At the start of this year Barny Young, Daan Jimmink, Keith Riley, Kev England, Justin Venable, Zak Shaw and Myself opened up the truely classic Toaroha Canyon. After enduring the long hike and making our way to river level, limited energy levels and basically a severe lack of 'want' left the large falls at the beginning of the section yet to be run. Leaving such as septacular drop un-run was hard, but even without it the run was a great addition to the other runs in the area. Nonetheless, since then I have wanted to get back in there and fire the falls but things never really worked out. Three other descents of the canyon happened since our first descent, but no one had stepped up.
The young fellas stoked to be at the slip
With some spring rain on the coast and some fire in my stomach, I decided that it was about time to try and get back in there. I checked the flow the day before we planned to go and it looked as if it would be a bit lower than our first descent, which would be good for the falls but could mean other things were a bit low. Either way I convinced Barny we should commit and even managed to convince the 'middle-class' crew of Ari, B-Rain and Greg to to rally over for the mission. Good crew, great weather and what would be the perfect flow... we were going for it.
An early start and super quick walking pace seen us reach the sleep in only 2 hours, with only another 45minutes down the falls. We were energized and I was more than fired up for the falls! But it wasnt going to give it up easily, the lead in was still tricky AND there was the issue of getting the boats up there. But after I made my way to the lip of the falls I decided that I had to have it. The boys set safety and Barny helped me get into my boat in a perfectly placed boat-szied crack in the gorge wall. I heard the 'whoop-whoop' from Barny and that was it, time to sack up. I was strangly calm with what was about to happen and the lead in went ok but as I was pitching off I was almost sideways. Fortunately I pulled a let left stroke which brought me around, but it also brought my bow up. I got in a sneaky stomp and all was good!
Me bagging the First Descent... stoked!
Next up to the plate was Barny, fresh off a winter of minimal boating and good life, he was ready to break out fo that eddy and step it up. After a last scout and giving me the thumbs up I let the boys know he was about to come then gave him the got to go. Barns charged in, keeping nice and straight and tucking slowly ensuring he didnt go over the bars. Taking a soft hit, but breaking his paddle, he rolled up stoked to have routed the falls. Two descents and two clean lines. But there would be more.
Barny mobbing in!
Straight and clean, Barny charging (p. Ari Walker)
After giving Greg and Ari a hand to get up to scout the falls, I left them to make their own decision about whether to fire or not. After not to long I noticed the boys beginning to carry a boat towards the lip of the falls, they were stepping up! Greg was going first, so we set safety and waited for the young charger. He came in hot, ditching his paddle high on the falls. He slightly over-rotated and got twisted by the buffer but hand rolled up stoked! Another clean line. Now it was the 'Curries' turn. Same system, Greg gave us the all clear and Ari was up. He got a little further right than the rest of us, pitching over a bit and ditching his paddle. He took a bit of a hit in the base of the falls as he tried to sit up and correct his angle. But handle rolled up fine and we were 4 from 4. Stoked!
Greg Allum straight CHARGING
Greg entering the beast
With all this done we were now left to make our way through the classic Toaroha Canyon. I had forgotten how amazing it really is in there, I will go back several times this summer for sure. Dim light and pressing time didnt encourage taking many photos but Barny and Ari got a few snaps. Check it out and get in there yourself!!!!
A look at the inner
The Boof before the must run slide
'Always 'Right', a sweet boof into a hole
'One More Falls'
Barny on 'One More'
One project down with great success, but there are still plenty more plans in the wood-work. So keep and eye here or get to the coast and come on a mission!