We’re stoked to announce that we’re recipients of a Sport NZ Hillary Expedition grant!
Here’s what they have to say about us:
NZ CANYONING TEAM – ATTEMPTING PREVIOUSLY UN-DESCENDED CANYONS IN SOUTH ISLAND
Over three weeks in March, a team of six will be attempting to complete and document first descents of nationally and internationally significant canyons on the South Island of NZ.
The NZ Canyoning Team includes some of the pioneering members of the NZ canyoning community and the expedition will be the first major canyoning expedition undertaken by New Zealanders in New Zealand.
The international canyoning community has recently awakened to NZ’s huge canyoning potential and there has already been a French expedition here with more planned for the future. The team hopes their expedition will lead the charge for more international expeditions to NZ for canyoning.
“Canyoning is one of the fastest growing new adventure sports, and NZ has phenomenal, world-class canyoning potential,” says team member Richard Bramley. He says there was virtually no canyoning community in New Zealand ten years ago. He and his fellow team members, Daniel Clearwater, Toine Houtenbos, Annette Phillipps, Neil Silverwood and Justin Venable, have drawn on their previous experiences in caving, kayaking and mountaineering, and applied them to canyoning – travelling overseas to learn canyoning techniques from established communities.
Nelson local Richard has come from a caving background. The management consultant is a part-time canyoning guide for Abel Tasman Canyons and has been an integral member of many caving alpine expeditions both in New Zealand and internationally. He was recently part of the team that made the connection between Nettlebed and Stormy Pot caves in New Zealand, resulting in one of the deepest caves in the Southern Hemisphere.
Team members Daniel Clearwater and Toine Houtenbos have both been canyoning for ten years. Daniel has descended over 200 canyons around the world – of which 32 are first descents. He has kept meticulous records of all his descents since he began, which form the basis of the first NZ canyoning guide book, which he intends to publish in 2015.
Toine has worked as a canyoning guide in Europe and South Africa before making the move to New Zealand. In 2010 he travelled to Japan to train with the Commission International de Canyon and wrote the Code of Practice for Recreational Canyoning in New Zealand. He is also the founder of commercial canyoning operation Abel Tasman Canyons, and has completed around 600 canyon trips in more than 100 different canyons around the world – 25 of which are first descents.
Like Toine, Annette also studied with the Commission International de Canyon. Both she and teammate Neil recently completed the first descent of New Zealand’s Gloomy Gorge, which has attracted the attention of international media for being one of the most challenging canyons worldwide.
Justin, an emergency and rural hospital doctor, is an accomplished international kayaker and canyoner with a background in competitive white water slalom. His passion for white water kayaking has seen him complete multiple first descents around the world and in New Zealand, including the steepest kilometre of kayaking in the southern hemisphere – the Waitaha River’s Windhover Gorge.
The team plan to complete and document the first descents of what they describe as canyons of international and national significance. In addition, they plan to complete and document first descents of a number of canyons which could be descended by intermediate-level canyoners.