The River Paddle

Three hours paddling down a stunning river, winding its way down through stunning scenery from high up in the mountains...

This is the river! Pic by Tim Athlon

River SUP is a whole lot of fun, but not easily accessible for many Kiwis, and has some significant technical and safety challenges. However, this river descent is an absolutely perfect introduction to river paddling. We take our food and drink with us, and stop halfway down for a picnic at a particularly scenic corner by a waterfall. It's an amazing day out!

Getting to the river involves a fairly intense couple of hours in the back of an old army truck, climbing on dirt roads high up into the mountains. It's quite a mission, but great fun in its own way, and a cool way to see some of the real Fiji; the hidden interior of the island, way off the beaten track.

How Technical Is It?

Most of the river is wide and smooth flowing, with just a handful of 'grade 1' corners that can easily be negotiated sitting down on the board. The hardest section is a chute almost at the very end that is perhaps bordering on grade 2. However, all these slightly more technical bits were in very shallow water, so if you did get tipped off your board you could just stand up and step out of the flow. The Grade 1 stuff is just FUN! Well within the capability of anyone who has done any SUP surfing.

The Grade 1 stuff is just FUN! Well within the capability of anyone who has done any SUP surfing. Pic Tim Athlon

We took a bunch of near-beginners down the river with no mishaps. They simply sat or kneeled down on the boards on the bumpy bits, as you can see here. And there are kayaks available too, if you'd rather not even go on a paddleboard.

If it's a bit too bumpy for you, just take a seat and enjoy the ride!

So how will the competition work on the river?

Don't worry, we're not going to race down the whole length of the river - that would be a bit intense! The plan is that there will be a couple of timed stages, relatively short, but each involving one of the very slightly more technical sections. So it'll be you against the clock in the technical stages, rather than competing against each other