When it comes to exploring Waikato, Kim Parker spends every spare moment either tramping or cycling various tracks – so when the offer came to explore the Waikato River from a different perspective, she jumped at the opportunity.
Having been on the stand up paddle board a few times, and always being ready to put my hand up for an adventure, I was to say the least, pretty excited to have been offered the opportunity to try out stand up paddle (or SUP) between the Narrows and Grantham Street.
Many comment on and it is true; Waikato River is a hidden, underutilised gem. It is spectacularly beautiful. However it is not until you are on it that you realise just how powerful and majestic it is.
My comrade at arms Kirsty Woolsey and I headed out with Justine Quarrell and Keith Jarmey from Raglan SUP Paddleboarding (these guys are freshly offering this trip – check out raglansupboarding.co.nz)
In fairness I was feeling a little nervous about paddling through the eddies and whirlies the river offers, but in the end managed to only wet the feet.
Seeing the river from this vantage point and at this speed is choice. It’s chilled out and pretty darn beautiful. With the current of the river pushing you along, there’s not too much fitness needed.
As with any paddle boarding, we were well equipped with the basics:
• A lifejacket – a comfortable, well fitting lifejacket is a must, if you end up in the water it will help keep you afloat, it’s also a legal requirement.
• Communications – we carried cell phones in a dry bag for our adventure.
• Leash – the leash keeps the board with you for your trip. Wearing the leash at your knee means if you need to, you can take it off quickly. It’s really important to have a quick release leash on the river. With the current, there’s a chance that you could become tangled with a rock or log, the current will keep you going and potentially hold you under, therefore, a quick release leash is a must.
• Trip reporting – we let people know where we are going, and when we will be back. Just in case something goes amiss and we can’t raise the alarm ourselves, someone else could do it for us.