Around the first weekend of march each year the infamous Buller Festival is held in Murchison. Around 3 1/2 hours drive from Christchurch I made my 1st ever pilgrimage to the event. This years event held on the 2nd, 3rd & 4th of March was ripper.
I just made it in time to enter the Extreme Race on the Lower Matakitaki Section. First up was a time trial to create seedings for the head 2 head races. I came through in the middle of the pack and was paired off with 3 others who had similar times to me. The winner of the time trail gets paired off with the slowest etc.
1st head to head race I got out of the blocks quick, after a few paddle blows & some pushing/shoving! I was well clear at the finish and touched the Teva Banner stoked. Next round I moved up and was racing against Sam Sutton from Rotorua (little ripper) a big charging swede and someone else. Some slow strokes straight out saw me playing catch up to Sam & the swede. Didn't quite make it and that was my extreme race over.
The finals saw a completey different line up to 2006 with some fresh faces making an impact in the race. Men's final was Sam Sutton, Zak Shaw, Josh Neilson & Nate?
Zak blew the field away a clear winner leaving the other boys to scrap it out for 2nd/3rd. Josh snuck in with 2nd & Nate took 3rd.
In the womens Nikki Kelly robbed Jess Brown at the final banner to claim yet another extreme race title for CV.
Saturday was a day of intense heat for the kayak slalom & rafter cross. A huge turnout and some fast times saw everyone amping for Saturday nights "rock the buller" party. Live music and general kayak riff raff kept the night going until the early hours.
Sunday morning was time for the big air, a slow moving herd of kayakers found their way to the Ramp site and proceeded to hurl themselves off the ramp in a range of gyrations & aerial donkey flips.
Zak Shaw on his way to winning the final - Photo Antz Longman
Josh vs Nate for 2nd place - Photo Antz Longman
A quality write up on the event will be available in the next issue of CUMEC Magazine due out middle of April.
Results as I can remember were.
1st - Zak Shaw
2nd - Josh Neilson
34d - Nate
1st- Nikki Kelly
2nd - Jess Brown
3rd - Polly
1st - Lucien Holgate
3rd - Zak Shaw
1st - Louise Jull
2nd - Linda Wensly
3rd - ?
1st - Nick Smith (with a leg in cast!)
2nd - Sam Sutton
3rd - Justin
2nd - Louise Urwin