the chasm, mindful that we always need to have a retreat option, but instead we were treated to an amazing slot of smooth and sculptured rock, with the river gracefully carving its way through. We jumped in and swam, with grins that would still be glowing well into the evening.

We doubted the trip could get any better, but as we team-talked around the campfire about day three, we reminded ourselves that we still had one more significant gorge to get through before we got into familiar waters.

www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 92 Summer 2019 PAGE 15

PAGE 16 Issue 92 Summer 2019www.kayaknz.co.nz

Well slept and well fed, we were underway again, walking and floating downstream, river people. We were traveling in what the map said was the right branch and the last section looked ominous before the left branch joined. As we got closer to the gorge the sound of cascading water suggested there was a bigger gradient drop and some caution was needed. After clambering and scouting we found a safe route through which involved using a safety rope to lower people down a rock wall. We later spotted

another route that could have avoided using the rope, but we’d carried it so it was good to use it. Reaching the confluence, we took a break for lunch and celebratory fist pumps. We had made it through the part of the trip that we had anticipated could have easily put an end to our source to sea goal, but the river had been kind and we were thankful.

Supplies were low so we carried on for a few more hours to reach the

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www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 92 Summer 2019 PAGE 17

main Motueka Gorge. Prior to the trip we had stashed pack rafts and a resupply of food for the next section.

We pumped up the pack rafts, loaded our gear and started paddling. We had 40 km of pack rafting in a relatively small river to reach Tapawera, where we had kayaks and more supplies waiting. We figured we’d have two nights camping with the pack rafts.

The shallow river made it hard going at times, with people having to drag the boats and occasionally unload to portage around fallen trees. The morning of day four was cloudy with some brief rain showers. What we didn't know until the next morning was that it was raining steady in the headwaters and that the river rise overnight. Luckily, we had secured the boats otherwise we would have woken to some missing gear.

Living in, on or next to the river was easy and pleasurable. We commented a few times that while we’d been out for multiple days, we all felt clean and refreshed because we were constantly in the water.

Reaching Tapawera on the morning of day five we were ready for our kayaks; the pack rafts had served their purpose but the idea of being in hard shell plastic kayaks was appealing. The river was up and not far downstream the Wangapeka River joined, bringing a major volume of water to the party.

The summer was still raging hot so arriving in the township of Tapawera the kids (and adults) sped to the chilled food and beverage selection at the Four Square, a well-earned moment of decadence. We then loaded up two inflatable kayaks as gear boats and launched the seven river boats: the flotilla was mobile. Our goal for the day was to reach the Graham River confluence, 50 km from that morning’s campsite. We felt we needed to reach that point so the following day we’d be able to paddle out to the sea on the high tide.


Freshwater pests, including didymo and lake snow, could squeeze the life out of our country’s most precious rivers and lakes. They can be spread by a single drop of water. Help protect your favourite waterway. Always CHECK, CLEAN, DRY any equipment that comes into contact with the water, between every waterway, every time.




December 2018

PAGE 18 Issue 92 Summer 2019


The Motueka River by now had grown to a significant grade two level, with regular rapids and deep pools to swim in. We were on familiar water now, so the final day allowed us cruise along knowing we were going to complete the trip: it was a superb time for reflection. As the river flowed out onto the delta we could look back at the faraway mountains where we had started six days prior.

The river had provided us a safe passage and treated us to countless incredible experiences, cleansing swims, idyllic campsites. Many of the places the river took us had been amazing. It hadn’t been an easy trip by any stretch, we’d done some big days, we’d had some anxious moments as to whether we could actually get through some parts, and we’d had to contend with some very low water paddling in the upper reaches, the reality of a source to sea, but it was undoubtably worth it.

I’ll admit it was emotional floating out of the river mouth and into the salt water. To see our river in its entirety and the story it tells through the flow, it was a moving in more ways than one, an enriching and connecting experience.

www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 92 Summer 2019 PAGE 19

Delta Kayaks Have Landed!

At Delta, they build only thermoformed touring kayaks because they believe in the technology, their kayak designs and their state-of-the-art manufacturing techniques. They’re proud to craft their kayaks in coastal British Columbia and feel there’s no better place to prove their designs. And they make kayaks for everyone, from beginner to expert, because they believe every paddler deserves a well-crafted kayak that suits their own style and ability. Delta’s focus has always been to build the world’s finest thermoformed kayaks in North America, and we think their quality kayaks speak to the value of doing one thing and doing it well. That’s the Delta difference.


