March 3, 2008

Teva Buller Festival 2008

Teva Buller Festival 2oo8 has been one to remember. We had record competitor numbers in the Extreme Race and the Rafter X. The kayak slalom still had a good number of entries this year with more women competitors than ever before.

The weather did it's best to make things challenging for both the competitors and the organisers. I had the pleasure of running the kayak slalom while the river rose a foot and a half during the event. Luckily I had a fantastic crew of judges, time keepers and course tweakers to keep things running as smooth as possible.

Friday kicked off with a new race section on the Lower Matakitaki River. 7o competitors raced in heats of 4 and 5 with the top few heading onto the next round. As usual there were sweet sounds jamming at the river all day with Joeli B on the mic mixing it up and keeping every1 entertained.

The heats and semi's were fiercely contested with a few upsets along the way. In the end Bradley Lauder of Rotorua took out the men's competition and local Jess Brown emerging triumphant in the women's division.

On the Friday night I spoke to a full house at the Murchison Theatre about my recent travels in Northern India. Plenty of tales were told and laughs had before we all headed to the Commercial Hotel to get the weekend started good and proper.

Saturday arrived too early for my liking as I meet my trusty team a little after 8am in the rain to tweak the slalom course. Despite the persistent rain racers and spectators were all in good spirits. Bradley Lauder sealed the double when he won the open men's division. Ngaio Hart looked convincing as she made light work of the course on her way to 1st in the open women's comp.

Local team Kawatiri Waka looked like taking out the Rafter X only to be knocked aside on the last gate handing the victory to MIA (missing in action).

Saturday will go down as one of the best parties to hit Buller Fest and the Murchison area. DJ Static from Wanaka read the crowd perfectly as he rocked Ultimate Descents raft base and the surrounding district with base heavy beats.

Due to the poor weather we were unable to build the Big Air ramp this year (river levels washed through the ramp site) but it may have proved a blessing in disguise as the majority looked worst for wear at the final prize giving.

Phil Gottschalk maxed out his awesome weekend by winning the custom designed Bliss-Stick Scud with its great Bullerfest graphic printed on the bottom. Cheers to Norm and Charles for that.

Cheers to TEVA for their continued support with the event. Hydraulics, Bliss-Stick, New Zealand Kayak School, Ultimate Descents, Murchison 4 Square, Commercial Hotel, Rivers Cafe, Paddler Zone, R and R Sport, Gull Paddles, Incept Rafts, Triple 1 Care and the wicked volunteers. Karl Reece and Chris for all the great work. Tim, Rusty and Aimee for being the well oiled Buller Fest Crew that we are.

For full results head to the official Buller Festival website.


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