Those early bird volunteers were lucky enough to see the taps turned on and witness the gentle trickle of the Washburn turn into a raging torrent of fun and carnage.
The sun was shining and therefore the buns were out (and flapjack, lemon cake, etc). Sarah was already flipping burgers. The venue was set for a cracking HXCC club run event at the Washburn.
By the time we’d showed up (Vicks kindly understands that we enjoy our weekend lie ins!) the day was in full swing. There were already tales of how fast the river was flowing and varying estimates of how big the ‘big’ drop was at the end section (ranging between 4 and 7 feet).
It was lovely to see so many club members and extra special to see Mandy looking well and relaxed. Kevin, Suzanne and Samantha were doing a fine job helping Sarah’s busy al fresco kitchen. Dave F and Guy were there to meet paddlers and happily take the entrance fees from them.
So, to the paddling; Our very own big bear, Simon, was providing the unenviable task of captaining the Topo Duo pleasure trips down the rapids, though judging by the appearance of his drysuit he wasn’t that confident in his ability to stay dry! The bear took Jan, Mike and Steve down in the big bear boat –
The Washburn was indeed one of the fastest flowing I’d been on and you had to look and plan much further ahead than normal to break in and out. My first run included a big group of club paddlers including Naomi, Steve, big Dave, Dave Spencer, Ewan, Les, Lois, Dig, Mark, Simon and Jan (Topo duo), Dave F, Vicks, Roger, Guy, Ian and Adrian).
Having never paddled the Washburn before it quickly became a favourite as there’s plenty of features around every corner including drops (varying in size depending on who you talk to !), standing waves, wave trains and sneaky ledge drops with Mark Limmer sized stoppers !!!!! (heh heh).
As we eddy hopped down the course Simon and Jan received the most cheers after successfully navigating each section, swimmers were mopped up and we cracked on down to the bridge above the ‘monster’ drop. Ewan paddled probably the best in his young years which didn’t go unnoticed by Les (expect a call for Slalom training anytime soon matey).
The River course is really well set up so you can walk back up to the start to go again, which we did again and again.
The most amusing part for me was below the big drop at the bottom seeing the expressions on everyone’s faces as they hit the huge wave at the bottom, which was captured in glorious high definition.
The taps get turned off around 5pm but everyone had had a cracking time both in and out of the water so all there was left to do was pack up and agree that this was a great success for the club.
Lets hope that we can host another of these events again really soon.
Vicks added the following:
Just to say a big thank you to everyone who came along to hep out at the Washburn on Sunday.
The weather helped but a great day was had by all the people I spoke to and at the first count the club has made a small profit after paying for the water to be turned on! So thanks for all your hard work –
Big thanks to Ade Ward for taking these fantastic photos: