Tops Needle rapid Grade3 Risk4

5km Spectator/Seconds: yes Portage option: left bank
Lon 30.870485 Lat -29.715959
Also known as: Tops
Named after the tall spire of rock on the top of the gorge on river right below Inanda dam wall, this nasty rapid was made a whole lot nastier by the arrival of tins of rubble from the construction of the dam will. The rapid can be shot from the top, putting on on the left hand bank immediately below the bridge. From here it is recommended that you stay left all the way down. There is an option that lures you into the centre of the river where danger in some really big holes and two or three very dangerous big boulders lie in wait.
For the majority of the field the beast of the rapid is portaged by carrying your boat over the rocks to put in halfway down, either sliding in through a neat channel that flows from a small pool, or putting in ever further down. Once in the river it does a right-left sweep where you can enjoy the cold, clean water!
More and more paddlers are opting top portage over the bridge and putting in on the right hand bank, where there is a fairly clean line of fun rough water straight down the right.
As always, check it out beforehand.

ProTipBirkettAndy Birkett

If you shoot Tops stay in the middle or if its very full then you can sneak down the left
but don’t shoot this unless you are very familiar with the rapid.

ProTipDreyerMartin Dreyer

If you decide to shoot Tops then put in just below the bridge and make sure you put your splashy on at the top.