Kayak race down Clutha set for April

21:00, Jan 27 2013

The inaugural Wild Descent kayak race, postponed this month when the Clutha River flooded, will be held in April.

It was considered too dangerous to go ahead with the 3 -day race, down 260 kilometres of the Clutha from Lake Wanaka to Kaka Point, because the upper stretches of the river were running at 800 cumecs.

Ideal race conditions are 250 to 400 cumecs and the lower reaches of the Clutha were running as high as 1400 cumecs last week.

Event co-director Warren Bates said kayakers who had entered in the race this month were still keen to compete in April. He anticipated more interest, given competitors had until the end of March to enter.

Coast to Coast winner Steve Gurney, Adventure Racing world champions Nathan Fa'avae and Sophie Hart, and Coast to Coast record-holder Keith Murray were among the entrants.

The race will be in four stages, with competitors and followers camping by the river for three nights en route.


During stage one, competitors will kayak 65km from Lake Wanaka to Lowburn, a journey expected to take up to six hours.

Stage two is a 75km trip from Lowburn to Roxburgh, with up to 10 hours allowed for this leg. Participants will carry their boats past the Clyde and Roxburgh dams.

Day three is a 77km paddle, or up to seven hours on the water, from Roxburgh to Clydevale.

The final stretch will take the kayakers 44km to Kaka Point.

The race will be held from Anzac Day, April 25, to April 28.

The Southland Times