Sunday, March 31, 2013

New Zealand Part 2

New Zealand is an adventure paradise and the adventures just have not stopped since I arrived here four weeks ago.

Island Life

After the incredible few days at Jackson Bay we went back to the Hawea waves for the NZ nationals and team selections. There was a great turn out and atmosphere at the event, which also celebrate the official opening of the park in front of crowds of local people on a beautiful sunny weekend.

Hawea Time (photo by Danilo Hegg)

Over the two days everyone took to the water to take part in a whole range of competitions on a wide variety of crafts. There was body boarders, surfers, hydro speeds, freestylers, creek boats and SUP's. Pro paddlers to beginners and ye oldies all the way through to loads of young kids.

Judging (photo by Danilo Hegg) 
I had a great weekend winning both days competitions but not being a Kiwi means I didn't make the national team! However it is going to be an exciting year for NZ freestyle as the event showed that freestyle is still alive and growing and 2013 will see one of the largest and strongest NZ teams compete at the worlds later this year and also a huge development of freestyle within the country thanks to new Hawea freestyle training facility.

Dialling in the waves (photo by Danilo Hegg)

Heres a quick highlights video from our time at the waves.

After the event it was time for a few days chilling, wake boarding and waterskiing before a quick trip to Queenstown to go freestyle paragliding and grab a Fergburger. Then it was time to head north for a days hunting before jumping on the ferry to the North Island and Lake Taupo and the Kaituna.

Ready to go

Wipping around a turn
Jumping of a cliff as you do with NZ Freestyle
Paragliding Champion Danger Dan

Ferg burger time

The Kaituna is a enchanting river and it was awesome to catch up with friends old and new as we explored the area and paddled the run. A drought in NZ meant the levels were super low but still really good fun.
Beautiful Valley

Fun times on the Kaituna Falls

A bit of a change from the snow back home

Another week on and we've been boating loads and filming, bungee jumping*, competing at the Full James event, mountain biking, speed boating on the lake, SUPing on a gorgeous spring and surfing in the sea, playing ocean golf and going to the gym, the circus and several natural thermal hot and cold pools. So much fun!

Flying in the Kaituna hole

Andy going big at Full James

Trying to remember how to wave boat again

Filming with Josh and Polly for her new film

Freestyle seal launching

Fun times
Mountain Biking some awesome trails

Sunrise over the surf
The adventures just haven't stopped and now I am leaving the Islands to head to Australia and who knows what adventures will come next. Massive thank you to Jason and everyone who shared my New Zealand adventure and helped make it all possible. Thank you. 'I love New Zealand' What an incredible place.
What a country

Thursday, March 07, 2013

New Zealand Time

With the weather at home still pretty cold I've decided to head down under to train in the sunshine and warmth. New Zealand has been top of my list of places to go for many years and its feels surreal to finally be here. For the next 4 weeks I will be travelling with New Zealand freestyle kayakers Jason Searle, Courtney Kerin and Polly Green and then I will be heading over to Sydney for a month to the Penrith White Water course to train with Jez and the Australian Freestyle team.

Joining Jason out on the water in the sunshine

As I write this am sat in Jackson Bay, the last bay with road access on the South West Coast in the South Island in New Zealand. I have been in New Zealand a week now and already seen so much and done so much I feel well and truly at home. New Zealand is incredible and beautiful. Its scenery and vast adventure sport terrain is like nothing i've seen; mountain after mountain, lake after lake, river after river its paradise and unlike Africa and Australia there's not too many dangerous animals to be seen.

Natural beauty everywhere

In the last 6 days we've been on a whistle stop tour of the South Island starting with the extreme race at the Buller kayaking festival in Murchison. We then went to South to Crowell to test out the new freestyle features on the Hawea river and today we are having a very active rest day diving, fishing and hunting at the West coast.

Racing at the Buller Fest

Checking out the new Hawea Waves

Todays our active rest day before the NZ Nationals Freestyle Event this weekend but alternative activity day would be a better name because what a day its been. After training and coaching some of the local freestyle youngsters last night on the Hawea wave we headed to the west coast with Jasons Dad to their Batch (adventure house) and today we've spent the day on the sea in their boat, diving and fishing and tonight we will be heading out hunting. What a day!

Massive Seagulls and Molly Mawks

Amazing - Penguins in Jackson Bay
It was amazing being out in the Ocean; for the the first time in almost 16 years I went Scuba diving (in the Sea) and for the first time ever I've been fishing. Helping Jason catch Crayfish whilst diving and then heading deeper into the Ocean and getting the lines out on the boat where I caught my first ever fish. 4 big Terakihi with the help of Jason's Dad and watched Jason catch some huge Terakihi, some funky little Sea Perch and a Grey Boy Shark!!! I'm so glad we went fishing after the Dive!!!

First catch of the day...  Crayfish

My first catch ever... a nice Terakihi fish

Jasons craziest catch of the day... a Shark!!!

That ones going straight back in...

Tonight Jason's Dad cooking up the Terakihi and Crayfish, some real fresh fish and chips, and then we will head out into the hills to hunt some possums and deers. What a day of first's and a day I will never forget. Then it will be a quick blast back to Cromwell tomorrow for some final training on the Hawea waves before the event kicks off this weekend.

Fish and Chips :)

But this isn't the only thing i'm looking forward to as this weekend we are taking the boat back with us so we can warm up for the event with some water skiing and wake boarding each morning on the lake. Thanks to Jason and the Searle family I am getting an incredible taste of what New Zealand has to offer the adventure addict. It really is an adventure sport paradise and kayakers dream.

Job done Possum No1