# 7: Wairoa River Release Days 2020/21 Season

Kaimai Canoe Club in Tauranga and Trust Power have recently released 27 flow days for the Wairoa River for the 2020/21 season, with the first release this spring on 27th September.
One extra release this season (normally only 26 a year) on February 28 is in compensation for a flow cancellation during Covid-19 Level 3 in May 2020.

There is a Saturday/Sunday release planned 13th and 14th of February 2021, most likely for the Wairoa Extreme Race. Stay tuned on the Wairoa Race Facebook page for further developments on this.

  • September 2020: Sunday 27
  • October 2020: Sunday 11, 25
  • November 2020: Sunday 8, 22, 29
  • December 2020: Sunday 6, 13, 20, 27
  • January 2021: Sunday 3, 10, 17, 24, 31
  • February 2021: Sunday 7, Saturday 13, Sunday 14, 21, 28
  • March 2021: Sunday 7, 14, 21, 28
  • April 2021: Sunday 4, 18
  • May 2021: Sunday 2

Here a few really old Wairoa Extreme Race photos. I wonder if some of those people still paddle?

2001 TEVA Wairoa Extreme Race
2002 – What a croud!
2004 – Into the next round
Mike Dawson smashing it in 2004, winning the race as Junior
Jarred Meehan busted his shoulder in 2005
Upside down reverse boof – 2005
2008, before the Cauldron got choked up

# 6: Palm Nevis PFD – New for 2020

After the first pictures and reviews of the new Nevis PFD appeared on social media end of 2019 there was quite some excitement amongst paddlers in the know as it promised a completely new approach to how the quick release chest harness works.

Palm Nevis PFD

I received the first box of Nevis PFDs in the second half of March, just before the COVID-19 lockdown started here in New Zealand. No opportunity yet to take it out on the river, but plenty of time to check it out while sitting at home. And it doesn’t disappoint.

First of all, it’s super quick and easy to put on: One strap on either side locks it into position, stopping it from riding up. Then, on the right side, tighten up the Piggyback harness. This one adjusts right under chest high to make the fit 100%. No need to fiddle around with the quick release strap and buckle as this “piggybacks” onto the adjustment strap and will always be ready and safe to use. The concept of this new chest harness is a brilliant stroke of genius by the designer, Barney Caulfield. I’m not surprised that Palm applied for a patent for this as it is completely different and novel compared to how quick release harnesses have been built up until now, and it will eliminate release failures due to bad adjustment.

Storage space: If you ever thought Palm’s PFDs could have just a little bit more pocket space – now you’ve got it! At last count I found seven (7) pockets, giving you ample space to store (and quick access to) karabiners, pulley, webbing and prussicks, flipline, rations for a long day, rescue blanket, PLB, and whatever else you may deem important to have on you when you’re out in the wild. I’ve taken a few photos showing the pockets in more detail:

The Nevis PFD has a dedicated knife pocket, but a free standing knife that would normally attach to a lash tab can securely be fastened to the webbing strap on the ouside of the front pocket.
The roomy front pocket has lots of space for karabiners, sling and other rescue equipment, and dividers separate your stash of ear and nose plugs, power bars, and more.
To the left and right of the main pocket are side pockets with velcro closure, perfectly suited to store a couple of prussick slings (or more food).

Next to the side pockets is access to a zipped tunnel pocket that can be accessed from both sides and is suitable to store non-bulky items like a flip line, prussick rope, a SPOT emergency locator, or even more food!.

There is also a pocket on the inside of the front and back panel of the Nevis. The one in the back can accommodate Palm’s 1.5 L hydration bladder, and the front one offers large enough storage for a rescue blanket inside a couple of zip lock bags.

Verdict: It’s a pricey piece of highly technical whitewater equipment but it’s worth every dollar spent. The new Piggyback harness gives peace of mind that an emergency release will always work, without compromising the secure fit of the PFD.
Professional users, guides, expedition paddlers and weekend whitewater warriors alike will appreciate this new rescue PFD concept and its features.

# 5: Unreal and Strange Times Ahead

24 March 2020

Dear customers and friends of paddle-power

We’ve entered some unreal and strange times. It’s almost impossible to describe in words. We had so much late summer hype just a couple of weeks ago with new PFDs from Palm Equipment arriving, and other new 2020 gear rolling in soon after. This all definitely fizzed out now. However, here’s a big THANK YOU to all customers and paddlers who have supported myself, retailers, and the people behind the brands I’ve been importing for 25 years. I’ve imagined celebrating 25 years in business somewhat differently, but hey, such is life.

