Kawarau Riversurfing (Riverboarding) Queenstown New Zealand
Just about every activity here on the South Island, it seems, can be viewed from the air. There are numerous companies in each town offering seaplanes, helicopters, gliders and small planes that take you up and view the whales, glaciers, mountains or rivers. While this would be great to do, I am much more on the side of getting in close rather than viewing from above.
On the Franz Josef glacier, I wanted to be digging my crampons in the ice. On the Kawarau river in Queenstown, I wanted to be IN the water and rapids. Riverboarding offered wetsuits, lifejackets, helmets, a small boogie board and license to float or tumble your way through the class 2-4 rapids. The cold water rushing over the board felt so good! If any of you have been boogie boarding in the ocean surf, you know that leaning the board is a large part of your control. In the river - it does nothing. You are propelled by the current and have little control other than your fins.
The first few hundred feet of rapids threw me up and down over the waves and had me laughing through the entire section. I could see Lee through most of it. But then, the “Man-eater” class 4 rapid sailed me up and over. I ate it. My board went flying into others’ who had found the same fate, and I finally bobbed up after swirling through a whirlpool. I laughed some more and hoped for another. There was a girl and her friend almost crying next to me. I think they were from Denmark.
It was a workout -always trying to swim in the line of the guide, but somehow never getting there in time before the rapid or whirlpool. My muscles are sore the day after and will be for a couple more days I’m sure.
In the café after we finished, we all swapped stories, and the girls from Denmark were adamant they would never do this again. I definitely would.
I wish we had pictures to share, but it was impossible to take the camera amongst the rocks and water, not to mention the need to swim.
Lee has a different story to tell.