Updated: Sep 28, 2018
Kayaking. It’s the main reason I haven’t competed in the Coast to Coast yet and the leg that frightens me the most! In March this year, I did my grade 2 training (compulsory for all people who enter) with Top Sport Kayaking, who are amazing and I highly recommend. It’s not that often I feel so amateur in a sport, but just keeping my boat pointing downstream is a challenge in itself!
This weekend was the second weekend of the Yakima Brass Monkey Kayak Race Series, a 12 kilometre race down the Waimakariri River, starting at the pylons and finishing just below the main bridge on SH1 north of Christchurch. Once again the weather was not in our favour, with the first weekend of the series having rain and hail, this weekend luckily it was only rain. Posted on the Brass Monkey Facebook page during the week was a picture of trees in the river (major hazard), something that was definitely not helping the nerves! Being a ‘newbie’ to kayaking, I was racing as a novice, which meant I wore a nice blue bib in the race. When other competitors came flying past me they gave me a wide berth (holding your line is harder than it looks) and people offer great advice and words of encouragement!
On Saturday the river was flowing about 200 cumecs, and by Sunday this had dropped to about 190. While this doesn’t sound like much, it was! This meant the trees were now further out of the water and the previously easier ‘novice’ route which I took on Saturday was now not the best option. I was lucky to follow someone through who took a great line, while others were not so fortunate! The volunteers on the sidelines were definitely not there just for looks!
My goals for the series were simple; don’t fall out before the race had started, stay dry, stay facing forward throughout the race (don’t laugh!) and don’t get stuck on gravel! I am pleased to say all were achieved – beginners luck! I managed two firsts in the female novice section and won the race series for novice female too (best not to compare times with the open women!).
So a good start to the kayaking career, long may it continue…