Stage 9: 39km kayak on the green waters of the Upper Clutha. A chance to give the legs a rest on this classic river paddle. Long easy stretches gives way to the occasional grade 2 rapids, "Pioneer Rapid", just upstream of the Luggate Bridge containing the largest waves, but the Devils Elbow 3km down stream of the bridge commands the most respect with most competitors taking the chicken route at the left hand eddy rather than taking on the bluff and boily waters of the elbow. 2 and 1/4 to 2 and 3/4 hrs depending on river flows is a good time on this stage.
Clutha Classic Kayak Race
The Outside Sports Clutha Classic is the major fundraiser for the Southern Lakes Multisport Club who have been running the race for the last 3 years. It is a must do race for those doing C2C or the Goldrush and gives paddlers a chance to check out their fitness and skills ahead of these races. The race which is handicapped has 2 courses, the Classic from the Wanaka foreshore to Lindis River and the Sprint which is virtually the Goldrush paddle course.
First-timer's perspective: "I approach many difficulties giggling with a slight nervous smile, and the thing I love about completing the Clutha is each time I finish another Clutha experience , I am smiling with adrenalin and the thought of how much bloody fun it was!" "The Clutha is a great piece of water with many fun bumpy bits that continue to develop my paddling skills."
Quote Pip Riches, happily learning to paddle grade 2. "The event has had an increase in paddlers every year with athletes making Central Otago their holiday destination for the xmas holidays enjoying many of the local events as part of their C2C build up. The nature of the Clutha River means the race can still be run at higher flows of 300plus cumecs with its long fast flatter sections and a chance to get "up close and personnel" with rapids such as the "Devils Elbow."
Race director Bill Godsall said the feed back from the event has been great and paddlers are recognizing the Clutha Classic as a chance to tackle high volume water, and join in the Central Otago holiday atmosphere. Godsall said that the 2008 race was the first time he had seen large groups of spectators lined up at all the challenging rapids to enjoy the spectacle.