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Tree Trunk Gorge is a magical piece of whitewater in New Zealands central plateau. Just a few minutes drive from State Highway 1 and you’ll find yourself on a bridge looking down on this tight and committing gorge. For years it went unrun. I remember turning up as a junior and looking down wondering if anyone would ever try. A few years ago in the prototype Mystic a few international lads lead the way and now the gates have been opened. Heaps of kayakers are launching off this drop. 

I was joined by a crew of Martina Wegman, Joe Morley, Anna Bruno & Lou Urwin on the water while Josh Neilson & Stefan Gilmore were on the bank with cameras and spare paddles incase something went wrong. We hiked up to the 6 meter seal launch to miss the sketchy lead in rapid. We ran this the first time we were here but when Dyl got stuck in a sketchy pocket we decided this time to just jump in below.

The seal launch lands you in a narrow canyon. You look up to the bridge but are deep in the river and there is no way to exit or get out of your boat. A sweet lip with a reconnect lands you even deeper in the gorge with 1 7meter drop that has 2 nasty pockets  to avoid before paddling out back into the sunshine.

Check out Josh Neilsons edit here


Mike Dawson