No Waimak classic kayak race :(


Well, there was no Waimak classic race. After all that … I even fixed my plane ticket way back in June to make sure I could arrive in time for this race, but mother nature had other plans …


I woke up at 4.45 to check water levels. The following was posted on race website the night before:


if the Esc Tributary gauge is at 0.7 meters (or above) and rising tomorrow morning, the race is off.


In that case it would follow an alternative course in the middle of Christchurch City. This is like planning a bike race up Alp d’huez and then cancelling it and saying “Sorry, we’re gonna do a few laps around this industrial park in Toulouse instead.”

Imagine training for this …

not this paddle1

But getting this …

got this instead


So at 4.45 am the water levels were at 1.0 and on a near vertical incline (rising!). I tried to go back to bed and considered doing this “urban race” that would start at 10 am. But I couldn’t sleep and the sun was already up, so I headed out to my own local (and picture-esc) Lyttelton Harbour and did my own 3 hour paddle.

kayak map


I fought some hard winds, side waves, big swells coming in off the ocean, and a little tailwind now and then. It wasn’t the 4+ hour whitewater paddle I needed – but there were some highlights. Just as I hit the mouth of the harbor (the ocean), a dolphin surfaced right next to me. He followed me all the way in – as if to make sure this “lost kayaker” made it home safely to harbour.  I also met other kayakers, stand up paddler boarders, and a Hawaiian outrigger canoe. It was a beautiful morning – the rain was only up in the mountains.

Near the end of my paddle I suffered the usual aches and pains from a long distance session. But I had pain in all the right places (obliques, abs, upper back) and not the wrong place (wrist!), which means my technique held despite my fatigue. That’s a good sign.

Once out of the kayak, it was only 9.30. I ran for 2 hours around my local hills on the Banks Peninsula. Man, I love this place.   It’s so beautiful. Here are a few low-quality pics from not-so-smart phone …


I had been staring at this hill all week and now it was time to head straight up. The plan was to see if that gully (red arrow) would go … luckily it did, thanks to some helpful (but steep) sheep trails!



Looking back down, arrow shows my little cabin.



Sheep make nice trails … but they don’t always go where I want to go.



Where I had paddled an hour before.



I was in a bit of zone near the end of the run. I stopped looking at all the animals I ran by (I was just thinking about a shower and lunch). But then I suddenly looked up and saw that I had just run through an un-gated pasture with this mean-looking bull. Shit, glad he wasn’t that mean …


In other news …

So the race didn’t work out as planed, but two other important pieces to my NZ pie have fallen into place.

First, I bought an old car from my buddy Tim Pearson for $500. Besides a few strange sounds it seems to be running just fine

CAR1 car2

Kayak rack included but stickers were an “after market” addition …


I rented the exact same Sharp 6 kayak last year when I was here (foot pedals are still in the same place). It’s also the same boat I own in Sweden.  I’m lucky to have this key piece of gear lined up early. I’m renting it from David Watt – thanks for the delivery to Purau Bay David !



After my training session today I  headed in to town for the race banquet. I paid my $125 and I wanted my free pizza! (I only got two pieces then it was gone!).

I also picked up a large duffel bag full of Squeezy products, Inov8 shoes, and Paleo Crunch bars, among other things. The “two-bag” limit that I had on the plane wasn’t enough for a 4-month multisport adventure in NZ. Thanks to all the “sherpas” that have lugged this bag from Sweden to Christchurch over the last 4 weeks — Joel Anderson, Sam Manson, and Stefan Silfver!


It’s Monday morning here – time for work …



Share Button

No Comments Yet.

Leave a Reply