Saturday, December 21, 2013

Waitaha River - It had been a while!

Since the price of chopper flights went up and the fact that Carnage Gorge on the Kokatahi was no longer a portage, the Waitaha was never one of my go to options when the weather was fine and it was time to fly. Well a couple of weeks back, just after the Kokatahi trip, it was time to fly... I'd done the Whitcombe, the Mungo was to low, the Perth would of been boney and the Upper Whataroa would of been a bit high for the upper section. So, it would seem the stars were aligning for what would be only my third trip down the Waitaha. The usual suspects of Mark Basso and Ari Walker were keen, Daan-gerous got a pass and two Italians, Thomas and Luca, would round off our crew. The weather wasn't perfect, but the day itself was. A medium flow and good lines all round left us all completely stoked with our trip, and I personally re-gained my love for this epic south-westland heli-trip. 

I didn't take many photos of the trip, but here are a couple of good shots from the day and a little clip of me paddling the seal-launch portage. I still haven't paddled Morgans and, now, there is talk of an assult on Windhover... the Waitaha is truely a rugged class V river and just generally place to be!

We've been busy lately, getting multiple laps of the Toaroha Canyon. I will get a post up in the next few days, there are some stellar images.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Kokatahi - Home!

Plenty has been getting done here on the coast this season, plenty of people around with most of the classics having already been run. I was gutted that I wasn't part of the first crew down the Kokatahi but that said, going in with a padded-out medium flow was sick to say the least. Not too much had changed, but there is something brewing in Carnage Gorge, with a 4-foot boof now in the narrow point of the gorge... and it is likely to get worse. Other than that much was the same and I was stoked to show my new friends Basso, Dag, Thomas, Luca and Taylor down my favourite run on the coast and to enjoy another sick lap with my boys Daan and Ari the Currie. Too many posts about the Kokatahi over the years so I will leave it at that, here are some snaps from the trip.

Pat driving shuttle again, shame he wont do it for a massage and a bottle
of wine like girls do in california!

Best Coast.

 Luca getting the local treatment, little beta... heaps of fun.

 Perfect weather makes for a perfect day.

 Daan runs pretty much everything off verbals...

 Really is hard to beat!

 More to come as we've been VERY busy!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Start of the season and Upper Whitcombe

Well the spring season has been awesome down here on the West Coast of New Zealand, with the wettest Sept/Oct period I can remember and all the little local gems flowing almost constantly the whole time. It has taken some adjusting to not have the usual partner in crime, Barny the Bull-Dog, on the coast but I have been getting on the river as much if not more anyway. Countless laps of the Crooked, Upper Kakapotahi, Styx, Toaroha and even 5 laps of the Totara has kept me pretty busy but all were really just working towards the 'heli-season'.

As mentioned, we've had a lot of rain so accessing the upper reaches of the catchments hasnt really been possible until the last couple of week's. That said, the sun is here and it is time to fly! Last week all the stars algined with Ari arriving back from Mongolia, the weather was good and the Whitcombe had dropped down to a good medium level. To make up our crew we invited along Taylor Weston, a 2nd year polytech student who has been on the majority on my trips this spring and who was amping for his first heli. Yeah FIRST heli trip, not the typical first heli for most people but with it being the start of the season I figured I knew it well enough and we could take it nice and slow. Apart from a shakey start, sketch little swim on Taylors behalf, we had a truely classic trip down the whitcombe with amazing weather, plenty of changes to keep us guessing and hours of sunlight to chill at the hut!

Who's first heli-trip...

Pat the shuttle driver... he's got our back!

 Couldn't bring myself to drop into 'Masty's Slot'... maybe next time

Day two was also stunning but the inner section of Prices Gorge is still a bit dodgey, well really dodgey so we did a short 10minutes portage on river right and that was the only thing to walk in 5 hours a paddling.


Anyway it has been another 4 days work and now its day off again.... time to play!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gradient and Water Calendar 2014 - pre-orders over and about to be sent out!

Well the calendars have arrived and in the words my my flat-mate, "the new calendars are actually good quality calendars that people will get their money's worth". They're better than I thought they were going to be, which is crazy as I was stoked with the digital layout, and they're huge. A full A3 calendar, so big infact that we've actually come across and issue with sending them... they're so big they're classed as parcels! Which has forced us to raise our pre-order price to $25 NZD for people here in NZ and $25 USD for international purchases, but the prices for multiple calendars havent changed. Those people who got in early have secured their's for our initial low price. We wanted to sell them as cheap as possible, id prefer to sell them all at a lower price than have them filling up my Rav, but domestic shipping looks like its going to cost us over $7 each calendar, and I havent even worked out international yet! That said, if you can track down Barny or myself in the next month or so we'll see them person to person for our original price, $20! We've done a limited run this year, with being in different country's and financing the calendars ourselves, so you run the risk of missing out if you wait!

So anyway, click on the relevant link below and secure yours today!

New Zealand ONLY


Stoked to have the calendars at Gradient & Water - HQ... 229!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Gradient and Water Calendar 2014 - Purchase and Full Layout

Barny Young paddling the lead out of Site Zed, Stikine River, BC - Photo: Chris Korbulic

New Zealand ONLY


Below is the layout of this year calendar, from January to December, which showcases some of the most spectacular white-water in the world.