Our purpose is to preserve New Zealand's whitewater resources and enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely.

Czech kayaker drowns on Wairua river

Ladislav Švarc (right) and friends with flooded waterfall behind

[Updated 12:50pm] Czech kayaker Ladislav Švarc, 29 drowned on Saturday 19 July while running a waterfall near Puketitoi Rd in Northland. Švarc was boating with three friends on the Wairau River when he got into difficulties at the base of the falls. Despite being pulled from the water and given CPR he did not survive. Švarc was an experienced kayaker having run challenging sections on other North Island rivers.

In response to this incident, Whitewater NZ has issued a media release, "Whitewater kayaking is a highly rewarding and challenging recreation. Any activity undertaken on water is inherently risky and good decisions must be taken to ensure the participant’s safety. This includes having the correct equipment, training, teamwork and having good information about the river & the conditions."

"The kayaking community is saddened by the loss of Ladislav and extends our condolences and support to his family and kayaking team. Whitewater New Zealand has been in contact with members of Ladislav’s team and understands they were skilled and well equipped. They worked tirelessly in attempts to save him on the day."

This site is a beta version.