Fulljames is a full-on camp and road trip event down to the Waikato River of the north island of New Zealand. You will love the cool breeze of the NZ outskirts in nature. Not only is it one of our most party-crazed event in the entire year, but it is also an amazing event for beginner paddlers to get a taster for one of the many amazing events that AUCC offers. If you are a nature lover by day and crazy party-goer by night, you can expect Fulljames to be one of your most memorable events in our club. The Fulljames event is out BIGGEST event featuring camping and road trip from Auckland University down to Taupo on Waikato River, approximately 4 hours drive down south with all our kayaking and rafting gear for the students and instructors. The river section has a stretch of calm water for sight-seeing, as well as a nice rapid at the end which is sure to excite the beginners who have never kayaked before.
The first big event of the year is always the most memorable. AUCC knows this so we will deliver. We are sure that Fulljames will definitely deliver the best experience for you and for everyone else. Truly amazing, Fulljames. No spoilers. Join the event!
Testimony by Harry Shin
'A New Year, A New Life'
Fulljames was the first big event in particular that will always stay with me.
The group arrived at the campsite blind as a bat as tents were set up in the unlit outback of the NZ landscape. That night we slept too tired to ponder the wonders around us, encased in darkness.
When morning came and the sun rays lay on the ground melting away the frost on the meadow, a few early heads popped out of their tents in awe of their surroundings as if they'd seen light for the first time. We were ants compared to the vast land, hills capped with trees surrounded us, green and gold shades of glittering meadow stretched as far as the mysteriously thick fog allowed us to see. All the while half blinded by the low-hanging sun, fuzzy as its exact shape was obscured by the thickness of the fog.
As I stumbled out of the tent and towards a fence to admire the morning view of paradise, a lone black stallion decided to show itself from behind a distant rock. It approached slowly and cautiously from the distance, its eyes set on the muesli bar I was holding at the time unwilling to give up, occasionally stopping in its track but eventually, he was close enough to receive a good pat from me, and we had a nice time chilling together while watching the sunrise.
Kayaking down the blue Waikato river was extremely rewarding. The beginning was mostly flat with little hazard for a potential capsize. Travelling in small groups down the river was peaceful and pleasant, and most of us were in awe of the rockfaces, mini waterfall streams and all sorts of odd greenery growing around us as we gently paddled through the blue water. About halfway, we reached what looked like a small abandoned wharf dock where we saw others jumping off and into the water below. I am proud to have been the only one to perform a front flip.
It was unfortunate that I was also the only one to faceplant the water on the same jump.
The biggest rapid at the end provided a good dose of recommended daily adrenaline intake for me as it was my first time kayaking through a rapid and boooy, did it look MENACING.
Water rushed to form all sorts of shapes as it gobbled up stealthy submerged rocks on the riverbed, mini whirlpools formed and broke and formed everywhere around the side, seemingly multiplying then suddenly merging to form one big whirlpool, powerful eddy lines formed by the heavy shear of water against the bank. The only 'safe' line was straight down the middle where it looked like a triangular clearing of churning water with three consecutive waves that seemed to constantly stay in one position. "Alright, lets go, straight down" says the instructor. I almost got a mini heart attack as I big-eyed the brave-heart who made that remark.
At the point of no return, I paddled hard, half blind by the water spitting up at me, and I cleared the first two waves with succession. Wiping the water away from my eyes with a mini celebratory "woohoo" in my head, I realized I had forgotten about the third and biggest wave as I approached it with one hand on the paddle and one hand rubbing my face as it knocked me off balance. It came as a surprise to me but I realized that I was underwater.
Here's a tip: don't wear sandals and expect to swim well.
Don't bring sandals in a kayak if you're going to capsize.
Also, don't bring sandals.
- Harry Shin