The Pleasure and Pain of River Boarding, Queenstown, New Zealand

By: leelefever on February 1, 2006 - 4:30pm

The river boarding was a great experience, but one that I have more memories of pain than pleasure.  The basic idea is that you go down the 6kms (3.7 miles) of the Might Meg section of the Kawarau River with a wetsuit, lifejacket, helmet, fins and a boogie board all with class 2-4 rapids. It cost $129 NZ ($91US) per person through Mad Dog River Boarding.

I thought it might be lame, but I was wrong, very wrong.  It was not lame, but somewhat harrowing and scary experience in an adventurous way.  My problem was not the water or the equipment, but my body.  From the first few hundred feet, my legs began to cramp and for a majority of the 3.7 miles, I was in excruciating pain as both feet and calf muscles cramped – even as the guides yelled to move across the river to avoid dangerous rapids.  Had my legs not cramped, it would have been a different experience overall.

At the end, there were a few things you could do to finish off the adventure.  One of which was jumping into the river from a 30 foot rock ledge. I love jumping off of things and knew this would be fun.  The jump was great, but soon after I entered the water, my left arm exited the shoulder socket, dislocating my shoulder for a couple of seconds, sending unbelievable pain through me as I floated to the surface. Then, trying to fight the rapids to the shore, it happened again. I just wanted to sit on the shore and cry, from pain, exhaustion and from discouragement. Looking back, it’s an activity I would recommend for those that are prepared for a physical, strenuous and a bit of a scary adventure.  Some people cried while doing it, which is a sure sign it’s not for everyone.

Sachi has a different story.

By: robincapper on February 2, 2006 - 12:05am
QueensTOWN summed up in a post. Expensive, painful, fun in beautiful surroundings. I bet right now a local is looking at the most bizarre near death experience imaginable and thinking... How much will they pay to do this!
By: Mom (not verified) on February 7, 2006 - 8:47am
You go girl!!!Sachi, I am so proud of you. I wish I were 40 years younger and could do that. Lee can you explain the cramps?Was the water that cold? sorry your experience was not as good as Sachi's.I guess you will need to get something done about the joint problem when back in the US. Mom
By: leelefever on February 8, 2006 - 3:03am
I dunno. It has happened twice with flippers on and it had to do with my toes pointing in that flipper position. I took vitamins, ate bananas and was well hydrated for this, but it didn't help much. It may be the cold water.
By: Anonymous (not verified) on May 14, 2007 - 5:34pm
Heh. Queenstown in a nutshell! And now that it's ski season heading up, expect more and more crazy stunts! I dont know if you're still there or not, but if you are you might want to start looking for some ski accommodation in Queenstown now!
By: Anonymous (not verified) on June 3, 2007 - 4:59pm
Um... you might want to remember tho that there's more than just ski accommodation there. You can check out Queenstown hotels and accommodation there, if you need.