The Arawa Classic River Race is New Zealand’s premier kayak race for good reason.

The Classic is run on a 67km stretch of the Waimakariri river starting at Mount White bridge 23kms south-east of Arthurs Pass on the road to Christchurch.

Passing through rocky rapids and bluffs of the gorge competitors emerge at Woodstock for the final 15kms of the braided river to the Gorge Bridge.

While the course remains the same, its challenges vary greatly with river flow. Every trip holds something new. The legendary Coast to Coast is the only other event to use this course.

In comparison to a multisport event, the Classic recognises the elite paddler, initiates prospective Coasties and serves as a life barometer for the returning faithful.