Raft Race 2013

On Sunday 23rd June both Year 12 Outdoor Education classes took part in the inaugural Raft Race in front of the Hora Hora Domain after 7 weeks of planning and preparation.

When we arrived just after 9am fog was everywhere. It happened to be the coldest day of the year. The Waikato River looked freezing. On the starter horn each group of 5 people had to make our rafts from inner tyre tubes, planks of wood, rope and anything else we could get our hands on.

Everyone chipped in and helped their group construct their raft. Some took extra care while others rushed to get their rafts made so they could get on the water as quick as possible to get an advantage over the others. Unfortunately, for two groups rushing in and constructing a sturdy raft proved costly.

One group virtually had to swim while the other had to re-build their raft 5 minutes into the race. You could tell which groups took a serious approach and prepared themselves for the race with raft design, ability to tie knots, paddling technique and personnel positioning on the raft. Battery drills, broken down pellets, cable ties and extra pieces of plywood were used for some constructions. It was pleasing that all rafts were different.

There was only a gap of about 5 minutes from the first raft launching their raft to the last. All groups took off in a hurry and quickly got tired. Poorly constructed rafts had too much drag and participants used a lot of energy.

About half way through the race paddling through weed and other foreign debris in the river we came across a huge dead eel. Typically Shaun Pizzini flicked it on board the raft. It absolutely stunk and was quickly kicked back into the water. Thank you very much to Mr Miller & Mr Neil for organising such an AWESOME event.

Despite the cool temperatures it was a thoroughly enjoyable day with plenty of laughs and memories. I’d also like to thank all the parents who helped out by transporting the gear, baking, heating food and making milos at the end of the raft.

Aaron Manning

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