Delta’s skilled workers carefully craft every Delta kayak using a proprietary blend of thermoplastic materials. An ABS base layer provides superior impact-resistance and rigidity, while the Solarkote exterior surface contributes outstanding abrasion and UV resistance for a smooth, bright finish and vibrant, lasting colours. Their kayaks have higher impact strength than composite fibreglass boats and hold their shape better than polyethylene kayaks. The first thing you’re likely to notice, however, is their weight. Thanks to their advanced thermoform construction, Delta kayaks are not just tough and good-looking—they’re also among the lightest on the market.


The multi-position Contour II Seat System allows you to personalize your fit for comfort and performance. The seat and backrest are cushioned with channel-vented foam for excellent drainage and airflow, while the five-position indexing system makes back-and-forth seat adjustments easy. This feature allows you to fine-tune the distance to the foot braces, the position of your thighs for maximum control, and adjust boat trim. The backrest height and incline are also fully adjustable, and the system can be further customized using the Delta Hip Pad Fit Kit. All seat adjustments are easy to make on the fly, so you can focus on the adventures ahead of you instead of the seat beneath you.


Consideration for the environment is an important part of their philosophy at Delta Kayaks. While you are enjoying your kayak in the outdoors, you can be confident in the knowledge that Delta Kayaks are made from materials and construction methods that tread lightly on our planet. The materials used to make Delta Kayaks are safe to manufacture and are completely recyclable. 100% of their scrap material is collected and repurposed so there is no waste.

Delta Kayaks: Proudly made in North America

WOW! was the first thing I said when I saw these kayaks, the shape and finish is stunning and then it only gets better.

When I first slipped into them I noticed just how smooth every thing is, there are no sharp bits or rough bits anywhere on the kayak and the fit is so snug, the foot peg and steering adjustments are super easy and the rudder up haul works with just two fingers, it is effortless, the hatches are unique and simple and during extreme testing held up as well as any other system would.

Then it just gets better and better as lifting them on to the roof rack another WOW! they are so light and this is always one of the biggest issues for me, yes I can lift 30 kg above my head and I have been doing that daily for 30 years now, but lifting these is just so easy it takes away the hard work.

Then the last WOW! is paddling them, every fitting works so well, they are stable when you first hop in and then if you are an advanced paddler the secondary stability is amazing and allows for easy hip steering and advanced strokes (great secondary stability is when a kayak is leant over it tries to hold itself up)

To comment on each boat individually is so hard, I have always said that we (the Canoe & Kayak Team) should be happy paddling in any kayak we sell and that is absolutely the case with these three kayaks.

Try them out and you will be amazed. WOW! - Peter Townend

PAGE 22 Issue 92 Summer 2019www.kayaknz.co.nz


The Delta 15s is an ideal choice for small and medium-sized paddlers seeking a performance kayak with great cruising speed, exceptional tracking and superior edging. Quick, responsive and easy to handle, the 15s is perfect for seasoned paddlers or those seeking to take their skills to the next level. It combines sleek lines with a cockpit tailored for an intimate fit, including combings that won’t catch your elbows and a low-slung seat that delivers exceptional primary stability. With abundant storage and a rudder, the 15s is ideal for extended touring as well as ocean play.

Masterful at the Midsize Range

The Delta 15s combines sleek lines with a smaller fitting cockpit to create an exceptional kayak suited for medium to smaller framed paddlers. Weighing just 20 kg it offers quick, responsive handling with reassuring primary and secondary stability while effortlessly holding its course. Feature highlights include Delta’s proprietary Press-Lock Hatch System, low profile front day-hatch, and multi-position Contour II Seat System.



• Delta’s comfy multi-position Contour II Seat System

• Smaller cockpit at 149 litres

• Easy access day hatch pod

• Easy to use rudder with seadog foot pedal system

• Press-Lock hatch system

• Bow and Stern paddle parks

• Curved bulkheads giving more rigidity

• Comfortable dual density carry handles front and rear

• 167 litres of hatch storage (excluding the day hatch)

• Comprehensive deck rigging

• Recessed Bungees

• Safety Grab ropes

• Tamper-proof locking point

• Manufacturers three-year limited warranty

Length: 4.57 metres Width: 559 mm Weight: 20 kg

A lively little boat that was desperate to surf. Adjusting the seat and foot pedals at sea was a breeze. - James Fitness

www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 92 Summer 2019 PAGE 23


Excelling in rough seas, surf and wind, the elegant Delta 16 offers a balanced combination of manoeuvrability and tracking. This nimble sea kayak stays the course in challenging conditions, holds a lively pace with ease and has plenty of storage capacity for multi-day exploration. With substantial rocker and a moderately concave sidewall, the Delta 16 edges with a satisfying bite and turns on a dime. At 16 feet, its performance envelope is best explored by a medium-sized paddler. Features include a low-profile front day hatch, Press-Lock hatches, our Contour II Seat System, and rudder.


