Tarawera river is a beautiful stretch of flowing water surrounded by nature, another spectacular place for beginner-training events. Our beginners trip for the first and second semester often takes place right here. Relatively calm rivers and eddies throughout make this place perfect for training beginners. Tarawera river is the next step up in learning to kayak from flat lake or pool training, to training in an actual current of a real river. Since so many whitewater kayaking techniques involve a current of some kind and teaching these techniques requires actual currents as well, Tarawera river is perfect for training beginners; not too big, not too small. You'll learn much more from this on-river event; which is purely dedicated to teaching and practice, than any other beginner events.
It's another weekend out driving down south to the Bay of Plenty area, except the only change this time (as compared to other events) is that you won't be needing camping tents since we'll be resting in the warm comfort of cabins (yay)!
Testimony by Harry Shin
Originally, my decision to coming to Tarawera was to learn more whitewater kayaking. I was really taking a liking to this kind of sport ever since I joined the club that year, and had been on the previous awesome events like lake training at Lake Pupuke, Fulljames and Aniwhenua.
It was a long drive in the night (which I loved). We reached our destined cabin place at around midnight.
I normally find meeting new people to be a challenging and draining experience, so when it came to approaching the cabin full of laughing people, it was natural for me to feel uncomfortable, but the discomfort soon disappeared completely when everyone was greeted and I took a seat on the table to join the group. From then, through lots of contagious laughter from the group, somehow (I don't know how) I ended up talking to lots of people and the nerves soon disappeared. By the time everyone arrived and got ready to sleep for the morning, I slept happy, having made some new friends that night.
The next morning, we were off for the river! The fact that the river was right next to the cabin was very convenient, and getting ready in a kayak and being cast away from the safety of land was a somewhat nervous experience, as for a beginner it always is. Once everyone got in the kayaks, the instructors grouped us up and all the beginners were like ducklings following the mother duck. Very cute. From there on, the training began and we were practicing exiting and entering eddies here and there, giving everyone a chance to have a go and practice.
Soon enough, as we all drifted gently down the river, we could see exciting rapids forming up ahead, which was where the instructors gave us the signal to take a break from eddying and go all-out through the rapids. I could feel my heart pound with excitement as I punched the waves with my paddle, and it was an amazing feeling to be whitewater kayaking. Absolutely amazing feeling. As a beginner, I found the rapids at Tarawera to be alot shorter than some of the previous events I've been to, but I've still gotten a good amount of heart-pounding fun.
At the end of the rapids where the waters were wider and flatter, I could see other kayakers practicing some kayaking techniques on the thin stream of quick current; eddying and ferry gliding. Some of the more experienced people began practicing rolls and back-deck rolling in the current of the river which looked really cool. For the majority of the day, I remained in this part of the river practicing my eddying and ferry gliding.
That following night was filled with hilarious laughing, drinking games, cards, beer pongs, magic tricks, and lots of fun. I would be the sober one observing the craziness. It turns out that there alot of funny people in the club who get funnier, crazier and cheekier the more they drink, which is always a good laugh to watch. The next morning for the second day of kayaking, I was amazed at how much my kayak controlling had improved. My muscles were aching a little bit, but the cool splash of the Tarawera river only seemed to heal and empower me.
I've learned so much from this single event more than any of the previous events I have been to. I've always felt so welcome and warm by the other members, and I knew that this club was something more than I initially thought when I first joined the club. It's more than just people kayaking. It's also a friendly community who want to have fun and make sure others have fun as well.
So thanks guys, for yet another amazing day.
- Harry Shin