Paddling Hawaii - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 01-27-2006   #1
 
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Paddling Hawaii

I'm going to be in Kauai in a month or so. I read somewhere that there is kayaking in a river there. Does anyone know about this? Is it whitewater? If not, is there anywhere in Hawaii where you can paddle whitewater? I know you can snow ski on the big island in Feb too...

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Old 01-27-2006   #2
 
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I don't know how much help this is, but.....

http://www.americanwhitewater.org/rivers/state/HI/
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Old 01-28-2006   #3
 
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There is some amazing run supposedly. There was an article a number of years ago (I think late 90's) about Paul Teft and the rest of the Aspen crew going there (I don't remember the mag, but I don't think it exists anymore). You hike through an underground tunnel to get to the put in, then paddle down some scary whitewater, and then end up in the ocean and have to flatwater paddle back to civilization.

I think a second river was completed by a group of pros, and they ended up spending the night on the river. Sounded intense.

Hope you are willing to solo. There aren't any whitewater kayakers out there.

The main island has more whitewater...and I think it's less epic, easier to get to, etc.
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Old 01-28-2006   #4
 
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Nevermind. I think that is the article on AW...
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Old 01-28-2006   #5
 
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WL,

I brought my Jackson 4 Fun with me to Kauai for a month last December. Cutch is right (although I never heard about the tunnel). There was an epic that went down on the only really kayakable river on the isalnd. It comes out of Wayamaia Canyon(sp?) I think. Regardless, from what I heard from a kayak surfer I met over there it's pretty choked with wood and has only been run maybe 3 or 4 times. More important it needs a shit ton of water to get going and once it does it can flood on you very quickly...

I tried to take it out on the surf a few times and that ended up being mediocre. Probably because I wasn't comfy on the size of some of those waves. But also, you are going to have serious "local surf turf" attitude. Depending on where you are it can get ugly.

If you want to call me feel free...303-517-2621
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Old 01-28-2006   #6
 
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Tell you what, I've ran the Wailuku River. It's right in Hilo on the Big Island. I grew up there and there that is pretty much runnable all year round. There is a lot of other stuff that could be runnable, but it's all rain-fed so you can't really predict it. Winter is the rainy season and that would be your best bet.

The Wailuku is a pool drop run with some great waterfalls ranging from 10' up to 90' if you feel up to it.

If you want more beta or even people that may be willing to help you out give me a holler at: [email protected]
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Old 01-29-2006   #7
 
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Dave,

My wife and I are going to Maui in March, so I've beeing doing lots of research too. If you go to boater talk and use the search funtion under the reference tab at the top and search for hawaii, there is a good bit of info there.

From what it seems to me whitewater doesn't seem to be to doable for me. Mostly hike-in IV+ to V with variable rain dependent water conditions and a minimal whitewater boating scene to boot.

What does seem to be appealing is sea kayaking with snorkeling, and potentially wave surfing. The sea kayaking looks top notch providing access to cool beaches and good snorkeling. Sounds like a lot of fun, but of course not really whitewater boating.

As for the wave surfing, it sounds like there are some folks doing it over there, but not many. There is a rental shop on Oahu that has surf kayaks (Go Bananas), and I emailed a guy on Maui that does surf kayaking. It sounds like there can be some fun stuff. Winter swells should be in during Feb. If I can find a wave ski or surf kayak, I might give it a try, but odds are I might do some boogie boarding or try surfing again to take advantage of the waves, as I think that is easier to get gear.

In the end it sounds to whitewater boating is really tough, and even kayak surfing might be a challenge. But of course there is so much other fun stuff to do that it won't be a problem.

Let me know if you find any other info other than this, because I am interested.

Have fun!!!!!
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Old 01-31-2006   #8
 
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Thanks for all the info everyone. Ian, I'm with you. I should have mentioned that my kayaking skills are below par for most of the stuff those guys mentioned, but I was curious to hear about that stuff just the same. I'm sure there will be pleanty to do. I heard there is some river that people kayak down the river and into the ocean, but maybe it is flat water in a sea kayak or something, which I'm sure would be fun too.
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Old 01-31-2006   #9
 
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WL,

That is the same river as I mentioned above. It eventually comes out at the ocean. When you drive to the end of the road heading south (Poulihoulie sp??) you will drive right over the same river. It is very mellow down there, but up towards the center of the island, it goes off well. I hiked into the wialua canyon (I think thats it) and was checking it out.

have fun, and get to the noodle place in downtown Lihue! It's totally local and old school, but these japanese ladies whip up some serious good chow.
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Old 01-31-2006   #10
 
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The Hanalei river on the north shore (at Hanalei) is flatwater and comes out on the northeast side of the bay. It empties out in front of the reef that has one of the best winter breaks on Kauai. One of my friends had a sea kayak that he let me and my wife paddle out the river mouth and through the channel in the reef. We went out on the edge of the reef to check out the turtles and watch the surfers get barrelled with an end-on view....something my wife had never gotten to see close up before. If you do go out in a sea kayak make sure you know how to stick to the deep water so that you don't get pounded when a set comes. The beaches in Hawaii are all public....so you can paddle that kayak behind the reef and up to the plush Princeville hotel's beach and walk in like you own the place and go for a soak in their hot tubs. Use their towels too!

Most of the reef surfing there is expert-only territory in the winter and if you had a playboat out there you would be spending a lot of your time searching for a wave mellow enough to surf in a kayak. If you haven't board surfed much then you can get lessons at the Hanalei pier which has a really mellow little wave that breaks when the swell is big enough....which it usually is in the winter.
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