The race starts with an almost complete circumnavigation of Lake Ruataniwha before entering the iconic canal system. Starting at the Eastern end of the lake competitors will paddle anticlockwise past the 2000m rowing course start to the feature known locally as Birdshit Island. Kayakers must pass on the inside of Birdshit Island (Keep Island on your left). Then head directly up to the head of the Lake to the ECAN buoy before crossing to the other side.
Follow your nose back down the lake to enter the Ohau B canal. Keep your eyes peeled here for any stray salmon; you may be able to collect your dinner on the way past. Once you reach the Ohau B power station the fun begins. Exit the canal on the right hand side where indicated to begin the first portage past Ohau B to put back into canal again where indicated. It is required to wear something on your feet for the portages as they include sealed road and rough ground.
Same again at Ohau C but exit the canal on the left and follow the road past the power station. Enter the water again where indicated and paddle down the tail race into Lake Benmore and the finish at the boat ramp around the corner on your right.
Distance – approximately 20km