• Delta’s comfy multi-position Contour II Seat System

• Large cockpit at 161 litres

• Easy access day hatch pod

• Easy to use rudder with seadog foot pedal system

• Press-Lock hatch system

• Bow and Stern paddle parks

• Curved bulkheads giving more rigidity

• Comfortable dual density carry handles front and rear

• 199 litres of hatch storage (excluding the day hatch)

• Comprehensive deck rigging

• Safety Grab ropes

• Tamper-proof locking point

• Manufacturers three-year limited warranty


Length: 4.88 metres Width: 559 mm Weight: 21 kg

The Delta 16 paddles very well with great primary and secondary stability. Handles the rough stuff and surfs well. Very manoeuvrable when using the rails while still maintaining a good speed for a 4.9 m kayak. The finish is outstanding. - Russell Williams

PAGE 24 Issue 92 Summer 2019www.kayaknz.co.nz


Performance Touring and Style

The Delta 17 is an excellent choice for paddlers looking to cruise on lakes, paddle extended trips or have fun in ocean swells. The Delta 17 is a veritable champion in the surf and delivers its abilities with speed and grace. Its V-shaped hull, pronounced chine and moderate rocker offer paddlers a smooth transition to edge and impressive tracking. It features our Press-Lock hatch system, multi-position Contour II Seat System, front deck Day-Pod, dual-density soft grip handles and innovative bungee risers.


• Delta’s comfy multi-position Contour II Seat System

• Large cockpit at 179 litres

• Sculptured foredeck

• Easy access day hatch pod

• Easy to use rudder with seadog foot pedal system

• Press-Lock hatch system

• Bow and Stern paddle parks


Length: 5.18 metres Width: 572 mm Weight: 22.6 kg

• Curved bulkheads giving more rigidity

• Comfortable dual density carry handles front and rear

• 258 litres of hatch storage (excluding the day hatch)

• Comprehensive deck rigging

• Safety Grab ropes

• Tamper-proof locking point

• Shallow V hull with moderate rocker

• Stern Spare Paddle Park

• Manufacturers three-year limited warranty

A very roomy cockpit and a stable platform, She picked up speed with ease. Perfect for expeditions. - James Fitness

www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 92 Summer 2019 PAGE 25

Tide Waits For No Man

By James Fitness

Full Moon from Hereheretaura Pa

Understanding tidal movement is essential in undertaking safe navigation.Simply, if there is insufficient depth of water, you may not have enough water to paddle or you may be paddling against a foul tide.

Diagram 1: Cause of Tides

Spring Tide


HWNew Moon

Tides are the periodic rise and fall, or vertical movement of the levels

of the world’s oceans. The difference between tides and tidal flows orcurrents must be appreciated. Tides affect only the depth of water. Tidalflows are the horizontal movement caused by tides, and effect the trackand Speed Over Ground (SOG) of a vessel.FullMoonWhat causes tide?


HWTides are generated by gravitational forces between the earth, moon and sun, by centrifugal force due to the Earth’s rotation, and by centrifugal force due to the Earth’s solar orbit.

Spring Tide

The moon has the greater gravitational effect, some 2.2 times greater

than the sun at the Earth’s surface. Because of it’s fluidity, water tends to accumulate on the parts of the Earth’s surface directly toward the moon and on the surfaces directly opposite the moon where centrifugal force of rotation exceeds the force of lunar gravity. Consequently, over all other areas the water levels are reduced. The aquatic bulge follows the moon as it orbits the Earth. A lunar month, the period between one full moon and the next, is 29.5 days.The moon also rotates on its axis once every 29.5Neap



Quarter Moon

PAGE 38 Issue 92 Summer 2019

www.kayaknz.co.nzdays in the opposite direction to its orbit, giving the appearance from Earth that it does not rotate.

Diagram 2: Tide Heights

Because of the Earth’s period of rotation, there are generally two high and two low tides per day at any given place,but they occur at times that change from day to day. The average interval between consecutive high tides is 12 hours 25 minutes. The gravitational effect of the Sun is similar and added to that of the Moon. The tides of largest range are called spring tides, and occur at New Moon, when the Moon and the Sun are in the same direction relative to Earth and at Full Moon, when they are in opposite directions. The tides of smallest range are called neap tides, and occur at intermediate phases of the Moon, at seven and a quarter days after new or full moon, in the first and last quarters, when the moon and sun are separated at 90 deg. and the gravitational effect of the sun diminishes that of the moon. The tidal range or the diffence in tidal height between High Water (HW) and Low Water (LW), is greater on a spring tide than that of a neap tide. A spring tide has higher high tides and lower low tides as the water has a stronger pull towards the moon and therefore a reduction in the height of the low tide.