While New Zealand goes into lockdown for at least the next 4 weeks I hope that you find opportunities to follow your paddling passion, although for many of you this will not be possible so easily as travel and socialising opportunities will be very, very limited under Level 4. I urge you to not paddle whitewater alone as this has a whole lot of implications under the current conditions if things go a bit pear-shaped on your solo outing. So think about it twice. Surfing on the beach away from others (luckily we have a lot of coast line to fulfil the Social Distancing requirement) or grinding some miles on a lake may have to suffice.

If you need some gear then please support your local shops, they will need your help. And if you choose any of the brands featured here on paddle-power.nz you will also support me and the family, as well as your local.
Most specialized kayak shops have a good online presence or can be contacted by email during lockdown. Freight and courier companies are hopefully able to continue their services throughout Level 4 restrictions so I am pretty sure that orders will reach you.

Thanks again for all your support in the past, now, and in the future!

Stay safe and healthy, and most importantly look after yourself and your family.

 Andi Uhl

# 4: New harness systems for Palm 2020 rescue PFDs

For 2020 Palm Equipment is releasing three new buoyancy aids: The newly designed Nevis PFD, and updated 2020 versions of the Extrem and FXr PFDs. Those PFDs have a new harness system with quick release: Piggyback harness on the Nevis and UCLan harness on the Extrem and FXr. The new system ensures faultless release. Palm published the video below that shows how the new chest harnesses work.
Those three new PFDs will become available here in NZ in about 4 to 5 weeks from now.

Palm Equipment PFD chest harness best practice – New 2020 PFD models

# 3 – Review: Palm Zenith Jackets

Palm’s Zenith Jackets have been around for a while and they’re getting better with every new release. There is a long and a short sleeve version, a long sleeve women’s model, and a few colour options.
For 2019 Palm exchanged the GlideSkin neoprene neck with the new UltraStretch neoprene seal: this is much thinner, sticks comfortably to the skin and, I think, it keeps the water out almost as good as a latex neck seal.

Zenith short sleeve Jacket

The fabric of both, short and long sleeve jackets, is a 2.5-layer breathable material. Palm’s been using this for years, it’s super reliable, doesn’t delaminate, and stays waterproof for years.

Zenith Women’s Long Sleeve Jacket

My favourite paddle jackets for summer and winter, I don’t think anything else can beat them!

Full specs, size chart, colour and size options over here at https://paddle-power.nz

# 2 – Wairoa Releases 2019/20

Kaimai Canoe Club and Trust Power have recently published Wairoa release dates for the 2019/20 season. 26 days with a guaranteed flow of 15 cumecs between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. are spread out from spring into autumn, with releases every Sunday from 8 December till 5 April. There is a Saturday/Sunday release planned for 15/16 February 2020. Here are the dates for your diary:

September 2019:
October 2019:
13, 27
November 2019:
10, 24
December 2019:
8 , 15, 22, 29

January 2020:
5, 12, 19, 26
February 2020:
2, 9, 15, 16, 23
March 2020:
1, 8, 15, 22, 29
April 2020:
5, 19
May 2020:

# 1 – Aniol’s Holiday in New Zealand

I saw that Aniol Serrasolses paid Okere Falls a visit a couple of weeks ago and decided to go to Huka Falls for a good spanking… Well, I suppose we’re all in between swims. Enjoy the show (if you haven’t seen it yet), and take care out there when the rivers are high.

Thanks to Kayak Session Magazine for the link.

# 0 – Just Another Blog

With https://paddle-power.nz now all up and running since November 2018 as a new version of my gear catalogue I had to think of what to do with the paddle-power.com domain. The site there was pretty much just a double up of the dot-NZ site, only a bit old style and lacking new features.
The easiest thing was to just divert traffic from dot-COM to dot-NZ
(which I did for a while). But over the last few months I thought it would be nice to have the paddle-power.com domain active again and try my luck and skill on a blog instead.

So, here we are, see how this pans out over the next little while. There is always new stuff to share, be it new gear, river release dates, events, and so on, so it may become a regular. And if not, I can always revert to diversion.