No.7 Rapid - Umkomaas
No 7 is not a very steep rapid and there are a few good options, but this is one rapid where you knowing your lines is the difference between making the rapid look blissfully easy or getting gobbled. Basically there are options: 1) Extreme Right, 2) Left on the inside of the main channel, or 3) Sneak it extreme left.
RIVER-RIGHT LINE: On this line you approach from the extreme right and then keep left of 2 boat gobbling holes. They are relatively easy to skirt around, BUT you have to anticipate and be heading left well before you see them. If you avoid these holes you will wonder what all the fuss is about.
LEFT: Please view the video below for the left line landmarks. The main danger here is a huge boulder directly in your path that you need to actively avoid with decisive paddling, at all levels. It is exposed at about 1.5m, but above that it goes over the top, resulting in big pour-over or very big hole depending on how much water is flowing over it. It is easier to go right, but slightly smoother on the left if you can get there.
The images below show the features to look out for, indicating that you are about to enter No7. The second one is at a higher level.
SNEAK: The sneak becomes an option above 1.6m and really good idea above 2.0m. Keep extreme left if you are unfamiliar with this rapid avoiding the main channel and pick your way down. If you know your bearings well here then sneak closer to the left channel which is a deeper and better line.
The rock on the inside line, in the image below is exposed at about 1.5m
At a slightly higher level the same rock is covered when facing downstream, resulting in a big pour-over.
Looking back upstream you can see the size of the rock forming the pour-over.
Video Footage This video footage was taken when the river was at 1.5m at Hela Hela (thanks to Don Wewege)