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Fulljames 2023!!

We all had a fantastic weekend in Taupō both on and off river but for those on the party bus it started much earlier with drinks(and more) sure being spilled around the place. Everyone else who drove was welcomed by a freshly-healed-nose and tipsy Keegan who helped everyone navigate through the horses to find the campsite. By the sounds of things the party buses rocked up in style to camp at a whopping 1:30AM after a big driving mission from our amazing party starters. Big thanks to Ritzy, Isaac, Joe and Katie for taking the vans around town and taking care of our new beginners!

Saturday morning saw AUCC and our VUCC friends start bright and early, and after breakfast and our welcome introductions by our trip runners Nik and Toni, we were all on our way to the put-in. Thanks has to be said to the super beginners who helped with trailer unloading, whom alongside our veteran trailer loaders Isaac T and Josh S, we were able to get this process done quickly and easily. While the rafters all got pumped up and did some pumping up, the fresh beaters got fitted into their kayaks with help from seconders and instructors, and to the delight of some extra keen paddlers we were finally getting in the water, and thus the carnage began!

The beginners truly embraced the whitewater kayaking carnage culture as there were almost 20 swims in total from the first day alone, giving our instructors a true run for their (hypothetical)money but they did a great job barrel rolling and picking up the pieces! But an even more fantastic job to the beginners for staying persistent and carrying on throughout the day, especially to those who were understandably, as our kayak lead Nik would refer to it as “browning their pants”. Thankfully, all the groups made it through the FJ wave without brown pants but with a good amount of stoke! And it only got better from there as people could enjoy a BBQ run by AUCC’s 5 star chef/PHD Ritzy and a nice sunny day out while watching the seconders and instructors go for a surf, and more importantly, beater.

The day on the water came to a close too quickly and everyone migrated back to camp tired but still ready to start partying! Some stellar outfits came out throughout the evening, with Isaac coming out with the big guns in the full VengaBoys fit. After the River Gods were pleased with an offering of 4 bootie beers by Ben, Matt, Dion and Charlotte, the groups migrated van by van out to the bars of Taupō where a splendid night of drinking, dancing, push-up competitions, came to a close with a warm skinny dip in the lake! Another thanks has to go out to the sober angel/van drivers who shuttled everyone to-and-from town!

Sunday morning started with AUCC’s very own president, Frances, being serenaded by everyone singing Happy Birthday as she celebrated her big 21’st birthday! As well as that, Ritzy brought out the BBQ once again! With everyone keen to get back on the water, the group once again split up and headed to their respective put-ins.

If we thought Saturday was a day of carnage, the instructors were treated to numerous swims out the gate on the first rapid, as well as a fun game of pick-up-the-swimmers below the wave as Isaac escorted 20 beginners on one raft down the wave. All of whom, swam. Yea the carnage. The time on-river came to a close too soon, once again the trailer was loaded and back at camp. Back at camp, the River Gods were once again pleased with more booties, and as each Kmart tent came down, one by one the cars departed back to their respective cities.

All-in-all, the trip was a massive success, with high amounts of carnage, both first timers and seasoned paddlers. We were massively lucky to have so many seconders, assistant instructors, and instructors(led by the AUCC dream team/couple Nik and Toni) + raft lead and captains, that our ratios were almost 1:1 across the board. A reminder that all instructors are volunteers, giving their own time to encourage a new age of paddlers, so they love it when beginners appreciate this and give them a hand in trailer loading/unloading and in general giving a hand in off river things so they can focus on making sure you have the best time on river! We were also massively lucky in our people behind the scenes who helped organise this trip, in particular the AUCC Fulljames officers Lydia Tomic(who was off trying to live out the rest of 22’/23’ hot girl summer in Christchurch) plus Keegan, who you all would’ve seen shirtless, beer in hand, throwing a ball around camp. As well as them, all the instructors from VUCC, who, with the extra help, made the ratios as good as they were, we hope to see you again next year!

To all the AUCC members, we hope you had a great time on our first official trip of the year, have a good rest weekend and hope to see you next weekend on our trip to ANIWANIWA! - Dion Xue


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