The 10 week trip home was a super good recharge on my Kiwiana and saw some great events and riding.
It started off with 3 weeks in the central North Island coaching my grommets in the area. The summer this year saw no rain and it let us spend a lot of time on the river getting in new skills and tricks. There are two crews in the area, one made up of very talented teenagers and another of up and coming super groms.
From there I headed home to the South Island to catch up with family. After a quick catch up I headed to the West Coast of the South Island to two of my all time favorite lakes, Lake Brunner and Lake Kaniere. You get the whole “middle earth” vibe on the coast and in February the lakes are empty and flat.
The annual clinics there went well with one group being a bunch of Dads on there “boys” trip and the other being a young family with a six and seven year old that rip.
North Is Champs was next on the agenda on Lake Maraitai in Mangakino. My groms and I had a great weekend, riding well on both days to see them win each division and all of them on the podium. I left the day a very happy and proud coach. It was great to see the kids rewarded for all the hours they put in.
Late February through Mid March saw some time to be at home catching up with family and friends. Is always a favorite time of year being at home and it also lets me spend time on my home stretch of water with one of my longest running students Theo Robinson. Theo learns a new trick every lesson almost and I can only imagine what he would be doing if NZ had a longer summer. His dedication to the basic skills when younger is definitely paying off now.
The hardest part of the trip was remaining inactive while rebuilding muscle from my November ACL reconstruction. Although having to resist, Scuba, moto and golf the experience of going through surgery and rebuilding is proving to be one of the most positive experiences of my life. To say that you learn more about the body and yourself would be an understatement. At about the half way stage of rehab everything is on schedule and going well.
The final 10 days in the country saw a jammed packed adventure to the West Coast, then through Arthurs Pass to Christchurch and then quickly to Auckland to Catch my Flight back to Florida.
The trip started with another 3 days on Lake Kaniere with my young family of rippers but I included Grommet Sophie Gallon to help her get ready for The NZ Nationals that were coming up. Everybody rode excellent despite some incumbent weather.
Headed through to Christchurch for the NZ Nationals Held on Lake Crighton for a very exciting event. It was my first time in Christchurch since the Earthquake 2 years prior and was great yet humbling to see the city where I played so much sport in its current rebuilding condition.
Nationals started off a bit windy but my students handed it all and progressed to the finals. Finals day saw much better conditions and my Team of riders all took 1st or podiums to clean up every division. A very happy coach had to leave to drive and Ferry to catch a flight 2 days later.
A very successful trip home, looking forward to what my Florida season has in store.
Thanks to Everyone At Liquid Force for the support since 2000.