With mild temperatures year-round and no defined “rainy season”, an unexpected rainstorm can hit New Zealand’s South Island at any time. Eager locals Zack Mutton and Jeremy Norbury are on constant standby—armed with creek boats, paddles, rescue gear and good spirits—for when the storm hits and brings in some big water treats.
Luckily for this duo, the rains did come. And to the river they went. Their morning started with the “slide” on 9 Mile Creek in Greymouth on the South Island. The two paddlers scouted the slide and commented that it was high, “the kicker has gotten much bigger,” said Norbury in the video. As the rain continued to pour down while filming, he commented that it was still “pumping down” but it should be a “good day”.
A seemingly long bushwhack led them to the put-in for the run. The technicality of the run was apparent from the moment that they slid their boats into the fast-flowing, eddy-less river.
Other than the murky brown color, another characteristic of flooded waters is the inability to stop due to a lack of natural eddies. This, along with the unpredictability of potential new hazards brought in from the additional water (such as logs and other debris hung up in the river), can make kayaking in flooded waters a very dangerous affair, even for experienced paddlers.
Once the paddlers reached the natural slide on the river, it was non-stop “go time”. They stayed in the tongue of the flow as they battled to keep the noses of their boats facing downstream and on line. They soon reached the “kicker” towards the end of the slide and were subsequently launched into the air and thrown back down into the turbulent estuary below.
After some exploratory paddling in and around the area in the days that followed, the kayakers finished their floodwater trip with a session on the water slides at an aquatic center. The latter being a more agreeable adventure, we imagine, for the most of us.