This can be seen in Diagram 2, which shows the change in tidal height around the Mean Sea Level.

Chart datum is the water level that depths displayed on a nautical chart are measured from. Chart datum is normally the lowest astronomical tide possible.

Tidal Flow or Current

Tidal flow is caused by the movement of water from one location on the earth’s surface to another due to the orbit of the moon.

The rate of flow is not constant, it increases toward mid-tide before decreasing as slack water approaches. As a rule of thumb, the change of tidal height and the speed of the flow over this period can be calculated using the Rule of Twelfths. In the first hour the volume of water moving increases by 1/12, the second hour 2/12, the third hour 3/12, the fourth hour 3/12, the fifth hour 2/12 and the sixth hour 1/12. So ,1-2-3-3-2-1, equalling 12 units.

www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 92 Summer 2019 PAGE 39

Diagram 3: Rule of Twelfths

1st Hour 2nd Hour 3rd Hour 4th Hour 5th Hour 6th Hour Volume of Water

Slack Water

Mid -Tide. Max Flow

Slack Water







Rule of








Volume by


If you know the tidal range is 3.0 m and the charted height is 1.5 m, the depth will reduce in the first 1st hour by 300mm (10% of 3.0 m) , in the 2nd hour by 450 mm, the 3rd - 750 mm, 4th - 750 mm, 5th - 450 mm and 6th - 300 mm. See Diagram 3.

A 5 knot flow can be divided up in the same way, so the 1st hour will flow at 0.5 knots , 2nd hour 2.5 kn and so on.

Diagram 4: Speed Over Ground

So what?

We can use this information to work out when the best time to paddle around a headland or through a passage, so we’re not fighting the tide. In fact you can use it to your advantage.

Diagram 5: Course Over Ground





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PAGE 40 Issue 92 Summer 2019www.kayaknz.co.nz

Or you can plot a course to paddle across the tide, effectively ferry gliding across the tidal flow to get to where we want to go.

Diagram 6: Plotting a Course

Speed Over Ground (SOG) is the actual speed you travel across the sea bed.

In Diagram 4, you can see if you paddle with the tide, you’ll increase your SOG to 3 knots (your 1 Kn plus 2 Kn tide). Paddle against it, and you could be going backwards!

Course Over Ground (COG) refers to the actual course you travel across the sea bed.

When paddling across a current you’ll need to alter your course to take into account the current, heading upstream and ferry gliding along your desired course, in order to reach your destination. Your COG is your desired course from point A to B, but your heading may be 300 upstream of your desired course.

This can be plotted before you leave home.

If the passage will take approx. 1 hour, draw a vector for a one-hour passage on a chart. See Diagram 6.

Plot your desired course from A to B. Put two arrow heads on this.

You know the speed of the tide in knots, draw a line in the direction of the flow. For a 2-knot tide, 2 miles long. Put three arrow heads on this line.

Using dividers, measure out your boat speed in miles. E.g 3 knots = 3 miles/ hour.

From the end of the tidal vector, mark where the distance crosses the

desired course (Track). Draw a line with 1 arrow head. This is the actual course required to reach your destination. Using a ruler and the compass rose, you can now take a bearing off the chart to get the the course to steer. For a magnetic bearing, use the inner compass rose. This shows the magnetic bearing (as on a compass) as opposed to the outer ring that show True bearings (north at the top as on a chart).

So you can see, understanding tides and how they can affect your plans and is crucial to successful journey planning.

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www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 92 Summer 2019 PAGE 41

Pucón, Chile

A Village that Lies at the Foot of an Active Volcano

By Sam Ricketts

Sam in Perfect Storm- Photo Alex Nicks

PAGE 46 Issue 92 Summer 2019www.kayaknz.co.nz

Callaghan Creek- Photo by Kieran Brown

www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 92 Summer 2019 PAGE 47

Patagonia Chilena, in southern Chile, is a land of endless temperate rainforests. It boasts the Andes mountain range which bursts with active volcanoes and quality glacial rivers. Driving south from Chile’s capital Santiago are countless rivers to drive over and in my opinion this country has the highest concentration of classic runnable white water and waterfalls in the world.

Ten hours south of Santiago is one of Chile's most famous resort towns, Pucón. Pucón is surrounded by stunning volcanoes and sits at the foot of ‘Volcan Villarica’ which last erupted in the summer of 2015 giving off a tremendous lightshow. Plumes of smoke 28 km high bellowed out of the crater, tossing and spitting lava out in an amazing spontaneous fountain. During this eruption the main river flowing from the volcano itself, the Rio Turbio, flooded overnight due to the rapid melting of the ice and snow, and the resulting flash flood was so fierce that the highway bridge connecting Pucón to the south was destroyed. The town was on standby for evacuation and we were constantly on our toes anxiously listening for the alarm that sounded at midday every day. Luckily however, the lava flowed over the back side of the volcano saving the town from a disaster reminiscent of Pompeii. This was a crazy thing to experience firsthand.

Pucón has a huge increase in population over the summer months, being a small town of about 28,000 people it packs up pretty quickly and stays packed. I spent eight months living in Pucón over the 2014/15 summer season with the sole purpose of paddling as much of the amazing white water I could find. Arriving in the early spring was ideal for catching the first snowmelt, there was a whole lot of kayaking going on. The Puesco River was one of our main go-to rivers. The Puesco is a really busy and continuous 5 km section of Grade Four and Five. The water is drinkable, it passes through ancient forest, and

is shadowed by jagged peaks. Lanin, another much bigger volcano a little further away from Pucón’s Villarica is the Puesco’s main water source, and you can see this spectacular cone volcano covered in a thick blanket of snow as you drive to the put in. Before the river dried up I participated in the first Puesco Fest - three days of live music, Grade Five racing and festivities - one of the best events I've ever experienced! We made the most of the water before the snowpack receded mid- summer, but the kayaking season doesn't stop there.

Hydroelectric projects threaten 59 rivers and streams of Pucón and surrounding districts. Natural flood control will disappear, and risks of flood downstream will increase. It was argued these projects would have created 300 temporary jobs, however it will hinder the natural beauty of this magnificent river and threaten the traditional lifestyles of its inhabitants forever.

It's a Shangri-La for the traveling kayaker and a perfect place to progress your skills in creeking and waterfall kayaking.

There was a big dam proposed on the Puesco, but with two years of constant fighting by the kayaking community, Puesco fest and the local Mapuche tribes, it was successfully stopped. This can't be said for the other rivers in the area, but it is a great start.

There are so many creeks and park-n-huck waterfalls it's hard to pick some days... creeks and rivers including the Fuy, the Nedvados and the Palgiun, Gol gol, Llancague, Puesco, and all of their sistering valleys and tributaries are classics. They all have amazing waterfalls and rapids with the odd portage. It's a Shangri- La for the traveling kayaker and a perfect place to progress your skills in creeking and waterfall kayaking.

I worked at a rafting company as a safety kayaker on the upper Rio Trankura for three months. It was busy, and I paddled amazing

Grade Four and Five waterfalls every day for work including a big rapid called ‘Salto Mariman’. This rapid is too big for the rafts, so the guides walk the customers around and rope the empty rafts down alone. Meanwhile, I was able to run the rapid, even a couple of times per trip. This was so beneficial to my kayaking, lots of busy moves to make in sequence and I was able to do it every day, training to be ready for the big rivers in the south and saving some cash for the couple months I was going to spend down there. I highly recommend Pucón as a place to work and paddle if you're looking for a kayaking vacation and an opportunity to make some extra cash on the side... I suggest you learn at least basic Spanish to make your life a little easier starting off, although the Chileans like to speak very quickly and use a lot of slang; they are also known to have one of the funniest and wild accents in the whole of South America. The nightlife in Pucón is constant and vibrant, and kayakers are very popular around town. This is where all of the best kayaking missions get planned and where you might find yourself a crew and an adventure.

After the new year water is usually low in Pucón, although you can sneak in a couple of runs when the odd rain passes through. The Rio Palgiun is a great run close to town and it has multiple sections, starting with the 30-metre-tall ‘Salto Palgiun’. This fall has only been run by a handful of people and has injured many of them. The rest is pool drop with tight gorges. This river used to be home to one of the most iconic 25 metre waterfalls on earth: the ‘Middle Palgiun’. But in 2014 the pool above this amazing waterfall fell through itself, thus changing the waterfall forever. It is now a 30+ metre hole in the riverbed, where the whole river plummets into a giant hole in the earth. This feature has added a must-make take out at the end of a classic section - the eddy is easy to catch, but it is much scarier to run.

Pucón has got to be one of the most classic destinations for white water kayaking. Go there and experience it for yourself, I will definitely be back.

Sam scouting Zeta, Photo- Alex Nicks

PAGE 48 Issue 92 Summer 2019www.kayaknz.co.nz

www.kayaknz.co.nzIssue 92 Summer 2019 PAGE 49

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