Order calendars via zakshawphotography@gmail.com or the secure Paypal option below.

Order calendars via zakshawphotography@gmail.com or the secure Paypal option below.
My 2014 calendar was entirely photographed on the western side of New Zealand's Southern Alps. "Land in the West" is printed at a size of A4 with twelve calendar month pages displaying stunning outdoor environment photographs. Take a look at my Facebook page to view all twelve 2014 calendar images! Order here via Paypal or email me at zakshawphotography@gmail.com if you would prefer to pay with online banking. Thanks for your support!
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Monday, May 12, 2008

The best week. Ever. Golden gate, Sth Merced, 7 Falls South Branch Middle Feather

Personal adventures took a back seat for a short period as our NZ kayak school teaching season came to a close. Bad weather shut down an attempt to climb the Lyell Range in April, pluming cloud rolled in and restricted our view of the "Rocky Tor" and views of the Mokihinui river catchment.
Image above - Zak Shaw
Paddler - Trent Garnham - Cheery Bomb Falls 2005.
May soon arrived and the commencement of my annual Californian kayaking season. This previous week has been incredible. A combination of cool temperatures and motivated kayakers has ensured an action packed week! and some.... steeeeep steeeeeep creeking!!
Golden gate an all time classic class 5 run close to homebase got the blood flowing and some much needed time in a kayak.
Young stud kiwi paddler Sandy enjoying California's granite, sunshine and a narrow snaking drop called the Rose.
Image - Zak Shaw

Image - Zak Shaw, Yosemite - Home to El Capitan, Half Dome and the nearby South Merced river.
Sandy along with his fresh faced sidekick Simon fresh out of NZ's Taipotini Polytechnic then agreed to head south and attempt the South Merced a multi day river trip of exceptional quality that ranks highly with any class 5 run in the world.
My knowledge of this run was extensive.... well in the first four miles! In 2006 our team put in with water levels excessively high (1500cfs at put in) and within the first two hours had suffered one head shot and bleeding face and a swim from a massive hole. We camped and the following day hiked out for 6 hours to the road 4000 ft above. EPIC
In 2006 Ben Jackson and myself went in search of some redemption. With a team of "out east cowboys" who were confident and "so fired up to just put on and run the shit", "I don't care if its to high", "Ive been paddling class 5 for ten years and I always hit my lines"
These quotes still live on by the way.. To cut a short story shorter cowboy 1 took a swim early. Cowboy 2 the guy who one minute was prepared to set fire to everything and brave all got worked and then surfaced screaming the words "I'm done, Its to high, I'm hiking out" he was promtly pulled to the side on a throwbag. Two actually Ben's then my own.
With a team in pieces and 14 miles of relentless whitewater ahead we all made tracks for the road. It was ok as I knew which way to hike out! Temperatures reached over 100f that day and fluids were in seriously short supply! Time to improvise....


Image - Zak Shaw
Paddler - Simon "This is the biggest whitewater Ive seen and we are running it"!

Cheers! So everything went fine, we always hit out lines and reached the take out after a ten hour second day. For the price of a couple of knocks, three years in the waiting, 12 hiking hours with a 25kg kayak and at least 16 paddling hours we celebrated to it being well worth it.

The work week then ended for the B team and more whitewater lay instore. I got an invite into this selective crew who survive on cheese sticks, mojo mix and packet humus.
The two days that followed are (I'm going to lay it down here) were quite possibly the best days of kayaking Ive ever had.
The following images are a selection of our two days on the south branch of the middle Feather. A creek that through one section drops 600ft in a quarter mile/ 113m/km. Most of the run you feel like your falling!

Image - Taylor Cavin
Paddler - Zak Shaw
Image - Zak Shaw
Paddler - David Maurier at the sections take out above a series of massive waterfalls. A place known as the seven falls.

Image - Zak Shaw
Paddler - David Maurier in position to tuck and plug one of the first waterfalls of the run.

Image - Taylor Cavin
Paddler - David Maurier flies away and clear from a massive launch pad, 7 falls run.

Image - Zak Shaw
Paddler - David Maurier

Image - Taylor Cavin
Padder - Zak Shaw. This drop lands in a pool that slowly flows off a 50 foot drop that has only been run three times. Before you run the line its hard to shake the thought that the line off this drop more than any other is a must make!Image - Zak Shaw
Paddler - Taylor Cavin gets his air and deals with necessity.
Image - David Maurier
One of the final moves has paddlers eddy out on the lip of a 150ft water fall. Catching the eddy is easy but the drop (image below) must be run first.Image - Zak Shaw
Paddler - Carlton Goold

We rigged two lines and lowered the boats down to the base of the falls.
Perched on a ledge 15 feet from a pool where the 150ft waterfall all comes crashing down paddlers launch off the wall and paddle through the blasting spray to safety.

The final drop is the most perfect big waterfall you will see.

Image - David Maurier
Paddler - Zak Shaw

The day before Taylor had snapped his paddle on the landing. Round two...
Image - Zak Shaw
Paddler - Taylor Cavin

Image - David Maurier
7 falls, a cool place to chill out before the hike out and uphill grind to the road.

4 comments:

  1. wats up
    sweet pics from cali, we managed to get on the sb feather the week after you sic run! Me and rudz up in bc now been getting some nice creeking done. wondering if it pos to get some pics of the sth merced off you? my email sandy_macewan@hotmail.com
    chur chur sandy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Is there any good offers on Belfast to Liverpool ferry crossings...
    _____________________________________

    promy dover

    ReplyDelete
  3. nice pictures to be watched while travelling through ferries

    ReplyDelete