During the trip, I had several experiences that made my paddling confidence and paddling skills skyrocket. After a swim in which I capsized, pulled my spray deck and swam the rest of the rapid, I was determined to have a combat roll. This involves flipping over on accident and rolling back up on purpose. After hopping back in my boat, I paddled down a wee bit where the group had stopped for a surfing opportunity. This was my chance! If I surfed until I flipped, I could try for a combat roll! Sure enough after a couple of tries on the surf wave, my boat turned sideways right before I hit the wave and my boat capsized. My hands got in position, I started to roll, and suddenly my boat was back on the surface. Matt, my instructor, held out a hand for a hi-five. I had my first combat roll, and I was so excited.
Also on this trip, I started taking the hardest lines and aiming for the biggest holes. It felt so good punching through the water and arriving safe on the other side. I especially liked the time I went over a huge wave then flushed out of the massive rapid between two rocks that banged on opposite sides of me. I liked the excitement of not knowing what was happening and just paddling hard. The boating was amazing, but the trip would not have been the same without the night we spent camping on the river.
We pulled our boats up the rocky and sandy shore that made up our camp spot. At the end of the shore, a big forest cast shadows upon our camp. During the evening, we roasted sausages and marshmallows around a fire and drank hot chocolate. We also invented a game much like "Dungeons and Dragons" except with rocks. We divided the beach into three territories and built castles and attacked with our armies of stones. Late at night, the three of us (David, Josh, and I) played cards under a shelter made out of two tarps, one rope, and two paddles. In the morning, we paddled to the take out to finish the trip.
The camp was over and I was excited at the improvement in my kayaking skills and loved staying the night on the sandy shores of the Matakitaki River. I feel like I am a much better kayaker today then when I started the course. I like camping a lot and hope to do some more! This kayak trip was fun, but not as good as the amazing time I had with Lilly and James.
Thank you for reading Rohan Geographic!