Kawarau / Sargood's Weir

Info

Class: 
V
Portage?: 
No
Gauge: 
Gradient: 
0.0m/km
Length: 
0.0km
Time: 
Put in: 
Take out: 
Shuttle: 
Maps: 
Character: 
BIG
Hot tip: 
Remember and weep.
There were not many solid Class V BIG rapids (200-500 cumecs) in the world. We had one of them. It exuded power, technicality and lack of emotion. Paradoxically it demanded of its suitors awe, fear, but most of all, respect. It remained unpaddled until 1980 when Mick Hopkinson, then on holiday from the UK, paddling a fibreglass slalom boat successfully ran the rapids. Rob Lessor from the USA claimed the second descent in 1983. Then in 1984, with partner in crime Dirk Passchier, returned again. Dirk claimed the first 'Kiwi' descent of Sargood's. Throughout the late 1980's it became 'the rapid' for any aspiring hardperson and saw a number of decents. The intensity of use increased when the plans were published which showed that the lake froim the Clyde Dam was going to flood the area to immediately above Sargood's Weir. People were keen to paddle the rapid before it died. When it finally drowned a slow and lingering death in 1992, Mick, who had paddled the rapid eighteen times, mourned its passing like a lost friend - indeed it was.

May this murder of such an international resource never be allowed to happen again.

History: 
Credits: 
Graham Charles
NZ Whitewater 4th Edition 2006: 
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