Tyler came round in the afternoon looking like he was on crack because he was so excited, I opened the door and he says "Hey were gonna go paddle the Mangawhio, its the highest B's ever seen it wanna come?".
So we met up with Barnabus, Ryan L, Ryan M (way too many Ryans on one trip) and Sam, and headed over to Brendans place stealing Dave from work on the way.
Once at B's place we met him and soph and sorted out a shuttle (jetski) and we headed over to the only piece of river you can really scout, its a road bridge at least 100 meters high where you can almost see the biggest rapids of the day. From up there it looked fairly flat, but brown and super quick, and we could all see it was cranking hard. After all making a mental note to avoid the trees on the right then get back to the right and eddy out before going over the big ones we headed on up to the putin.
The Mangawhio river sure knows how to start a run off, with a solid 8 meter drop 50 meters from the putin. Was a super clean drop which got the adrenalin pumping and eased off the nerves a bit, though it looked huge and looking at it made me think "Were going over a drop twice that size!!!"
From this drop the river turns into a big rollercoaster which reminded me of the Kahuterewa on speed. There were hardly any eddys and a steep gradient so it was some fun boating down to the next drop, which is usually a portage.
We jumed out of our boats and took as much of a look at the portage as we could and it looked like we had enough water so Sam fired it up closely followed by Ryan Mac, both stomping it, we all followed suit. Its a pretty sweet 6m drop but pretty bony in the lead in. Super clean boof.
From here the river turns back into the theme park ride with a few 2-3m drops and some decent gradient for like 20 minutes non stop. All of a sudden the river started dropping away more steeply and there were a whole load of 3m ledge drops. Looking up I saw the bridge way above us so knew that the trees on the right were coming up, but I was really suprised at the size of the drops, it had looked completely flat from the bridge. Everyone got through the section sweet even though some didnt even realise that it was the bridge section.
Time for the big ones, we all got our boats up onto the bank and walked up to scout the 3 meter weir into the 10 meter drop into the massive 15 meter waterfall. Walking around all I could think was "Fuck these drops look huge!". While we were sitting at the 10 meter drop Sam fired it up styling it and same with Ryan Mac, who got a bit of a trashing in the big one so the stories go, and got ripped from his boat. We couldnt see their lines off the big one but knew that they could help each other out, and that Soph was down there somewhere.
Barnabus went next, going a bit far left on the 10er and we heard his paddle scrape the wall, but reportedly styling the big one. Ryan Lucas was up and ran down the right of the 3m and from the eddy his line over the middle drop looked steller.
Then it was me, I took a minute to run through the lines in my head, then pushed out into the current and heading over the right side of the weir. I took a few seconds in the small pool between the next drop and looked at my line. After one last look at the boys on the side I drove hard over the boil aiming to get as right as possible, but to the left of the rock. Boofed off the 1m entry drop, landed, then boofed my life away off the 10 meter drop which felt truely massive. Had a sweet line and came out upright and stoked because now I had the easy part. Rolled off the lip of the 15, tucked and held on. I went super deep and felt the pressure hit me but only lasted a couple of seconds, and I rolled up a little winded and sore, but stoked!
Behind me, Dave swam on the weir and lost his boat and paddle but managed to get to the side and walked out with Brendan who ran the drops then went back up for Dave.
The Mangawhio is such a sick run and is the best river I have ever paddled. Definitely a North Island classic.
Apart from running out of petrol our trip home was uneventful and managed to be in bed by the nice early time of 1am.
We didnt get any photos or footage but heres a vid of a previous run of Brendans.