|Saturday 3rd July|
Saturday morning ah how I did not want to deal with you...my head hurt, nothing wanted to work and Dave was all keen to go and paddle Huka Falls. So after a dodgy start we finally got our kit sorted and made our way to Taupo. Arriving at the falls around 12 we had a quick scout of the rapids and organised the photographers. The best part of this rapid is definitely all of the people who are around to watch. Initially we just get a few queer looks as we make funny moves while practicing what we are about to do. As we get the kayaks off the car and begin to get into our gear, people start to recognise what we are about to attempt. A few stop and ask us, and then hurry to get a good position on the bridge where they can watch from. Then we start to head over with the boats and people know that its really on.
Getting on the water there is a mix of excitement and fear. We have a quick paddle upstream of the rapids to try and get things warmed up, and then we are on. Dave decides to take the left line on the first rapid, and I take right. This is just a little set of falls/rapids which are no big deal and at this stage we can still get out if we had to. Looking down towards Huka we can see the bridge is now packed with people (man I felt like a rock star haha), and we head off. Dave leads down the middle, and then hugs the left wall going over the weir. I do pretty much the same but hit the weir more right. Now we are in an eddy right below the bridge and can hear everybody above us. The next section of rapids is called the pencil-sharpener, and we plan to eddy out below these so the photographers have time to get into position for the main falls. However this didn't quite work out for me. As I headed down I thought it would be funny to do a roll to add to the excitement for the spectators...man I'm a dick. This went off sweet and I charge into the rapid full of confidence. But I underestimate the power of the water going down and end up getting rolled, this time for real. I couldn't help but thinking that I need to roll back up as I'm about to go over Huka upside down. Coming up, I just miss our eddy and decide just to run the falls (sorry Dave). I paddle hard down the left side, go over the false drop, and do a big right boof (hard paddle stroke) as I go over the falls. Then its a blur of white spray and a feeling of floating until I hit the bottom and casually paddle out. Sweet as. Dave follows a while later, having waited for photos. He takes much the same line as myself but pins his kayak rather than landing flat. After rolling back up its cheers all round and time to do it again.
Photo 1. Me going over Huka Falls Photo 2. Dave going over Huka Falls