Matador Network

Watch: mastering the whitewater at New Zealand’s manmade adventure park

Photo: Vector Wero Whitewater Park

There are few summer activities as thrilling and popular as whitewater sports. Fortunately, the industry is starting to catch on to the reality that, as more people want to take a kayak off a Category 4 waterfall, more safety lessons need to be taught.

Let me introduce you to the Vector Wero Whitewater Park, which hosts two river runs (Categories 1-2, and 3-4) that together include over 1600 feet of drops, eddies, stoppers, and exposed “rocks”. There is even a waterfall that fully submerges a raft when it lands at the base. This course is run by Olympic gold medalist Ian Ferguson and his team, who also teach the basics (and not-so-basics) of whitewater sports, including rafting and kayaking safety. While this whitewater park looks especially thrilling, other similar parks have been popping up in places like the edge of London and Sydney. These were built both to serve the Olympic games and to provide city dwellers with new venues for outdoor activity. Hopefully a major American city will be getting one soon…