Catarafting in New Zealand
Since 1986, when I first started as a professional river guide, I have dabbled in several different types of river craft, including kayaks, oar rafts, and paddle rafts. It is catarafts however that have over the last few years, for me, become the craft of choice.
Catarafts are fairly rare in New Zealand, with only a small handful of boats in the country, and an even smaller group of people who row them.
Being totally biased, I think they are a heap of fun, and certainly appeal to older river guides who are finding smaller and smaller kayaks maybe not their cup of tea.
There is also something about using oars and the moves you are able to do with them that is great for the soul.
I would say that in New Zealand we are probably developing our own unique rowing style, mainly because of the steep low volume rocky rivers we normally run.
Cataraft Tubes, Frames and Oars
Incept Marine now manufacture a range of cataraft tubes – mostly for export – while frames and oars are normally imported. Incept have recently produced a range of interesting tubes which are U shaped, as in joined together at one end. We will be trialing these over this winter (2010), and will let anyone interested know how they perform compared to conventional tubes.
Pelco, a Palmerston North firm do produce some nice wooden oars.
NRS in Idaho, USA, stock a wide range of river gear including frames, tubes, oars, apparel and much more.
If you are keen on giving this craft a go, contact me. I have thought seriously about running some workshops and would love some feedback.
Sotar – again an expensive choice if importing this boat to New Zealand. However Sotar make a range of truly very good catarafts
Photos are taken on the Rangitikei River, Taihape, and the Whitcombe River, Hokitika, New Zealand
Return to About River Valley Staff
JOIN US ON A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY DOWN THE BEAUTIFUL RANGITIKEI RIVER