Here are some things you can do to help the NZRCA in its mission 'to preserve New Zealand's whitewater resources and enhance opportunities to enjoy them safely':
- Flow preferences: Recording flows and your level of enjoyment will help define kayaker's flow preferences for specific sections, and strengthen submissions on resource consents for water usage.
- Instruction: To obtain kayaking qualifications or do any advanced course, you will normally need to demonstrate personal currency in kayaking. (Maintaining a logbook of personal and instructional experience is a good way of doing this.)
- Personal reference: Many paddlers keep a personal diary of trips to capture those great days out on the water with friend. A logbook is a record of your paddling which can be useful when you (or you friends) plan to revisit a section years later.
- History: Logbooks can provide valuable insights into the history and progression of paddling in New Zealand/Aotearoa.
- Preservation: To support preservation of the whitewater amenity, it's important that kayakers record their usage of sections and their preferences. What is important to you about the sections you paddle: Degree of canoeing challenge, scenery/wilderness, access?
Recommended data to capture for each trip:
|Section paddled||eg. Buller / Doctor's Creek|
|Date||Date and time on water and off.|
|Hours on water||This is useful when revisiting previous trips, and with collecting hours and experience.|
|Flow||Ideally the cumec value as reported by website, flowphone, etc. for the section.|
|Rough flow||eg. for the section, was it High, Medium, Low?|
|Difficulty||eg. class III|
|Quality||At the flow, how did the features on the river affect your level of enjoyment: ideal? average? washed-out? too low?|
|Who with?||Who else was on the trip? Number of paddlers? Other groups on river?|
|Comments||How did the trip go? Any incidents? Any learning or skills progression?|
Even some of this data can be useful, so it's not necessary to capture every last detail of the trip. However, to support surveys on usage and flow preferences, or to support certification as an instructor, you'll need to ensure you record all of the relevant facts.
Keeping your records on a computer will assist with searching and retrieval later, even if the initial notes are made on a notebook.
The most important thing about a logbook is to have one! Start today.